Planning and organizing active differentiated instruction in teaching physiology for elementary school students

Abstract. Active differentiated instruction aims to empower learners to choose their appropriate learning activities. The question is how to apply this method in teaching physiology curriculum for elementary school students, as well as the method of planning and organizing the active differentiated instruction. On the theoretical research methodology approach, our study focuses on the process of planning and organizing active differentiated instruction, as well as illustrating this process in teaching the topic of Respiratory Physiology in the Elementary Level Physiology curriculum. This process is aimed at planning and organizing the teaching activities based on the students’ diversity of abilities, interests, demands, learning styles, learning conditions . in order to ensure the equality of learning opportunities for learners.

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133 HNUE JOURNAL OF SCIENCE DOI: 10.18173/2354-1075.2017-0183 Educational Sciences, 2017, Vol. 62, Iss. 12, pp. 133-145 This paper is available online at PLANNING AND ORGANIZING ACTIVE DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION IN TEACHING PHYSIOLOGY FOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS Pham Viet Quynh 1 and Nguyen Van Hien 2 1 Hanoi Metropolitan University, 2 Hanoi National University of Education Abstract. Active differentiated instruction aims to empower learners to choose their appropriate learning activities. The question is how to apply this method in teaching physiology curriculum for elementary school students, as well as the method of planning and organizing the active differentiated instruction. On the theoretical research methodology approach, our study focuses on the process of planning and organizing active differentiated instruction, as well as illustrating this process in teaching the topic of Respiratory Physiology in the Elementary Level Physiology curriculum. This process is aimed at planning and organizing the teaching activities based on the students’ diversity of abilities, interests, demands, learning styles, learning conditions ... in order to ensure the equality of learning opportunities for learners. Keywords: Teaching organization, teaching plan, active differentiated instruction, and elementary school physiology. 1. Introduction There are various approaches on studying and applying micro-differentiated instruction, but it is not difficult to realize that learning strategies of learners in the process of differentiated instruction still relies heavily on the teachers, while learners are only required to participate more in the learning stages previously planned by teachers, as they have not really been given the right to decide on their own learning strategies and problems solving strategies. In terms of the current trends in the use of micro-differentiated instruction, despite the increased consideration given to learners (in terms of learning styles, proficiency, etc.), teachers still have difficulty in providing the learners with the central role throughout the teaching process. In order to solve this problem, it is important to propose active differentiated instruction planning and teaching process. Active differentiated instruction aims at activating learners' participation on the basis of ensuring the content and teaching program as well as ensuring familiarity with learners’ respective cognitive levels, learning styles and abilities. Every learner has a certain knowledge base, skills, and active differentiated instruction will allow them to develop and expand their knowledge on the basis of what they already possess. In active differentiated learning, all learners, regardless of their learning style, capacity and ability, have the opportunity to actively participate in learning activities. This means that the learner is in charge of deciding their own part or the whole of his / her learning strategy and taking responsibility for his / her learning outcomes. Received: October 15, 2017. Revised: December 8, 2017. Accepted: December 12, 2017. Contact: Nguyen Van Hien, e-mail address: hiennv@hnue.edu.vn Pham Viet Quynh and Nguyen Van Hien 134 2. Content 2.1. Literature review on planning and organizing differentiated instruction Educators argue that the scientific basis of differentiated instruction is derived from the following fundamental theories: 1) According to L.S. Vygotsky’s theory, students differ not only in the current development area but also in the nearest development area (the zone of proximal development). Therefore, students’ background and perception need to be concerned and teaching and learning should be based on each student’s competency [11]; 2) Gardner's Multiple Intelligence theory (1993) showed that each person has at least one of eight different types of intelligence (Linguistic intelligence, Logical-mathematical intelligence, Spatial intelligence, Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence, Musical intelligence, Interpersonal intelligence, Intrapersonal