School：Delia Memorial School (Hip Wo)
Topic：Iron and steel industry
Students’ Characteristics ：
- Students have varying language abilities
- Some students have higher ability and can complete more challenging activities, while others may be more suited for less challenging activities
- Students might not be able to distinguish “evidences” and “explanation” in their answers.
- Students might forget or not be able to apply geographical concepts into their answers.
Lesson Design for Differentiated Instruction ：
The main objective of this lesson was to develop students’ skill in answering data/skill-based structured questions by applying their knowledge of concepts related to the iron and steel industry (Please refer to the lesson plan and PowerPoint). Students had been taught about the iron and steel industry in China in previous lessons and thus had relevant prior knowledge regarding the importance of this industry, its characteristics, and the factors affecting the location.
Individual, small group and whole class activities were conducted during the lesson. The lesson began with the teacher grouping 3-4 students with similar abilities to conduct group discussions. After the group discussions, the teacher invited some groups to share their ideas in the whole class discussion. Giving feedback to these groups in a whole class setting effectively disseminated knowledge on the relevant knowledge and skills to all students. In the later part of the lesson, an individualized mode of teaching was also adopted as students were asked to complete their worksheets by themselves. This mode of teaching allows the teacher to give individualized feedback to specific students, thus providing lower ability students with additional help. The teacher also invited individual students to share their answers with the whole class, intentionally choosing students of differing abilities to increase the chance for all students’ participation.
The homogenous grouping strategy was implemented by dividing the class into Set A, students with lower ability, or Set B, students with higher ability. This promoted student interaction while they explored the pre-set questions during the group discussions, as the students of similar ability could comfortably learn together at a similar pace. Higher and lower ability students also each had different learning objectives. For example, higher ability students were expected to apply more concepts about the iron and steel industry when answering the structured questions compared to their lower ability peers. Furthermore, the teacher designed two versions of the worksheet to suit the students’ varying abilities (Please refer to the worksheets). The Set A worksheet for lower ability students contained more scaffolding such as a sample answer that students could use as a guide to write their own answers in subsequent questions. The combination of these tiered learning strategies ensured that students were given achievable goals and worked at an appropriately challenging level, thus increasing their motivation to participate and learn during the lesson.
Application of DI Strategies?
1. A1 Chance for all students’ participation: the teacher purposely invited students of varying ability levels to share their answer with the whole class
2. B1 Diversified learning goals: higher ability students were given more challenging learning objectives compared to lower ability students
3. B5 Tiered learning materials: there were two version of the same worksheet were used during the lesson – one for lower ability students, and more for higher ability students
4. C6 Group learning: students were grouped into homogenous groups by academic ability. Groups of different ability levels had their own learning goals and worksheets
5. C11 Effective use of large classes, small groups and individualized modes of teaching: Individual, small group and whole class activities were conducted during the lesson to cater for diverse students’ needs
Acknowledgement：Delia Memorial School (Hip Wo)