Diploma Thesis - IS MUNI - Masaryk University by xiaohuicaicai


     Pedagogická fakulta

     Diplomová práce

         Brno 2010

                      Bc. Létalová Marcela
                    Faculty of Education
    Department of English Language and Literature

 Differentiated Instruction in Teachers’ Training
                        Diploma Thesis
                             Brno 2010

Supervisor:                              Author:
Dr. Rita Chalmers Collins, Ed.           Bc. Marcela Létalová
Bibliografický záznam:

Létalová Marcela. Differentiated Instruction in Teachers’ Training. Brno: Masarykova

Univerzita, Fakulta pedagogická, Katedra anglického jazyka a literatury, 2010. Vedoucí

diplomové práce: Dr. Rita Chalmers Collins, Ed.


Diplomová práce „Diferencovaná výuka v profesní přípravě učitelů“ pojednává o

výukové metodě zvané diferencovaná výuka. Teoretická část je zaměřena na obecné

vysvětlení této strategie. Praktická část diplomové práce popisuje výzkum uskutečněný

s vyučujícími a studenty Masarykovy Univerzity, který se zabývá jejich znalostí metody

a přístupem k diferenciaci.


The diploma thesis “Differentiated Instruction in Teachers’ Training” deals with the

teaching method called differentiated instruction. The theoretical part is focused on the

general explanation of the strategy. The research conducted with teachers and students

of Masaryk University inquiring about their knowledge and approach to differentiation

is described in the practical part of the thesis.

Klíčová slova: Bloomova taxonomie, vícenásobná inteligence, hodnocení, práce ve

skupinách, diferenciace, odstupňované úkoly, profesní příprava učitelů, učební styly

Key words:       assessment, Bloom’s taxonomy, differentiation, flexible grouping,

learning styles, multiple intelligences, teachers’ training, tiered assignment

I declare that I wrote the diploma thesis myself and used only the sources mentioned in

the enclosed bibliography.

I agree that the thesis will be deposited in the library of the Faculty of Education at

Masaryk University in Brno and made available for academic purposes.

Brno, 20th April 2010                                        …..……………………..
                                                                 Bc. Marcela Létalová

I would like to thank my supervisor Dr. Rita Chalmers Collins for providing me with

invaluable help, advice, suggestions, unceasing optimism and patience.

I would also like to express my appreciation to the friends who helped me to distribute

and collect the questionnaires for my research as well as to the friends who helped me

with technical aspects of the thesis.

My last, but not least, thanks go to my parents who supported me during my entire

studies and without whom I would never have succeeded.

I.    Introduction ........................................................................................... 8

II.   Theoretical part ..................................................................................... 10

      1. Brief history of differentiated instruction .................................... 10

      2. Why is differentiated instruction so critical today ...................... 11

      3. What differentiated instruction is and what it is not .................... 13
         3.1. Definition .................................................................................... 13
         3.2. Differentiated instruction is ........................................................ 14
         3.3. Differentiated instruction is not .................................................. 16

      4. What can be differentiated.............................................................. 18
         4.1. Differentiation according to classroom ....................................... 18
             4.1.1. Content ............................................................................. 18
             4.1.2. Process ............................................................................. 18
             4.1.3. Product ............................................................................. 19
             4.1.4. Learning environment ...................................................... 20
         4.2. Differentiation according to learners .......................................... 21
             4.2.1. Readiness ......................................................................... 21
             4.2.2. Interest ............................................................................. 22
             4.2.3. Learning profile ............................................................... 23

      5. The research supporting differentiated instruction...................... 25
         5.1. Learning styles ............................................................................ 25
         5.2. Learning styles based on sensory perception .............................. 26
         5.3. Thinking styles ............................................................................ 27
         5.4. Gender-based preferences ........................................................... 27
         5.5. Culture-influenced preferences ................................................... 28
         5.6. Intelligence preferences .............................................................. 28
              5.6.1. Multiple intelligences ........................................................ 29
              5.6.2. Triarchic theory of intelligence ......................................... 31
              5.6.3. Emotional intelligence ...................................................... 31
         5.7. Summary ..................................................................................... 33

      6. Essential parts of differentiated instruction .................................. 35
         6.1. Assessment .................................................................................. 35
         6.2. Evaluation, grading ..................................................................... 36
         6.3. Bloom’s taxonomy ...................................................................... 37
         6.4. Flexible grouping ........................................................................ 39
         6.5. Tiered assignment ....................................................................... 40
         6.6. Providing choice.......................................................................... 41

      7. Possible problems ............................................................................. 42
         7.1. Novice teachers ........................................................................... 42
         7.2. Experienced teachers ................................................................... 42
       8. Teachers’ training and its influence on teachers’ future work ... 44

       9. Summary ........................................................................................... 46

III.   Practical part .......................................................................................... 47

       1. Introduction ...................................................................................... 47

       2. Description of the questionnaire for teachers and its subjects .... 48

       3. Analysis of questionnaires and summary of results ..................... 50

       4. Description of the questionnaire for students and its subjects .... 53

       5. Analysis of questionnaires and summary of results ..................... 55

       6. Discussion and comparison of results ............................................ 60

       7. Conclusion with recommendation .................................................. 63

IV.    Conclusion .............................................................................................. 65

V.     Résumé .................................................................................................... 66

       Bibliography ........................................................................................... 67

       Appendices .............................................................................................. 70
The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate "apparently ordinary" people to

unusual effort. The tough problem is not in identifying winners: it is in making

winners out of ordinary people.

                                                                K. Patricia Cross
I. Introduction
        The thesis concerns the strategy of differentiated instruction and its role in

teachers’ training at Masaryk University in Brno. The aim of my thesis is to find out if

teacher educators are familiar with the strategy, if they use differentiation in their

lessons or seminars and if they are able to present it to students not only theoretically

but especially practically so that students are comfortable to use it in their own teaching

properly and effectively.

       The thesis is divided into two parts. The theoretical part introduces differentiated

instruction in general, its principles and essential parts, and theories that support the

strategy. At the same time I emphasise the influence of teachers’ educators that might

have on their students. My intention is to depict the complexity of the strategy and show

possibilities that differentiation offers to teachers how to lead effective instruction that

respond to needs of all learners. My second aim is to explain the importance of accuracy

in teachers’ education and why it is essential for teacher educators to incorporate

differentiation into their teaching.

       The practical part is based on research conducted with ten teachers and forty-

eight students of the faculty of education at Masaryk University in Brno. The research

was realised by two small questionnaires: one questionnaire for teachers inquiring about

teachers’ knowledge of the method and their opinion on differentiated instruction. The

second questionnaire was intended for students with its aim to reveal students’

knowledge of differentiation, the source of their knowledge and their feelings about the


       The reason why I chose this topic is my previous research I realised within my

bachelor thesis. The research was conducted with teachers of English at Czech schools

and it proved that teachers’ knowledge and ability to differentiate effectively and

appropriately were very limited. That is why I decided to focus on teachers and students

of the faculty of education because they are the keystones for shape of future education.

If teacher educators cannot work with differentiation properly, their students (future

teachers) will not probably be able to do so as well.

       It implies my most important intention which is to encourage teacher educators

to rethink their teaching style and encourage them to adopt differentiation into their

work so that they will be able to help and support their students to include

differentiation in their own teaching and become successful teachers.

II. Theoretical part

1. Brief history of differentiated instruction

       Although it may seem that differentiated instruction is a method that has

appeared in education recently, it is not true. Already in the time of one-room

schoolhouses, teachers tried to find out a way how to work with learners having various

needs and abilities. The current concept of differentiation developed from the different

research and practice in the fields that are connected to the process of learning such as

special education, education of gifted and talented children, psychology, research on the

brain, theory of multiple intelligences, etc. (Rutledge)

       The term “differential education” was for the first time used by Dr. Virgil Ward.

He elaborated theory of convenient education of gifted and talented learners that would

develop their abilities and skills into their greatest extent. To make the teaching as

effective as possible, Dr. Ward anticipated change of curricula and individualisation of

teaching in original way. He claimed that teachers should be focused on learners’ needs

and their real knowledge rather than on the subject matter. The essential aspects of his

concept were good knowledge of students and respect for every learner as a unique

individuality. (Bravmann)

       Although Ward’s idea was at the beginning intended for gifted and talented

learners, very soon many teachers started to use differential education in mixed-ability

classes with all students. During the last years the theory of differentiation was adapted

for practice in common classes with learners of different needs, abilities and skills. The

main leader of contemporary differentiated instruction is considered to be Dr. Carol

Ann Tomlinson, member at the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education.

2. Why is differentiated instruction so critical today

        The role of the teacher in contemporary school systems in advanced countries all

over the world has changed a lot. A few years ago, it was the teacher who was

considered to be the most important part of a lesson. But teacher’s monologues,

memorising quantities of facts, stressful testing and so called “one-size-fits-all”

approach to education are not appropriate ways of teaching any more. Nowadays, the

position of teachers and learners is shifted and it is the learner who is in the centre of

attention. The teacher’s function is completely different and one would say much more


        Teachers are supposed to be partners rather than authorities, they should be

source of information, inspiration, motivation and support. Because of the contemporary

educational movement that demands inclusion of the highest degree, teachers are

pushed to deal with learners of extremely different abilities, needs and knowledge. In

common classes, there are students of both genders, coming from diverse cultures and

having different experiential backgrounds. (Differentiated Instruction) Teachers are

expected to recognise, accept and respect all these differences, find out learners’ strong

and weak points and base their cooperation with children on this knowledge. The aim of

every teacher’s work should be to encourage all learners in their interests and activities

they feel to be strong and good and, at the same time, to motive them to improve and

work on the weaker parts of their abilities. It requires use of such study materials,

instructions, timing, evaluation and other educational elements that are challenging

enough for talented students but may not be too difficult and unmanageable for the

weaker ones. (Létalová 7)

        The differentiated instruction is an efficient method of reaching all of these

requirements. As this strategy is based on individual differences of every learner and

offers a wide spectrum of educational means, differentiation enables all learners to

develop their talents, interests, abilities and skills into their greatest extent, raises

creativity and promotes higher cognitive functions. It supports independent and self-

directed learning and motivates students to be more active and responsible for their

learning, to achieve better results, to surpass themselves. (Kernes cited in Létalová 7) It

guides to the independent and effective work with various kinds of information and

gives learners chance to show what they have learned. (Tomlinson 1; Dicola)

       Teachers are helped to focus on necessary curriculum, to fulfil its demands in a

meaningful way and to base organisation of instruction on a convenient assessment.

