Main Article Content
This study examined the experiences of prospective teachers in differentiating instruction during a two-week practicum assignment in an inclusive environment. Several school types were used ranging from denominational and government-led primary schools with students of low socio-economic status, to special schools for the physically handicapped and deaf students. The study employed a mixed-method research design aimed at triangulating quantitative and qualitative data obtained from questionnaires, focus group discussions, field notes from classroom observations, and student reflections. The total population comprised twenty-two year three students pursuing a Bachelor of Education degree in Special Needs Education; two practicum advisors; and nine cooperating teachers. Findings of the study revealed that prospective teachers achieved a measure of success in implementing differentiated instruction in their practicum classrooms. However, some attention should be given to cooperating teachers who may not provide the support expected of a mentor or coach due to a general lack of understanding of the philosophy of differentiated instruction.
Keywords: practicum experiences, prospective teachers, differentiated instruction
Authors wishing to include figures, tables, or text passages that have already been published elsewhere are required to obtain permission from the copyright owner(s) for both the print and online format and to include evidence that such permission has been granted when submitting their papers. Any material received without such evidence will be assumed to originate from the authors.
Bates, A. J., Ramirez, L., & Dritis, D. (2009). Connecting university supervision and critical reflection: Mentoring and modeling. The Teacher Educator, 44(2), 90-112.
Beck, C., & Kosnick, C. (2002). Components of a good practicum placement: student teacher perceptions. Teacher Education Quarterly, 29(2), 81-98.
Brighton, C. M., & Hertberg, H. L. (2004). Restructuring the vision: Teachers’ responses to the invitation to change. Research in Middle Level Education Quarterly, 27(2).
Darling-Hammond, L., & Bransford, J. (Eds.) (2005). Preparing teachers for a changing world: What teachers should learn and be able to do. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Feiman-Nemser, S. (2001). From preparation to practice: Designing a continuum to strengthen and sustain teaching. Teachers College Record, 103, 1013-1055.
Gregory, S., Campbell, M., Knox, V., Dalgarno, B., Reiners, T., & Masters, Y. (2011). Changing directions through VirtualPREX: engaging pre-service teachers in virtual professional experience. Changing demands, changing directions: Proceedings of the Ascillete 2011 Conference, Hobart, pp. 491-501.
Grudnoff, Lexie (2011). Rethinking the practicum: Limitations and possibilities. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 39(3), 223-234.
Hertberg-Davis, H. L., & Brighton, C. M. (2006). Support and sabotage: Principal’s influence on middle school teachers’ responses to differentiation. The Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 17, 90-102.
Joseph, S., Thomas, M., Simonette, G., and Ramsook, L. (2013). The impact of differentiated instruction in a teacher education setting: Successes and challenges. International Journal of Higher Education, 2 (3), 28-40.
Knopper, D. & Fertig, C. (2005). Differentiation for gifted children: It’s all about trust. The Illinois Association for Gifted Children Journal, 6(1), 6-8.
Marshall, C. & Rossman, G.B. (2010). Designing qualitative research (5th ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Parkinson, P.T. (2008). Field placement treatments: A comparative study. The Teacher Educator, 43(1), 29-45.
Smith, K., & Lev-Ari, L. (2005). The place of the practicum in pre-service teacher education: The voice of the students. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 33, 289-302.
Seperson, M. A., & Joyce, B. R. (1973). Teaching styles of student teachers as related to those of their cooperating teachers. Educational Leadership Research Supplement, 31(2), 146- 151.
Stokking, K., Leenders, F., de Jong, J., & van Tartwijk, J. (2003). From student to teacher: Reducing practice shock and early dropout in the teaching profession. European Journal of Teacher Education, 26, 329-351.
Tieso, C. (2004) Through the looking glass: One school’s reflections on differentiation. Gifted Child Today, 27(4), 58-65.
Tomlinson, C. A., & Imbeau, M. B. (2010). Leading and managing a differentiated classroom. Alexandria, Virginia: ASCD.
Van Tassel-Baska, J. (2006). A content analysis of evaluation findings across 20 gifted programs: A clarion call enhanced gifted program development. Gifted Child Quarterly, 50,199-210.
Westberg, K. L. Archamjbault, F. X., Dobyns, S. M., & Salvin, T. J. (1993). The classroom practices observation study. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 16, 120-146.