Guided practice allows a student to show or demonstrate what they have learned. This may require some guidance from the teacher. Independent practice allows students to take concepts they have already learned and apply it to new concepts on their own. If a student is experiencing difficulty understanding the skill or concept it may require more attention or guidance from the teacher. For example, if a student is asked tell what the chambers of the heart are. A student who is grasping the knowledge may be able to recite- right and left ventricles and right and left atrium. A student who is having difficulty recalling the information by be prompted by the teacher with additional questions such as, how many chamber are in the heart or what are the names of the top two chambers of the heart? This provides hints to the student. Guidance should be given to support the student and give feedback as the student is working on the task. For example in the previous question if the student answers, there are four chamber of the heart, the teacher can confirm yes or no. This provides immediate feedback to the student. If the student is incorrect the teacher can provide the student with the correct answer and directing the student back in the correct direction. Students may need several chances to practice with guidance from the teacher. If a student is progressing faster than average by answering questions and consistently applying a skill correctly during guided practice, then the student is ready to move onto independent practice. This allows the progressing student to learn independently and master the skill or objective. A student who is not grasping material as quickly may not move onto independent practice.
Five techniques appropriate for monitoring student performance could be daily reviews, monthly reviews, presentations from the students, guided practice, and independent practice. Daily reviews are generally conducted by the teacher at the beginning of the next class. The teacher will quickly review the key concepts from the previous class session. This gives the students an opportunity to relearn the material and create long term memory. The teacher can also use this time to assess if the students understood the material. If students do not convey that they grasped knowledge of the material already covered the teacher can use the opportunity to adjust the pace of the class or re teach the material as needed. Monthly reviews are very similar to daily reviews just conducted each month or even at the end of a whole lesson.
Having students report or do presentations on given topics could be a way to monitor the studentâ€™s knowledge. The student will have to research and learn the material and inform the class members of their topic. If a student is unable to present the material to the class in a clear manner then they may not have grasped the information. This may not be an appropriate monitor technique for English Language Learner Students.
Guided practice is important as it allows the teacher the time to ensure that students are practicing or learning the skills correctly during the process. If the teacher did not assess the student they could continue to practice the concepts incorrectly and consequently become confused. If the students do something over and over again it will become a habit so a teacher needs to ensure they student is doing it correctly in the beginning. The teacher can provide assistance as needed with positive and corrective feedback.
Independent practice can also be known as homework. Homework can be done by the student and submitted to the teacher for review. The type that is most beneficial is homework that is meaningful to the lesson. If the student performs the task with few errors then they have demonstrated that they understood the material. Providing opportunity for students to practice new skills helps them learn the material and prepares them for the assessment. During this independent practice the teacher can set up new variations on the skills to ensure the student fully understands the material.
After any of the monitoring techniques the teacher will gain feedback. The feedback may indicate the teacher needs to adjust for students experiencing difficulty or for students progressing at a faster rate than average. Teachers may need to adjust the content of what is being taught or the thinking process or activities teachers do with the students. If gifted students finish a task sooner than others a teacher could develop a project for the student to work while keeping it related to the objective. Differentiation is a technique a teacher could use for gifted students. Differentiating instruction means creating multiple paths so that students of different abilities, interest or learning needs experience equally appropriate ways to absorb, use, develop and present concepts as a part of the daily learning process. It allows students to take greater responsibility and ownership for their own learning, and provides opportunities for peer teaching and cooperative learning. (http://members.shaw.ca/priscillatheroux/differentiating.html).
Lesson pacing is another strategy a teacher could use to help both students having difficulty and students progressing faster. The teacher can ask questions of the students during the lesson. Questions will allow the teacher to receive immediate feedback to determine if the students understand the subject matter. At that point the teacher can adjust the pace to ensure the material is being comprehended. More complex topics may lend it self to additional activities or more detailed instructions for students having difficulty. From feedback, the teacher can determine if content of the lesson needs to be re taught. For students that are progressing, the teacher may be able to move more quickly over the material or add more in depth learning on complex materials.