Differentiation affords numerous learning opportunities by providing various learning

experiences to learners. It allows integrating information in the right way and facilitates

checks of its understanding. The very important fact is that, because of the individual

approach, possibility of choice and diverse instructions, the strategy aids diminish

anxiety and stress. On the contrary, differentiation creates such environment where

everyone can be respected and appreciated. (Differentiated Instruction v Létalová 8)

3. What differentiated instruction is and what it is not

3.1. Definition

       As differentiated instruction is a very complex method that works with many

various educational elements there does not exists only one definition. The definitions

explaining differentiation differ from author to author but all of them actually signify

the same. Let me cite at least some of them:

  Differentiated instruction is that a teacher proactively plans varied approaches to

  what students need to learn, how they will learn it, and/or how they can express

  what they have learned in order to increase the likelihood that each student will

  learn as much as he or she can as efficiently as possible. (Differentiated


  Differentiated instruction is a process through which teachers enhance learning by

  matching student characteristics to instruction and assessment. Differentiated

  instruction allows all students to access the same classroom curriculum by

  providing entry points, learning tasks, and outcomes that are tailored to the

  students’ needs. (Dillard)

  Differentiated instruction is the process of recognizing the students' various

  background knowledge, readiness, language, preferences in learning, interests,

  and to react responsively when planning for instruction. Differentiated instruction

  is an approach to teaching and learning for students of differing abilities in the

  same class. The intent of differentiating instruction is to maximize each student’s

   growth and individual success by meeting each student where he or she is, and

   assisting in the learning process. (Differentiated Instruction Overview)

       All definitions mentioned above depict the essential ideas of differentiation.

The teacher’s most important role is to find out learners’ needs and modify the

process of teaching so that every learner can find the most convenient way of

learning and show what he or she has learnt in a way that is most suitable for them.

The teacher has to create such environment where all students have the same

approach to classroom curriculum and possibility to meet given curriculum

requirements. The teacher’s aim is to maximise learners’ abilities and skills so that

every learner can achieve individual success.

3.2. Differentiated instruction is

       Student-centred - It means that the most important part of the teaching

process is a learner himself or herself. It is based on the fact that every child, pupil or

student is different with his or her leaning needs, styles, interests, abilities, talents,

level or readiness. Thanks to the comprehension of the learner’s uniqueness

differentiated instruction enables teachers to lead such education that meets all

requirement of given curriculum standards, respond to the student’s needs, styles,

preferences and strengths and help students to take responsibility for his or her

learning and personal growth. (Heacox 1,17; Differentiated Instruction)

       Rigorous – Differentiation provides high degree of motivation as the

teaching is modified to respond to learners’ abilities. The instruction is neither too

easy nor too difficult so that students have to make an effort while learning but they

do not fail and do not feel embarrassed. (Heacox 5)

       Relevant – Differentiated instruction is focused on essential and significant

learning. It means that students do not do more of the same work but more

challenging work. It meets requirements of curriculum standards in relevant,

thoughtful and engaging way. (Heacox 5; Dodge 6)

       Complex – Differentiation emphasizes quality rather than quantity. It

encourages learners to be actively involved in learning and study the content in depth

rather than to cover only the top of it. (Heacox 5; Rutledge)

       Flexible and varied – When teachers differentiate they use various teaching

strategies so that learners have many possibilities to choose how they will learn and

how they will demonstrate what they have learned. Their choice may involve, for

instance, a topic they want to study more deeply, whether they wish to work

individually, with a friend or in a group, etc. (Heacox 5)

       Rooted in assessment – Continuous and appropriate assessment enables

teachers to understand learners’ needs and then match the particular task with

students’ preferences, abilities and learning styles. The assessment does not mean the

final evaluation “passed or failed” but continuously monitoring learners’ work, their

progress, understanding and application during each lesson, week, month and year.

(Differentiated Instruction)

       Dynamic – Differentiation is an unceasing cooperation between teachers and

learners. Teachers observe students’ development in order to prepare convenient

assignment responding to the students’ needs. (Rutledge)

       Differentiated instruction is closely connected with the constructivist

approach and it affirms the importance of education in contact with real and practical

life. Differentiation comprises a broad range of educational aspects such as teaching

strategies, learning opportunities, content of curriculum, educational materials and

technologies, assessment, attitude to learners and many others. The complexity of the

strategy enables teachers to support struggling learners and at the same time to

motivate and push forward the talented ones. Its philosophy says that everyone can

achieve success in his or her learning and be valued. This approach diminishes stress

which is one of the principal aims of the differentiated instruction.

(Heacox 1,5,17; Dodge 6,7)

       Differentiated instruction opens the door to education where no group of

learners is being neglected or even ignored, where everyone has an opportunity for

personal development and growth and where the cooperation without restricting the

individual progress of others is being taught. (Létalová 24)

3.3. Differentiated instruction is not
       Individual education – Individual education is aimed at one learner and his

or her specific needs and creates the most convenient assignment specifically for him

or her, while differentiation provides students in common mixed-class with varied

activities and instruction so that each learner has a chance to choose how they will

work to make their learning as efficient as possible. (Létalová 24)

       Chaotic – Although learners have possibility of choice it does not mean that

they do whatever they want. The teacher monitors and regulates all activities students

do. The lessons include students’ movement and speaking but everything is done

with a concrete purpose in meaningful way. (Differentiated Instruction)

       Another way of homogenous grouping – Differentiated instruction does not

work with still the same kinds of groups. Sometimes there are students with mixed

abilities in a group, another time there are students having the same interest.

Teacher’s decision about division into groups mainly depends on given assignment

and the aim of the task. (Differentiated Instruction)

       Giving extra work – Differentiation does not mean giving more work at the

same level for advanced students but assigning more complex and challenging

activities. Providing talented student with the same work or extra work is usually

demotivating because learners feel it as a kind of punishment. (Tomlinson,

Differentiated Instruction)

       Focusing on student weaknesses and ignoring student strengths – The aim

of differentiated instruction is to push students to their best. It means that teacher’s

task is to encourage learners in the fields they feel confidently and at the same time

to support them in development of those domains which are for them a bit

problematic. (Allan)

       Differentiated instruction does not mean providing all students with the same

assignments, giving easy question to weaker students and more difficult or complex

questions to talented ones. Students do not play games to fill time when they finished

their task earlier than the others nor do they play games for fun which have nothing to

do with essential learning. (Tomlinson, Heacox 5)

4. What can be differentiated

       There are four basic features that are usually modified; content, process,

product and learning environment. All of these modifications are based on learners’

readiness, interest and learning profile which can be considered as another kind of


4.1. Differentiation according to classroom elements

4.1.1. Content

       Content is usually determined by national standards, school authority or

teacher, it suggests what learners are expected to learn: curricular themes, essential

concepts, facts, principles, skills; or how students get to the information. Content

differentiation means to create appropriate assignments and use convenient study

materials that would correspond to learners’ needs, abilities, readiness or interests,

and to give students possibility to choose topics they want to explore more in depth.

In other words, each student learns the same concept but in various ways. Content

can be differentiated according to learners’ readiness, interest, learning profile or any

combination of these features. The aim of content differentiation is to create diverse

access to the input so that every learner can start where he or she is and continuously

develop their knowledge and skills. (UNESCO 14; Tomlinson 72,73; Heacox 10)

4.1.2. Process

       The process means the way how teacher teaches, more concretely what

activities he or she offers to learners. Classroom activities should be interesting to

students, supporting critical and creative thinking, and engaging learners’ principal

skills to comprehend principal concepts. When teacher differentiates concept, he or

she offers assignments of different complexity corresponding to learners’ knowledge

and abilities, and enables students to learn in preferred way. By concept

differentiation teacher presents diverse ways for learners to understand what is

essential. The goal when differentiating process is to develop students’ way of

understanding to the higher, more complex level. As the content, process can be also

differentiated according to learners’ readiness, interest or learning profile.

(Heacox 11; Tomlinson 79,80; UNESCO 15)

4.1.3. Product

       Product is final result of learning. It is a method of assessment and it can be

anything produced by learners. Often the format is given by curriculum standards,

for instance tests, written essays etc. but teacher can work with many different forms

of product such as picture, piece of writing, speech, debate, song, dance, something

tangible and so on. Product is the method how students express what they have

learnt, if they have managed all essential concepts and skills. Teacher should offer

various products for students to choose from. Products should be related to the real

problems and provide learners with maximum space for their interests, style of

working or individual goals. Teachers’ aim can be either to reinforce learners’

strengths or to encourage students to practice their weaker areas of working. When

working on product, learners always need to know what kind of understanding,

knowledge or skills they are expected to involve. Due to continuous monitoring,

observation and examination of learners’ work teachers can assess to what degree

learners succeeded in their learning, what progress they made and what they need to

work on more. (Heacox 11; Tomlinson 85,86; Hall; Corley)

4.1.4. Learning environment

       The conception of learning environment includes both the concrete and

abstract conditions in a classroom. Concrete conditions are physical classroom

equipment and arrangement. Differentiated classroom should be divided into several

zones that allow learners to work individually and quietly as well as zones that are

convenient for cooperative group work. There should be also materials representing

diverse cultures and fields of interest. As it is sometimes very difficult to modify

equipment in a common classroom in a common school, the abstract environment is

much more emphasized. (Dillard)

       In a differentiated classroom learners should feel to be welcomed, to be an

inherent part of the class. The absence of any kind of danger, physical as well as

emotional, is necessary for students to feel safe in the class. It can be achieved by

leading students to respect for every person with stress on the difference between

feelings about somebody’s acting and the value of that person. Good learning

environment enables learner to develop his or her general skill as well as individual

talents and assume responsibility for both their comfort and comfort of the others. In

good learning environment every student gets what he or she needs.

