As a certified reading specialist with a Master’s degree in Reading and Literacy, I have worked with literally thousands of students at all grade levels. Some students are gifted and ahead of the rest of their class, and others have struggled since the beginning. In addition, these students have had varying levels of success with their literacy skills.
As a teacher, how do you ensure that you reach all of the students and provide them with quality lessons day after day? Do you teach more to the average students and hope the gifted and the struggling adjust accordingly? Do you concern yourself with the students behind the rest of the class and let the others tread water for now?
Of course, the answer is to teach all of these students at their own personal levels. However, how do you do such a thing with a class of 25 students with skills that vary so greatly and just one educator leading the way?
Small group instruction is the strategy of placing students in groups of three or four with other kids that have close to the same ability at the moment for that particular subject level. Generally, in a classroom, you would have a gifted group, a struggling group, and then perhaps three or four groups of students presently displaying average skills.
How to Handle Small Group Instruction in a Full Classroom
Each group is met and instructed individually by the classroom teacher. This would entail the teacher spending approximately ten minutes with each group before moving on to the next. It does require a bit of extra work for the teacher as each lesson involves creating essentially three different plans. While the teacher meets with each group, the other students must have independent work to keep them occupied. This can be accomplished through technology, independent reading, and writing projects.
The Benefits of Small Group Instruction
There are benefits attached to small group instruction that are hard to ignore if you are searching for ways to get the most out of students.
- More individualized attention
- Able to inspire more confidence
- Gives every student a voice
- Teaching much-needed teamwork to the group
- Offers the ability to quickly determine who is struggling and who is excelling
- Make adjustments to the lesson plan on the fly if needed
Tutoring Is Another Option
Parents often think tutoring is only for students struggling and behind most of the rest of the class. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Tutoring can take gifted students and raise their skills even greater. Or a solid tutor could work with an average student and take them to the next level. There are plenty of options.
Here at iAchieve, we offer plenty of quality tutors, both online and in-person. Whatever subject or topic you would like covered with your student, we can handle it. Just as much learning takes place outside of the classroom, and we can definitely assist with this.