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[Document subtitle]

Group topic

essential elements involved in effective classroom management.

Research question

How differentiated instruction improves classroom management and increase high school

students learning engagement?

Literature review

A classroom diversity has been the main challenge educators encounter while seeking

to achieve effective classroom management. Indeed, there are countless differences among

students with the most important differences classifiable by difference in the knowledge, skills,

cognitive development, differences in learning preference and lastly the culture and linguistic

differences. Hence, educators should be mindful of the best way students receive knowledge

(Maeng & Bell, 2015). The overreaching topic will examine the essential elements involved in

effective classroom management. In addition, with substantiation the literature provides, this

paper will focus on the literature review demonstrating how differentiated instruction impacts

on students in terms of improving their learning and classroom engagement.

The accountability movement in education research was a result from the belief that

differentiated instruction (DI) approach provides a method for modifying the curriculum and

teaching strategies educators can apply to complement the knowledge level, area of interest

and learning profile of an individual (Koeze, 2006; Tomlinson, 2000; Kiley & Warfield, 2011).

According to Tomlinson (2000), a foremost expert in differentiated instruction model,

differentiation in teaching is the departure from the traditional style of learning. Moreover,

each learner succeeds if they are taught in the ways responsive to their distinct

multidimensional abilities. Furthermore, to target this multidimensional ability of the students,

the teacher should recognise the particular learning style of each individual and adjust the

content accordingly (Urcaru & Nechifor, 2017). Hence, to improve student academic

outcomes, teachers should relook into the instructional strategies they are using in every

classroom and implement classroom pedagogies that cater for the various learning styles

(Joseph, Thomas, Simonette & Ramsook, 2013). To achieve this, the process of DI model

requires teachers to move beyond fulfilling the curriculum and toward selecting key principles

to personalise learning, which in turn offers opportunities to address various needs of each

individual. Moreover, Tomlinson (as cited in Joseph et al., 2013) shows that there are four areas

in the DI process in which teacher can utilise to draw on student’s interest and improve student

engagement and academic achievement. These include, differentiation in curriculum content

(the information students are required to know are designed and scaffolded in parallel to their

learning level), the process (the activities, assignments, students engage with while learning),

the product (refers to output that students use to demonstrate their knowledge), and finally

classroom environment (the climate teacher set-up for students to engage with learning)

(Joseph et al., 2013).

Tomlinson (2008) proposed that teachers need to establish a ‘trust’ to make students

care about what they require to learn and be able to connect ideas related to learning content

to students’ world. Also, as a goal of differentiation, teachers should involve the students in

daily classroom routines to allow them to express their voice and interest (Tomlinson, 2008).

Cox (2008) also reports that learning within the differentiated climate gives the students the

opportunity to participate in the learning by differentiating how they receive new information

and demonstrate their understanding. Levy, Opitz and Ford (as cited in Round, Subban &

Sharma, 2016) state that in the context of applying DI in the classroom both of teacher and

students are consequently developed and progressed as DI builds the foundation whereby, both
of them explore new ways to demonstrate knowledge. Additionally, Round et al. (2016)

accentuate that the teaching pedagogies through DI increase students learning engagement due

to the fact that DI utilises content according to the various ways students perceive information.

Therefore, integration of DI into learning activities creates a positive environment, allowing

students to grasp an understanding of a complex and challenging concept. Further, the

implementation of DI creates a positive environment which in turn reinforces the development

of students’ personal and social capabilities in parallel with the skills outlined within the

Australian curriculum (Round et al., 2016)

Hillier (2011) explains that in order to be more proactive, the principles of

differentiation requires from the teachers a constant innovation. Not only does it require to

begin with an end goal in mind, but also constantly reflect on what is working and what is not.

