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Theoretical framework Example

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    The theoretical framework of this study is: Instruction can be targeted more efficientlywhen students are homogeneously grouped (Allan, 1991; Barnard, as cited by Tyack, 1974;Benbow & Stanley, 1996; Gamoran, 2009; Gamoran & Weinstein, 1998; Keliher, 1931; Oakes& Guiton, 1995; Turney, 1931). In his support of the ruling Parents Involved v.

    Seattle, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas referred to this framework writing, “schools frequently group students according to ability as an aid to efficient instruction” (Chayte, 2009-2010, p. 630). Additionally, Hallinan and Sorensen (1983) referred to homogeneous grouping as the bestway to manage students and keep them attentive; and Oakes (1987) stated, “tracking … was I adopted as the means for managing student diversity” (p. 129).

    Perhaps Slavin (1987) articulated the theoretical framework for ability grouping best when he said it is: “supposed to increase student achievement primarily by reducing the heterogeneity of the class or instructional group, making it more possible for the teacher to increase the pace and level of instruction for high achievers and provide more individual attention, repetition, and review for low achievers. It is supposed to provide a spur to high achievers by making them work harder …

    and to foster success within the group of low achievers, who are protected from having to compete with more able age mates. ” (p. 296)Oakes and Guiton (1995) also noted that schools fit the social order and use educational structures to match students and courses to accommodate individual differences and further societal goals. The educational structure adopted most often is ability grouping and the means for such grouping views prior academic achievement as the most significant variable for group selection (Archbald, Glutting, & Qian, 2009; BaIlon, 2008; Mickelson, 200I).

    Access to knowledge, opportunities of quality education, teacher expectation, and poverty are some factors that can affect ability groupings. To many educators ability grouping seems a sensible response to the academic diversity amongstudents in that it allows teachers to attune their instruction to students’ capabilities. High achievers are challenged and stimulated and low achievers get more support. Thus all students gain from ability grouping (Gamoran, 1986; Sorensen, 1970). Critics of ability grouping, however, contend that this practice has unintended harmful consequences.

    Ability grouping usually involves the assignment of poor teachers and inferior instruction to low ability groups (Finley, 1984; Oakes, 1985; Oakes, Gamoran, & Page, 1992; Page, 1991; Talbert, 1990). Moreover, critics assert that due either to the lower expectations of teachers who teach low-ability students (Rosenbaum, 1976), or to the stigmatizing effect ability grouping has on the self-esteem and aspiration of these students the achievement gap between students of high and low ability increases over time (Findley & Bryant, 1971; Gamoran & Berends, 1978; Hallinan, 1992; Murphy & Hallinger, 1989; Rosenbaum, 1980).

    The technocratic and positivist tradition that led to knowledge and content oriented educational practices has raised strong criticism bared to its failure to mediate society’s needs (Apple, 2003; Guba & Lincoln, 1989; Habermas, 1978; Giddens, 1976). The limitations and weaknesses of the technocratic tradition bring out the need for new theoretical framework for educational practices. A theoretical framework, in which students are the center of any decision and any action to be taken. A theory and practice on how to guide students in their own learning path.

    Students are not commodities and schools are not factories producing specific kind of working units. Differentiation entails a solid proposal of such framework and is presented as the answer to the limitations and weaknesses of the technocratic tradition (Valiande, 2010). The theory of differentiated instruction is based mainly on the theory of social constructivism (Vygotsky, 1978) and emphasizes the active participation of students in the learning process where the construction of knowledge emerges due to the interactions of students with their environment (other students, teachers, knowledge, educational material etc).

    The technocratic and positivist tradition that led to knowledge and content oriented educational practices has raised strong criticism bared to its failure to mediate society’s needs (Apple, 2003; Guba & Lincoln, 1989; Habermas, 1978; Giddens, 1976). The limitations and weaknesses of the technocratic tradition bring out the need for new theoretical framework for educational practices. A theoretical framework, in which students are the center of any decision and any action to be taken. A theory and practice on how to guide students in their own learning path.

    Students are not commodities and schools are not factories producing specific kind of working units. Differentiation entails a solid proposal of such framework and is presented as the answer to the limitations and weaknesses of the technocratic tradition (Valiande, 2010). The theory of differentiated instruction is based mainly on the theory of social constructivism (Vygotsky, 1978) and emphasizes the active participation of students in the learning process where the construction of knowledge emerges due to the interactions of students with their environment (other students, teachers, knowledge, educational material etc).

    The teacher, who entails the key to a successful differentiated instruction (Valiande & Koutselini, 2008, 2009;Valiande, 2010), is challenged to facilitate learning for students of different readiness level, interests, learning profile (Tomlinson, 2003), socio-economic and cultural capital and psycho-emotional characteristics, all features that can affect the construction procedure of new knowledge.

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