In this final post reflecting on data from a survey and from an exam wrapper, I focus on feedback specific to the practice of providing content instruction in the form of small group instruction rather than full-class lessons.
Take-Away #4: Providing the majority of my content instruction in the form of small-group instruction is valued by the students; out of all of my students, only one student had anything negative to say about it. I was particularly struck by how many students emphasized the power of hearing from peers.
- [Small group instruction] is effective because everyone is contributing.
- [Small group instruction] is the effective for my learning because I get to work in a group of people and see what their thoughts on what we are doing is and it teaches me how to correctly do the math.
- I love that we can raise our hands [in small group instruction] and answer the question, but its a smaller group so you get answer more often. I also like that we get optional group and group that centers around our questions.
- In a smaller groupi feel like i am more included and it helps me understand better. I enjoy working with my freinds and havig smaller groups and being taght more hands on then last year.
- A lot of times I dont understand what we are doing and in a small group we can all ask questions and help each other out. Some times people ask question I didn’t even think of and it helps me understand what I am doing better.
- [Small group instruction] helps me because we are engaging in the work and showing what we know and there is not a lot of us so i feel more comfortable to ask questions.
- Working in groups effects my learning because other people have questions that I never thought of that soon help me learn better.
- I think [small group instruction] is effective because it gives you a chance to ask questions but also to listen to other peoples questions. Also if your confused it helps a lot.
Take-Away #5: In the feedback on small-group instruction, many students discussed how the smaller setting helps with comfort and/or attention. Other students described how the smaller group size leads to increased engagement on the part of themselves and peers.
- It is helpful because you are talking with us rather than talking at us witch makes it easier to learn.
- I like that its a small group setting, so you can hear everything and request to work on specific problems.
- I like how in math class we meet in smaller groups instead of teaching the whole class all at once. I feel that I have a better understanding being taught this way. I feel like I understand it more with less people.
- When I’m stuck and Ms. Durling calls a group, she explains everything in a neat and simple way that I can understand well. A lot of the time, I just want my work to be done already, so I don’t check my answers, or I really don’t know what to do in a certain question. The groups help me point out what I did wrong and how I could fix it.
- It’s a lot easier to hear/see/contribute in a smaller group than it is in a larger group. These three things help me learn, and not being able to do them can affect my learning.
- I feel like I don’t get distracted in [small group instruction] but when the teaching is on the board I do and not being distracted helps me understand the topics we are learning better.
- I feel like [small group instruction] is more working instead of listening to the teacher work on the whiteboard and i like that because it gives me and classmates more time to work on the actual work and if we need help the teacher is in the front of the room for mini group that we can do.
- I honestly feel like I can’t focus in larger groups but if there is not a zoo of students at a group, I feel like I can understand the teacher better and understand what I am doing better.
- When I am in [small group instruction], I can make more understanding in whatever lesson I am doing. The teacher has some good strategies that help me learn.
- It is easier to work in a small group than teaching the entire class because instead of the teacher droning on at the front of the room it is a little more involved.
To Do List: things to remember to try:
- use more math games–I’m going to include sorts and other game-like activities in this category, intended by the students or not
- asking students to lead small groups when they have shown a particular strength in a given topic
- expanding my library of resources–“Ms. Durling could post videos from youtubers like Math Antics. I always use his videos if I’m stuck and it’s helped.”