Date of Award

12-1-2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Miller, Grant

Abstract

AN ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION OF Sharon Angella Hayden, for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Education, presented on July, 25th, 2011, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. TITLE: ENABLING CURRICULA: THE DEVELOPMENT OF A TEACHING OBSERVATION PROTOCOL TO ADDRESS STUDENTS' DIVERSE LEARNINNG NEEDS MAJOR PROFESSORS: Dr. Grant R. Miller and Dr. D. John McIntyre Diverse learning needs are students' learning needs in areas such as language, learning styles, background, disabilities, technology skills, motivation, engagement, and access. Teacher candidates must be aware of and plan to meet these needs. The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) provides guidelines that can increase the level of student engagement and variety in materials and activities incorporated in a lesson, and will improve the extent to which teacher candidates meet students' diverse learning needs. This research incorporated design research and systematic observation methodologies and was informed by data from lesson observations collected with the proposed observation protocol. It also relied on data from a focus group discussion with cooperating teachers, email feedback from university supervisors, and document analysis of lesson plans and materials. Analysis of this data showed that teacher candidates' perceptions about diverse learning needs were informed by the school's curriculum, the subject area they taught, their experiences, and theories such as multiple intelligences. Their perceptions were modified during the study which also resulted in changes in the way they planned and taught their lessons. Participants found the proposed observation protocol to be both clear and useful. It is proposed that teacher candidates, cooperating teachers, and university supervisors should be informed about the Universal Design for Learning. It is expected that the observation protocol will be incorporated into methodology courses, as well as in teacher candidate conferences with university supervisors. It is also expected that future research will incorporate university supervisors and cooperating teachers in the implementation of the observation protocol. Future research is also expected to explore the possibility of developing a subject-specific observation protocol for use at the secondary level.

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