Research has suggested that differentiation is a responsive approach to teaching rather than a set of strategies. In this study, researchers generated a logic model to describe how members of a two-teacher team collaborated to differentiate instruction and to examine the learning connections that five seventh graders made in an integrated unit. Data from interviews, observations, and work samples showed how teachers encouraged engagement by identifying students' strengths, tapping interests, and extending their thoughts. Students' engagement with the unit varied according to connections they made with teachers and information. The revised logic model more specifically described how teachers attempted to create connections and how students responded. Results illuminate some of the dynamics of differentiation and might provide a foundation for hypothesis testing in other settings.
Published in Research in Middle Level Education Online, 2012