Last Update October 15, 2020: We improved the overall article.
Education reform is a politically loaded term, but regardless, the American education system should seek to continually improve..
With the rapid advance of technology, students’ lives are vastly different than they were a decade ago.
Innovation, a commitment to teaching to each student’s ability, and a dedication to maximizing resources could be the key to success.
The Teach to One education method addresses all these facets and goes beyond.
When we talk about teaching each student at their own individual level, concerns over how to manage different proficiency levels naturally occurs.
With many students in a class, there are many learning styles and levels of understanding to address.
How can we meet each student where they are, incorporate technology as a useful and engaging tool, and ensure that both the brightest student and the student who struggles the most are getting the education they deserve?
Teach to One is an education method offering viable solutions.
What Is Teach to One?
Teach to One is a teaching method that combines different teaching modalities with digital assessments and offers individualized lessons to each child in the class while also putting students into smaller groups to help them work at their own pace.
Currently, Teach to One is focused on math at the middle school level. There are sound reasons for this, as research shows that many middle school students have learning gaps that hinder their progress.
If they fail to properly grasp a mathematical concept before moving on to the next grade, their progress suffers.
In a cumulative subject like math, this creates even wider gaps between student abilities in a classroom.
The program began in New York City at a facility called School for One. It’s now available at select schools across the country.
Teach to One Objectives
Teach to One has a number of objectives that it addresses in innovative ways.
Students work on lessons electronically, and their progress is monitored through a combination of human and algorithm assessment. Daily gains are measured and logged, allowing a tailored learning experience.
The potential exists for long-term progress monitoring. This assessment would measure growth over several years or even a student’s entire educational career.
Teachers and parents would fully understand a student’s progress. This opens the door for targeted help at home as well as a learning plan that teaches to each individual student.
Evolve the Education System
An approach like Teach to One would drive innovation within schools and create educational environments that break from traditional methods.
This method could also improve college readiness.
A Focus on Teacher Training
A greater focus on teacher resources and training will also drive innovation and provide teachers with the skills to address students’ unfinished learning.
It may even be possible to employ fewer teachers and pay them better than the current standard. Individual attention in classes can be supplemented with trained aides and tutors.
Shape Education Policy
The Teach to One method would also change the current educational policy framework. The ideal landscape would value transparency, equality, and economical-focused teaching approaches that meet students where they are.
The flexible nature of this method allows for different styles of teaching for each individual student, which would improve how classrooms are run.
What Does a Teach to One Classroom Look Like?
A Teach to One classroom can happen almost anywhere, provided there is space as well as access to Wi-Fi. Students break into different groups or work individually through Chromebooks.
Technology is integrated seamlessly. Students have access to a portal that houses their “playlist” or lesson plan. Each student has a skill they are working toward mastering.
When a student feels they understand that concept, they take an assessment called an “exit slip.”
If they can show proficiency on this quiz, they can move on. If not, the portal will assign lessons for the next day that address the gaps.
On the other end of the portal, the staff at a central server reviews each student’s daily assessment. Students themselves and their parents can also see several progress markers through the portal.
The exit slip for the next day is generated within hours and transmitted to the program director as well as teachers so everyone is prepared for the coming lesson.
Within each segment of the classroom, teachers can lead instruction, and students can work collaboratively as well as individually.
Students move through different class segments, called modalities, at regular intervals.
There are always teachers or assistants available to answer questions that crop up even during a student’s individual work.
Issues this Teaching Method Addresses
It’s difficult to meet each individual student’s needs in a typical classroom setting. That’s true even when each student is at the same level of understanding.
When a student enters a class where they are either ahead or behind their peers, it is even more challenging to meet their needs.
Teach to One merges a tutoring style of one-on-one direct education with the social aspects of classroom learning.
Students frequently learn from the questions that others pose and the answers provided by the teachers. Therefore, merging the two education styles benefits all students.
Additionally, students working at their own pace on digital devices are freed from many inhibitions that could hold them back.
They aren’t singled out in front of the class and don’t have to worry that their peers will realize they are falling behind.
In fact, they may compare themselves to their peers less, which fosters a more open and receptive environment.
Imagine a less stressful learning environment where work feels like play. Many of the lessons take the form of video games and other engaging types of media that children are used to consuming in their free time.
Education Deserves Innovation
True advancement comes from creativity and innovation, and the same should hold true in the education system.
Teach to One provides a framework that fosters this type of advancement, and students in these programs have enjoyed measurable success as a result.
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