The New Zealand Education Review Office releases publications that support effective teaching and learning on a regular basis. Their recent release is an interesting look at strategies that schools are using that have led to increased achievement outcomes for learners in Years 5-8.
The report identifies some key aspects of schools where effective approaches and strategies were implemented across the school. These included:
Of particular interest to me was the information about engagement and motivation:
"Engagement and motivation were both crucial for supporting the learning and achievement of senior primary school children. Many schools were successfully giving students greater opportunities to work in multilevel groups and to make choices about their learning. Teachers grouped children for the purpose of learning about a particular concept, acquiring a specific skill, or exploring a context that interested them. They no longer grouped children by achievement level or reading age. In some cases, children were able to select which workshop to attend or which context to explore. Children were taught how to work well together, contribute, listen to others, and take responsibility for completing something successfully. Some children who had been working in a bottom group or even independently with a teacher made considerable gains when put into a multilevel group – they no longer felt designated as failures and enjoyed being supported by, and learning from their peers."
Many of the approaches that the report is discussing have gone from strength to strength with the introduction of collaborative teaching. When teachers and students work together, the possibilities for different types of grouping and teachers being able to offer different options to for students to learn material have dramatically increased.
Some examples I have seen in practice recently include:
There are some really interesting case studies that are worth reading through. Below is the summary of approaches used. Could be worth taking a look at some solid, evidence based practice if your school is working through any of these strategies.
My name is Ngaire Shepherd-Wills. This website is a record of my TeachNZ sabbatical, Term 2, 2013 and then I have continued to share my wonderings and discoveries about Innovative Learning Practices. I now work for CORE Education. Views are my own.