Learner-Centered Teaching: Meeting Individual Learning Needs - Research Proposal

Paper Type:  Research proposal
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1566 Words
Date:  2023-04-26


Background of the Study

Emphasis on learner-centered teaching approach, as opposed to the conventional teacher-centered approach, has been gaining momentum within the last few decades. There has been an increasing argument that continues to affirm the argument that every learner has unique learning needs and potentials, which are best attained when teachers tailor teaching practices to address the needs of individual learners. Instead of viewing learners as empty vessels whose role in the education process is to receive knowledge, there has been a new ideology that learners are active agents in the learning process whose past experiences, knowledge, and ideas matter significantly matter in informing the new knowledge to impart. As such, considering the diversity of the classroom, which is achievable through a learner-centered teaching approach, is a critical foundation for the success of individual students.

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Differentiated instruction is a component of a learner-centered approach in which a teacher responds to the variances that exist among learners by using different instructional strategies and tools to deliver the same content. The strategy calls for teachers to assess and understand the differences that exist among their learners and impart knowledge based on the learning abilities of each learner (Garette, 2017). Given the heterogeneity of classrooms, various governments are seeking ways on how to best boost teachers' efficacy in implementing differentiated instruction paradigm. One of the strategies that the Ministry of Education of Singapore has resorted to in fostering teachers' efficacy in implementing differentiated instruction paradigm is a school-based professional development (Chang et al., 2014).

This study takes a particular interest in examining how teachers perceive the role of school-based professional development (PD) in enhancing their self-efficacy in implementing differentiated instruction in Singapore primary schools. The motivation to carry out this study was informed by the fact that perception is a primary determinant of learning outcomes and performance. A study done by Postareff et al. (2018) revealed that perceptions about teaching on the learning environment and contents significantly predict learning outcomes and performance both at the group and individual level. Understanding the teachers' perception, therefore, forms a ground for assessing whether the strategy for enhancing teachers' self-efficacy in implementing differentiated instruction will work or not.

Problem Statement

There is a strong relationship between teachers' self-efficacy and instructional activities adopted by teachers (Casey, 2012; Daniels, 2018; Liu & Liao, 2019). Self-efficacy is defined as individuals' beliefs and judgments of their capabilities to manage and execute the necessary causes of action (Bandura, 1997). Teachers who perceive themselves as self-efficient can adopt better instructional choices and consequently focus more on improving their students' learning outcomes. Research has consequently shown that improving teachers' self-efficacy is essential in understanding the needs of a learner and embracing instructional strategies that would yield the best results. With the increasing diversity of classrooms in terms of learning needs, race, and culture, self-efficacy in differentiated instruction becomes a necessity.

Despite the increasing classroom diversity, teachers are still not well equipped in handling the advancing learner variances (Casey & Gable, 2012). As such, much learning efforts are still monopolized by the teachers as the dependency on the teacher remains high. As a consequence, a more holistic approach to learning which recognizes learners as people with equal capacities in the learning process thrives. Research shows classroom homogeneity is a fallacious concept that derails the potential of individual students. This study is, therefore, in support of the government's effort to bolster teachers' self-efficacy in implementing differentiated instructions in primary schools.

The study responds to the concern by seeking to find out the roles that school-based PD plays in fostering teachers' self-efficacy in implementing DI in primary-school classrooms. In particular, the study focuses on how four aspects of school-based PD (format, content, duration, and quality) fosters teachers' self-efficacy in the implementation of Differentiated Instruction (DI) in their classrooms. It also examines how teachers perceive such government efforts. Such knowledge would stimulate approaches to improving teachers' self-efficacy in the implementation of DI by establishing the relevance of school-based PD.

Objectives of the Study

The objective of this study is twofold. First, it seeks to examine the role of school-based PD on teachers' self-efficacy in the implementation of DI in their classroom through the lens of primary school teachers. Secondly, it will assess the perception of primary school teachers in Singapore on the role of School-based professional development (PD) in enhancing Teachers' self-efficacy in the implementation of differentiated instruction (DI).

Pursuing the two objectives will be of significant benefit both to Singapore's Ministry of Education and teachers. The Ministry will have a more in-depth insight into primary school teachers' beliefs and motivations for or against DI and the school-based PD. The teachers will also have a greater understanding of the features and roles of the PD, leading to better knowledge on and positive perception of PD and DI.

