multiple teachers are available to work together to meet the needs of the students in their classesTeachers can then work together on the initiative of meeting students’ needs rather than working alone.
At Greenwood, we have scheduled two Grade 7 mathematics classes into the same block for the past few years. The teachers stay at roughly the same pace and are able to use assessment to periodically create mixed groups from the two classes. Sometimes, but not always, the mixing is based on readiness:
use assessment to periodically create mixed groups from the two classes. Sometimes, but not always, the mixing is based on readinessone group gets concept reinforcement and the other group gets some extension work. This is not streaming. The students still have a mixed-level classroom and an assigned teacher who they are with most often, but the students also have the opportunity to work with groups of students whose needs are similar. On the days when groups are created between the classrooms, the teachers can focus in on what the students in their group need rather than having to do multiple tasks all within their own classroom.
We have created a timetable for the 2013-2014 school year in which a few courses have more than one section running at the same time. The teachers of these courses will modify the groups in their classrooms for various reasons. Sometimes they will use assessment results to regroup for content readiness, similar to the Grade 7 mathematics class. Other times, they will shuffle students between classrooms based on interest. In English, students could choose different novels to study and then meet with their novel group for discussions. Students in this novel group could be a combination of students from 2-3 different classes within the same course.
Students in this novel group could be a combination of students from 2-3 different classes within the same courseAlternatively, teachers may give students the choice of how to work through material in a series of lessons: one group may use technology-rich resources, another group would have a teacher-directed lesson and a third group may work through a series of activities. Scheduling 2-3 classes of a course at the same time means that these three paths could run in different rooms, each with a different teacher. Students could also be grouped by their learning style for some lessons.
Students in these courses will have a core teacher to whom they are assigned. They will also have the opportunity to interact with other teachers of this course and other students beyond their usual classmates. Students will get multiple perspectives. Teachers using this approach will work together to plan their classes, assessments and common evaluations. They will get to know the needs and interests of all of the students in the course, not just those in their own room. Teachers and students will be part of a bigger community that extends beyond their own classroom.