Case Study III: Teaching Heterogeneous Classrooms

The Client

The Israeli educational system, specifically high school mathematics.

The Problem

Heterogeneous classrooms are characterised by varying levels of achievement and motivation for learning, making it difficult for teachers to provide high-quality instruction to every student.

The Problem-Solving Team

The team consisted of two participants, both second-career mathematics teachers with many years of experience as engineers in the high tech industry.

The Process

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Stage 1. Construct Problem Core Model

Based on preparation conducted by team, including literature research on the topic of teaching heterogeneous classrooms, the team constructed a conceptual model representing the core of the problem.

Stage 2. Formulate Usefulness Criteria

The team came up with five criteria to evaluate solution ideas, with the following weightings: (1) 0.4 – improvement to student progress, (2) 0.2 – improvement to teacher motivation, (3) 0.2 - improvement to student satisfaction, (4) 0.1 - improvement to student motivation, and (5) 0.1 – improvement to teacher satisfaction.

Stage 3. Generate Original Ideas

The team carried out four exercises for facilitating creative thinking by reconfiguring each participant's mental model of the problem. Each participant generated three original ideas per exercise – a total of 12 ideas per participant and 24 ideas overall.

Stage 4. Refine Ideas for Usefulness

For each one of the 24 ideas, the team identified a core solution concept, generating four solution concepts in total:

1. Synergistic differentiation

2. Multilayered interaction

3. Pedagogical transformation

4. Boundary extension

Multiple ideas from the same solution concept were combined into one idea and then refined for usefulness based on the criteria formulated at Stage 2. This process resulted in four combined ideas.

Stage 5. Rank Refined Ideas by Usefulness

Each participant individually scored the four combined ideas, criterion by criterion. Scores for each idea were averaged across participants, and the combined ideas were then ranked according to their averaged overall usefulness score. The top scoring idea, based on the 'synergistic differentiation' concept, was selected as having potential for a pilot curriculum.

Click here to view a poster describing the selected idea.

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