Preservice teachers’ observations of their mentors’ teaching strategies for differentiated learning
Tensions exist between teacher-centred and learner-centred approaches with constructivism as being favoured for learning in the 21st Century. There is little evidence of teaching strategies being used in the field for differentiating student learning. In addition, preservice teachers need to learn about teaching strategies for which observations of their mentor teachers can provide practical applications. This study explores 16 preservice teachers’ observations of their mentors’ teaching strategies over a four-week professional experience. They provided a minimum of five written observations during this period. Findings indicated that these preservice teachers observed their mentors’ practices and recorded four key teaching strategies used to differentiate learning, namely: (1) designating facilitators for students’ learning, including teacher, peers, parents, and support staff such as teachers aides, (2) managing student groups, (3) contexts for learning, and (4) using a range of teaching aids (visual, auditory, games) and resources. Preservice teachers’ observations of their mentor teachers indicated that they can commence at early stages for identifying teaching strategies and how they work for differentiating student learning.