Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



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The purpose of this case study was to explore what elementary teachers in an urban school district understand and implement as differentiated instruction and the role of learning styles. While there is much research that supports the implementation of differentiated instruction based on learning styles and learning levels to increase student achievement (Grasha, 2002; Patton, 1987), there is limited research that aligns the teacher’s understanding, implementation, and reflection on pedagogical differentiated practices within the classroom. As an employee of the study district, a former teacher within the district, and a former supervisor of the school, I defined my role as the researcher, obtained participants from within the schools, and examined the process teachers used to differentiate instruction. To better understand teachers’ perspectives about differentiated instruction as it related to students’ learning style and student’s learning level compared to theoretical and pragmatic understandings outlined in research literature, I used walk-throughs, surveys, teachers’ lesson plans, teachers’ videoed taped lessons, teachers’ reflection journal, and recorded interviews. With the knowledge obtained from this process, I provide recommendations for future directions for district implementation of differentiated instruction in the classroom to increase student achievement. I also provide reflective practices that support teachers’ pedagogical improvement for the implementation of differentiated instruction and the development of reflective pedagogical practice to increase student achievement (Schmoker, 2010).



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