Professional Standard Four – design and implement learning experiences that value diversity
Standard Four requires teachers to create and deliver learning experiences that cater for diverse learners. Teachers should design lessons with the variety of characteristics, backgrounds and learning needs of their students in mind. Learning activities should be interesting and accessible for all students. Teachers should demonstrate high expectation of achievement from all students and work collaboratively with staff and parents to ensure that all students achieve their potential.
Differentiated Instruction: Utilising multiple intelligences in the classroom
The following two activities are based on the concept of differentiated instruction and clearly reflect the practice, knowledge and values of standard four. The activities are based on the concept of differentiated instruction. Essentially, differentiated instruction occurs where “instructional practices and/or the learning environment are adapted to meet the various needs, skills and abilities of the students in the classroom” (Scott & Spencer, 2006; Tomlinson, 2007, cited in Sedgley & Tangen, 2008, p. 8). With differentiated instruction, “all students are taught the same curriculum bit with a pedagogy that is flexible and responsive to individual learning styles and needs” (Sedgley & Tangen, 2008, p.9). One suggested approach is to begin with direct instruction and then move into ‘choice programming’ (Anderson, 2007, cited in Sedgley & Tangen, 2008, p. 9). This enables all students to receive a base level of understanding of the content or skill in question before they move into a tailored approach to deepening their understanding or practising the required skill.
Firstly, I used the ITC® Multiple Intelligences Quiz (based on Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences 1983) at the beginning of the year with my year 10 students to identify the dominant behavioural and working styles of the students in my class. This gave me an overview of the variety of characteristics and learning needs of my students and enabled students to activate their own knowledge about how they prefer to learn. I have not attached the quiz as an artefact because of copyright, however other variations exist. The annual ITC teacher diary also comes with the quiz.
Secondly, I used the data obtained from the Quiz and research on Multiple Intelligences to design learning experiences that catered for the diversity of learning styles in the classroom. My aim was to achieve a balance between catering for the diversity of student preferences on the one hand and encouraging students to learn new ways of working on the other hand. One example of how I employed differentiated instruction via multiple intelligences is set out in Artefact 1.
I rely on the work of McGrath & Noble (2005) in relation to Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences when planning my lessons.
ITC Publications. 2012. Interactive Teacher’s Companion (Secondary).
McGrath, H. & Noble, T. 2005. Eight Ways at Once (2nd Ed). Pearson: Frenchs Forest, NSW.
Sedgley, T. & Tangen, D. “Chapter 1: Effective Teaching Practices”. In Tangen, D., Bland, D., Spooner-Lane, R., Sedgley, T., Mergler, A., Mercher, L. & Curtis, E. 2008. Engaging Diverse Learners. Pearson-SprintPrint, Frenchs Forest, NSW, pp. 1-17.