Educational_philosophies.jpgDelta Delta Group’s Educational Philosophies Pathfinder

Scope Statement – Our Educational Philosophies pathfinder focuses on differentiated instruction, standards-based education and inquiry learning. Each of these different teaching philosophies was researched based on our individual essential questions. This pathfinder was developed for the use of educators to better understand these particular educational philosophies.

Differentiated Instruction

Essential questions: How does differentiated learning meet the needs of varied students’ learning styles? Is it easily adaptable to the School Library Media Center where you do not see the students as much as the classroom teacher?

Keywords used: Differentiated learning, differentiated instruction, learning styles

Web Sites

All web links were checked and current on July 13, 2008.

Brooks, Susan, and Bill Byles. "Differentiated Instruction." Internet 4 Classrooms. 5 Jan. 2008. <>.

This web site provides learning styles, instructional theory, practical tips for the classroom, sample units and lessons and powerpoint presentations.

"Differentiated Instruction." <>.

This web site provides a list of resources based on differentiated instruction and other learning styles. It provides lesson plans, web sites and assessment tools.

"Differentiated Instruction." <>.

This web site provides a detailed description and theoretical background of differentiated instruction, as well as a list of resources to further explore the topic. ps


Tomlinson, Carol A. The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners. New York: Prentice Hall, 2004.
This book provides ideas and strategies on differentiation for teachers to use in their classroom. It shows how students can take responsibility for their own learning and on their own timeline.

Tomlinson, Carol A., and Caroline Cunningham Eidson. Differentiation in Practice: a Resource Guide for Differentiating Curriculum, Grades K-5. New York: ASCD, 2003.

This book provides a guide for elementary students across the content curriculum dealing with differentiated instruction. It provides lesson plans, worksheets, assessments and templates for use in the classroom.

Tomlinson, Carol A., and Jay McTighe. Integrating Differentiated Instruction & Understanding by Design: Connecting Content and Kids. New York: ASCD, 2006.
This book provides ideas for lesson plans based on differentiated instruction and how to incorporate content standards. These authors use Understanding by Design as a curriculum model and show how teachers can incorporate this in their classrooms. ps


Anderson, Kelly M. "Tips for Teaching: Differentiating Instruction to Include All Students." Preventing School Failure 51 (2007): 49-54. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCO. Atlantic County Library, Egg Harbor Township. 12 July 2008 <>.

This article describes how it is important in differentiated learning to include choices and flexibility to meet the needs of individual students. It gives examples of how you can differentiate a lesson with varied learning styles.

Cox, Susan G. "Differentiated Instruction in the Elementary Classroom." Education Digest 73 (2008): 52-54. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCO. Atlantic County Library, Egg Harbor Township. 12 July 2008 <>.

The articles discusses how students’ learning style is more diverse now than ever and how differentiated learning meets students’ individual needs. It explains how teachers can respond to individual learning styles to increase the maximum potential for learning.

Koechlin, Carol, and Sandi Zwaan. "Everyone Wins: Differentiation in the School Library." Teacher Librarian 35 (2008): 8-13. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCO. Atlantic County Library, Egg Harbor Township. 12 July 2008 <>.

This article helps to describe how a teacher librarian can use differentiated instruction techniques in the Media Center. It tells how we should recognize the different needs of our students and help them by providing varied teaching strategies. It gives instruction on how to differentiate using content, process, product and the learning environment to help achieve the desired learning standard.

Levy, Holly M. "Meeting the Needs of All Students Through Differentiated Instruction: Helping Every Child Reach and Exceed Standards." Clearing House 81 (2008): 161-164. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCO. Atlantic County Library, Egg Harbor Township. 12 July 2008 <>.

This article describes the basic elements of differentiated learning: content, process and product. It explains how important it is to pre-assess students before a lesson, assess during a lesson and to assess again after the final product is delivered. ps

Standards-Based Education

Essential questions: What do students gain and what do they lose with a back to basics approach to education? Does a focus on basics or standards neglect creativity?


