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Teaching strategy in SCL

Last blog I have talked about what kind of factors that should be taken into account when implementing small class learning (SCL). As showed last time, we clearly find that both teacher’s personality and teaching strategy are the vital factors of impementing an effetive SCL. However, as we metioned before, there were still some teachers using the traditional teaching methods in teaching small size class. Thus, we are going to discuss what kind of teaching strategy that teachers should be used in SCL.

Firstly, IUP (no date) mentioned that it is important for teachers to know the teaching strategy of SCL. Otherwise, SCL would not exert any positive effect on students. In this article, it pointed out that it is important to divide students in group rather than individually. Moreover, it displayed a lot of teaching strategy which were considered in terms of students. For example, it is important to praise students in order to stimulate learning in their subjects. Moreover, when carrying out group disussion, it pointed out that teachers can let students to decide the questions. Because students sometimes may even know more about the relevant information about them.

Then, UCF (no date) also emphasized the importance of teaching strategy in SCL. It proposed that before teachers are deciding what kind of activities should be carried out in SCL, teachers should be firstly recognized different learning strategy of different students. As different students possess different learning style, teachers should considered those learning strategy into account. Moreover, instead of spoon-fed education, teachers should integrate higher-level thinking skills into learning, such as target synthesis and evaluation skills. It is also indicated that it is important to let students become active in learning.

Lastly, Zahorik, J. et al.(2000) showed that someteaching behaviors were positively correlated to students academic result. For example, spendinng more time teaching than managing the classroom and spending more time in discussion. Moreover, working as a group is also a behavior which was positively correlated to students academic performance as well. Besides, this study also displayed that some teaching behavior were negatively correlated to students academic result, such as covered more content in depth and oftenly involved students in problem solving, creating, and experimenting.

From the above, we can clearly see that three of the sources share one similarity : working as a group rather than individually. In fact, however, not all students are suitable in a teaching group. Therefore, UCF (no date) pointed out teachers should take different learning strategies into account before implementing SCL. Still, result from Zahorik, J. et al.(2000) showed that working as a group would enhance students academic performance. Thus, this blog suggested that group studying could be one of the teaching strategy can be used in SCL.




IUP (no date). Improving Learning in Small Classes. Retrieved 15 November 2013, from

UCF (no date). Small/Seminar Classes. Retrievd 15 November 2013, from

Zahorik, J., Molnar, A., Ehrle, K., & Halbach, A. (2000). Smaller classes, better teaching? Effective teaching in reduced-size classes. Laine & Ward, eds.



5 responses to “Teaching strategy in SCL

  1. Cool blog…In general I do agree with what you are saying about small group learning and how teacher personality and teaching are important, but are these two things not important in educational setting? Yes the research in this area does clearly point out the benefits of this type of educational setting. Although Garfield (1993) argues there are many pitfalls to this type of stagey teaching, there is more pressure on the teacher as in these cooperative learning groups not ever stagey fit ever pupil no matter how small the group is. The question is it fair to give the whole group an equal amount of the grade when some may of worked harder than others. There is also the concern that if the balance between teacher and student is not at an even keels then thing will inevitable go from bad to worse.

    As you have pointed out the research in this area of education has yielded some positive results. Student who pair up or use peer lead learning show a greater performance in problem-solving exams and in IQ testing (Keeler & Stienhorst, 1995).
    So if education and educator can get it right it can be and often is a very effect way of learning.


    Garfield, J. (1993). Teaching statistics using small-group cooperative learning. Journal of Statistics Education, 1(1)

    Keeler, C. M., & Steinhorst, R. K. (1995). Using small groups to promote active learning in the introductory statistics course: A report from the field. Journal of Statistics Education, 3(2)

  2. amalald

    Greate topic. As for the dyslexia what methods of teaching would you advice. Some point for the SCL

    would include:

    *Do not base the student’s marks on spelling, punctuation or grammatical errors. Errors in assignments

    should be corrected for them. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are very abstract concepts for them that

    the right brain does not easily process and cannot visualize them as concrete images. If these errors must

    be corrected before a student hands in an assignment then permit someone else to edit the mistakes in

    spelling, grammar and punctuation. Parents are often helpful in this.