Research Questions

  • To achieve the objectives of this study, the following research questions will be pursued:
  • What is the role of school-based PD in improving primary teachers' self-efficacy in the implementation of DI?
  • What are the beliefs of primary school teachers about school-based PD in improving teachers' self-efficacy in the implementation of DI?
  • What motivates primary school teachers to involve in or desist from school-based PD in improving primary teachers' self-efficacy in the implementation of DI?

Literature Review

Differentiated Instructions

Garett (2017) defines differentiated instruction as a curriculum framework that takes into consideration the students' differences in terms of learning profiles, interests, readiness levels in designing learning opportunities. It recognizes the importance of both the teacher and the learner as active contributors in the learning process. Garette (2017) is convinced that effective implementation of DI frameworks significantly influences learners' achievements across all learning levels and subjects. According to Garette (2017), DI is best achieved if learners are exposed to zones of proximal development, where teachers present individualized instructions to some small groups of students. Researchers suggest various components and dimensions of DI.

Inventory of DI dimensions, as reported in the literature and an integrated perspective:

Lawrence-Brown (2004) Fogarty and Pete (2011)

Whipple (2012)

Smit and Humpert (2012) Tomlinson (2014) Integration

Additional support for struggling students Provides learners with choices Varying approaches to lesson planning Recognizes learners' different attitudes Instruction that responds to student variance Ability to cope with the differences among learners

Improved access to the general curriculum Change in content and processes depending on learners' needs Differences in content depending on learner's needs Different content quality curriculum Adoption of more practical and differentiated teaching methods

Emphasis on concepts and skills Challenges learners' attention, emotions, and memory Different processes of delivering content Applies different learning processes assessment that informs teaching and learning Stirring learning potential of individual learners

Clear learning expectations Recognizes differences in students' interests Applies various approaches in communication, collaboration, and coaching an environment that encourages and supports learning Monitoring individualized learners' needs

Personal assistance Different assessment approaches Formative approaches to assessment leading students and managing routines Optimized learning outcomes

From the table, it is evident that the five authors considerably share five DI dimensions. The dimensions consist of coping with the differences that exist among learners, adopting more practical and differentiated teaching methods, stirring the learning potential of individual learners, monitoring and responding to individualized learners' needs, and optimizing learning outcomes. Thus, the definition and description of DI should be built on these five dimensions.

Teachers' Self-Efficacy in Light of Differentiated Instructions (DI)

While developing a unifying theory of behavioral change, Bandura (1977) posited that human psychological procedures influence the strength and level of self-efficacy irrespective of their form. He held that the expectation on a specific activity or program to influence self-efficacy determines whether subjects will initiate a coping behavior and the efforts they will be willing to commit to it. He developed a model where he emphasized that expectations of self-efficacy lean on four principle information sources, including verbal persuasion, performance accomplishments, physiological states, and vicarious experiences.

A quantitative study done by Casey and Gable (2012) on teachers' perceived efficacy revealed that teachers' levels of self-efficacy significantly influences their feelings of preparedness. According to the research, teachers with higher levels of self-efficacy are more motivated to meet the unique needs of individual students and are well prepared to face the insurmountable challenges that come with DI.

Heng and Fernandez (2017) examined four ideas that they perceived critical in fostering teachers' self-efficacy in differentiated instructions. First, they encourage teachers to design curriculum based on differentiated teaching needs that foster key goals and concepts. Secondly, they appeal to teachers to know how their students are performing in relation to where they should be. The authors suggest initial and ongoing assessments as efficient tools to understand learners' performance. Thirdly, they emphasize the need to modify teaching content, processes, and products as ways to foster effective learning outcomes. Finally, they suggest the need for a learning experience that fosters learners' active involvement.

School-Based Professional Development

According to Liu and Liao (2019), school-based PD can be an effective way to enhance teachers' self-efficacy in their teaching career. In their research on the relationship between PD and teachers' efficacy, Liu and Liao (2019) found that PD programs in terms of format, content, quality, and duration significantly and positively influence overall and subscale teachers' efficacy. However, the study did not consider how externalities, such as teachers' perceptions, would influence the relationship between PD and teachers' efficacy. The relationship might change due to varying factors. Nonetheless, the relationship between self-efficacy and DI is unquestionable.

Quantitative research done by Zanden (2013) established that there is a strong positive relationship between t...

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Learner-Centered Teaching: Meeting Individual Learning Needs - Research Proposal. (2023, Apr 26). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/learner-centered-teaching-meeting-individual-learning-needs-research-proposal

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