Standards-based education may be looked at as a back-to basics approach. The theory of essentialism may be the main educational philosophy surrounding both standards-based and back-to-basics practices. In both standards-based and essentialist curriculum's the focus is subject-oriented and classrooms may be more teacher-centered than student-centered. In the United States essentialism is evident in the "No Child Left Behind Act" in the United States. NCLB calls for a strong core curriculum and strong educational standards. Increase in testing and the value placed on test scores for teachers and students is predominant in NCLB and in standards-based approaches in general. There is general debate surrounding the NCLB Act - whether it is effectively supporting educational needs and whether the time, effort and value placed on testing and test scores squashes creativity.

Keywords: Essentialism, Standards-based, No Child Left Behind, Back-to-basics

Standards-Based Education:

All websites checked and current on 7-15-2008.

"Quality Counts At 10: a Decade of Standards-Based Education."
5 Jan. 2008. 2008 Editorial Projects in Education.

A special edition From "Education Week" this site has links to resources on standard-based education including online chat transcripts, links to state school report cards, case studies and print resources from the journal. This is a good starting point for learning about both positive and negative viewpoints on standards-based education. mr


Burke-Adams, ,Angela. "The Benefits of Equalizing Standards and Creativity: Discovering a Balance in Instruction." Gifted Child Today 30 (2007): 58-63. ERIC.

This article, by Burke-Adams, while speaking to the needs of gifted children, raises the question if there is a conflict between standard-based education and creativity and how that conflict can be better balanced through instructional methods. Burke-Adams provides some scenarios to add creativity to daily instruction, including using technology, fostering creative writing, and compacting or allowing students to participate in enrichment programs upon mastery of basic skills. In outlining three components: teacher behavior, learning environment, and instructional strategies, Burke-Adams provides ways that may help to achieve this equilibrium.

Manthey, George. "More Than Just the Facts." Leadership 36 (2006): 12-13.

The author analyzes California's Content Standards. Manthey uses Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives to do this analysis. His conclusion is that California's Standards heavy emphasis on what facts students must know and understand may neglect creativity and
synthesis. The article gives some suggestions on how teachers can encourage creativity in a standards-based educational system. mr


Zagranski, Richard A., William . T. Whigham, and Patrice L. Dardenne. Understanding Standards-Based Education: a Practical Guide for Teachers and Administrators. Corwin P, 2007.

This book is a practical guide for teachers and administrators on teaching methods and tools for standard-based education. The guide incorporates the NCLB Act and provides charts, rubrics, and templates as well as real world scenarios and solutions for achieving mandated goals. mr

No Child Left Behind:
"No Child Left Behind - ED.Gov." U.S. Department of Education. <>.
US Department of Education site for No Child Left Behind. This site is comprehensive about the No Child Left Behind Act. Included are overviews of the Act, sections for students, parents, administrators and teachers. Publications and teaching resources are available. Updates on new regulations to the NCLB act are easily found. This website seems very current with information about changes and updates to the NCLB act, and also has unique information to inform parents.
"ALA No Child Left Behind." 6 Nov. 2006. American Association of School Librarians. <>.
The American Association of School Librarians website for NCLB. This site has links to the ALA Resolution on School Libraries and the NCLB, as well as links to two pamphlets and papers of use to School Librarians such as "Your School Library Media Program and No Child Left Behind" and "A Highly Qualified Librarian in Every School." The site also links to grant programs, and resource guides on library funding and student achievement. mr

Chester E. "5 Myths About No Child Left Behind." Washington Post 30 Mar. 2008. <>.

An excellent, brief article by Chester E. Finn Jr., senior fellow at
Stanford University's Hoover Institution, debunking and clarifying the myths surrounding the issues of the NCLB act. Finn outlines five myths about NCLB that may have "poisoned the well" as far as it's survival with
a new administration.

Butzin, Sarah M. "NCLB: Fix It, Don't Nix It." Phi Delta Kappan 88 (2007): 768-769.

Butzin argues in this article that there are both good and bad in the NCLB law. She outlines what the detractors and supports believe about the act. She points out that parts of the law that help children should be kept but those parts that stifle creativity should be removed. mr

Abernathy, Scott. No Child Left Behind and the Public Schools. University of Michigan Press, 2007.

