The effects of teachers’ professional development activities on differentiated instructional practices and students’ learning engagements and outcomes in Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia
Teachers’ professional development activities
The study was aimed at examining the effectiveness of differentiated instruction (DI) in teachers’ professional development activities in primary schools in selected districts in Oromia region. Concurrent triangulation mixed method design was used. The data were collected from a total of 317 respondents by using questionnaires, interview, classroom observation and document examination. The sample size included 224 teachers, 36 principals, 52 PTA members and 5 supervisors who were selected by using stratified, simple random sampling and availability sampling techniques. The findings of the study showed that the lesson plan of teachers didn’t clearly state the need for differentiated instruction. The designed objectives of differentiated instruction were not aligned with the learning outcomes (product) of diverse groups of learners. The perspectives of practitioners on DI were not motivating and enabled them devoting maximum time during the school days. There was a statistically significant difference at the p <.05 level in mean scores for three respondents [F (2, 309) =4.658, p = .000]. The schools encouraged mixed ability segregation which leads to structural differentiation of learners. There was no statistically significant difference of opinions among categories of respondents at the p >.05 level in mean scores at [F (2, 309) =2.245, p =.082].There was statistically significant difference of opinions among categories of respondents at the p <.05 level in mean scores for differentiated contents, process, product, learning environment and instructional resources [F (3, 309) = 4.698, p =.003]. Principals and teachers should give attention to DI as part of staff development. The lesson plan of teachers should clearly state the need for DI. The best practices of DI should be adapted, contextualized and connected to real life of learners. DI factors should be differentiated to engage learners and assists them to realize their prioritized needs and expectations in the classrooms.
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