Bringing teaching into the 21st century through small group pedagogy
Close your eyes and think about a classroom in a school. Imagine the teacher giving a lesson to the students.
What did you see?
Did you imagine a classroom where students are sitting in neat rows, behind their desks facing a teacher standing in front of the classroom? If you did, we don’t blame you – that’s the most common perception of a classroom. In fact, try typing “classroom” in your search engine. The search result will be full of pictures matching your mental image. We could say this is how a traditional classroom and traditional teaching look like. This is how majority of the World’s children study and it’s also how our parents and grandparents studied, if they were lucky enough to go to school.
We live in a modern World in the 21st Century but our classrooms look as they did a hundred years ago. Classrooms and teaching should change because we know today so much more about human learning than we did a hundred years ago. We also have more resources in schools and more trained teachers than a hundred years ago.
In Finland, we have put this new knowledge and resources to use to change our classroom settings with our trained teachers! The Finnish Pre-Primary and Primary curriculums encourage teachers to individualise teaching according to each child’s needs as well as teach children learning to learn skills and teamwork skills. All this can be achieved through well planned small group pedagogy with teachers that are trained how to do it. At first, working with small groups in the classroom needs a lot of careful planning and patience from the teacher and a lot of practice from the students. After everyone is used to it, it’s just another way of working in the classroom.
When teachers are working with small groups, teaching and learning becomes more individual than with large groups. Teachers can pay more attention to each student’s needs, interests, learning styles, social skills and progress. Students get more individual attention, feedback and encouragement from the teachers and can form an understanding of the skills they master and those they need to practice more.
We at Huippu Education want to help teachers and schools around the world to benefit from the latest research about teaching and learning. Our trainings are built on the principle of sharing the best practices from Finland with your schools and teachers. Let’s work together to bring the classrooms and teaching methods to the 21st century.
Written by Huippu Education
News, insights and thoughts on education and pedagogy.