intelligence, Naturalist intelligence). The point of this theory is to meet the needs of each student by applying different learning strategies that base on each type of intelligence [7]; 3) David Kold's experimental learning theory (1984) proposed models of learning style including converging, diverging, assimilating and accommodating. Based on the development of Kold’s theory, Honey and Mumford developed a toolkit that classifies four basic learning styles: activist, reflector, pragmatist and theorist [3]. Besides, Neil Fleming (1987) indicated VARK model and introduced a toolkit to categorize learning styles. Accordingly, there are 4 types of learning styles: Visual learners, Auditory learners, Reading and writing learners, Kinesthetic learners [2, 3]. Visual learners learn best by looking at diagrams, images, maps, graphs, movies. These learners enjoy the information presented in the form of pictures. Auditory learners learn best by listening to the information and are interested in rhymes and sounds. Reading and writing learners learn best by reading information in the book. Text materials are preferred by these learners. Kinesthetic learners learn best by doing. Practical experience is important to them. Briefly, based on the fundamental theories, differentiated instruction has been studied extensively in both theory and practice [8]. Tomlinson (2014) highlighted three elements of the curriculum that can be differentiated: 1) Differentiating Content (what to teach? - differentiate the content of the lesson based on what students already know); 2) Differentiating Process (how to teach? – teacher organizes learning activities based on the needs, interests and learning styles of students); 3) Differentiating Products (learning outcomes - students need to achieve after the teaching process and are revealed through assessment activities) [9, 10].Tomlinson developed the theoretical background of differentiated instruction primarily based on Gardner's Multiple Intelligence theory and cognitive performance research. She emphasized that students’ diverse learning styles and intellectual types as a basis and he also encouraged teachers to personalize instructional activities in the classroom in order to meet different learning styles and intellectual types of students. Le Thi Thu Huong has developed and implemented teaching plans for the differentiated instruction of mathematics based on the cognitive level of elementary students. In particular, the author has divided the objectives and contents of teaching in accordance with the ability of the students, so that the choice and combination of various forms of teaching organization and means of teaching in a flexible way [6]. Thus, the research has initially introduced the steps of planning and implementing the differentiation method in teaching mathematics for elementary students. However, Planning and organizing active differentiated instruction in teaching physiology for elementary school students 135 the differentiated instruction mainly focused on the level of awareness of the learners, while taking little interest in other factors such as learning style, excitement.... Do Thi Quynh Mai [4] has proposed the content, principles, design process and teaching hours using contract teaching methods and four corners methods in teaching non-metallic chemistry for high school students. The differentiation in the design, organization and use of the teaching methodology at the corner is reflected in the development of tasks / exercises in accordance with the pace and style of learning of the students. At the four corners teaching classroom, students can choose the starting corner (the first corner) in accordance with their learning style. After completing a corner, they can freely choose the next ones according to their preference. For the design and organization of contract teaching methods, the differentiation is shown in the design of mandatory and optional tasks that enable students to learn in different preferences and styles. Student differentiation is also expressed through the knowledge-gathering diagrams developed by student groups. It is the difference in learning styles and knowledge capacity of the student groups that distinguishes variations in the form and content of their final reports. This proposal by Do Thi Quynh Mai is a suggestion for our research in the design and organization of differentiated instruction for junior college teachers. Sharing the same viewpoint of approaching differentiated instruction based on the learning style of elementary school students, Nguyen Thi Hong Chuyen designed the teaching style based on the learning model VARK by Neil Fleming with the use of four corners teaching and contract teaching. The process of teaching in accordance with learning styles is based on the following steps: Step 1: Identify the initial issues or question raised for students; Step 2: Assign tasks for students to explore, and perceive the knowledge based on the group’s learning style VARK; Step 3: Organize, guide and support groups of students according to VARK self-knowledge formation; Step 