Different countries, different approaches to teaching and learning?
Nicky Dulfer, Amy McKernan and Kimberley Brindle—Melbourne Graduate School of Education, the University of Melbourne
This study examined the way teachers use differentiated instruction in IB Diploma Programme (DP) classrooms in Hong Kong and Australia. A total of 18 teachers took part in the study, which used surveys, classroom observations and interviews as data sources. Using the Tomlinson conceptual framework for differentiation, the study provides examples of content, process, product and environmental differentiation across a range of subjects. The observation instrument, based on a developmental continuum, is a particularly powerful tool that provides teachers with feedback regarding their own differentiation practices and offers ideas for further development. The research found that while teachers are very confident about differentiating through their teaching processes, they are less confident about their ability to differentiate product or content. Additionally, many DP teachers could improve their use of environmental supports, which may assist students in their learning.