Produced with Scholar
Icon for Negotiating Learner Differences

Negotiating Learner Differences

Towards Productive Diversity in Learning

Learning Module

Abstract

Including the voices of leading researchers on learner diversity from the University of Illinois, this learning module explores the ways in which education and educators negotiate differences among learners. Our main practical question is, how do we create learning environments in which learning experiences can be customized and calibrated to meet the precise needs of particular learners? To support this line of investigation, the learning module examines socio-cultural theories of difference, and considers alternative responses to these differences in educational settings-ranging from broad social, policy and institutional responses to specific pedagogical responses within classes of students. Mary Kalantzis begins the module with a discussion of the notions of learner diversity and transformation. Bill Cope follows an exploration of key concepts for the identification of patterns of learner diversity. James Anderson provides an overview of race and cultural diversity in US education. Bill Trent discusses complex and vexing questions of segregation, desegregation, integration and resegregation in US Education. This is followed by an historical analysis of education in colonial America by Chris Span, then by Yoon Pak on Asian Americans. Taking an international perspective, Cameron McCarthy discusses post-colonialism. Finally, Mary Kalantzis and Bill Cope explore the notion of productive diversity in learning.

Keywords

Learner Differences, Educational Responses to Diversity

1. Human Diversity and Learner Transformation - Mary Kalantzis

For the Participant

Media embedded August 11, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017

Comment: Connect an issue raised on one of these videos with a contemporary issue in society or education. Describe an experience of diversity in your personal life or your work as an educator, and analyze the dynamics. You can also respond to other people's comments by starting comment, @Name.

Make an Update: Offer an example an exlusionary, or inclusive practice in education. Or find and analyze a scholarly book or peer reviewed article or articles that addresses exclusionary or inclusive educational practice, and discuss.

For the Instructor

2. Learner Differences in Theory and Practice - Bill Cope

For the Participant

Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017

 

Here is the range of differences teachers may encounter in schools, and learners may encounter in each other:

  • material conditions (social class, locale and family);
  • corporeal attributes (age, race, sex and sexuality, and physical and mental abilities);
  • symbolic differences (language, ethnos, communities of commitment and gendre).

We elaborate on these in the following places:

Comment: How are human differences important to your work as a teacher, or your life as a learner?

Make an Update: Take one of these differences, define, describe the implications for learning, and give an example of how a pedagoical environment (a traditional institution, a learning technology, a new media resource) succeeds or fails to address this difference. Or find and analyze a scholarly book or peer reviewed article or articles that addresses a dimension of difference, and discuss.

For the Instructor

3A. Race and Cultural Diversity in US Education - James D. Anderson

For the Participant

Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017

Comment: From your perspective as a resident of the United States, or as a resident of a different country, what are your impressions of the current state of play of race and ethnic relations in the United States? If you are not a resident in the United States, you may wish to mention the ways in which the situation is similar or different in your country.

Make an Update: How are demographics changing in your country or school? What are the consequences? For society and education? Or find and analyze a scholarly book or peer reviewed article or articles that addresses changing demographics, and discuss.

For the Instructor

3B. Segregation, Integration, Desegregation and Resegregation - William T. Trent

For the Participant

Media embedded April 14, 2018
Media embedded April 14, 2018
Media embedded April 14, 2018
Media embedded April 14, 2018
Media embedded April 14, 2018
Media embedded April 14, 2018

Comment: Why are concepts of "segregation," "desegregation," "integration," and "resegregation" so challenging?

Make an Update: What concepts are used in your country or educational context to describe and analyze the dynamics of educational and social inequality? What evidence emerges, through the lens of the concepts that you use? Or find and analyze a scholarly book or peer reviewed article or articles that addresses segregation, and discuss.

For the Instructor

4. Should Education be a Right? Historical Perspectives - Christopher M. Span

For the Participant

Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017

Comment: Discuss a "stand-out idea" in Dr Span's historical introduction.

