Self-concept and motivation in elementary school students: the moderating role of differentiated instruction



Québec's current special education policy states that students with learning disabilities should be taught in regular classrooms (MELS, 1999).

Regular classrooms have thus become more diverse in terms of children's basic skills, such as reading and writing. As a result, the students in these classes—whether they are advanced learners or have learning disabilities—are not always provided with optimal challenges suited to their abilities, which can negatively impact their self-concept and academic motivation. Differentiated instruction has been recognized as a promising approach to promote the success of all students in regular classrooms. However, few studies have investigated the effects of this pedagogical practice on students' social development and educational adjustment.

Differentiated instruction seems a promising approach to promote the success of all students in regular classrooms.

The purpose of this thesis was to develop and validate a self-report scale evaluating teachers' use of differentiated instruction strategies, to evaluate the extent to which this practice attenuates some of the negative consequences of social comparison on students' perceived French abilities, and to investigate whether differentiated instruction enhances the positive effect of teacher structure on children's perceived competence and autonomous motivation. A sample of 422 students from 27 elementary school classrooms (third to sixth grades) in different schools in the Québec City region was used.

Results from the three articles included in the thesis, as well as their methodological, theoretical, and practical implications, are discussed.

Main researcher

Amélie Roy, Université Laval

Thesis

Call for proposals

Deposit of the thesis: June 2012