During my last placement I soon found that these expectations are simply unrealistic! The class of 31 comprised of one third being at a low level who needed a lot of support throughout every lesson. I had to be creative with the main teaching time as many children would soon become restless and need lots of engagement at their own pace. Children were mostly then split into ability groups to complete their work which again was a challenge, especially with the children who needed the most support which was very demanding. I soon let my creativeness take control and used a variety of strategies and resources to help ease the need of teacher support all of the time. This strategy needed to be adopted throughout the placement and was not an easy challenge! Here highlights a clear correlation to the need of adequate adult support within the classroom. Another previous rumour about the government cutting TA support shows again why I feel that the government should let experienced professionals have more control over the destiny of today's children for tomorrows world.
There are currently schools which have adopted different approaches to supporting children at their own pace. One recent school I visited had a very different approach to children's learning where they were all able to work at their own pace with having short 'masterclasses' of about 20 minutes followed by the expectation that children choose when to work on their targets of learning for the week through independent learning. They also had tutorials with every child as an individual, working on their next steps in learning.
Another approach I have recently discovered is Kagen structures which adopt a mixed ability approach with every child having a role in their learning which boosts engagement and achievement. I must research this further to find out more about it. I believe that what might work for one school or one teacher may not work for another and it is about making that discovery as an individual. I will be carrying out more research on this topic for an assignment and will update you with my findings.
Having a 'Creative week' in a school coming up which I have discussed in my previous post I could perhaps explore this even further at a practical level.
Any comments in the meantime about what works for you or what you have experienced so far would be much appreciated!