DIANE SMITH Diane taught French at a comprehensive school and entitled her Final Report: “A Study of an action research enquiry: a process of personal, professional and educational understanding. How can I differentiate with my mixed ability year seven class in order that all pupils fulfil their own individual potential?’” She writes in conclusion:
“In carrying out an action research enquiry through my own classroom practice and an evaluation of that practice and the pupils learning I have increased my awareness and understanding of the requirements and strategies of differentiation. My increased awareness and knowledge and understanding gained from the experience will undoubtedly be passed on to my teaching of other heterogeneous sets as well as homogeneous sets (which are always to a certain extent heterogeneous). My diary entry culminates the satisfaction I felt :
(18.05.92) “I am convinced that the systematic approach within the framework of an action research enquiry has been to the benefit of my year 7 pupils’ learning - it has undoubtedly raised my awareness of the strategies of differentiation a teacher has at hand, and how my newly found knowledge may now be used to benefit other classes.” My diary entry further illustrates how action research has assisted me in an understanding of the actual concept of differentiation and in the methodology of language teaching and learning, it continues:
“an important factor for me in the action research process is how it has clarified my particular subject and methods of teaching. The concept of differentiation before action research seemed quite airy-fairy. The research has enabled me to become more attuned to the concept and bring the loose threads into a patchwork quilt”. It helped me to narrow down and clearly define my objectives and to understand that all pupils need to work at their own appropriate level in order to perceive their achievement as worthwhile and successful,
I have found that through action research I have gained an intimate knowledge of my pupils, an understanding and appreciation of their strengths and weaknesses and the values I have as a teacher. It has helped me to accept that all my pupils are different and that a flexible approach to their learning is thus a prerequisite of my role as teacher. I feel I can claim to have used this information to provide effective learning for my pupils.