Centers, stations, grouping, and targeting

Regardless of the mission, approach, philosophies or goals of a school, all schools seek to provide high quality instruction and experiences from which our students will grow and succeed.   While the definition of “growth” and “success” will vary, at their core, instructional strategies don’t need to be mutually exclusive to a particular type of school.  Traditional, progressive, parochial, public, Montessori, urban, rural, boarding- it does not matter. Quality instruction is quality instruction.  The most creative, passionate, attuned, nimble,  and skillful teachers will thrive regardless of environment.

Increasingly in the last score years, the heterogeneity of classroom populations has led to the evolution of instructional strategies aimed at meeting each student where she/he is, crafting activities and practices that nurture continued growth, and increasing attention to the development of skills we extrapolate as being integral in our future (21st Century Skills etc.).

With the advancements in technology, and the growing application of flipped classroom practices, using grouping strategies in the classroom to meet each student where he/she is has become easier to manage for teachers.  Creating centers or stations, and grouping students according to a variety of criteria or methods, and then targeting specific skills or expectations to reach within those groups, utilizing an instruction or activity within a set amount of time is increasingly accessible in educational environs.  In fact, due to the growing accessibility of such practices, for which their is an ever-expanding body of research that supports the effectiveness of them,  educators have a burgeoning responsibility to incorporate these strategies in their schools and classrooms.

While change can be hard, especially for veteran teachers who grasp onto their traditional practices (which remain effective), the onus is on educational leaders to help all teachers recognize how to incorporate these strategies in ways that are comfortable, manageable, and familiar.  Just as one size doesn’t fit all when we provide instruction and activities for our students, the implementation of grouping strategies, and stations creation will vary teacher to teacher, school to school, grade level to grade level and discipline to discipline.

If you are interested in discussing how to apply some of these strategies, please drop me a note and I am happy to work with you on doing so.


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