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Small Group Instruction
Transcript of Small Group Instruction
Productive intervention is rarely a whole class endeavor. Small group is an excellent structure for providing specific intervention because students are more likely to reveal gaps in understanding and misconceptions and teachers are more likley to find these gaps when they are working with a small group. Furthermore, the small group structure allows teachers to target the instruction more effectively because they can constantly adjust the instruction. Teachers can tailor the interaction and discourse to help struggling students find success. Small group instruction provides opportunities for strategic intervention.
"More is better" is not necessarily true when it comes to intervention. More work does not necessarily help students, especially if students are left alone to do the work. Drill does kill. It kills the spirit of learning. To make the "more is better" idea beneficial for struggling students consider more time, more instruction, more strategies, and more opportunities for success. Teachers feel more comfortable teaching the same way that they were taught. Many teachers have not experienced success with small groups and have not had chances to see it done successfully in other classrooms. Small group instruction may require more extensive planning for the teacher. Any differentiated instruction will require more planning to meet the needs not just of the struggling student, but also the needs of the middle and high achieving students. Students who are not a part of small group instruction have limited direct teacher instruction. How much students learn as they work independently depends on the value and rigor of the tasks planned as well as on clearly established procedures. Teacher is able to better monitor behavior. Teacher has flexibility in choosing materials. Easier to monitor the work of each student. Easier for the teacher: one lesson plan and a quick method of presenting information to all the students at once. Builds a sense of community in the classroom as common experiences are created. Students have more things to communicate about because of common experience in the classroom. The effectiveness of small-group instruction is usually greater and because of this the teacher has to carefully weigh the trade-off between increased effectiveness or greater amount of time for direct instruction. There are times when the entire class is working at approximately the same level and the teacher may choose to use whole-class instruction. The following are times where whole-class instruction is appropriate:
Involving students in activating strategies
Reading aloud using related literature
Setting the stage for centers/stations
Practice and review
Formal testing Disadvantages: It is rare that the students in the classroom are at the same level of competency causing some to be left behind while others zone out because they are not challenged. With whole group instruction, although there is communication when students come together and share experiences, student communication is limited. In most cases, it is teacher dominated communication. Students are more likely to miss out on key instructional content. Advantages: Teachers are more comfortable teaching in the whole group setting. What do small groups look like? Students who are struggling to attain skills and concepts in any subject area need explicit instruction. Explicit instruction is provided when teachers give students ongoing feedback, clear models, a variety of examples, time for practice, and opportunities for discourse. Successful intervention is precise and focused on students' immediate learning needs.