Why is small group instruction important?

Small-group teaching provides opportunities for flexible and differentiated learning. With fewer students, students have more opportunities to participate. Teachers can better monitor students, thus providing better and more individualized feedback and support. Instructional conversations are easier to conduct and support with a small group of students (Goldenberg, 199.In addition to group size, questions about the teacher's role in small group instruction require further research.

Therefore, educators implement small group teaching to better meet the needs of their students and ensure their success. The implications for the practice of individual teaching are, in many ways, the most difficult to define because, although there is universal agreement on its value, very little is known about its effectiveness for students with LD in relation to other grouping formats. A question that requires greater attention with regard to the effectiveness of small groups is the size of the group needed based on the student's instructional needs. Although students preferred to receive reading instruction in mixed-ability groups, they considered that the same grouping of reading skills was important to non-readers.

One benefit that I love about small group instruction is that it really allows the teacher to adapt instruction to the challenge of the students where they are. Being close to students allows the teacher to immediately address misconceptions that would not have been possible in the instruction of the whole group. During check-in times, teachers should make quick anecdotal notes on any student who is struggling to address deficits in small group instruction. Teacher grouping practices play a critical role in facilitating the effective implementation of reading instruction and the inclusion of students with disabilities.

Small-group instruction and cooperative learning have a significant impact on student performance (Hattie, 200) and are widely used in elementary classrooms. Small-group instruction generally follows whole-group instruction to reinforce or re-teach specific skills and concepts and provides a reduced student-teacher ratio. If most students are not successful at learning stations, teachers should explore other effective educational strategies to address deficits during whole-group instruction. Given the factors of reality identified by teachers, it is difficult to imagine how they could provide the individual instruction required by many students with LD to achieve adequate progress in reading.

The biggest challenge for teachers when implementing small group teaching is figuring out how to engage other students in the classroom while working with a small group of 2 to 6 students.

Colleen Sluder
Colleen Sluder

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