       To create healthy classroom environment teacher should respect and value

learners as they are, talk to them about their goals and ways how they want to

achieve them. He or she should use in the classroom works and products created by

learners and other artefact they are interested in so that students feel they belong

there. The essential part of learning environment is the presence of humour. The use

of humour requires mutual respect and tolerance. Humour must always be friendly,

never sarcastic or hurtful. (Tomlinson 34; Tomlinson 21-26)

4.2. Differentiation according to learners

       The way for teachers how to increase learners’ possibility to succeed is to

know them and comprehend the differences between them. When teachers know

their students they can better respond to their needs, interests, readiness, learning

styles, etc. There are three students traits teachers can work with. (Heacox 21;

Tomlinson 45)

4.2.1. Readiness

       Readiness is connected with learner’s knowledge, understanding and skills

and it is affected by student’s cognitive abilities, preceding learning, life experience

and approach to school and education as such. Readiness can change, depending on

circumstances and issue. (Corley)

       Good differentiation based on readiness increases learners’ abilities and helps

them to fill the gap between the known and unknown. Differentiate according to

readiness means to begin from the basic facts and continue in developing an idea so

that learners are finally able to work with it in wider context, connect it with what he

or she already knows to create new thoughts. Teachers should always start with

concrete key information that enables learners to grasp basic principles and later on

progress to meaningful abstraction. For many learners is also much easier when a

teacher starts with general information about a topic and when learners understand

the main idea he or she adds more details. This helps to move from working with

simple idea to complex understanding of an issue. Teacher helps students to link

what has been already taught with what is being taught at the moment. It means to

show connections not only within a subject but also connections with other subjects.

(Tomlinson 46-48)

       The aim is to teach every learner step by step to study, think and work

independently. At the beginning it is teacher who gives tasks, directions, time lines

and so on. At the end learners should be able to plan, do and evaluate their work

alone, asking for help or feedback only when it is necessary. Good differentiation

according to readiness pushes learners beyond their “comfort zone” so that students

have to work a bit harder and thus to improve their skills and competences. Content,

process and product can be differentiated in response to readiness level.

(Tomlinson 48-51)

4.2.2. Interest

       The way how to increase students’ motivation, willingness to be engaged and

successful in learning is to offer them activities that touch their interest. When a

teacher taps on topics learners are interested in, it is more likely that they will be

involved and persist in learning. (Tomlinson 52, Corley)

       To create effective differentiation it is essential that teacher knows his or her

learners and creates open and inviting classroom environment. Students must know

that their ideas are welcome and that they can speak to teacher of their interests. Next

teacher’s task is to appropriately match curriculum requirements with learners’

interests. Although some students are able to work independently, the others often

need teacher’s help. That is why a teacher should provide sort of support that would

increase learners’ independence. This help can have form of questions for inquiry,

rubrics, goal settings, etc. (Tomlinson 53-57)

       There are several goals of differentiation based on learners’ interest. Such

kind of instruction should not only help learners to stretch their already existing

interests but also help them to reveal the new ones. Another aim is to show learners

connection between their wish to learn and school and reveal the coherence between

all learning. Among the goals is also use of gained skills and knowledge as a starting

point for new or less familiar ideas. Last but not least aim is to increase learners’

motivation to learn. Again, content, process and product can be differentiated

according to learners’ interest. (Tomlinson 52-54)

4.2.3. Learning profile

       Learning profile is the way in which students learn best. This differentiation

is based on various theories and research in the fields of pedagogy, psychology and

brain research. Carol Ann Tomlinson mentions in her book four categories of

learning-profile factors: learning style preferences, intelligence preferences, culture-

influenced preferences and gender-based preferences. (see chapter 5) These factors

influence how successful learners will be in their learning. As every learner differs

from each other it is impossible for teacher to respond to all of these learners’

preferences. He or she can attain effective learning profile differentiation by giving

students choice about how they want to work, where, with whom, etc.

       The aim of this kind of differentiation is to help learners to realise and

understand their preferable ways of learning. It means that a teacher should speak

with learners about the strategies that are most convenient for them and at the same

time to help them to understand learning differences that can appear in their class. A

teacher’s task is then to create such instruction that would fit in the classroom.

(Tomlinson 60-63)

       Although differentiated instruction is a complex method combining all of its

components, at the beginning it is good to think of these parts separately. It enables

teachers to focus on smaller pieces of teaching and see to what degree they respond

to learners’ needs and preferences. Then they can step by step progress towards good

differentiation. (Tomlinson 66)

       Many teachers would argue that there is not enough time to diagnose

learners’ interests, readiness and learning profile. There were published many diverse

means how to find out these information but teacher can reveal many things by daily

observing learners and their work in class. It is the best way to start. (Tomlinson 71)

5. The research supporting differentiated instruction

       There are many features that influence students’ work and results at school. If a

teacher wants to be successful in teaching, he or she has to take these factors into

consideration. It is even more crucial nowadays, as the key word of contemporary

school systems is inclusion. Today one can meet in the class children of various

nationalities, originating from diverse cultures, having dissimilar social background,

professing different religions, characterised by unequal abilities and learning facilities.

An integrated class is mixture of talented, average and struggling learners, where a

gifted student sits next to one with specific learning disabilities. As differentiated

instruction is based on various research dealing with factors influencing learning, it

enables teachers to prepare effective instruction in which every learner has a chance to

find his or her most suitable way of learning and achieve personal success. (Létalová 4)

5.1. Learning styles

       According to Tomlinson learning style preferences are based on environmental

or personal factors. Some students like moving around, busy class, touching objects,

communicating with others. Some students on the contrary prefer to sit in quiet

classroom and take notes. Every learner is different with different preferences. It is

impossible for a teacher to cover all of these components but he or she can arrange the

classroom so that every part will look differently equipped with various objects and

provide learners with choice what and how they will do. (60,62)

       Judith Dodge mentions in her book four learning styles that were introduced by

Silver, Hanson, Strong and Schwartz in 1980, a theory based on the work of Carl Jung

and Isabel Briggs Meyers. The researchers identified four learning styles:

       Mastery style is focused on remembering fact, definitions, using sequences,

making categories, etc. Students with this style of learning learn best through

memorising, practicing and sequencing. (13, 14)

       Understanding style develops analytical and critical thinking. People with

understanding style learn best through analyzing, comparing, contrasting, summarizing,

and so forth. (13, 14)

       Interpersonal style is focused on work with personal relationships, feelings,

judgments, etc. The best way of learning is through interaction and sharing information

with others. (13, 14)

       Self-expressive style is based on visualization and imagination. Students learn

best through investigation, solving problems and so on. (13, 14)

5.2. Learning styles based on sensory perception

       Rita and Kenneth Dunn presented in 1987 another model of learning styles

that is based on sensory perception. (Dodge 15)

       Visual learners learn best through visual input (40% of learners). They

prefer taking notes, using colours, illustrations, flashcards, making lists, etc.

(Learning Styles; Study Skill Summary)

       Auditory learners learn best when they hear information (30% of learners).

They have wide vocabulary, strong language and communication skills. They like

music, rhythm, rhymes and working in groups or pairs where they can communicate

with others. (Learning Styles; Study Skill Summary)

       Tactile learners learn best by manipulating with concrete materials and objects.

They need to touch different things to understand or get a sense of them. This kind of

learners like using real objects, tools, finger-paints, art materials, making models, games

and so on. (Cook)

       Kinesthetic learners learn best when physical activity is involved. They use

gestures, enjoy participating in role playing, love sports, dance, etc. (Learning Styles;

Study Skill Summary)

5.3. Thinking styles

       The theory of thinking styles was proposed by Anthony Gregorc in 1982. His

research deals with the way we perceive the world (abstract or concrete way) and

how we order the world (sequential or random order). (Dodge 11)

       Concrete random thinkers are self-motivated, like solving problems,

choices. They usually see big picture without details. (Dodge 11)

       Concrete sequential thinkers like structure, things in order, concrete

instructions and materials. They pay attention to details. (Dodge 11)

       Abstract random thinkers appreciate unstructured, busy and active

environment. They are conducted by their emotions and interest and they enjoy

sharing ideas and interaction with others. (Dodge 11)

       Abstract sequential thinkers prefer to work alone. They enjoy independent

exploration and research, they like theory and abstract thoughts. They are

concentrated on facts and knowledge. (Dodge 11)

5.4. Gender-based preferences

       The differences in behaviour between men and women are deeply rooted in

roles that males and females had for millions of years. While men had to hunt and

protect their homes using their spatial skills and aggression, women were responsible

for food and children using especially sensory and verbal skills. That is why boys are

generally more competitive, physically active, have better spatial orientation, etc. On

the other hand, girls are more cooperative, have better verbal skills, they are more

sensitive, etc. (Dodge 20-22)

       Nevertheless, this is not a strict rule and there are many exceptions. That is

why a teacher has to be flexible, use different kinds of tasks, plan cooperative and

competitive activities, include activities that demand movement but also activities

that develop imagination and communicative skills. (Dodge 21,22)

5.5. Culture-influenced preferences

       Culture has a great influence on teaching and learning as well. It affects our

thoughts, emotions, behaviour, values, attitudes, expectation, etc. There is big socio-

cultural diversity in a class within one culture and it is much bigger when learners are

from different cultures that is nothing unusual nowadays. (Effective Teaching)

       Learners may differ according to culture influence, for example, in expressing

emotions, perception of time, selection of materials, way of working, system of

values and in many other fields of personality. (Tomlinson 62)

5.6. Intelligence preferences

       Researchers dealing with intelligence suggested that every person has his or

her brain-based predispositions that influence learning and its results. Tomlinson

mentions in her book two researchers: Howard Gardener and Robert Sternberg.

5.6.1. Multiple intelligences

       In 1983 Howard Gardener suggested the theory of multiple intelligences. He

distinguished eight various intelligences influencing the way how people learn and

solve problems. (Winebrenner 49)

       Linguistic intelligence enables people to understand and use language easily.

Learners with strong linguistic intelligence like reading, writing and speaking,

storytelling, memorizing information, playing word games and the overall

manipulation with words and language. (Winebrenner 50; Heacox 44)

       Logical-mathematical intelligence comprises skills in calculations, logical

reasoning and problem-solving. (Shearer 5) Those who have highly developed this

kind of intelligence are interested in math, logic and computers, they like graphs,

maps, organizing information, chess and other strategy games, they understand

abstract ideas, cause and effect, etc. (Heacox 45) They can easily recognize problems

and solve them in an efficient way. (Gardener 144)

       Visual-spatial   intelligence involves    the   ability to   understand   the

relationships of figures and images. (Shearer 6, Winebrenner 50) People with visual-

spatial intelligence learn best by seeing and watching things. They enjoy drawing,

sketching, doodling, making multidimensional figures, taking things apart and

putting them back together. (Heacox 46)

       Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence enables a person to manipulate skilfully with

objects using fine motor skills as well as gross motor movements of the body.