Abernathy's book provides a detailed critique of the NCLB Act and it's effect on public education in the
United States. He provides ideas and suggestions for changes to the Act. Abernathy states that the most important question surrounding an educational reform act, and NCLB by default, is "Can we ever really know if a child's education is good?" mr

Inquiry Learning

Essential Questions:
What is the best way to understand inquiry learning for use in the classroom?
What plan could be used to apply inquiry learning methods in my classroom?
What is the impact of this teaching method on student learning?

Web Sites

All websites checked and current on 7-15-2008.<span
Project-based learning, problem-based learning, and inquiry-based learning are all discussed in this website that provides extensive hyperlinks for more exploration. Technology methods are also presented to help students organize, search, or present information.</span
Gives an excellent description of the key principles of the inquiry learning process along with several good in-depth hyperlinks to technology and internet suggestions.</span
Presents an online workshop for teachers on inquiry-based learning. The site includes videos of the process in actual classroom settings and is structured to explain what inquiry learning is and then demonstrates what exactly goes on in the classroom. Excellent and definitely worth a visit!</span
Website is specifically for information professionals. It discusses learning environments, information resources and gives extensive website references and it is interestingly presented using student reports as examples. pm


Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century

by Carol C. Kuhlthau, Leslie K. Maniotes, Ann K. Caspari
Discusses the benefits of inquiry learning to educational shareholders (i.e. students, teachers, librarians) including such topics as:
· The constructivist learning approach
· The Kuhlthau model of information seeking
· Six principles of guided inquiry including:
o Active engagement
o Building on knowledge
o Development of higher order thinking
o Ways and modes of learning
o Learning through social interaction

Teaching and Learning Through Inquiry: A Guidebook for Institutions and Instructors

by Virginia S. Lee
This book takes an academic approach to inquiry learning as experienced at North Carolina State University:
· Explores how inquiry learning can be adapted to a variety of disciplines
· Describes how to incorporate active learning, critical thinking, and problem-based learning.
· Integrated inquiry guided learning with technology

Inquiry Learning Through Librarian-Teacher Partnerships (Information Skills Across the Curriculum)

by Violet H. Harada, Joan M. Yoshina
· Describes how to reassess current instructional practices
· Defines the role of the library media specialist in implementing curriculum changes
· Describes how to structure library-classroom collaborative instructional planning for greater student achievement. pm

Lakkala, M.; Ilomäki, L.; Palonen, T.. Behaviour & Information Technology, Jan/Feb2007, Vol. 26 Issue 1, p37-53
This article helps to describe how students completed group inquiry with a cross-disciplinary project dealing with cultural issues. In this study, students and teachers opted out of traditional classroom roles.

Wentworth, Nancy. Computers in the Schools, 2006, Vol. 23 Issue 3/4, p115-129
This study indicates that, when inquiry-based instruction is used in conjunction with technology integration, learning is collaborative, student-centered, and develops critical thinking skills in students.

Inquiry”Yoshina, Joan M.; Harada, Violet H.. School Library Media Activities Monthly, Apr2006, Vol. 22 Issue 8, p22-25
Allows students to make choices that help the direction of their learning. Includes recommended questions assessements and delineates cognitive skills taking place as students learn.

Information Age School: Vital Roles in Inquiry Learning” Kuhlthau, Carol C.. School Libraries in Canada, 2003, Vol. 22 Issue 4, p3-5
Focuses on the changes needed in school libraries to provide effectual learning to students. Defines the teacher-librarian role in the schools; Defines abilities needed to be successful for students in the information age and provides strategies for inquiry based learning. pm

Additional Articles

Teaching for Conceptual Change: Confronting Children's Experience
Bruce Watson and Richard Konicek
Phi Delta Kappan, May 1990 p. 680-685

The Art of Questioning
Dennis Palmer Wolf
Academic Connections, Winter 1987 p. 1-7

How to Engage Students in Learning
Vito Perrone
Educational Leadership, February 1994 p. 11-13

The Importance of Play as the Starting Point for Inquiry
Gregg Humphrey
Vermont Elementary Science Project pm