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Cheng, "Effects of differentiated curriculum and instruction on Taiwanese EFL students' motivation, anxiety and interest," 2006

USC dissertation in Education.
August 21, 2009

An-Chih Cheng, Ed.D

Abstract (Summary)

This study examined the effects of differentiated curriculum and instruction on the teaching of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) to university freshmen in their English reading classes in Taiwan. This quasi-experimental study investigated whether using differentiated curriculum and instruction impacted motivation, anxiety, and interest toward learning English. A pre- and post-questionnaire comparison group design was used to determine if students who were taught using differentiated curriculum and instruction yielded significantly greater gains in their motivation, anxiety, and interest levels than a more traditional teaching method (teacher-directed lecture model).

The instruments used in this study were: (1) the Motivation Scale, based on the Language Learning Motivation Scale by Schmidt et al. (1999); (2) the Language Anxiety Scale, based on Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Sale (FLCAS) by Horwitz et al. (1986); and (3) the Interest Scales, based on the Interest Wave (Harackiewicz et al., 1997, 2000). The definition of differentiation in this study is based on several references: (1) the California Department of Education GATE Standards (2005) in the area of Curriculum and Instruction defined in the work of the California Association for the Gifted (1994); (2) Kaplan (2001), Renzulli and Reis (1997); and (3) Tomlinson's (1999) tiered lessons.

The study showed that using differentiated curriculum and instruction increased EFL learners' motivation and interest levels when compared with the students taught using teacher-directed lecture model to learn English. However, the data indicated that using differentiated curriculum and instruction did not produce a significant decrease in anxiety level as compared with students in the teacher-directed lecture model. This current study showed that when the curricular elements of content, process, and product are differentiated students' interests, readiness, and learning preferences, English learning is more interesting and creates higher motivation than does using traditional Taiwanese teaching methods.

Advisor: Kaplan, Sandra