Make an Update: Write your own educational rights statement, designed for an ideal world, or to address deficiencies in our present day, less-than-ideal world. Or find and analyze a scholarly book or peer reviewed article or articles that addresses the right to or necessity for education, and discuss.

For the Instructor

5. Diversity in American Public Education - Yoon Pak

For the Participant

Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017
 
Media embedded July 13, 2017

Comment: Discuss one striking idea in the fraught history of Asian Americans in US education.

Make an Update: Explore the complexities and contradictions in the experience of one demographic grouping in education in your social and historical context. Or find and analyze a scholarly book or peer reviewed article or articles that addresses the experience of a demographically-defined group, and discuss.

For the Instructor

6. Postcolonial Theory and Education - Cameron McCarthy

For the Participant

Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017
Media embedded July 13, 2017

Comment: What have been the global dynamics of diversity? How has this impacted learners and their learning?

Make an Update: Describe one instance of learning in a global context, illustrating the dynamics of diversity. Or find and analyze a scholarly book or peer reviewed article or articles that addresses globalism or colonialism in educatiob, and discuss.

For the Instructor

7. The Inclusive School - Mary Kalantzis and Bill Cope

For the Participant

Media embedded July 16, 2017
Media embedded July 16, 2017

Differentiated learning occurs where individuals and groups of students can work at a pace that suits their needs. This ensures that all learners are able to make progress measured against common goals. See these videos on differentiated instruction.

Instead of one-size fits all approaches to education, learner differences can be used as a productive resource. See:

  • Kalantzis, Mary and Bill Cope. 2016. "New Media and Productive Diversity in Learning." in Blickwechsel/Diversity: International Perspectives on Teacher Education, edited by S. Barsch. Münster, Germany: Waxmann.

 

KalantzisCopeProductiveDiversityinLearning.pdf

Comment: What does "productive diversity" mean? How can we create inclusive education?

Make an Update: Describe and analyze an inclusive education strategy. Or find and analyze a scholarly book or peer reviewed article or articles that addresses inclusive education strategies, and discuss.

For the Instructor

Work 1: Educational Theory (EdM)

For the Participant

Take one of the concepts introduced in this course or explore a related concept of your own choosing that is relevant to the course themes. Define the concept referring to the theoretical and research literature, and provide examples of this concept at work in pedagogical practice. This should take the form of a wiki-style entry.

A theory work should be 2000 words or more in length. Ideally it should include media such as images, diagrams, tables, embedded videos (either uploaded into Scholar, or embedded from other sites), web links and other digital media. Be sure to source all material that is quoted or otherwise used. Each work must have references ‘element’ or section, including references to at least 5 scholarly articles or books, plus any other necessary or relevant references, including to websites and other media.

Following is the educational theory rubric, against which others will review your work, and against which you will do your self-review at the completion of your final draft. You can view this rubric while you draft your work at Creator => Feedback => Reviews => Rubric.

KnowledgeProcessesRubric.pdf

 

For the Instructor

Work 2A: Learning Practice Case Study (EdM)

For the Participant

Write a case study of an innovative learning practice—a method, a resource or a technology, for instance. This could be a reflection practice you have already used, or a new or unfamiliar practice which you would like to explore. Analyze an educational practice, or an ensemble of practices, as applied in a clearly specified a learning context. Use as many of the theory concepts defined by members of the group in their published Work 1 as you can, with references and links to the published works of the other course participants.

Here is the peer review rubric for a learning practice case study:

KnowledgeProcessesRubric.pdf

 

For the Instructor

Work 2B: Design a Learning Module (EdM)

For the Participant

Create a learning module in Scholar which demonstrates how you would translate some of the ideas and principles of this course into practice. A learning module is a hybrid work which crosses the legacy educational practices of lesson plan, syllabus and textbook. Unlike a lesson plan which is mainly written for a teacher’s design purposes, a learning module has both teacher and learner sides. On the left side of the screen you speak to learners in “classroom discourse,” however in the case of the learning module, in a dialogical mode, rather like social media. On the right side of the screen, you speak to other teachers in the professional discourse of the curriculum and pedagogy. Unlike a syllabus, a learning module contains content as well as an outline of coverage. And unlike a textbook which typically summarizes and transmit content that learners are to consume and remember, a learning module curates a variety of web content (links, embedded media etc.) and establishes a dialogue with and between learners which positions them as active seekers and producers of knowledge.

