I have just finished reading an opinion piece, ‘Which children really benefit from streaming?’ written by Dr John Munro. Reading this article has motivated me to write this post. Dr John Munro is an Associate Professor at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne – Australia. His article was published in ‘Shine’ – Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Victoria, Australia – December 2009: Issue 11.
It’s reaffirming for me as a teacher to read articles based on sound research which support my practice. My teaching practice is one where children are encouraged to understand, monitor and share responsibility for their learning, and I do this with 4-6 year olds. Assessment ‘for learning’ and ‘as learning’ drives my teaching. My planning carefully embeds scaffolding strategies that build upon student knowledge. I believe this teaching approach differentiates teaching and learning in my classroom. Dr Munro’s findings support the PD Student Led Interactive Writing Approach that I have been developing for the past two years and have been recording and reflecting upon in this blog.
I have taken the following excerpts from Dr. Munro’s article that made me go ‘aha’…
‘When teachers use knowledge scaffolding procedures effectively, diversity can be catered for without the need to divide students into groups for learning.
‘Some teachers believe it is easier to teach a group that is homogeneous in its ‘ability’. They usually link ability with achievement; the ability grouping is based on past outcomes.
‘They miss the point that achievement is the result of learning (and teaching), not the means by which learning occurs.
‘When teachers use knowledge – scaffolding procedures effectively in their classroom, this diversity can be catered for without the need to divide students into groups or streams.’
‘Knowledge scaffolding is about establishing what students know at the beginning of the topic, and guiding them to enhance this by scaffolding and directing their learning and thinking activity.’
Dr Munro does concede that there will be times where like ability grouping will be needed, but our aim is to develop independent learners. I agree!