School Thoughts

One-to-one classes

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-Manuela, please draw an equilateral triangle with side lengths of 3 cm. – requests the teacher.

She thinks for a few moments, grabs the ruler and draws the figure.

-And… how would you do the same using a protractor as well?

Manuela tries a few times on the page until she finally gets it.

The imaginary dialog set out above is linked with what happens when a teacher focuses his/her attention on a student and looks at their learning process. Today, I want to talk about this, about the benefits of private lessons where there is one teacher and one student, in a school environment or out of it.

Among other things, customized education allows the teacher to:

Observe how significant (or insignificant) was the explanation given to his student and what level of understanding has he or she achieved.

Take some notes about the time needed for the pupil to provide an answer.

Perceive body language movements and twitches to help him/her detect what instructions trigger tension or uncertainty.

Be able to reformulate the activity if it has not been fully understood or if it produces an answer that is not correct.

Use different strategies, involving some games and use of senses, to produce a significant learning.

These strategies stimulate students to:

Value their own learning process and the strategies used to solve problems.

Find the content they can’t understand and why they can’t achieve their goals (metacognition).

These positive points are blocked when, instead of one student, teachers have thirty or forty students ready to learn.

In this respect, it is hard to set teaching mechanisms that are significant for the whole class. Moreover, in an 80-minute class with thirty students, the time spent with one student will be no longer than just five minutes. The remaining time will be necessarily spent on controlling other variables including ensuring that all students do their work, replying parents’ notes on the communication notebook, assisting sick students, managing behavioral problems, receiving unexpected “visits”.

On the other hand, this brief time that teacher can spend with one single student is not really quality time because while he/she is providing the explanation, the background noise doesn’t help concentration.

We need to develop new strategies and find new ways in our daily pedagogical practice that guarantee students understand and learn all the contents.

What do you think?

Translation Courtesy of Laura Marifil


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