Tiered Guided Practice
Many educators intuitively know that students, no matter at what level, need practice in a safe environment. One old technique that aids in the management of classroom activity is Guided Practice–or, using my term, Tiered Guided Practice.
This is rather simple, actually, and can not only intensify the learning process, but relieve task anxiety for “shy” students. The idea is that the instructor provides directions, the instructor models the task, the students are given a few minutes to try a version of the task on their own, the students work on the tasks in small groups, and finally–if applicable–the students work on the task independently.
Why is this a classroom management technique? Because it keeps participants busy and learning, freeing up the instructor to circulate among individuals and groups, discussing and clearing up unique understandings or misunderstandings to fix the assignment explanation and directions for future activities, etc. Thus, it is a means that provides immediate instructor feedback for activity/lesson evaluation.
Plus, the students are not involved in “busy work,” but are actively participating for independent work–not only for the assignment at hand, but for future assignments and beyond-school experiences–especially discussing solutions or approaches to solutions with social groups.
A similar but independent task can be assigned immediately following the class discussion of group activities, allowing the teacher to address the needs of students who still need some help with the task. Finally, after the individual practice, students can be assigned another similar activity for homework, giving the student the opportunity to show what he/she can do without the benefit of immediate group or teacher intervention.
The beauty of this approach is that it allows several opportunities and levels at which the student can identify a problem area in learning the activity or task and ask for more guidance–from peers or from the teacher. For those students who “get it” immediately, it offers an opportunity to reinforce the concept or activity by helping peers during group work.
This blog was started several days ago, and I had been meaning to get back to it. When I did, I started wondering if there is really more for me to say about it.
Have you used this or a similar technique? Please share your experiences.