    * Look for ideas, not clerical errors. Getting ideas down on paper is much more important than fretting over

    spelling, grammar and punctuation. If they do not achieve what they are capable of they soon become

    depressed and give up. Using recording devices to get their ideas down are a great tool.

    * Their ability to use the correct grammar, punctuation and spelling forms may or may not improve with age,

    depending on the their ability to understand these concepts and the type of teaching methods the Dyslexic

    student receives.

    They ask a lot of questions and they need them answered. Without these answers they can be paralyzed

    in the classroom and can’t proceed with their school work. Answer the student’s questions as often as

    possible, but keep your answers very short, clear and specific. Be precise. Do not repeat your answers

    unless the student asks you to do so. Then answer only what the student asks. Long explanations, different

    approaches, wordy definitions, or abstract thinking are all very tiring and difficult for these students who are

    looking for a concrete answer.


    K Hope. (2012). dyslexia awareness . Available: Last accessed 16/11/


  3. Research indicates that SCL greatly impacts student’s learning and achievement. Research reveals that low-achieving student’s grades increase when SCL is used (Nye, Hedges & Konstantopoulos, 2002). Furthermore, research reveals SLC is more effective if collaborative learning is used (Potthast, 1999). This reveals that there is no difference between large lectures and SLC unless the SCL utilizes its small group through collaborative learning.

    On the other hand, research also reveals there to be no difference in achievement with the use of large lectures compared to SLC (Hoover, Baumann & Shafer, 1970). The researchers do suggest however that a mix of large lectures and SLC is beneficial as it suits most students learning preferences.

    Research produces mixed results on SLC and indicates SLC is only advantageous if utilized properly.

    Hoover, K.H., Baumann, V.H. & Shafer, S.M. (1970). The influence of class-size varations on cognitive and affective learning of college freshman. Journal of Experimental Education, 38, 39-43.
    Nye, B., Hedges, L.V. & Konstantopoulos, S. (2002). Do low-achieving students benefit more from small classes? Evidence from the Tennessee class size experiment. Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 24, 201-217.
    Potthast, M.J. (1999). Outcomes using small-group collaborative learning experiences in introductory statistics course. College Student Journal, 33, 34-42.

  4. psuede1

    One strategy for learning is that of collaborative methods, to effectively use this method, teachers should anchor the task and problems they give to learners as part of a larger goal or aim.. (CTGV, 1992; Honebein,, 1993
    As mentioned in my blog, reflective methods of learning is important for learners to gage and improve their learning styles. When considering learning methods such as discovery learning- (Alexander, Graham, & Harris, 1998; Marzano, 1992)
    In your conclusion you reference to the importance of peers from your research, this importance however is often overlooked by educators who do not realise that methods of teaching they use, has only limited peer involvement and nearly always directed by the teacher and not the learners. vonGlaserfeld (1989)

    Alexander, P. A., Graham, S., & Harris, K. R. (1998). A perspective on strategy research: Progress and prospects. Educational Psychology Review, 10(2), 129-154.

    Honebein, P., Duffy, T.M., & Fishman, B. (1993). Constructivism and the design of learning environments: Context and authentic activities for learning. In Thomas M. Duffy, Joost Lowyck, and David Jonassen (Eds.), Designing environments for constructivist learning. Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag.

    vonGlaserfeld, E.(1989) Cognition, Construction of Knowledge, and Teaching, Synthese, 80, 121-140.

  5. psuf3c

    One problem with education is that there is a tendency to have teachers who manage children’s learning. This means that children do not always know where they are up to. If learners were taught to manage their own learning then it becomes enhanced. For this to happen learners need to establish their own goals, be able to monitor their own learning progress and have the ability to change their learning strategies to overcome difficulties. When children are in smaller classes then it allows for the teachers to spend longer teaching the children this management. When individuals reach a level where they can set their own goals with the knowledge that they are achievable then they are better equipped to learn throughout their lives. The teaching strategy that is implemented in small classes should allow for the management of learning in all individuals. One particular way to ensure that the individuals have the management of their own learning is by making sure that lessons are kept interesting. With smaller group sizes it means that teachers are able to teach the lesson to the standards of everyone and make sure that the lesson is innovative and engaging to keep pupils motivated.

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