Differentiated Instruction as a Student-Centered Teaching Approach in Teacher Education

Authored by: Esther Gheyssens , Júlia Griful-Freixenet , Katrien Struyven

The Routledge International Handbook of Student-Centered Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

Print publication date:  July  2020
Online publication date:  July  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367200527
eBook ISBN: 9780429259371
Adobe ISBN:


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Student-centered teaching practices put students in the center of attention in learning and teaching. It is essentially about engaging students in the process of learning by carefully designing learning-teaching environments that stimulate students to become interested and intrigued by contents. Differentiated instruction (DI) shares those same intents, explicitly for all (academically different) students in the classroom. It is considered both a philosophy and a practice of teaching aiming at maximizing learning, taking into account students’ academic differences in interests, readiness and learning profiles. Although favored in theory, little research has been conducted to study the implementation of DI within (teacher) education. This chapter addresses implications related to the implementation of DI and the importance of examining (pre-service) teachers’ philosophy and practices regarding students, learning and teaching. Two empirical studies on how (pre-service) teachers currently adopt DI are explored in depth. These studies are based on the DI-QUEST (Differentiated Instruction Questionnaire) model, which is intended to measure teachers’ philosophy and practices of DI. Finally, this chapter discusses the implications of the findings on DI for the teacher education field.

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