January 31, 2016
I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you to some teaching strategies that I will be using in the classroom this year. As you know, each grade level has a set of standards that students are expected to learn over the course of the year. My goal for the school year, besides making sure your child learns those standards, is to help him/her to become more autonomous, or independently motivated to learn. This is a lifelong skill that will help your child become more actively involved in their learning and develop important critical thinking skills. I will be working with students using the Teaching and Learning Continuum. This involves four levels, and students will receive instruction based on their individual needs.
The first level is called Didactic Instruction. At this level, I am the one who sets the goals, plans the activities, and gives explicit instruction. Children are given feedback on their work and are told how well they have done in learning the material. Every child needs this for some of their learning.
The second level is called Facilitated Instruction. At this level I will set the goals for learning based on the standards, but will take into account your child’s strengths and knowledge to determine their specific goals. Your child will have more choice in the tasks they choose to complete, and will be grouped with other students based on shared needs and/or abilities. I will provide feedback, but your child will evaluate their own work as well as receive peer evaluations based on criteria I give them. These are the beginning steps for students to take responsibility for their own learning, and also for them to see how their efforts affect others.
The third level is called Coached Instruction. At this level, I will work with your child to look at the standards and develop goals for their learning. I will help them identify their strengths and needs, and allow them to add to their goals. At this level, students take on the primary responsibility for their learning, but I am there to provide resources, instruction when necessary, and encouragement. I will meet regularly with your child to monitor their progress and help them make modifications if necessary. We will evaluate work together based on agreed criteria.
The fourth and final level is called Consultative Instruction. This is the level where students are the most independent. At this level students decide their own goals based on their needs and interests with teacher advice and consultation. Your child would design their own tasks and solve their problems independently, consulting me when necessary. The criteria for evaluation would mostly be determined by your child with my feedback. At this level your child will need to use critical thinking skills, be self-motivated, and work independently to further their knowledge. Those that reach this level are able to self-regulate and take full ownership of their learning.
A student may be placed at different levels and put in different groups depending upon their needs in any given subject. This is called differentiation. It is my hope that by learning about each of my students and their strengths and needs, each student will reach their full potential.