Likewise, planning and the choice of delivery of instruction is an equally important aspect for

differentiation. The more meticulous the planning the better the rate of success of the key

differentiator (Hillier, 2011). Student engagement was found to be in a direct proportion of the

amount of time used in planning the differentiator. udy conducted by Venable (2011),

highlighted the relation between the implementation of DI strategies and student engagement.

The finding of the study showed that students who received DI teaching style perceived that

learning strategies such as summarisation of content and taking notes helped them to actively

engage and get involved during learning (Venable, 2011).

Santangelo and Tomlinson (2012) examined the educator perception of DI by

conducting a study using cross section survey methods of research. The findings from this

study suggested a strong correlation between the degree in which the teacher implements DI

and his/her belief of the effectiveness of Tomlinson model. educators involved in this study
displayed negative perception toward implementing DI in their practice. As a result, there was

little evidence that teachers incorporate a comprehensive model of differentiation in their

classroom activities. Consequently, the authors’ findings were aligned with those of a previous

research authenticating the necessary need for educators to fully recognise the beneficial aspect

of using DI in their practice. In addition, the findings raise the concern about the teachers’

conception in relation to the advantage of DI model. Finally, teachers are adequately responsive

to realise the learning preference of divers and complex learners of today’s classroom

(Santangelo and Tomlinson, 2012). Jager (2013) further reviewed this matter by conducting a

research work to display the implication for teachers to associated DI in the learning activities.

The participant teachers in this study were observed to identify the challenges associated with

DI implementation. Result data from this study indicated a limited use of DI due to the negative

perception teachers held in demonstrating DI, such as the time they require to prepare materials

and the positive climate they need to establish in order to effectively manage and deliver

content (Dixon et al., 2014).

Another study was conducted by the Cyrus pedagogical institute to observe the

improvement of literacy skills of students using DI (Valiandes, 2015). The achievement of the

literacy rate was found to increase by 34 percent after DI was used in the teaching of

Mathematics. Also, the amount of comprehension was found to increase by 31 percent in the

field of language abilities. Although the size of the data was only 479 students, this was

sufficient to bring out the positive impact of the strategies used. This data was gathered over a

period of six months and published as a whitepaper which gained fame (Valiandes, 2015). Most

of the data supporting differentiators depends on the key understanding of the teacher and the

subject on which it is being applied; nevertheless, Oden’s (2012), descriptive research study

has raised a concern regarding the field or subject researches studied for effectiveness of DI.
This study was conducted to verify how high school students in the business study respond to

both traditional and differentiated instructions. In this, assessment instruction was used to

compare what strategies are more effective in term of student’s response and the quality of

assessment they were able to produce. The findings from this study concluded that it became

evident that DI in the classroom provides the students with a means of reaching their academic

goal if applied in areas such as business studies and giving to previous research targeted

students in areas such as science, mathematics, designing technology; however, showing the

academic gains DI offers to a curriculum, research may be warranted to show the impact of DI

on other subject areas with a larger sample population and group levels (Oden, 2012).

In conclusion, the main object of differentiated instruction is for educators to identify

the various ways in which the learner connects with learning. To do so, the educators should

understand the current knowledge students possess and the strategies by which it can be

expanded. Moreover, there is no contradiction of differentiator with the curriculum. The

curriculum teaches what to be taught and differentiators teach how it should be approached.

One focuses on the actual content while the other focuses on the method and they are

completely orthogonal in their ways.

Data collection protocol

Dear Potential Participant:

