Engaging diverse learners



Part A: For Assessment 2 you will apply your learning about engaging diverse learners as a problem solving task, as follows. As part of your teaching duties you have been asked to act on a planning committee to lead one of the scenarios described below (chose 1 only). You must consider how you are going to include the students in the Hill Top School Case Study (found on EDP415 Blackboard – Assessment) in this activity. For this essay, choose four (4) students in particular from the case study to profile for inclusion in the activity. The four students chosen must not include the student you profiled for your first assignment in EDP415.


Possible Scenarios that have prompted a need for a planning committee meeting:


  1. A field trip is planned for students to visit the local conservation area to explore the ecosystem as part of their class studies. Concerns have been raised, concerning a few students in particular who might find some aspects of this activity challenging.


  1. A new anti-bullying policy has been introduced in the school. The focus is to involve students at all levels to ensure that the policy is comprehensively understood and followed. Some of the students have indicated a reluctance to be involved.


  1. Following on from a recent professional development workshop, you have been asked to incorporate ICT into your teaching area. You have limited resources to work with but want to offer places to your students to join a working team re using ICT. Initially you will limit the team to four students.


To include your four students in the planning meetings, your essay should include:

  • A brief profile on each of the identified students, with reference to literature in regards to students’ learning characteristics, strengths, challenges, effect of home background etc., and the role you perceive this student taking in the activity.
  • A brief outline of the anticipated learning for each of the students and/or collectively for all four students (your choice)[approximately 2000 words: + or – 10%).


Part B: Reflection


You will complete a reflection on the process of including a diverse range of students in the planning committee. *NB: you should cite relevant literature to support your ideas about engaging diverse learners. For example, what challenges might you need to consider for student participation in the committee meeting in relation to challenges cited in the literature? How do you believe that your role in the planning committee has confirmed your ideas about engaging a diverse group of learners? How has your understanding of educational theory/policy/teaching approaches supported your professional development as a result of your role in the planning committee?  [approximately 1500 words: + or – 10%)

Case Study of Hill Top School

Hill Top School is a lower middle class suburban school that has a population of 623 students from a variety of backgrounds. The school is located near a large teaching hospital. Doctors from around the world come to the hospital to complete a two year training programme and their children attend Hill Top during their stay in Australia. Additionally, there are a large number of refugees from the Sudan, Afghanistan, El Salvador and Burma attending the school which adds to its cultural and linguistic diversity.

Your class of 28 students includes two students who have recently arrived from El Salvador, Mya and Ernesto. Their English language skills are very weak. They sit together and must be strongly encouraged to practice their English. Another recently arrived student, Afiz, is a refugee from Afghanistan.  There are also three Indigenous students, Rada, Jean and Thomas in the class. Jean and Thomas are engaged in learning but Rada is frequently absent.  When she comes to class she is either withdrawn or spends a great deal of her time distracting her friends so they become off-task with their work.

You also have a student, Michael who has been diagnosed as having mild Asperger’s syndrome.  Patrick has muscular dystrophy; he is not in a wheel chair at present although he has some mobility restrictions and cannot participate in high physical activities at the same level as other students. Three of your students are very bright, but one student, Clare, you believe might possibly be gifted.  Clare’s mother is a single parent who works at two jobs and places the responsibility of after-school care of her two younger children on Clare. Clare does not associate with her classmates much outside the classroom. You have heard other students refer to her as the class ‘brainaic’.

On the whole, the class is mid to low achieving but at a level no worse, or better, than the rest of the school. While there is a general lack of equipment and resources at the school (and much of what is there has missing parts or is broken), each classroom is equipped with four computers. Below is a partial breakdown of demographics in relation to the above students:




/ 40days

Exclusions English /100 Maths /100 Social Relations
Afiz 35 0 57 82 Recently arrived, few friends, limited English
Clare 40 0 98 100 Quiet, good interactions in group work
Jean 40 0 65 69 Popular with peers
Michael 32 3 days 54 61 Some erratic behaviour, no close friends in the class
Mya 40 0 56 68 Popular with peers, supportive of Ernesto
Patrick 38 0 83 87 Popular with peers
Rada 28 5 days 47 56 Erratic behaviour, capable when pushed
Ernesto 39 0 46 53 Few close friends
Thomas 40 0 68 73 Popular with peers