Caitlin as a beginning teacher you need to be able to create authentic learning episodes both within group and individual contexts. By developing your time management skills you will be able to effectively plan your teaching day, allowing for students to deepen their own individual understanding on topics and themes being taught.
The Vygotskian notion of the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), is at the heart of the scaffolding concept. The image below illustrates where students need to be within their learning to gain the best possible outcome with their learning. By allowing students to work individually students are able to work within their own ZPD successfully.
With all your teaching make sure you connect with the Professional Teaching Standards (NSW Institute of Teachers 2005).
Below are some key points to employ when individual work is taking place within your 4/5 class room. Individual work will work best once students have developed a positive classroom environment where all students feel confident and comfortable with each other. To develop a supportive classroom look at the ideas within Knowing Your Students and Quality Learning Environment.
Students need to know what they are doing and why they are doing it. By explicitly telling students what is to take place during their individual work time, students are more likely to succeed and obtain those set outcomes (Whitton et al. 2004).
Do you know what you’re doing?
As students need to know what they are expected to do, make sure all your students have the right level of support to be successful. By questioning students about what they are to do, Caitlin you are able to gage whether more teacher scaffolding is required, or if the students are able work individually and achieve their set goals.
During independent work, students need to be engaged in the materials. If the work set is not tailored to the students’ abilities or interests they will lose interest and motivation in their work and become off task and disruptive. If you create a timeframe, students are able to see how their time is structured for the day and develop their own self-regulated learning.
Vialle W, Lysaght P & Verenikina, I 2008, Handbook on Child Development 2E, Cengage Learning, South Melbourne, VIC.
Loveman, T, Depeller J & Harvey, D 2005, Inclusive Education: A Practical Guide to Supporting Diversity in the Classroom, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, NSW.