Your learning module should:

  1. have a clear rationale in terms of learning objectives and, if applicable, curriculum standards.
  2. include at least 8 updates, each of which on the left side includes at least some curated media and a comment request that will prompt rich dialogue among students, and on the right side speaks to teachers about the underlying pedagogical rationale, possible supplementary resources, teaching suggestions, and standards mapping.
  3. include least one peer reviewed project , with peer assessment rubric.
  4. include at least one information or knowledge survey.
  5. demonstrate pedagogical coherence and completeness. Optionally, creators could use the Learning by Design pedagogy, described here.
  6. be well formed in terms of the learning module two column format and heading structure, with all media and other curated content fully sourced.

For model K-12 learning modules, visit the Literacies and Learning by Design collections in the Scholar Bookstore. For model college and higher education learning modules, visit the Higher Education collection. For a selection of learning modules created by participants in the Learning Design and Leadership program, visit that collection. For instructions on how to create a Learning Module in Scholar, visit section 5 of the Scholar Help area.

Following is the peer review rubric for the learning module, against which others will review your work, and against which you will do your self-review at the completion of your final draft. You can view this rubric while you draft your work at Creator => Feedback => Reviews => Rubric. The rubric explores four main knowledge processes, the background and rationale for which is described in the papers at this page. If you want to use the L-by-D icons to mark activity types explicitly, you can copy and paste web icons located at this link.

LearningModuleRubric.pdf

 

For the Instructor

Work 1: Annotated Bibliography (EdD)

For the Participant

Create an annotated bibliography of approximately 5 references. These should mostly be different from the ones you present in your updates.

The purpose of an annotated bibliography is to demonstrate that you can select the key publications of scholars who have also addressed a particular topic, as peer reviewed articles or books. Your commentary will demonstrate that you can make astute synthesis and analysis of each publication, and connect publications in a way that is indicative of your understanding of the topic addressed in these publications.

Finding and Selecting References

  1. On the web. Be sure to supplement a general web search with Google Scholar. Not only does this narrow your search to scholarly articles and books. It has useful information about how widely a work and an author has been cited. However, be careful with this information—quantity does not necessarily mean quality or relevance to your interests. Less cited works may be very good or highly relevant.
  2. In the library. Search for journal articles and e-books that are behind paywalls on the web.
  3. Read review articles. Look for review articles that address your topic.
  4. Follow the gossip! When you find an article or book that you really like, or that you find very helpful, look for who this author is citing. If their work is helpful, they will probably have a good eye for things that you will also find helpful. Look out particulary for citations that may be obscure and not necessarily popular in the sense of garnering a large number of citations. Think of academic writing as a kind of gossip network. Who is talking about whom?

Web Tips

Requirements and Considerations

Write an introduction to your annotated bibilography which explains your interest, your topic, and your research question. What makes this your general field, and why are you here?

Cite each reference formally and in full. Write one or two paragraphs for each reference, summarizing its content and explaining its significance to the field and to the issues you will be addressing in your dissertation.

Peer Review Rubric and Annotation Codes

KnowledgeProcessesRubric.pdf

When addressing the peer review rubric, consider:

  • Your introductory rationale for selecting and grouping these works (your experience, interest, project focus)
  • The concepts and theory used by the scholar(s) who authored the book or article.
  • Main empirical findings, if the work is based on empirical study.
  • The methodology of the work, and how this has been usefully insightful in this case.
  • The significance of the work in terms of its impact on the academic field, and the frequency with which it is cited. (Though of course, some works you may want to argue are important in their implications for the whole field, even if not widely known or cited.)
  • Practical applications and real world consequences, actual or potential. Creative and innovative extensions

Ask any questions or share suggestions in the comments area.

