How can teachers use flexible grouping to differentiate instruction?

Flexible grouping is one of the easiest ways to differentiate instruction. Teachers need to be able to reach both interpersonaland intrapersonal learners. Grouping during instruction has a few possibilities. Most teachers use whole class instruction lectures to introduce the main concepts of a unit. One way to differentiate grouping during instruction is through the questioning of the students. Wait time extended is a tool I picked up in “Effective Teaching”, a professional development course through A.P.L. Associates. In every two to three minutes of instructional lecture, the teacher stops and asks the class a question. The students, seated in pairs, have thirty seconds to give the answer to their partner. If one person in the partnership doesn’t understand then the other person teaches it to them. This not only will hold the interest of the interpersonal learner but it also increases the student’s mastery of the content. 90% of mastery comes from teaching others the content learned. Once the question is given to the students to discuss, the teacher walks around the room and guides and observes the partner discussion. At the end of the thirty seconds the teacher then calls on someone they thought had a good answer. The time to prepare an answer is appreciated by the students because they have time to process and put together a well stated answer. Flexible grouping also allows a quick group discussion of a minute or two. Because students are seated in pairs, a teacher could ask the students to group in fours just by having one pair turn around and face the pair behind them. The teacher’s role would be the same as in the extended time partnership. Another way of questioning is one that has been used more traditionally and has great value. The teacher needs to ask questions to the class that require self reflection for intrapersonal learners to connect themselves to the content and it allows them to rely on themselves for the answer. Even during a lecture, differentiation through the use of flexible grouping, is a possibility and is effective. helps teachers differentiate in less than 10 minutes.

Written by

Kasha Mastrodomenico

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