4: Organize for students to report the results; Step 5: Require students to self check and evaluate; Step 6: Evaluate the process of knowledge formation, addition and the accuracy of the knowledge [1]. Thus, the study by Nguyen Thi Hong Chuyen has clarified the process of designing and organizing teaching based on the learning style for elementary students. This study suggests the design and organization of differentiated instruction in the elementary age children's physiology curriculum. However, for learners who are university students who have more capacity of self-studying and self-researching, the implementation process will be adjusted at various points. In conclusion, from the above research, the researchers are well aware of the fact that differentiated instruction is focused on organizing learning activities to meet the capacity, style, level, of the learners, with the orientation to design learning activities for each object and assign learners to activities that the teacher thinks are appropriate for them. Initially, researchers have been giving autonomy rights to their learners but are still limited. In this study, we aim to actively promote learner's activity through active differentiated instruction. Active differentiated instruction is a teaching strategy that the teacher conducts teaching activities based on the students’ diversity of abilities, interests, demands, learning styles, learning conditions... in order to ensure the equality of learning opportunities for learners and for them to be active, self-aware, and free to explore and select appropriate learning activities for themselves. The distinctive feature of active differentiated instruction is that the learner is empowered to choose the learning activities that are appropriate for him or her and the teacher designs the learning activities that are both diverse and satisfactory to the diversity of the ability, interest, learning style... of learners. Pham Viet Quynh and Nguyen Van Hien 136 2.2. The steps of planning and organizing the active differentiated instruction in teaching Physiology for elementary school students From the study and assessment of active differentiated instruction, we propose the following steps to plan and organize the method as below: Diagram 1. Steps for planning and organizing the active differentiated instruction Step 1: Make lesson planning and prepare learning activities that fit the learners’ profile a / Teacher activities: * Define the lesson objectives, analyze the structure of content: based on the detailed program and content of teaching elementary physiology of elementary school students, Teachers determine the knowledge, Skills and attitudes that should be achieved through lessons / topics. When defining goals, action verbs should be used to quantify the evaluation. At the same time identify the skills that need to be trained, formed in students through differentiated instruction. * Design learning activities in accordance with learner profiles and selection of methods and forms of teaching organization: Before, organize teaching the elementary school children's elementary classes, teachers and college students build the learners’ profiles. A learner profile is a document that includes all information about the learner: information about the person's identity, knowledge, excitement, learning style, learning process, teacher use... Student complete surveys on learning styles according to VARK, baseline survey on primary school physiology, Multiple Intelligence surveys, interest surveys,... or through live interviews to fulfill the necessary information about the learners. After that, the teacher will classify learner profiles based on the main criteria that may be the learning style, Level, Multiple Planning and organizing active differentiated instruction in teaching physiology for elementary school students 137 Intelligence... For example, if learning style is considered as the main factor, learners’ profiles are theoretically divided into 4 groups: V, A, R, K. The V, or A, or R or K student profiles will include students at different Levels. The different types of intelligence, interest, and level vary depending on the characteristics of the students in each class. In fact, there are always learners who possess mixed learning styles. V, A, R, K, and mixed types should be separated. Then, based on learner profiles, lesson objectives, lesson content, design appropriate learning activities, and help teachers and learners assess learning progress in active differentiated instruction. Learning activities should be designed in a clear, specific and diverse way, in accordance with the learning styles, level of awareness and background knowledge of the learners. In each lesson / topic, active distribution teaching is reflected in designing learning activities that fit one or more of the learning styles. At the same time, the tasks in these learning activities are also designed in different levels from easy to hard to meet the pace of learning. In addition, mandatory and optional tasks are required to ensure both the common goals of