For the Instructor

Work 2: Literature Review (EdD)

For the Participant

Choose an issue, theme or topic within the scope of this course and write a literature review of 2000 words or more, addressing this issue. If you have an idea for your dissertation already, you may wish to choose a topic that intersects with that idea.

The literature review should not merely be descriptive—it should be analytical and critical. However, at the same time it should be a fair representation of the perspectives and voices of a range of people across the field. What are the main issues arising for this issue, theme or topic? The main challenges to be addressed? The questions being asked by the intellectual and practical leaders in relation to this issue?

Structure and Process

One possible structure for the literature review might be as follows (you will find other suggestions in the Web Tips area, below):

  1. The issue, topic or theme: why it is significant and the challenges being addressed
  2. Key concepts and theoretical frameworks: compare and contrast approaches
  3. Typical methodologies of research and application employed to address these issues, topics and themes; their strengths and weaknesses
  4. Main empirical findings and practical implications; open questions and where further work is needed
  5. Conclusion: where this issue is heading, the tasks ahead for people addressing this issue

The Textual Features of the Genre, Literature Review

The literature review is a delicate play between the voices of the field, and the way you bring them together in a synthesis and interpretation. It will map out an issue, theme or topic, fairly representing varied voices, analyzing their differences, and critically interpreting the nuances.

References

  • Boote, David N. and Penny Beile. 2005. "Scholars before Researchers: On the Centrality of the Dissertation Literature Review in Research Preparation." Educational Researcher 34(6):3–15.
  • Galvan, Jose L. 2006. Writing a Literature Review: A Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Glendale CA: Pyrczak Publishing.
  • Machi, Lawrence A. and Brenda T. McEvoy. 2016. The Literature Review. Thousand Oaks CA: Corwin.

Web Tips

Here are some resources addressing the textual dynamics of a literature review:
Demystifying the Literature Review (UofI Library)
Introduction to Literature Reviews
The Genre of Research Articles: The Literature Review Section
Genres in Academic Writing: Literature Reviews
What Makes a Good or Bad Literature Review?
What is a Lit. Review?
What is a Literature Review?
Literature Review Genre Conventions
Write a Literature Review
Literature Reviews: An Overview for Graduate Students (video)
Literature Review Basics (link to more links)
APA Citations (UofI Library)
Write a Killer Literature Review (Udemy course)

References: On Academic Writing

You may also wish to take a moment to reflect on academic writing in general. Much academic writing is (frankly!) poor writing. Here are some readings and source books:

  • Strunk, William and E.B. White. 1979. Elements of Style. New York NY: Longman. (A classic!)
  • Sword, Helen. 2012. Stylish Academic Writing. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.
  • The University of Chicago Press Editorial Staff. 2017. The Chicago Manual of Style. Chicago IL: University of Chicago Press. Online edition.
  • Coursera Academic Writing Course.

You cannot be too obsessive about style and textual consistency! Two requests:

  • Always proof everything you submit, including first drafts for peer review.
  • As a reviewer, always note typos and suggest textual revisions to peers using the annotations tool.

Peer Review Rubric and Annotation Codes

KnowledgeProcessesRubric.pdf

Some questions to address in the literature review:

  • What motivates your concern for this issue?
  • As a body of work, what practical questions does this literature set out to address?
  • What is the empirical range addresed in this issue, theme or topic?
  • Who are the most influential and most cited thinkers?
  • What are the main theories, interpretative frameworks, or paradigms which order knowledge when addressing this issue, theme or topic?
  • What kinds of research methodology are used?
  • What range of practices does this field spawn? What are its most exciting and promising areas of innovation?

Ask any questions or share suggestions in the comments area.

For the Instructor