(Gardener 206) Learners with strong bodily-kinesthetic intelligence like moving and

being active, they are good at sports, miming and mannerism. (Heacox 47)

       Musical intelligence involves the sensitivity to pitch, rhythm and the

emotional aspects of sounds. (Gardener 104,105) People having this kind of

intelligence usually can play a musical instrument, improvise vocal or instrumental

music, remember melodies, etc.

        Interpersonal intelligence is the capacity to notice and make distinctions

between moods, temperaments, motivations, intentions, etc. of other people and to

react appropriately in different situations. (Gardener 239) People with prevailing

interpersonal intelligence like working with others, they are usually good leaders

who can influence opinions or actions of other people. (Heacox 49)

        Intrapersonal intelligence means the ability to recognise internal feelings

and emotions, label them, understand them and to regulate own behaviour. (Gardener

239) They prefer to work independently and they set and reach their goals regardless

of what the others think of them. (Heacox 50; Winebrenner 52)

        Naturalist intelligence is the newest intelligence identified by Howard

Gardener. People having strong naturalist intelligence are interested in and sensitive

to all living and natural things. (Shearer 6) They observe surroundings, they are very

flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances and they are good at identifying

and classifying of information and ideas. (Heacox 51)

        Each type of intelligence is represented by various skills that influence

personal way of thinking, learning and solving problems. People have all of these

intelligences but every person has different level of various intelligences. That is why

teachers should offer large number of activities that would respond to all

intelligences. If teacher touches learners’ preferable intelligence area, he or she

increases their motivation and engagement in learning. (Winebrenner 49,50; Shearer

4, 5)

5.6.2. Triarchic theory of intelligence

       In 1985 Robert Sternberg suggested theory that distinguishes three types of


       Analytical intelligence is used when people try to solve already known

problems by, for instance, analysing, comparing or assessing elements of a problem.

(Triarchic Theory; Sternberg 524)

       Creative intelligence is needed when people try to solve new problems that

require thinking about problem and its elements in a different way. The activities that

define creative intelligence are inventing, creating, ordering, etc. (Triarchic Theory;

Sternberg 524)

       Practical intelligence refers to the ability to use synthetic and analytic skills

in everyday situations. Processes connected with this intelligence are application,

utilisation, employment, and so on. (Triarchic Theory; Sternberg 524)

5.6.3. Emotional intelligence

       Judith Dodge mentions also the theory of emotional intelligence that was

developed and presented in 1995 by Daniel Goleman. He identified three personal

competences and two social competences. (Dodge 22)

Personal competences:

      self-awareness – emotional awareness, accurate self-assessment and self-


      self-regulation     –    self-control,    trustworthiness,   conscientiousness,

       adaptability and innovativeness

      self-motivation – achievement drive, commitment, initiative and optimism

Social competences:

      social awareness – empathy, service orientation, developing others,

       leveraging diversity and political awareness

      social skills – influence, communication, leadership, change catalyst, conflict

       management, building bonds, collaboration and cooperation and team


(division according to Emmerling)

       Level of these competences influences the ability to cope with own emotions,

to control own behaviour, to evaluate personal strengths and limits. It affects

perception of standards and values, responsibility, flexibility, degree of motivation,

etc. It is important also in communication with others. It determines person’s

competences to cooperate with others, solve conflicts, abilities to persuade or lead

others. (Emmerling)

       It is necessary for teacher to address social and emotional needs of learners to

create positive, safe, respectful, inviting and engaging environment in the class.

When teachers help their students to understand and control their emotions, resist

stress and frustration, motivate themselves and solve conflicts in positive way,

students will be able to focus more on learning because their brains will not be

occupied by any social or emotional problems. (Dodge 22,23)

       It is important to emphasise that people are not restricted to having only one

thinking or learning style, or only one intelligence. They can think or learn in

different ways but there are always one or more styles that prevail, that are most

convenient for them and that enables them to achieve good results. That is why

teachers should use different kinds of materials, offer various activities demanding

different skills and give students a choice about how they want to work or present

what they have learnt. Nevertheless, teachers should not only support learners’

strengths but also try to improve learners’ weaker abilities.

       This may be a big challenge for teachers as they have their preferred way of

thinking and learning as well and it is sometimes very difficult to imagine how the

others think or what they feel. It means that also teachers have to go beyond their

own comfort zone to prepare appropriate differentiation.

5.7. Summary

        There are many factors that influence learning and various researchers look

at this process from different points of view but all of them have the same goal: to

find out the best way, method or strategy that would create learning as effective as

possible and that would motivate and enable learners to achieve their personal

maximum and success.

       The theories mentioned above deal with various fields of brain research (e.g.

thinking styles, learning styles, intelligence, etc.), however many of them mention

very similar or the same aspects that influence process of learning, for example:

some people prefer working alone (abstract sequential thinkers, intrapersonal

intelligence, influenced also by the level of personal competences of emotional

intelligence), some people prefer working in cooperation with others (interpersonal

learning style, abstract random thinking style, interpersonal intelligence; emotional

intelligence and its social competences play an important role here as well), some

people learn best by solving problems (self-expressive learning style, concrete

random thinking style and logical-mathematical intelligence), some people need to

see things (theory of visual learning style and visual-spatial intelligence), some

people need to move and touch things (tactile and kinesthetic learning style as well

as bodily-kinesthetic intelligence), etc.

       The fact that different disciplines agreed on many similar aspects of the

process of learning brings the irrefutable proof that every person is different, with

different perception of the world and that is why the teaching must be differentiated

because one size will never fit all.

       The aim of this chapter was to present different theories concerning research

on brain, emotions, intelligence. Nevertheless, it is only a brief review that does not

mention all theories connected with the topic. I tried to depict those theories that are

considered to be important according to the authors interested in differentiated

instruction – Dodge, Heacox and Tomlinson.

6. Essential parts of differentiated instruction

6.1. Assessment

       Assessment is an essential part of teaching and curriculum, and it is a starting

point for differentiation. It is an ongoing process of gathering information about

learners. The appropriate assessment starts at the beginning of an academic year

when a teacher should identify learners’ background, attitudes, interests, motivation,

needs, abilities, learning styles, etc. (UNESCO 72,73)

       Later on a teacher begins to assess how learners improve their knowledge and

skills, their ability to work with different kinds of sources, to plan effectively their

time, the development or change of their attitudes, values, motivation and behaviour.

(Ioannou-Georgiou 7,8)

       Assessment serves as a tool for planning, using and evaluating instruction. It

helps a teacher to monitor learners’ progress and to get necessary feedback about the

efficiency of his or her teaching, eventually of what should be changed. Assessment

enables teachers to show learners their achievements and increase their motivation as

well as to inform other people of learner’s results such as parents, other teachers or

school authorities. (Ioannou-Georgiou 5,6)

       There are many ways to assess learners, e.g. observation, discussions, journal

entries, portfolio assessment, exit cards, self-assessment, peer-assessment, homework

assignments, skill inventories, interest surveys, projects, tradition tests and many

others. Using different kinds of assessments gives learners possibility to demonstrate

their skills and understanding, and it helps to diminish stress and anxiety as it is not

the classical cataloguing of mistakes. (Ioannou-Georgiou 9-12; Tomlinson 10)

6.2. Evaluation, grading

       Evaluation and grading are closely connected with assessment. It one of the

biggest problems that may appear: how to grade learners when they work on

different assignments at different levels. One of the most important things that a

teacher has to do is to tell students what he or she expects and what the criteria for a

given grade are. Teachers’ requirements must be accurate and definite, insist on high

quality of work but relevant, and given in such a way all students understand. Yet

some students can do their best and they will never achieve grade A in comparison

with his or her classmates. (Heacox 119)

       Tomlinson in her book proposes two solutions:

   a) to combine traditional grades (required by the school system) with some

       additional piece of information. It means that A still would be excellent

       performance, B good performance, etc. but it would be followed by a numeric

       “superscript” 1-3. 1 would mean work above grade level, 2 work at grade

       level, 3 work below grade level.

   b) to give two grades – the personal one and the traditional one. The personal

       one would depend on personal goals, progress and achievement. The

       traditional grade would be based on requirements of the system and

       comparison with the rest of the class. It means that a learner who would work

       hard on his personal goals can receive his personal grade A but his official

       grade would be C and vice versa. An advanced student who would not make

       an effort to make any progress would have as his or her personal grade D but

       his official grade would be A. (Tomlinson 93,94)

       Teachers can think up various types of evaluation that would be fair and that

would express the level of learners’ knowledge and skills. They should always

clearly explain its rules to students and parents, and they should always keep in mind

that the role of appropriate classification is to provide objective feedback about

students’ work, progress or problems.

6.3. Bloom’s taxonomy

       In 1956, Benjamin Bloom identified and presented in his Taxonomy of

Educational Objectives six levels of human thinking. They are arranged in sequence

from the lowest level of thinking that is simple knowledge and recall of information

to the highest level that is the ability to think in abstract and complex way. (Bloom’s

Taxonomy) The six levels are:

       Knowledge requires knowledge and remembering previously learnt

information (define, describe, list, match, memorize, name, order, recall, repeat)

       Comprehension demands ability to understand, interpret facts, order causes,

predict consequences (associate, classify, contrast, discuss, interpret, predict,

paraphrase, select, summarize)

       Application asks to use already learnt information, methods or theories in

new situations, or to solve problems using concrete skills or knowledge (apply,

calculate, change, choose, classify, complete, demonstrate, discover, illustrate,

locate, modify, relate, solve)

       Analysis requires seeing patterns, organisation of parts, recognition of hidden

meanings, developing divergent conclusions by identifying motives and causes,

identification of components (analyse, compare, contrast, discriminate, distinguish,

experiment, illustrate, recognise)

       Synthesis demands using old ideas to create new ones, generalization from

given facts, relating knowledge form several fields, drawing conclusions and creative

thinking (combine, create, design, formulate, integrate, invent, modify, negotiate,

plan, propose, reorganise, substitute)

       Evaluation asks comparing and discriminating between ideas, judging of

values, verifying and assessing value of evidence, ability to recognise subjectivity

(appraise, argue, assess, criticise, defend, judge, evaluate, summarise, support)

(description and characteristic verbs taken from University of Victoria, Bloom’s

Taxonomy and Major Categories in the Taxonomy)

       Bloom’s taxonomy plays an important role in education. Due to the taxonomy

teachers can prepare appropriate questions for tests and examination and they can

easily recognise which level of thinking students are able to use. (University of

Victoria) Bloom’s taxonomy is closely connected with tiered assignment that is

another essential part of differentiation. (see chapter 6.4.) It enables teachers to

prepare activities dealing with the same topic or idea at the different level of

complexity. A good task based on the taxonomy corresponds with learners’ readiness

so that weaker students can focus on understanding of key concepts and the advanced

learners can work with additional and more complex information. This way of

working is very effective as all learners are able to complete the task and at the same

time none of them are bored by repetitiveness or simplicity of an activity.

