This study sought to identify the state of prospective teachers’ knowledge about differentiated instruction; how often prospective teachers differentiate instruction in specific subject areas; and the differentiated instruction factors that are implemented during the internship practicum period in the pre-service National Diploma in teaching program in order to meet the needs of diverse learners in Sri Lanka. This study involved 158 prospective teachers, 36 teacher educators from 8 National Colleges of Education in seven provinces and 8 different districts. However, the stratified samples of three Tamil medium, three Sinhala medium and two English medium National Colleges of Education were selected to participate in this study.Data were collected using questionnaires for prospective teachers and teacher educators, interview schedules for prospective teachers and teacher educators; observation schedule for prospective teachers. In addition, differentiated instruction factors embedded in the syllabus of National Diploma in teaching (29 subjects) were analyzed using content analysis method. On the whole analysis focused on the collective perceptions of prospective teachers and teacher educators. Chi square analyses and the descriptive analysis are used as major analysis techniques, and the qualitative data provided by prospective teachers and teacher educators were considered for a cross checking of the quantitative inferences.The researcher found the content of the National Diploma in Teaching syllabus, processing of individual differences; instructional strategies, classroom environment and the product (assessing the learner) were the influential factors of differentiated instruction in meeting the needs of diverse learners. In addition the degree of implementation of the above factors of differentiated instruction in the classroom in order to meeting the needs of diverse learners was also evaluated.The researcher concluded that differentiated instruction factors have to include in the theory and practice of the National Diploma in teaching syllabus and teaching practicum would result in improved better achievement in pre-service National Diploma in teaching diploma in teaching. Empowering the teacher educators in differentiated instruction concept and practice is a dire necessity for the successful implementation of this pre-service teacher training conducted in Sri Lankan National Colleges of Education.
Illanco Selvaranee, National Institute of Education, Sri Lanka
Stream: Professional Concerns, Training and Development
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