the lesson / topic and the ability to support students with different levels, abilities, and interest. Based on the characteristics of college students majored in elementary education, the content of the elementary school children's elementary school curriculum, there are many methods and forms of teaching can be used to meet the requirements of active distribution teaching. Within the scope of this study, we chose the main teaching methodology is the improved expert methodology, combining with the use of a number of other active teaching techniques such as contract teaching, teaching by the station, teaching by group ... - For example: Design the learning activities in accordance with the learner profiles when teaching the subject Respiratory physiology in elementary school children's physiology, based on content, objectives, learner profiles: 1/ The content of respiratory physiology includes [5]: +Concept and meaning of respiration + Respiratory structure (integrated with respiratory hygiene measures) + Respiratory activity (respiratory process) (integrated with respiratory hygiene measures) Problems related to the respiratory system (pneumonia, bronchitis, the harm of drugs and air pollution to respiratory) and what Elementary students need to do to protect the respiratory system. 2/ The objective of the lesson + Analyze the concept of respiration and identify respiratory organs and products. + Describe the structure and function of each organ in the respiratory system. + Describe the stages of respiration. + Analyze the compatibility between the structure and function of the organs in the respiratory system. + Identify causes of some respiratory diseases and propose measures to protect the health of the respiratory system. + Apply knowledge learned to carry out CPR, deep breathing ... 3/ Learners’ profile: If we classify learners based on learning style as the main factor, then learners' profiles of 36 K22D students - Primary Education - Hanoi Metropolitan University are divided into 5 categories: V-type (2 profiles); A type (7 profiles); R type (3 profiles); K type (17 profiles) and mixed type (7 profiles including 1 VARK, 2 AR, 2 VK, 1 VA, 2 AK) (Table 1). Pham Viet Quynh and Nguyen Van Hien 138 Table 1. Classification of learners' profiles of K20 students, Primary Education, Hanoi Metropolitan University Note: Logical-mathematical intelligence;☺Linguistic intelligence; ∆Interpersonal intelligence; ♥Bodily- kinesthetic intelligence; ♦ Spatial intelligence;¶Musical intelligence;●Intrapersonal intelligence; ☼ - Naturalist intelligence, Stud: Student. Type of profile 1. V-type 2. A-type Name of students Stud. 1 Stud. 2 Stud. 3 Stud. 4 Stud. 5 Stud. 6 Stud. 7 Stud. 8 Stud. 9 Learning Style V V A A A A A A A Group/ Individual /both Both Both Both Group Group Individual Both Individual Group Interest Drawing Picnic Music Fashion Singing Story telling Singing Comics Dancing Level Fair Average Fair Weak Average Good Fair Fair Weak Multiple Intelligence ♦ ☼ ☺ ☺ ¶ ∆ ¶ ∆ ♥ Type of profile 3. R-type 4. K-type Name of students Stud. 10 Stud. 11 Stud. 12 Stud. 13 Stud.14 Stud. 15 Stud. 16 Stud. 17 Stud. 18 Learning Style R/W R/W R/W K K K K K K Group/both/ Individual Both Group Both Both Both Group Individual Both Group Interest Crosswords English Writing diaries Aerobics Dancing Travelling Math Travelling Biology Level Average Good Fair Average Average Fair Good Fair Fair Multiple Intelligence ☺ ☺ ● ♥ ♥ ☼  ☼ ☼ Type of profile 4. K-type Name of students Stud. 19 Stud. 20 Stud. 21 Stud. 22 Stud. 23 Stud. 24 Stud. 25 Stud. 26 Stud. 27 Learning Style K K K K K K K K K Group/both Individual Group Both Group Both Both Both Group Individual Both Interest Nature Walking Dancing Singing Travelling Travelling Movies Aerobics Cooking Level Fair Fair Average Weak Fair Good Good Fair Fair Multiple Intelligence ☼ ♥ ♥   ☼ ● ♥ ☼ Type of profile 4. K-type 5. Mixed type Name of students Stud. 28 Stud. 29 Stud. 30 Stud. 31 Stud. 32 Stud. 33 Stud. 34 Stud. 35 Stud. 36 Learning Style K K AK AK VARK VK AR VK VA Group/both/ Individual Both Both Both Individu al Both Both Individual Both Group Interest Travelling Movies Music Singing Drawing Cooking Reading Movies Music Level Fair Fair Average Fair Good Good Good Average Fair Multiple Intelligence ☼ ♥ ¶ ¶ ♦ ☼ ☺ ∆ ● Planning and organizing active differentiated instruction in teaching physiology for elementary school students 139 Studying student profiles of K22D, Primary Education, Hanoi Metropolitan University, we designed 4 learning activities suitable for different types of learners (table 2). As for the mixed student profile, because students are free to choose any learning activity, there is no need to tailor the activity to this mixed portfolio. The number of students with a K-style study style is the majority, so the tasks in the learning activities will enhance students' practice, experiment, and active participation. Table 2. Learning activities in the topic of Respiratory Physiology Learning activity 1: Definition and importance of respiration activities - This
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