Differentiated instruction for students with learning difficulties in senior-secondary Australian schools: an inquiry of teacher attitudes and self-efficacy

PhD Thesis


Porta, Tom. 2023. Differentiated instruction for students with learning difficulties in senior-secondary Australian schools: an inquiry of teacher attitudes and self-efficacy. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/x7949
Title

Differentiated instruction for students with learning difficulties in senior-secondary Australian schools: an inquiry of teacher attitudes and self-efficacy

TypePhD Thesis
AuthorsPorta, Tom
Supervisor
1. FirstDr Nicole Green
2. SecondDr Nicole Todd
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages286
Year2023
PublisherUniversity of Southern Queensland
Place of PublicationAustralia
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26192/x7949
Abstract

Differentiated instruction (DI), a framework that promotes inclusive education, is a praxis for effective teaching that has shown promise in increasing the educational outcomes for students, particularly with learning difficulties. While DI is promoted as a practice for all students, little is known about DI application for students with learning difficulties in senior-secondary schools in Australia. Given DIs success in catering for student diversity, it was pertinent to explore teachers’ application and use of DI, and the factors that influence the provision of DI in teachers’ senior-secondary classrooms. This is important as students with learning difficulties have decreased post-school outcomes, therefore there was a need to explore ways this could be minimised. The aim of this study was to explore teacher attitudes and self-efficacy and the factors that shape these, towards DI. The DI framework by Tomlinson (2014) and conceptual framework created from the current literature in DI, underpin this study. A social constructionist paradigm was utilised to give the researcher a clear position in the study. Similarly, a case study methodology was used, which led to a total of twelve semi-structured interviews with senior-secondary teachers of various characteristics, across three schools and two Australian states. Data were analysed using a reflexive thematic analysis approach by Braun and Clarke (2021). Results reflected that due to the significant constraints, DI is being viewed as a special education practice. Likewise, teacher self-efficacy is born from seeing students achieve in a differentiated classroom and having respectful relationships with students. Practical and sustained experience in DI is needed for teachers to develop greater self-efficacy in DI and a positive attitude towards the framework. Implications for theory and practice were outlined.

Keywordsdifferentiated instruction; inclusion; senior-secondary education; teacher attitudes; teacher self-efficacy; learning difficulties
Contains Sensitive ContentDoes not contain sensitive content
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390102. Curriculum and pedagogy theory and development
390306. Secondary education
390407. Inclusive education
Public Notes

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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Education
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