       Unfortunately, teachers usually require use of the two lowest levels. Although

the lower levels are important for learners to manage the higher ones, teachers should

teach and cultivate all levels as they are necessary for development of abstract and

complex thinking and for ability to solve difficult and complicated problems.

(Atherton in Létalová)

6.4. Flexible grouping

       Flexible grouping is a very effective way how to match assignment with

learners’ needs or interests, how to make teaching as effective as possible and how to

give a chance to speak, react and show what they have learnt to all types of learners.

Work in different kinds of groups increases learners’ motivation, provides necessary

support to struggling students and great deal of challenge to advanced ones. (Dodge

104, 105)

       The division into groups is primarily based on the goal a teacher wants to

achieve: whether he or she wants to touch learners’ strength or improve learners’

weaker points. If the main aim is to tap into students’ strength or interest, groups

usually contain learners with different abilities but with the same or similar interest,

way of working or style of learning. On contrary, if a teacher wants to strengthen

learners’ weakness, he or she organises homogenous, same-ability groups in which

students with similar academic needs work together. But this is not any strict rule and

learners can be divided into groups according to many different factors. Everything

depends on a teacher’s consideration. (Dodge 104,105)

       Although flexible grouping is a very important part of differentiation it does

not mean that there is no whole-class teaching. Teachers should use flexible groups

whenever they feel it may somehow help learners in their learning. Teachers have to

be careful not to organise still the same groups, for example, struggling learners

always working together on the easier task and on the contrary, advanced learners

always doing more complex tasks. In such a case students could feel that they are not

treated in the same way and that would cause a lot of problems. That is why teachers

should use various instructional strategies and change the structure of groups as often

as possible: sometimes students work in pairs, sometimes in small groups based on

academic needs, sometimes in larger groups based on interest, etc. (Heacox 88)

6.5. Tiered assignment

       Tiered assignment is another very important part of differentiated instruction.

To tier activities means to give learners tasks that are appropriate according to their

skills and understanding, and according to the goals learners have to achieve. (Dodge

127) Due to tiered assignment all learners can focus on the same important concepts

and ideas and to use the same key skills but at different levels of complexity,

abstractness and open-endedness. (Tomlinson 83)

       A teacher’s most important task is to make tiered assignment invisible to

avoid any feeling of injustice. It means that activities should be equally challenging,

engaging, important, interesting, motivating and fair for all learners. They can

achieve this objective by getting learners used to move around the class and work on

different tasks in different groups, circles or pairs. (Dodge 133-135) Teachers also

have to keep in mind that more challenging work does not mean more work as such,

especially not more work of the same kind. (Heacox 67) The appropriate activities

are based on pre-assessment and respond to learners’ needs, readiness and abilities.

Good task is neither too easy, nor too difficult and it always pushes learners beyond

their comfort zones so that they can deepen their knowledge and improve their skills.

Bloom’s taxonomy is one of the features that can facilitate preparation of tiered

activities. (Dodge 133-135)

6.6. Providing choice

       Providing choice is one of the best ways how to differentiate instruction and

increase learners’ motivation. The possibility to choose what and how students will

learn and how they will present their knowledge and skills supports their natural

sense of curiosity, need for fun and desire for power and freedom. If students are

appropriately motivated they also take bigger responsibility for their own learning.

(Dodge 50)

       The aim of providing choice is to offer students activities they want to be

engaged and that are for them meaningful, interesting and challenging. If teachers

give learners choice and a kind of freedom to express their wish or opinions, they

show them that they care of them. And if learners feel that they are respected and

belong somewhere, their learning becomes more independent, responsible and self-

directed. (Dodge 52)

7. Possible problems

       As differentiated instruction is a very complex educational strategy it is

obvious that some problems can appear. New teachers do not have enough

experience and practice, more experienced teachers do not want to change their style

of teaching that more or less works, there is not sufficient collegial, administrative or

parental support, etc. Let me mention at least some of the problems that can appear

and some possible solutions.

7.1. Novice teachers

       New teachers are usually overwhelmed by all of the duties they have to

manage: lesson planning, classroom management, teaching itself etc., so it is very

difficult for them to focus on students’ needs and differentiate their instruction.

Although they can distinguish various learners’ needs, they do not know how to

respond to all of these differences. Teachers-beginners do not understand

differentiation properly and they do not know how to put the strategy into the

practice. They also often miss some support from more experiences colleagues which

leads to continuing old-fashioned way of teaching “one-size-fits-all”. (Gould)

       The most effective solution is to include differentiated instruction into the

teacher preparation programmes. (Gould) (see chapter 8)

7.2. Experienced teachers

       A lot of experienced teachers will be reluctant to use differentiated instruction

for various reasons. They are not familiar with the strategy, they know the strategy

but they do not know how to work with it, they are satisfied with the way they teach,

they think that curriculum standards limit the use of differentiation, they are afraid of

the number of various assignments and their assessment, they tend to have their

lessons calm and under control, they do not have enough time, there is no support for

differentiation at school, etc. (Dillard)

       Heacox provides in her book some possible solutions to the problems

mentioned above. For those teachers who are not familiar with differentiation or who

do not know how to use it effectively she suggests to attend workshops or graduate

classes dealing with differentiated instruction. If there is not any official course or

workshop, the best possible way is to create study group with colleagues, study

appropriate literature, share experiences and help each other to employ

differentiation in their lessons. (Heacox 13)

8. Teachers’ training and its influence on teachers’ future


       As society with economy based on technology develops quickly and becomes

more and more complex, contemporary school systems demand completely new way

of teaching and very different approach to learners from teachers. Teachers have to

know their subject matter deeply and flexibly and they must be able to connect ideas

with everyday life. They need to understand differences between their learners that

stem from culture, family background, approach to learning and education,

differences in learning styles, and they have to be able to cope with all of these

factors. They must be able to use different sources of information and new

technologies. Briefly, teachers have to be to as flexible as possible and able to deal

with many different challenges. (Darling-Hammond 6)

       That is why teachers’ training needs to be changed as well. Teacher education

should help future teachers to put theories and ideas of the new way of teaching into

practice. But it is impossible to achieve this goal only by providing theory. It was

proved that teachers tend to teach in way they were taught. It means that speaking

about theory without practical experiencing it is virtually useless. (Lunenberg et al.


       Although teacher educators play an important role in future teachers’

education (often without being aware of that) and they are believed to be responsible

for the quality of teachers, there is paid little attention to their characteristics.

Because of the lack of research and literature concerning teachers’ training teacher

educators usually do not have the essential knowledge and skills to lead effective

instruction and make their teaching explicit. Lunenberg et al. explain that modelling

must be both implicit and explicit. It means that teacher educators should practically

use the teaching method they want to teach as an example for student teachers to see

how it works but they should also explicitly explain which choice they make and

why. Without this explanation student teachers usually do not learn from such

examples as they do not recognise them. Nevertheless, using explicit as well as

implicit teaching does not mean, that student teachers will be able to translate it into

their own practice. They should have also a possibility to experience and understand

some learning results of teaching so that they can decide how to include those

experiences into their own teaching. (Lunenberg et al. 587-591)

       The ways to improve teacher educators’ work are not only self-study,

awareness of their influence on students, ability to teach explicitly as well as

implicitly and to connect practice with theoretical level, but also cooperation with

other teacher educators. This cooperation lies in working together, observing each

others’ class, questioning about their work, looking closely at students and their work

and sharing their experiences and ideas. (Lunenberg et al. 598,599; Darling-

Hammond 8)

       Teacher educators have to become conscious of the influence they have on

their student teachers and the importance of accuracy of their work. If the school

system should be changed, it is the teachers’ training that must be changed first.

Teacher educators cannot demand from their students something they themselves

have not achieved. (Lunenberg et al. 589)

       As the differentiated instruction is a very complex teaching method, it is very

difficult for students to imagine how it works in reality. That is why it is absolutely

necessary for teachers at faculties of education to start using the strategy themselves

and teaching it in both explicit and implicit ways.

9. Summary

       Differentiated instruction is a teaching method that opens a way how to meet

all the requirements that are demanded by contemporary school system. Thanks to

the combination of various approaches, processes and factors it forms very effective

and powerful strategy that is advantageous for both teachers and learners.

Differentiation enables teachers to use their time effectively and flexibly, to help

struggling learners and as the same time to push forward the advanced students. Such

approach increases motivation and decreases stress and anxiety. Learners are led to

be independent, responsible for their own learning and respecting their classmates,

teachers and other people with all the differences they have. It means that

differentiated instruction develops academic knowledge and skills as well as all parts

of learners’ personalities. That is why differentiation should become a part of

everyday school life not only for teachers but also for education as such.

       Nevertheless, differentiation will never be incorporated into schools until it is

an integral part of teachers’ preparation programmes. It is very unlikely that teachers

will use differentiated instruction if they have not heard about it or if they have heard

about it only at theoretical level, but they have not experienced it. It is complex and,

at the beginning, very demanding method that is very difficult to put into practice

without any support.

III. Practical part

1. Introduction

       The practical part of the diploma thesis is based on research conducted with

ten teachers and forty-eight students of the Faculty of Education at Masaryk

University in Brno. Both teachers and students are members of different departments.

The aim of the questionnaire for teachers was to find out if the teachers knew the

strategy of differentiation, where they heard about it, if they differentiate their

lessons or seminars, and what their opinion about differentiation is. The goal of the

questionnaire for students was to discover if students had heard about differentiated

instruction, if they have experienced it practically, and what they thought about the


       The questionnaires were prepared in Czech as well as in English language.

Both versions can be found in Appendices 3-6.

       In the first section of the practical part I describe the questionnaires, their

subjects, the process of completing the research and its objective results. The

outcomes of both questionnaires are graphically illustrated in Appendices 1 and 2. As

some questions were open-ended I modified them according to answers so that it was

possible to express them by graphs.

       The second part includes discussion about the obtained results, possible

causes and comparison of teachers’ and students’ answers.

