The English Classroom

A HELPFUL GUIDE FOR PRESERVICE TEACHERS

The Situation

Be able to organise the class based on their initial understanding of concepts.


The Solution

After teaching a concept, it can be difficult to organise students based on their level of understanding. Some students are not always willing to vocalise that they find an activity difficult. To respond to this need for support, you will need to quickly evaluate the class and group students.

Consider the activity below:

Below are three categories of feeling: happy, uncertain and unhappy.

To check their understanding, ask students to close their eyes (This builds in safety and encourages honest responses). Ask them the following questions:

  1. Who is feeling like they understand the concept and are happy to move on?
  2. Who is finding the work tricky, but is feeling confident enough to give it a go?
  3. Who is finding the work difficult and would like to have it explained again?

Tally the responses visibly up on the whiteboard. Tell the students:

“We have 15 people who are finding it tricky. What can we do to ensure those people understand the content?”

Brainstorm ways that those people can feel supported in their learning. For example:

  • A small group can work at the front desk.
  • Reteach the concept to the entire class.
  • Have a stronger student teach the concept to the class.
  • Have a stronger students teach the concept to a student who is finding it difficult.

From here you can decide how you would like to organise the students. You might have a tiered approach, such as having a high, medium and low group. Of course, you wouldn’t advertise this terminology to students as no one wants to be at the bottom. Alternatively, you might automatically have a response for students and suggest they move to a particular table to access support.

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