01/08/2013

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Are we using whole group instruction more than ever? In McREL’s Power Walkthrough® training, we teach school leaders how to capture key instructional indicators in the classroom, such as what strategies are utilized, how to determine if the students are learning, and how students are grouped. Around this time every year, we examine our Power Walkthrough data from K–12 classrooms all over the world and in a variety of school settings (e.g., urban, rural, public, independent) to see the emerging trends and patterns in the collected data. This year, we noticed an interesting trend when we looked at the student “grouping” data. In this portion of Power Walkthrough, the observer notes whether students are all focused on one source of instruction (whole group), if they are working alone (individual), if they are working with one other person (pairs), if they are working in informal groups of three to five (small group), or if they are working in highly organized groups with individual roles and responsibilities (cooperative group). While individual, small group, pairs, and cooperative groups have fluctuated or have only changed incrementally, it seems that Power Walkthrough users are recording an increase in whole group instruction over the past two years. This is surprising given that so much of “21st century” or “student-centered” learning touts reducing whole group instruction. Below are two comparison charts that show these data that are based on 99,136 walkthroughs in 2010–2012. 2010 2011 2012 cooperative 3.80% 2.30% 2.30% individual 27.40% 19.20% 21% pair 3.70% 4.85% 4% small 13.70% 21.30% 15.50% whole 51.50% 52.30% 57.20%...

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