Differentiation within the primary classroom is essential to ensure quality learning for the pupils. Sousa and Tomlinson (2011, p. 4) define differentiation as a teacher’s response to the learner needs. The term of differentiation stems from the idea that learners will engage more with a lesson if it has been planned with their differences in mind (Tomlinson, et al., 2003). Gilbert (2013, p.3) highlights that learning was once described as a four-step process which consisted of the following:
- Step 1: Unconscious incompetence
The children don’t know that they can’t achieve something.
- Step 2: Conscious incompetence
This step is the beginning of the learning process where the learners identify the skills they lack.
- Step 3: Conscious competence
The learner thinks hard about new challenges and habits in order to achieve.
- Step 4: Unconscious competence
The new skill or level is no longer a challenge.
Through the introduction of the “Chilli Challenge” to my class, the aim is to provide a variety of differentiated tasks. It is the aim of this research that pupils will move up the chilli levels in relation to the four stages of learning. Clark (2014, p.10) suggests that formative assessment tools, like the “Chilli Challenge”, provide pupils with more ownership over their learning and assessment. Clark (2014, p13) states that a key aspect of formative assessment is the growth mindset strategy. Throughout this research the concept of growth mindset will be intertwined with the “Chilli Challenge” when it is introduced to pupils in order to promote motivation and confidence within the learner. The intention of this practitioner enquiry is to assess and evaluate the impact of effective differentiation within the classroom and how it links to learners’ motivation within the lesson to improve their level of achievement.
It is the aim of this professional enquiry to assess and evaluate the effectiveness of pupil led differentiation through the “Chilli Challenge” and how this impacts on learners’ motivation and drive within a lesson.