2. Description of the questionnaire for teachers and its


       The questionnaire has two parts. The first section contains demographic data

asking for age, sex, teaching experience, department teachers are members of and

their specialisation. These data are included to reveal if the professional

circumstances and experience somehow influence their knowledge and approach to

the strategy.

       The second part consists of seven questions. The whole questionnaire

depends on the answer to the first question: are you familiar with the strategy of

differentiated instruction?. The rest of the questions were answered only if the first

response was positive. Questions n° 2 and 3 were open-ended and questions n° 5 and

7 contained a possibility to add some other notes or suggestions. In questions n° 5

and 7, there was also a possibility to mark more than one answer. The questionnaire

was prepared in both Czech and English language as it was intended for teachers of

various departments who do not necessarily speak English.

       I decided to deliver and gather questionnaires in both personal and electronic

way with teachers (mostly teachers of didactics) from different departments. I

preferred to address teachers personally but sometimes it was very difficult because

of the time reasons. Most of the teachers I asked by e-mail did not answer.

Nevertheless, some teachers I addressed personally refused to fill the questionnaire

as well and some teachers who agreed to fill the questionnaires did not give the

questionnaires back.

       Finally I got questionnaires from ten teachers of four different departments:

six teachers from the department of English language and literature, two teachers

from the department of German language and literature, one teacher from the

department of pedagogy and one teacher from the department of special pedagogy.

From ten participants there were nine women and one man. The youngest teacher

was thirty years old, the oldest one was sixty-three. The shortest period of teaching

practice was seven years, the most experienced teacher has been teaching already

twenty-five years.

       The   teacher   from    the   department   of   pedagogy    stated   following

specialisations: general didactics, application of pedagogy, alternative pedagogy and

talented pupils. Concerning the department of German language and literature one of

the teachers wrote as her specialisation teaching young pupils and the second one

stated didactics of German language. The six members of English department stated

following specialisation: English literature; cultural studies; methodology; didactics

of primary school; practical language; English language.

       A teacher from the department of special pedagogy did not fill in any

demographic data.

3. Analysis of questionnaires and summary of results

        According to the first question if teachers are familiar with the strategy of

differentiated instruction only two teachers marked negative answer. Both teachers

were from the department of English language and literature. All teachers who ticked

yes subsequently wrote down definition that corresponded with differentiated


       According to the question n° 4 that inquires if teachers have already tried or if

they use differentiation in their lessons, five teachers responded positively. Two

participants answered that they did not work with differentiation and one teacher

ticked both possibilities – the positive one concerning teaching at high school, the

negative one concerning teaching at university. Both these answers are included in

the graphical illustration in Appendix 1.

       Question n° 5 asks for the reasons why teachers do not use differentiation.

One interviewee considered differentiation too time-consuming, another teacher

noted that the method did not suit the content of her seminars. The teacher who

ticked in question n° 4 both answers responded that use of differentiated instruction

did not correspond with the aims of her seminars.

       Five of the teachers who answered in question n° 4 that they used

differentiation stated that they tried to differentiate a bit in each lesson. One

interviewee responded to use differentiation from time to time (when doing a project

or some special activity) at high school, not at university.

       The last question was focused on the feelings teachers had about

differentiation. There was a possibility to tick more than one answer. All expressed

impressions were positive. See the graph below.

                            Feelings about differentiated instruction

         it is a bit complicated but
         manageable, I like it
         it works pretty well

         it is effecitve and
         interesting                                                        2
         students like it


       Four teachers made use of the possibility to write down some other notes or

suggestions in question n° 7. One teacher whose specialisation is didactics noted that

differentiated instruction demands more preparation but results are very effective and

students like it more then frontal teaching. According to language teaching she

considered differentiation necessary.

       Another teacher knowing the strategy but not using it admitted that she had

some limitations in this domain.

       Next teacher with specialisation in literature who did not know the method

noted that she was very interested in the method and the questionnaire inspired her to

do some other research.

       The last note did not refer to differentiated instruction but to the questionnaire

itself. The teacher found the questionnaire difficult to respond as most of the answers

did not seem to be convenient for her.

       The last thing I was interested in the questionnaire was how teachers learnt

about differentiated instruction. Four teachers mentioned two sources of their

knowledge. The most frequent answers were self-study or during their studies. One

teacher noted that it was her teaching practice that led her to differentiation as she

often taught learners with very different levels of language so that it was impossible

to use typical frontal instruction. (Look at the graph below to see overall results)

                   How did you learn about differentiated instruction?

         colleagues               1                                 5


       All teachers who claimed to know differentiated instruction wrote down

definition that corresponded with differentiation. It means that teachers are familiar

with the strategy at least at theoretical level. Six out of eight teachers who knew

differentiation responded that they used differentiation in their lesson and five of

them claimed to differentiate a bit in every lesson. One teacher responded to use the

method occasionally according to the activities. All these teachers have positive

feelings about the strategy.

       Six out of ten teachers were specialised in methodology or didactics. All of

them knew the strategy. Unfortunately, because of the low number of interviewees it

is difficult to tell whether the domain teachers are specialised in has any influence on

their knowledge of the strategy or not. The length of their teaching practice does not

seem to play any role in teachers’ awareness of differentiation.

4. Description of the questionnaire for students and its


       The questionnaire has two parts. The first section contains data asking for the

year of studies, their study combination and their average mark. These data are

included to reveal if academic circumstances (length of studies and kind of

combination) have any influence on their knowledge of differentiation or if there are

any differences between students with good results and students with worse results.

       The second part consists of seven questions. The whole questionnaire

depends on the answer to the first question: have you ever heard about

differentiated instruction?. The rest of the questions were answered only if the first

response was positive. Questions n° 2 and 3 were open-ended and questions n° 6 and

7 contained a chance to add some other notes or suggestions. In question n° 6, there

was also a possibility to mark more than one answer. The questionnaire was prepared

in both Czech language and English language but only the Czech version was used.

       I decided to address students personally or through my friends from five

departments. All friends I asked agreed and I finally received forty-eight

questionnaires from students studying following combinations: Czech language in

combination with music teaching (3), art (4), English language (2) and civics (3);

civics in combination with French language (4), English language (3) and German

language (1); special pedagogy in combination with English language (7), math (1)

and physical education (3); English language in combination with history (4),

German language (1) and French language (4); German language in combination

with history (1), Czech language (2), Russian language (1), special pedagogy (3) and

French language (1).

       Thirteen students were in first year of master studies, thirty-four students in

second year of master studies and one student did not answer. The best study mark

was 1,04, the worst 2,3. Fifteen students did not answer.

5. Analysis of questionnaires and summary of results

       According to the first question if students heard about the strategy of

differentiated instruction twenty-six students answered positively and twenty-two

students stated that they had not heard about it. Eighteen out of twenty-six definitions

corresponded more or less with differentiated instruction. There were four students

whose real knowledge of the strategy was uncertain as all of them wrote down very

similar definition and the same response to question n° 3. All four students were

from the department of Czech language so it is highly probable that they had

discussed their answers together and their response could be somehow influenced by

the opinion of their colleagues. Eight other students did not write any definition or

their definition was not correct. (see the graphs below) These questionnaires were

taken as if the students did not hear about the strategy.

               Have you ever heard about differentiated instruction?

         yes                 22
         no                                                     26

                   Students' definition who claimed to heard about DI


            did not correspond


        All eighteen students whose definition corresponded with differentiated

instruction marked that they experienced it only theoretically – a teacher only spoke

about it.

        According to the question n° 5 that was interested in if students would use

differentiation in their own teaching, thirteen students responded that they would.

Five students answered that they would not use it as two of them did not know how

to use it properly and three students considered the method too time-consuming.

        A small problem appeared within questions n° 5 and 7. Four out of five

students who responded in question n° 5 that they would not use differentiation in

their teaching at the same time ticked in question n° 7 have you already tried

differentiated instruction in your teaching possibility e) No, but I would love to

without any other suggestions. This information is misleading and therefore do not

have needed informative value.

            Concerning question n° 7 (excluding the four students mentioned above),

one student stated that he/she had already tried it, he/she liked it and claimed that it

worked pretty well and that he/she would work with it in the future. Another student

marked also that he/she had already tried it but he/she admitted not to be very

successful but the student would try it again. Eleven students responded that they had

not tried the strategy yet but they would love to. Only two students made use of the

possibility to add some notes and suggestions. For graphical illustration of the results

see the graph below.

                       Have you already tried DI in your teaching?

                                                 2           1
         Yes, I liked it and it                                    1
         worked pretty well. I will
         work with it in the future
         Yes, I was not very
         successful but I will try it
         No, but I would love to

         Other notes


       One student mentioned that she was required to use differentiation at a

language school because of one really weak student. She did not get chance to use

differentiation because the student gave it up and left the school. She admitted that it

was good for her as she saw differentiated instruction as very demanding for

preparation especially for those teachers who do not have any practical experience

with the method. She stated that nobody at the faculty showed students how

differentiation works in reality.

       The second student noted that she employed differentiation in the French

language classes were she had one very good pupil who excelled over the other

students and at the same time one pupil diagnosed with dyslexia but being very good

in oral presentations. This student liked differentiation and wanted to use it in her


       The last question to mention is number 3, in which class/subject have you

heard about differentiated instruction. Students wrote down eight different

subjects they thought to hear about the strategy. See the graph below.

                  In which class/subject have you heard about DI?

         Didactics of English
         Special pedagogy
         General didactics                                               8

         Pedagogy                        2

         Pedagogic psychology

       According to the academic circumstances, the length of studies and study

combination seem to have some influence on the knowledge of the strategy. As one

can see in the graph above, didactics of English language was the most frequently

cited source of differentiation. It means that student of the department of English

language are more aware of differentiation than students of other departments. The

number of students who stated pedagogic psychology is disputable as it concerns

four students of the Czech department who were already mentioned above within the

analysis of the question concerning definitions.

       There were eleven students of the second year and six students of the first

year of master studies who were familiar with differentiated instruction. This might

mean that students often do not hear about the method until they are in the last year

of their studies.

                                 Length of studies


          first year
          second year
          no answer


        The average mark of interviewees does not seem to play any important role in

the knowledge of the strategy as none of the stated marks was higher than 1,8.

6. Discussion and comparison of results
       As some points and results of the questionnaires were debatable or not very

clear, in this part of the thesis I propose a few ideas and suggestions that could

somehow influence the answers of both teachers and students.

