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Differentiating learning in Differentiating learning in the Literacy classroom the Literacy classroom

Differentiating learning in the Literacy classroom

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  • Differentiating learning in the Literacy classroom

  • Key issues addressed by the studyThis study explored:the ways in which teachers differentiated literacy learning for pupils of different abilitiesmethods for personalising learning

  • Ways to differentiate learningThe study used various ways of differentiating learning, includingintroducing tiered activities and varying group sizespersonalising literacy learning highlighting and representing textsusing journal entries

  • Tiered activities and group sizesThe researchers created a comfortable environment for differentiated tasks throughtiered activities - working towards the same understanding but pitched at different levels of complexityvarying group sizes to ensure that those most in need of extra help were in smaller groups

  • Personalising literacy learningActivities to help personalise literacy learning included:providing a menu of activities to allow pupils to continue with new activities without further instructionecho reading led by a skilled reader to allow learners to gain confidence in reading aloud

  • Highlighting textsActivities for highlighting and representing texts includedwriting a top ten list of favourite foods, animals or friends in order to describe and categorise wordsusing drawings to represent literacy concepts

  • Using journal entriesChildren developed literacy skills by writing journal entries in a table formatThis involvedwriting a meaningful quote or element of the story in the first columnexplaining their thoughts on this in a second columngaining feedback from a teacher or classmate in a third column

  • How differentiation workedDifferentiation created choices for pupils bybuilding a framework of activities for pupils to complete before, during and after readinghighlighting the value of differentiation in teacher professional development

  • Who were the children in the study?10 classes of mixed-year classrooms (Years 3 and 4) in a Canadian school district10 teachers of mixed-grade classrooms

  • How was the information gathered?Researchers held two 3-hour workshops which included the following elements: observational field notes describing anything relevant to a teachers understanding of differentiationvideo recordings of each classroom, which teachers commented onthree 45-minute visits to each classroom, two of which were followed by semi-structured interviews

  • How might teachers use this evidence?The study highlighted the importance of varying the size of groups to support differentiationCould you experiment with groups of different sizes to support different learning needs in your lessons? You might like to consult your learners on their preferred group size and reasons for this

  • How might school leaders use this evidence?The study showed that the kinds of differentiation a teacher provides can depend on their available resources and personalityCould you offer more professional development for teachers to enhance and improve differentiation methods?You might like to encourage teachers who are good at differentiation to share advice with colleagues

  • Follow-up readingStudy reference: Differentiating learning in the literacy classroom. Tobin, R. & McInnes, A., (2009) Literacy, 42 (1), pp.3-9. [Original title: Accommodating differences: variations in differentiated literacy instruction in Grade 2/3 classrooms]Summary available at: www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/research/themes/inclusion/differentiating/

  • FeedbackDid you find this useful?What did you like?What didnt you like?Any feedback on this Research Bitewould be much appreciated. Please emailyour feedback to:[email protected]

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