Educators are unfortunately well acquainted with some of the common struggles or frustrations faced in today’s classroom. From managing parent concerns over Common Core to making sure no child is actually left behind, teachers have a full plate. Teach To One actually eases many of these issues in innovative ways.
Maybe you can adopt some of these practices in your own classroom. If not, this article will at least deliver a greater understanding of the Teach To One method. It could be a gateway to the future of education.
What Is The Teach To One Method?
Teach To One is an innovative educational method that restructures classrooms and addresses individual students where they are at any given moment. It is flexible and adaptive because it is highly personalized.
Although individualized teaching methods often overload educators, Teach To One uses technology and unique grouped learning to actually reduce the load on teachers.
Instruction is broken into modalities represented by different sections within a single classroom. Students access an online portal to receive their daily lessons which build upon the ‘Exit Slip’ assessment they completed the previous afternoon. At regular intervals, students move from one area of the room to the next to receive one-on-one help or more traditional classroom instruction from a teacher.
The method has been used primarily for math instruction and both students and teachers report tangible benefits.
Teach To One Solves Common Teaching Frustration #1: Technology Integration
While every skill students learn is important, we could argue that none is as vital as technological literacy. Computers are a part of everyone’s daily life and students must adopt familiarity with the technology they’ll face in higher education and the job market.
It’s no longer good enough to send students to a period of computer instruction. Additionally, teachers can’t always rely on parents to have computers in the household.
Teach To One: Math solves this concern by fully integrating tablet and Chromebook use in daily instruction. Students use this hardware to access their personalized lessons and take daily evaluations.
Furthermore, parents and students become familiar with a portal that gives them access to progress reports and easy communication with classroom instructors. Keeping all of this information in a centralized database makes it easy for supervisors and parents to track a student’s progress over a month, a year, or even their entire learning career.
Teach To One Solves Common Teaching Frustration #2: Teaching To The Least Proficient Student
One of the most valid complaints about standardized tests is that it forces teachers to teach to the least proficient student in the class. This creates the potential for more advanced students to grow bored. This situation is also dangerous because it holds the most proficient students back from progressing even further while others lag behind.
It’s also difficult to address the different needs of each student without singling them out in some way. When struggling students feel the pressure of attention or fear being ‘found out’ about their struggles, they’re less open.
This very concern can deplete the joy of learning. This risks their test scores now and their willingness to participate in the future. In short, performance-based anxiety can hinder a student’s ability to embrace learning.
Teach To One Solves Common Teaching Frustration #3: Students Under The Iceberg Suffer Silently
To understand this concern it helps to dive into something known as The Iceberg Problem
Many students are arriving into middle school with unfinished learning from prior years. This is especially problematic in math because it is so cumulative. For example, working with percentages can be challenging if you have never learned decimals. But education policies signal to teachers to focus exclusively on grade-level material. Instructional time
is limited. It can be challenging for teachers to address each student’s unfinished learning while also covering the grade-level material—all in a single school year. As a result, unfinished learning accumulates and persists, hindering the ability for many students to become ready for college and career. We call this The Iceberg Problem Only a small portion of an iceberg’s mass is visible, while most of it remains hidden below the surface. – Iceberg Problem Offical Website
A nonprofit group called New Classroom Innovations Partners identifies a roadmap for addressing the cumulative failures that lead to The Iceberg Problem.
- Measure learning growth with adaptive assessments that measure gains on an individual student level from grade to grade.
- Modify accountability systems to measure growth over a multi-year span, heavily considering transition grades and establishing additional growth indicators.
- Launch Math Innovation Zones within schools allowing individual schools to embrace a new approach that caters to students’ proficiency and future-readiness.
- Make teacher support and training a priority.
- Establish a new educational future where assessment and accountability go deeper than grade-wide standardized tests. This can happen if we create a culture that expects more.
Teach To One was created to address each bullet point in the New Classrooms’ ideal plan.
Teach To One Solves Common Teaching Frustration #4: Large Classroom Size
Teachers can relate to the challenges of reaching each student as classroom size steadily increases. School districts may not have the budget to hire more teachers or the space to create additional sections of the same class.
Teach To One pairs individualized plans that students access through technological hardware with personalized instruction. It breaks students into smaller groups within the classroom and opens the door to aids with specialized training who can lend a helping hand at a lower cost to districts.
Former Professor Emeritus of Education and researcher, Lary Cuban, details the physical classroom structure in a Teach To One math class in his blog.
Taking over the school’s library, the large space is demarcated into four separate rooms each with a sign of a local university (e.g., San Jose State, San Francisco State). Each room is designed with Teach To One space consultants. has long tables–each movable chair clearly numbered–capable of seating up to six students.
There is much noise from different segments of the room since library shelving units separate the spaces. Students, teachers, and aides went about their business amid ebb and flow of sound across the divided space. One space is used for a teacher-directed lesson on scientific notation,, another space is used for students to use their Chromebooks to work on the individually designed lesson on scientific notation (based on their results of work the previous day recorded on their online Exit Slip…); the third space is for collaborative work between and among students and teachers.
The fourth space is used for a teacher-directed lesson on circumference. This morning, the seventh and eighth graders are distributed between the four “rooms” spending a half-hour in each space before moving on to the next “modality.” For each segment of the 90-minute class, students sit at different tables with different classmates. – Lary Cuban
Breaking Away From The Status Quo
This review briefly explores the Teach To One experience for educators. Specifically, it’s obvious how this unique teaching style addresses many common frustrations that teachers struggle with every day.
Rather than leaving teachers to innovate their own solutions while already straining under the pressure of their jobs, Teach To One provides a structure. This structure is based on research and informed projections in the hope of transforming the American education system.
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