       One of the biggest problems I noticed is the inconsistency between teachers’

answers in question n° 4 and students’ answers in question n° 4. Although six out of

eight teachers knowing the strategy responded that they use differentiation in their

lessons or seminars, all students knowing the strategy answered that they had

experienced it only theoretically, not practically. There can be several possible

reasons for this result. The first one is that these teachers did not have to necessarily

teach the interviewed students. Another possible reason is that the teachers really

used differentiation but they did not explicitly explain that they were doing so and

why. It means that students might easily miss this practical example. The problem is

that teachers who did not lead seminars dealing with methodology did not have any

reason to explain explicitly their teaching strategy.

       Another aspect connected with teachers’ use of differentiation is whether the

teachers’ work with the strategy is appropriate, effective and based on all necessary

principles. Unfortunately, it is impossible to answer this question as my

questionnaire was not aimed to do so.

       The last suggestion according to the teachers’ questionnaire concerns

question n° 5 searching for reasons why teachers do not use differentiation. One

teacher responded that it is too time-consuming. This indicates that even some

experienced teachers still are not comfortable with use of differentiation. Other two

teachers wrote down that the strategy did not fit content or aims of their lessons. I do

not agree with this statement as differentiation is very complex strategy based on

many diverse aspects so that there is always some way how to incorporate it into

teaching. The exception is lectures with the large number of students, small amount

of time and a lot of information to cover.

       According to the students’ questionnaires the most critical point appeared in

the question n° 1. The question was apparently wrongly formulated (have you ever

heard) as three students responded that they had heard about it but then they were not

able to write down any definition. It means that they could hear about the method but

it was not taught in depth so that students did not know anything about

differentiation but the term. The correct form of the question should have been: do

you know/are you familiar with differentiated instruction.

       Five students stated that they knew differentiated instruction but their

definition did not correspond with the method. The most probable reason for this

disagreement is that they confused differentiated instruction with another method. It

signifies again that the strategy of differentiation is not taught in detail and students

have very rough or none notion what differentiation is about.

       Five out of eighteen students noted down that they would not use

differentiated instruction in their own teaching. Reasons for this decision were

insufficient knowledge of the method or they considered method as too time-

consuming. This can be regarded as another evidence of fact that students did not

experience the strategy practically and that is why they feel very uncertain about it.

       The last question I would like to mention n° 7 in which students were

supposed to express their feelings about differentiation. Two students stated that they

had already tried it in their teaching. Other marked that they had not tried the method

in their teaching but they would love to. This implies that differentiated instruction

was really attractive for students but they probably did not have enough knowledge

or courage to try it themselves.

7. Conclusion with recommendation

       After analysing all questionnaires I came to the conclusion that differentiated

instruction is still in the beginnings in teachers’ training. Although teachers seem to

be more or less familiar with the strategy, there is still a lack of practical examples

and that is probably why there are many students who do not the strategy or do not

know how to incorporate it into their own teaching.

       The solution is in hands of teacher educators. It is necessary for them to use

differentiation in their teaching theoretically as well as practically and provide

students with accurate explanation. As some teachers seem to have some limitation

in their knowledge of the method I would suggest cooperation with colleagues who

already have experience with differentiation. They should keep in mind that it is

important to explain not only differentiated instruction but every teaching method

implicitly as well as explicitly so that students cannot miss any important

information or example. If teachers cooperate together and observe each others’ way

of teaching, they can get invaluable feedback about their work and possible mistakes.

       According to students, I would recommend not to be afraid to ask their

teachers for help or advice if they are not sure about the use of a strategy.

       During my analysis of the questionnaires I found out some deficiencies. As I

have already mentioned the first question of students’ questionnaire should have

been better formulated so that the answers would have been unambiguous.

       According to the questionnaire for teachers, it was aimed to find out if the

teachers in general are familiar with differentiation. But for more concrete results,

the questionnaires should have been intended purely for teachers with specialisation

in didactics or methodology. In such a case I would include also questions

concerning their teaching such as: when you explain a strategy, do you give students

some practical example?, or when you teach using concrete method, do you explain

to your students what you are doing and why? As my questionnaires were distributed

to teachers with diverse specialisation I could not include questions of that type.

Nevertheless, it was very difficult to gain questionnaires from teachers with no

concrete specialisation and I think it would have been much harder if not impossible

to acquire sufficient number of questionnaires if I had asked only teachers of

didactics and methodology.

       It implies my last recommendation for teachers to be more willing to help

students with their research when they are asked. This concerns all teachers, not only

the university ones. It is very difficult for students to conduct research when there are

few teachers willing to cooperate.

IV. Conclusion
       The aim of my thesis was to present the strategy of differentiated instruction

and to show the important role teacher educators play in teachers’ training. The

research showed that differentiation is not anything unknown but at the same time it

proved that the knowledge of the strategy is superficial and students have little notion

of how it really works.

       I would like to stress that the thesis does not cover the whole idea of

differentiated instruction. My aim was to depict the most important aspects and

theories differentiation works with that should be taken as the starting point for

further study of the strategy. There is a great deal of literature dealing with the

method that provide many ideas and strategies that can facilitate work with

differentiation and help teachers to incorporate the strategy into their teaching step

by step. Nevertheless, in my opinion it is necessary to have some support from

somebody who has already managed differentiation. At least in the beginning, I

consider teachers of didactics to be the best for this purpose.

       I hope that the thesis will inspire current teachers as well as future teachers to

think of their work and make an effort to improve their teaching in accordance with

principles of differentiation.

V. Résumé
       The diploma thesis is focused on teachers and students of the faculty of

education at Masaryk University and their knowledge and use of differentiated

instruction within their work. Its theoretical part introduces the strategy, its main

principles and theories differentiation is based on. It also suggests possible influence

of teacher educators on their students.

       The practical part contains description of the questionnaires used for the

research, its subjects, the analysis of results, discussion and comparison of results. In

the final part I propose a few recommendations how to improve teachers’ training

that would lead to improvement of whole education.


       Tato diplomová práce je zaměřena na učitele a studenty pedagogické fakulty

Masarykovy University v Brně a jejich znalost a schopnost použít diferencované

výuky v jejich práci. Teoretická část popisuje strategii, její hlavní principy a teorie,

na kterých tato metoda stojí. Zaměřuje se také na učitele budoucích učitelů a

případný vliv jejich práce na tyto studenty.

       Praktická část obsahuje popis dotazníků, které byly k výzkumu použity, jejich

subjektů, analýzu výsledků, diskusi a srovnání výsledků. V závěrečné části uvádím

několik doporučení, jak zlepšit profesní přípravu učitelů, která by vedla k celkovému

zdokonalení ve vzdělávání.

Dodge, Judith. Differentiation in Action. New York: Scholastic Teaching Resources,

Gardener, Howard. Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. New York:
BasicBooks, 1993.

Heacox, Diane. Differentiating Instruction in the Regular Classroom: How to Reach and
Teach All Learners, Grades 3-12. Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing, 2002.

Ioannou-Georgiou, Sophie, and Pavlos Pavlou. Assessing Young Learners. New York:
Oxford University Press, 2003.

Létalová, Marcela. Practical Use of Differentiated Instruction at Czech Schools. BA
thesis Masaryk University, Brno, 2008. Print.

Sternberg, Robert Jeffrey. Kognitivní psychologie. Praha: Portál, 2009.

Tomlinson, Carol Ann. How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms.
Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc., 2005.

Tomlinson, Carol Ann. The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All
Learners. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc., 2005.

UNESCO. Changing Teaching Practices: Using Curriculum Differentiation to Respond
to Students’ Diversity. Paris: UNESCO, 2004.

Winebrenner, Susan. Teaching Kids with Learning Difficulties in the Regular
Classroom: Strategies and Techniques Every Teacher Can Use to Challenge and
Motivate Struggling Students. Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing Inc., 1996.

Darling-Hammond, Linda. “Teacher Learning that Supports Student Learning.”
Educational Leadership Feb. 1998: 6-8

Web pages:
Allan, Susan Demirsky. “Differentiation Instruction Learning.”
( 8 Jan. 2010) <http://differentiatedinstruction.net/html/differentiation_instruction.html>

“Bloom’s Taxonomy.” Office Port. 2002.
(13 Mar. 2010) <http://www.officeport.com/edu/blooms.htm>

Bravmann, Stephanie. “Differentiated Education: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.”
New Horizons for Lerning. Dec. 2004.
(4 Jan. 2010) <http://www.newhorizons.org/strategies/differentiated/bravmann.htm>

 Cook, S. L. “Tactile Learning Style.” 2009.
(3 Feb. 2010) <http://www.learningabledkids.com/multi_sensory_training/Page10-

Corley, Mary Ann. “Differentiated Instruction.” NSCALL. 27 July 2007.
(10 Jan. 2010) <http://www.ncsall.net/?id=736>

Cross, K. Patricia. “Teacher Quotes, Teaching Sayings, Quotations about Teachers.” 12
Mar. 2010.
(18 Apr. 2010) <http://www.quotegarden.com/teachers.html>

Dicola, Melissa. “Differentiated Instruction.” Ithaca College Web Profile Manager. 21
July 2009.
( 7 Jan. 2010) <http://eportfolios.ithaca.edu/mdicola1/instruction/di/>

“Differentiated Instruction.”
(5 Jan. 2010)

 “Differentiated Instruction Overview.”
(7 Jan. 2010) <http://www.efdlrs.com/~crown/di/act-1890.html>

“Differentiated Instruction.” Staff Development for Educators. 2006.
(7 Jan. 2010) <http://www.differentiatedinstruction.com/DIResources.htm>

“Differentiated Instruction – What It Is and What It Is Not.”
 (8 Jan. 2010) <http://www.wilmette39.org/DI39/dipdf/DIwhatisandisnot.pdf>

Dillard, David. “Differentiated Instruction.”
(7 Jan. 2010) <www.av.k12.mo.us/main/files/Differentiated%20Instruction.ppt>

“Effective Teaching In A Cross-Curricular Setting.” College of Micronesia-FSM.
(5 Feb. 2010) <http://www.comfsm.fm/socscie/effecteach.htm>

Emmerling, Robert. “Emotional Intelligence.” Consortium for Research on Emotional
Intelligence in Organizations. 2009.
( 26 Feb. 2010)

Gould, Holly. “Can Novice Teachers Differentiate Instruction?” New Horizons for
Lerning. Dec. 2004.
(5 Mar. 2010) < http://www.newhorizons.org/strategies/differentiated/gould.htm>

Hall, Tracey. “Differentiated Instruction.” CAST. 1999-2007.
(10 Jan. 2010) <http://www.cast.org/publications/ncac/ncac_diffinstruc.html>

