Differentiation ‘It’s an Impossible Task!’ An Investigation into the Beliefs and Attitudes of Preservice Primary Teachers towards Differentiation.

Project: Non-funded project

Project Details

Layman's description

An investigation into what PGDE Primary students feel and think about differentiation.

Key findings

The main findings showed that even though preservice primary teachers do believe that differentiation, when used critically and carefully, can progress learning for all, very strong negative attitudes towards differentiation were present. Pressures and demands made of differentiation to meet the needs of all children to provide equality, equity and excellence in learning along with a lack of many required sources to differentiate effectively make differentiation feel stressful.
Preservice primary teachers believe that they receive many conflicting messages regarding the praxis or differentiation. Through looking at these more closely it emerged that the conflict appeared to be between differentiation to organise and manage different learners and more inclusive praxis to progress the learning for all; differentiated teacher oriented teaching against more inclusive child oriented learning. Due to a range of conflicting messages as well as lack of experience and resources, preservice teachers demonstrate a negative attitude that differentiation is very stressful.
Recommendations made are for preservice teachers to have positive and realistic attitude towards differentiation. In order to do so, preservice teachers must continue to be educated to be reflective and critical practitioners. The theme of inclusive differentiation could be intertwined across curricular teaching more within ITE programmes. Local Authorities in Scotland should make sure to offer further Career-Long Professional Learning to NQTs. These should support pre-service teachers to make informed decisions regarding differentiation, to feel more secure with their decision making and to hopefully alleviate some of the stress that they align with differentiation expectations to overall empower NQTs to be effective inclusive practitioners.
Short titleBeliefs and Attitudes towards Differentiation
Effective start/end date3/09/1831/07/19


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