I am working on a project titled How differentiated instruction improves classroom
management and increase high school students learning engagement? ‘Researching
Teaching and Learning 2,’ at Western Sydney University. As part of the project, I am
collecting information to help inform the design for a teacher research proposal.
Our topic has explained a number of aspects that can affect student motivation in class for
secondary school students for example, Teacher-student Relationship how can impact on
students’ motivation, using ICT to increase students’ motivation. The project will assess and
explain some factors the teacher can apply in class to increase student’s motivation and also
using different types of data collection such as surveys and interviews.
By signing this form, I acknowledge that:
 I have read the project information and have been given the opportunity to discuss the
information and my involvement in the project with the researcher/s.
 The procedures required for the project and the time involved have been explained to
me, and any questions I have about the project have been answered to my satisfaction.
 I consent to submitting sample of my survey.
 I understand that my involvement is confidential, and that the information gained during
this data collection experience will only be reported within the confines of the
‘Researching Teaching and Learning 2’ Unit, and that all personal details will be de-
identified from the data.
 I understand that I can withdraw from the project at any time, without affecting my
relationship with the researcher/s, now or in the future.
By signing below, I acknowledge that I am 18 years of age or older, or I am school teacher
who is 17 years old.
Signed: __________________________________
Name: __________________________________
Date: __________________________________
By signing below, I acknowledge that I am the legal guardian of a person who is 16 or 17 years
old and provide my consent for the person’s participation.
Signed: __________________________________
Name: __________________________________
Data Collection Protocol Explanation

In the field of education, the fundamental aspect of research is that it provides exclusive

and consistently updated information. Providing the foundation for educators and stakeholders

in this field to review the pedagogical practices students acquire, the research allows the

educators to display the overall environment whereby students can actively engage and obtain

distinguishable lifelong knowledge (Efron & Ravid, 2013). Through the use of data collection

protocol, the above research is perpetrated along with qualitative methods of research

(Marshall, 2006). The aim of this research survey is to explore (1) How DI used by the

educators improves classroom management and (2) which DI element increases students

learning engagement.

In agreement with Santangelo and Tomlinson’s (2012) work, the survey printed above

provides the teachers with clear and simplified questions focusing on topics such as how

teachers deliver the content and what perception teachers hold toward their students’ learning

abilities. Also, the written survey includes specific answers designed as a foundation to develop

straight quarrel for the research. The focus of this research is concentrating on the idea of how

DI applied by the teacher can improve students’ engagement and eventually help them to

establish achievable learning outcomes. The survey in this research is designed to carry on

across three government and private high schools with different socio-economic status.

Participants taking part of this research will be 35-40 high school teachers who will be given a

hard copy of the survey. For the ethical value of information, a consent form is provided to the

participants. The data will be collected through surveys on an anonymous scale, the researcher

team will explain the purpose of the study and will keep the consent form signed by the teacher

separated from survey questions they have answered.

The design of this survey will cater numerous data due to involving large populations

of teachers from variant key learning areas. In addition, the survey will provide a specific

response based on the teacher’s experience with their students’ learning preferences and

interests, and the activity teachers use to stimulate engagement (Valiandes, 2015). The response

from the teachers will also help in distinguishing and identifying what perception teachers with

different key learning areas actually hold toward DI model and how effectively it is

implemented as part of their teaching practice. As outlined, the research will include schools

from different socio-economic suburbs which according to Halawah (2007) collecting a data

from a diverse group within the society supports the researchers in acknowledging the

influential aspect of socioeconomic students’ experiences and its effects on their education.

In order to recognise similarities and differences in the date provided by the teachers,

the survey assimilates Likert scale style to posing suggestions. Moreover, some questions

include a checkbox “other” for teachers to tick if none of the answers are relevant to them,

otherwise, the survey will be limited without this option. Furthermore, choosing the survey for

data collection is decided as factual to its appropriateness in regards to the number of

participants it can include. Besides, other protocols such as interviews could result in cognitive

overload for the participants. Joshi, Kale, Chandel and Pal (2015) stated that using survey in

the researches supports in designing consistent codes which in turn create constructive research

product (Joshi et al., 2015). Therefore, choosing a survey method will tolerate a well

understanding of how implementing DI in the classroom aids in engaging school students with

learning. Finally, establishing themes that can be added to current research and literature, the

survey and the written questions aim to evaluate the overall educational achievement of all

students across all key learning areas and provide them with the opportunity to attain their full


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