“Learning Styles.” Three Rivers Community College. 2004.
(3 Feb. 2010)

Lunenberg, Mieke, Fred Korthagen, and Anja Swennen. “The Teacher Educator as a
Role Model.” Elsevier Ltd. 2006.
(18 Mar. 2010) <http://portal.macam.ac.il/DbImage.aspx?image=file&id=1496>

 “Major Categories in the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives.” 1995-2009.
(13 Mar. 2010) <http://www.krummefamily.org/guides/bloom.html>

Rutledge, Lee. “Differentiated Instruction.” July 2003.
(4 Jan. 2010) <http://www.txstate.edu/edphd/Images/DiffInst.pdf>

Shearer, C. Branton. “Using a Multiple Intelligence Assessment to Facilitate Teacher
Development.” 2002. (ED463323)
(25 Jan. 2010)
/19/ee/cd.pdf >

 “Study Skills Summary.” 1 Dec. 2000.
(3 Feb. 2010) <http://www2.yk.psu.edu/learncenter/acskills/learnstl.html>

Tomlinson, Carol Ann. “Differentiating Instruction for Advanced Learners in the
Mixed-Ability Middle School Classroom.” ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and
Gifted Education Reston VA. Mar. 1996.
( 8 Jan. 2010) <http://www.ericdigests.org/1996-3/mixed.htm>

“Triarchic Theory of Intelligence”. Wikipedia, the Free Ecyclopedia. 2010.
(26 Feb. 2010) <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triarchic_theory_of_intelligence>

“University of Victoria – Counselling Service.” 21 Aug. 2007. University of Victoria.
(13 Mar. 2010) <http://www.coun.uvic.ca/learning/exams/blooms-taxonomy.html>

Appendix 1 - Results of questionnaires for teachers

Appendix 2 - Results of questionnaires for students

Appendix 3 - Questionnaire for teachers

Appendix 4 - Dotazník pro vyučující

Appendix 5 - Questionnaire for students

Appendix 6 - Dotazník pro studenty

                               Appendix 1
                    Results of questionnaires for teachers

1. Are you familiar with the strategy of differentiated instruction?
   a) Yes
   b) No

                       a                                 b

2. Could you write down a short definition?
   a) Definition corresponded
   b) Definition did not correspond

                       a                                 b
3. How did you learn about differentiated instruction? (ex. conference, self-
   study of literature, Internet, etc.) Please, be as concrete as possible.
   a) Experience
   b) Self-study
   c) Internet
   d) Colleagues
   e) Studies







             a            b            c            d            e

4. Have you tried / do you use differentiation in your lessons, courses?
   a) Yes
   b) No








                      a                                 b
5. If no, why? (more than one answer possible)
   a) I do not like it
   b) I do not know how to work with it properly
   c) It is too time-consuming
       - preparation
       - realisation
   d) It is not effective
   e) Another reason





             a            b            c             d            e

6. If yes, how often?
   a) I try to differentiate a bit in each lesson / course
   b) From time to time (when doing a project or some special activity)
   c) Rarely







                 a                     b                     c
7. If yes, what are your feelings about it? (more than one answer possible)
   a) It is a bit complicated but manageable, I like it
   b) It works pretty well
   c) It is effective and interesting
   d) Students like it
   e) I was not very successful but I will try it again
   f) I like it but it is too time-consuming, complicated, I do not work with it.
   g) I do not like it. Why?
   h) Other notes







            a           b           c          d           e           f
                              Appendix 2
                   Results of questionnaires for students

1. Have you ever heard about differentiated instruction?
   a) Yes
   b) No

                      a                                 b

2. Could you write down short definition?
a) Definition corresponded
b) Definition did not correspond

                      a                                 b
3. In which class / subject have you heard about it? (ex. German - didactics)
   a) Pedagogic psychology
   b) Pedagogy
   c) General didactics
   d) Special pedagogy
   e) Didactics of English language
   f) Civics






             a           b          c           d          e       f

4. Have you experienced it:
   a) only theoretically (the teacher spoke about it)
   b) practically (the teacher used the differentiation)
   c) theoretically and practically

                   a                      b                    c
5. Do you think you would use it in your teaching?
   a) Yes
   b) No








                       a                               b

6. If no, why? (more than one answer possible)
   f) I do not like it
   g) I do not know how to work with it properly
   h) It is too time-consuming
       - preparation
       - realisation
   i) It is not effective
   j) Another reason





            a              b          c            d       e
7. Have you already tried it in your teaching?
   a) Yes, I liked it and it worked pretty well. I will work with it in the future.
   b) Yes, I was not very successful but I will try it again.
   c) Yes, I liked it but it is too time-consuming / complicated. I will not work
      with it.
   d) Yes, but I did not like it. Why?
   e) No, but I would love to
   f) No, I do not want to try it
   g) Some other notes









             a         b         c        d         e          f        g
                                            Appendix 3
                            Questionnaire for teachers
How long have you been teaching:
Department you belong to:
Your specialisation:

    8. Are you familiar with the strategy of differentiated instruction?
         c) Yes
         d) No
                    (following questions only in case you answered “yes” )

    9. Could you write down a short definition?

    10. How did you learn about differentiated instruction? (ex. conference, self-
        study of literature, Internet, etc.) Please, be as concrete as possible.

    11. Have you tried / do you use differentiation in your lessons, courses?
        c) Yes
        d) No

    12. If no, why? (more than one answer possible)
        k) I do not like it
        l) I do not know how to work with it properly
        m) It is too time-consuming
            - preparation
            - realisation
        n) It is not effective
        o) Another reason

    13. If yes, how often?
        d) I try to differentiate a bit in each lesson / course
        e) From time to time (when doing a project or some special activity)
        f) Rarely

    14. If yes, what are your feelings about it? (more than one answer possible)
        i) It is a bit complicated but manageable, I like it
        j) It works pretty well
        k) It is effective and interesting
        l) Students like it
        m) I was not very successful but I will try it again
        n) I like it but it is too time-consuming, complicated, I do not work with it.
        o) I do not like it. Why?

        h) Other notes
                                            Appendix 4
                                       Dotazník pro vyučující
Jak dlouho učíte:
Které katedry jste členem:
Vaše specializace:

     1. Znáte metodu diferencované výuky?
         a) Ano
         b) Ne
         (následující otázky zodpovězte pouze v případě, že jste odpověděli „ano“)
     2. Můžete napsat krátkou definici?

    3. Kde jste se o diferencované výuce dověděl/a? (např. konference,
       samostudium, Internet, atd.). Prosím, buďte co možná nejkonkrétnější.

    4. Zkusil/a jste / používáte diferencovanou výuku ve vašich hodinách,
       a) Ano
       b) Ne

    5. Pokud ne, proč? (více možných odpovědí)
       a) Nelíbí se mi
       b) Nevím, jak s tím pracovat
       c) Je to příliš časově náročné
          - Příprava
          - Realizace
       d) Není to efektivní
       e) Další důvody

    6. Pokud ano, jak často?
       a) Zkouším alespoň trochu užívat diferencované výuky v každé hodině,
       b) Čas od času (když děláme projekt nebo nějakou zvláštní aktivitu)
       c) Zřídkakdy

    7. Pokud ano, co si tom myslíte? (více možných odpovědí)
       a) Je to trochu komplikované, ale zvládnutelné. Líbí se mi to.
       b) Funguje to poměrně dobře.
       c) Je to efektivní a zajímavé.
       d) Studentům se to líbí.
       e) Moc se mi to nedařilo / nedaří, ale ještě to zkusím.
       f) Líbí se mi to, ale je to příliš časově náročné a komplikované. Nepracuji
          s tím.
       g) Nelíbí se mi to. Proč?
       h) Další poznámky
                                            Appendix 5
                                     Questionnaire for students

Year of studies:
Average mark:

    8. Have you ever heard about differentiated instruction?
         c) Yes
         d) No
                    (following questions only in case you answered “yes” )
    9. Could you write down short definition?

    10. In which class / subject have you heard about it? (ex. German - didactics)

    11. Have you experienced it:
        d) only theoretically (the teacher spoke about it)
        e) practically (the teacher used the differentiation)
        f) theoretically and practically

    12. Do you think you would use it in your teaching?
        c) Yes
        d) No

    13. If no, why? (more than one answer possible)
        p) I do not like it
        q) I do not know how to work with it properly
        r) It is too time-consuming
            - preparation
            - realisation
        s) It is not effective
        t) Another reason

    14. Have you already tried it in your teaching?
        h) Yes, I liked it and it worked pretty well. I will work with it in the future.
        i) Yes, I was not very successful but I will try it again.
        j) Yes, I liked it but it is too time-consuming / complicated. I will not work
           with it.
        k) Yes, but I did not like it. Why?

        l) No, but I would love to
        m) No, I do not want to try it
        n) Some other notes
                                            Appendix 6
                                       Dotazník pro studenty
Studijní průměr:

     1. Už jste někdy slyšel/a o diferencované výuce?
         a) Ano
         b) Ne
         (následující otázky zodpovězte pouze v případě, že jste odpověděli „ano“)

    2. Můžete napsat krátkou definici?

    3. Ve kterém předmětu jste o diferencované výuce slyšel/a? (př. němčina-

    4. S diferencovanou výukou jste se setkali:
       a) pouze teoreticky (učitel o tom pouze mluvil)
       b) prakticky (učitel diferencoval výuku)
       c) teoreticky i prakticky

    5. Myslíte, že byste diferencovanou výuku použili ve svém vlastním
       a) ano
       b) ne

    6. Pokud ne, proč? (více možných odpovědí)
       a) nelíbí se mi
       b) nevím, jak s ní správně pracovat
       c) je to příliš časově náročné
          - na přípravu
          - na realizaci
       d) není to efektivní
       e) jiný důvod

    7. Už jste diferenciaci vyzkoušeli ve vlastním vyučování?
       a) Ano, líbilo se mi to a celkem dobře to fungovalo. Budu s ní pracovat i
          v budoucnu
       b) Ano, moc se mi to nedařilo, ale ještě to zkusím
       c) Ano, líbilo se mi to, ale je to příliš časově náročné /složité. Nebudu s tím
          dále pracovat
       d) Ano, ale nelíbilo se mi to. Proč?

         e) Ne, ale chtěl/a bych
         f) Ne a ani to nechci zkoušet
         g) Další poznámky, postřehy

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