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Differentiated teaching as a key principle in an inclusive pedagogy approach

The study, financed by the Danish Ministry of Education, deals with differentiated teaching as a basic pedagogical principle for teaching close related to the agenda of inclusion. It is conducted in 2013 in collaboration between Department of Education, Aarhus University (Susan Tetler, Kirsten Baltzer, Søren Langager, Hilde Ulvseth) and three university colleges: University College Copenhagen (Michael Wahl Andersen, Susanne Arne-Hansen, Dorte Østergren-Olsen), University College South Denmark (Christian Quvang, Charlotte Christiansen, Kaj Nedergaard Jepsen) and University College VIA (Else Skibsted, Kaj Østergaard, Helle Bundgaard Svendsen).

A former Danish study shows that teachers express a quite narrow understanding of the principle, as they talk about differentiated teaching as individualized teaching and as a way to organize teaching in tiered groups (EVA 2011). Therefore, the project was conducted as teaching courses in two subjects (Danish and Math) in six 5. Grade classes in order to study processes (barriers and opportunities) when transforming the principle of differentiated teaching into practice. Furthermore, focus was on the learning possibilities for pupils in learning difficulties.

The study documents that learning difficulties can be reduced when a differentiated teaching approach is used. A website is developed to inspire teachers to create new understandings, and it consists of research reports, teacher’s guides, pupil’s material, films to highlight key findings and tools for teachers (e.g. observation tool and a guide for its use): www.inklusionsudvikling.dk/uvd