Observation and Description
Describe the overall teaching situation, including group characteristics, seating arrangement, and any additional criteria necessary to present the learning environment
The teaching situation was conducive. The host teacher, from whom I learnt a lot, was also very cooperative in helping me create a learning atmosphere favorable for the kids. The teaching was about cutting out sight words with scissors followed by learning how to play a sight word card game. This was a very interesting topic for the students and they were engaged throughout the study period. For the lesson, I came with several props that were meant to help me in showing the students what exactly they were expected to do. I divided the students into groups which were heterogeneous.
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This was to ensure that the students with slow learning ability could be easily assisted by those who were quick to learn the lesson in study. The sitting arrangement of the student was in a row and column format. (Slavin, 2009). Learning was organized in groups with each group having four students. As explained above, the groups were heterogeneous and the sitting arrangement was in a square format with each students being able to see all the others and observe the proceedings of the group.
I taught the whole class before grouping them and answered their questions. This was meant to stimulate their thinking at a class level and also to ensure they all understood what was being taught in order to achieve the same result in all the groups. This was to confirm that the students were indeed engaged in solving the task given unto them and that all of them were contributing towards the groups’ assignment. Each of the group members had a role to play in the group assignment.
Analysis, Exploration, and Reasoning
Explain the reasons behind the rules you established for student behavior and participation during your lesson presentation
Rules established included full participation by each of the student and no student was to sit behind another student. They were then to have a brief bonding period before beginning the lesson (Borich, 2007). This was to ensure that all the students participated fully in their roles in the assignment and could observe how the other students were engaging in their role completion in which they could as well contribute in. The bonding period was to allow them to get to know one another and also make the learning process fun.
Connections to Other Effective Teaching Practices
Explain the connection between group size and student learning levels
Generally, a small group stimulates learning among the group members than a larger group would. This theoretically increases the learning levels of the group. Individually, the learning level of a student increases with a smaller learning group. This is because of the proximity to the learning resources as well as the ease in the exchanging of ideas within the thin group. It is also important to add that when a student with a low learning level is placed in a large group, the concentration span will reduce and thus is the interest resulting to little or no learning for such students.
Evaluate the effectiveness of your instruction regarding small group role expectations
The role expectation made every member of the group contribute in the group assignment. I would therefore rate my instruction as 9 out of the possible 10 due to the highly effectiveness witnessed during the teaching and conduction of the lesson. However, this method should be used with a homogeneous approach to the grouping to ensure there is learning among the group members.
Explain the thinking process you went through to complete this evaluation
The thinking process was majorly based on the success of the method employed and how the students would ultimately understand the lesson being taught. I had to evaluate the options I had about grouping of the students and the general approach to take to ensure the students understood what the lesson was all about. The thinking process was therefore largely about how group members would learn form each other and how the class in general will be on the same page by the end of the lesson despite being split into groups (Slavin, 2009). Also, it was to ensure that no member of the class was left behind during the lesson.
Describe an alternative approach you could have used to improve the level of student participation in the small group
An alternative method would be to make the students complete the whole tasks individually but within the group. The students would learn from each other how each of them was handling the task and as such borrow from each other on what to do in order to complete their tasks. This was going to promote competition as well cooperation within the group members.
Justify your choices of recommendations
In order to ensure equal participation by each of the group members, it would be of concern to give the students tasks within the group to complete the full assignment. Therefore, it would be great to give each of the student time to complete their part of the full task and help them in the process. Dividing the student into groups also ensures that the students compete among the groups. The groups will compete and thus it would be critical for the groups to work together in order to outcompete the other groups. This is critical as it cultivates a competitive spirit among the children which will help elevate their learning interest.
Personal Meaning and Professional Growth
Explain how you might regroup students for future small group instruction based on changes in student learning levels
In future, I would regroup students in such a way as to promote competition and cooperation simultaneously from the students. This will go a long way in inculcating discipline and a competitive spirit among the students. The best grouping would be therefore of a small number preferably four or five with the students randomly chosen to promote socialization within the class and achieve heterogeneity in the groups. It will as well be critical to involve the students in choosing their group members at some period in order to know which students like working together so as to place them separately next time in the promotion of socialization within the class (Borich, 2007).
Based on changes in learning levels, it would be prudent to regroup the students in a manner as to bring the ones who have improved their learning levels together with those who registered a decline to facilitate learning from one another. This will call for a heterogeneous grouping whist considering the learning levels. Placing those with improved learning levels with those that didn’t show as much improvement.
Explain what you considered as you formulated ideas regarding personal and/or professional implications
Personal and/or professional implications of understanding, selecting, and implementing appropriate grouping strategies for instruction with regards to student skill levels and changes in learning levels was learning centered. Students with high learning skill levels were grouped together with those of low learning skill levels to impose sharing within the selected group.
I evaluated the different kinds of groups and the effectiveness of each of the different kinds of groups. Precisely I considered the personal approach and the group approach on the basis of ease of learning on the students’ part.
Borich, G. (2007). Effective Teaching Methods: Research-based practice. Upper Saddle River NJ: Pearson.
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Slavin, R. (2009). Educational psychology: Theory and Practice. Boston: Pearson.