Definition: Using various strategies and techniques to meet each child’s needs.
Determination of Needs: In order to determine what strategies and techniques to use to meet each child’s needs, the needs have to be determined. Teachers need to be aware of each child’s cognitive ability, learning style, background influences, readiness, learning pace, and confidence.
Strategies & Techniques: Once this knowledge is gained, a teacher can choose differing strategies and techniques that will address those needs.
“Students learn best when they are actively involved in the process. Research shows that regardless of the subject matter, students working in small groups tend to learn more of what is taught and retain it longer than when the same content is presented in other instructional formats. Various names have been given to this form of teaching, and there are some distinctions among these: cooperative learning, collaborative learning, collective learning, learning communities, peer teaching, peer learning, reciprocal learning, team learning, study circles, study groups, and work groups.” (1)
Analyze each student's strengths. This will assist you with the grouping of students. Pre-assess student’s instructional needs by analyzing KWL charts, writing prompts, observations and checklists, questionnaires, work samples or portfolios.
Group size is most effective for instruction that varies according to the different learning styles of students and the content and purpose of the instruction.
Guidelines should be taught in advance and consistently reinforced. (5)
Some basic tips for managing groups are:
1 Davis, Barbara Gross. Tools for Teaching. Jossey-Bass Publishers: San Francisco. 1993. http://teaching.berkeley.edu/bgd/collaborative.html, University of California – Berkeley. June 28, 2011.
2 Heacox, Diane Ed.D. Differentiating Instruction in the Regular Classroom: How to Reach and Teach All Learners, Grades 3-12. Free Spirit Publishing. 2002. Pages 85-88.
3 Josey, Susan. Differentiated Instruction in the Classroom - Module Five: Flexible Grouping and Tiered Assignments. Teacher Education Institute Online Course #CTED 741. March 8, 2011-June 7, 2011.
4 The Adaptive Dimension, http://www.saskschools.ca/curr_content/adapthandbook/envir/grouping.html, June 28, 2011.
5 Heacox, Diane Ed.D. Differentiating Instruction in the Regular Classroom: How to Reach and Teach All Learners, Grades 3-12. Free Spirit Publishing. 2002. Pages 88-89.