Differentiated Instruction (DI) is proven to be a valid and reliable approach for teachers to meet the needs of diverse learners. Several empirical studies confirm the impact of DI on student learning in terms of students’ academic achievements and students’ attitudes about learning in both primary and secondary education. However, DI is also a complex concept. It is considered as both an approach to teaching and as a philosophy, influenced by the beliefs of teachers (Coubergs et al., 2017; Latz & Adams, 2011; Tomlinson, 2005). Thus, measuring teachers’ knowledge and especially teachers’ practice of DI is less evident. This study aims to gain a broader perspective of teachers’ perceptions, noticing and reasoning of DI by using triangulation method. More specifically two different valid instruments are used to measure this: the DI-Quest instrument and the e-PIC videography tool. Both methods are adopted to investigate the connection between thinking and acting on DI. The DI-Quest instrument measures self-reported beliefs and practices of DI (Coubergs et al., 2017). The e-PIC tool measures teachers’ noticing and reasoning of DI (Roose et al., 2017), which is a promising approach to establish a theory-practice connection (Stürmer, Seidel & Schäfer, 2013). Drawing on the hypothesis that the more teachers notice, the higher adaptive practices of DI are reported, two research questions were investigated: (1) Can we distinguish teacher profiles based on the noticing and reasoning? (2) How do these profiles relate to teachers the self-reported practices and beliefs of DI? Results reveal two profiles of teachers based on their noticing and reasoning. The first group of teachers have strong notice abilities and find DI strategies such as flexible grouping, active learning, adaptive teaching and instructional clarity important. The second group are less able to notice DI and find the related reasoning arguments about DI also less important. Moreover, the positioning of the teacher in one of these profiles also predicts their self-reported practices. The hypothesis that teachers with stronger notice abilities of DI, have also stronger abilities to implement DI practices is confirmed in this study. Surprisingly, there was also a relationship found between the noticing and reasoning capabilities of teachers and their beliefs about DI. This study validates the complexity of DI as a multi-layered model, nevertheless it also demonstrates that all these different layers are interrelated with each other.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventWOG meeting: “Early detection and stimulation of precursors and foundations of competencies”: Scientific Research Community: WO.008.14N Developing competencies in learners: From ascertaining to intervening - Irish College, Leuven , Belgium
Duration: 17 Oct 201819 Oct 2018


ConferenceWOG meeting: “Early detection and stimulation of precursors and foundations of competencies”

ID: 39895717