Teaching and Learning in Flexible Learning Environments

Join our principal as he takes us on journey explaining the teaching and learning methods that will be part of our life at the new site.


A Message from the Principal

There is no doubt or question that KingsGate School will deliver a Christ-honouring curriculum based on the principle that everything is done in the name of the Lord Jesus. The learning environments will be marked by love and filled with care and respect, and teachers will continue to love their students and seek to help them fulfil their potential in Christ. But I know some of you are curious about what “teaching and learning” will look like in the new flexible learning environments, so I intend to help colour your picture here.

 

Flexible Learning Environments (or FLEs) require a new approach to teaching. Gone are the days where one teacher will stand in front of the class and tell the students what they need to know. This was okay for an industrialized, mechanical, assembly-line era of life, but this is not our children’s future; rather, it was our past. Teaching, therefore, has evolved to match and keep pace with the demands of a much different future that we are preparing our children for. In this sense, our children will identify and categorize the word “teacher” much differently than we ever did.

 

Please  take the time to read the information below and watch the videos. These will help illustrate to you how our teachers will be engaging with their students in their learning journeys next year. I will add to the strategies 


 

Team Teaching

Our students will experience various forms of teaching in their new flexible learning environments. One of the most obvious from the start will be “team teaching”. In team teaching, the FLE teachers are in the learning space at the same time but take turns teaching the whole group (or, in our case, Gateway). Team teaching is sometimes called “tag-team teaching.” The team teachers are a bit like co-presenters at a conference or the Oscars, so when one of them makes a point, the other can jump in and elaborate if needed. Some of the benefits of team teaching are as follows.

  • It provides all teachers with an active instructional role.
  • It introduces students to complementary teaching styles and personalities.
  • It allows for lessons to be presented by two different people with different teaching styles/
  • It models multiple ways of presenting and engaging with information.
  • It models for students what a successful collaborative working relationship can look like.
  • It provides more opportunities to pursue teachable moments that may arise. 


Parallel Teaching

In parallel teaching, the teaching team splits the class into two or three groups depending on the number of teachers in the Gateway. Each teacher teaches the same information at the same time. Parallel teaching works well to differentiate instruction when the content being taught is particularly challenging, and students benefit from learning complex material in smaller groups.  

For teachers new to the collaborative environment, parallel teaching can be a comfortable way to start co-teaching. The teaching team plan together to make sure they’re covering the same material. 

 

The Benefits of Parallel Teaching

  • Provides all teachers with an active instructional role
  • Lowers the student-teacher ratio and reduces the load of teaching a larger class
  • Allows for small group instruction, which can be especially helpful for students who learn and think differently.
  • It gives students the chance to ask more questions during lesson time.
  • Provides a chance for students to work in heterogeneous groups (made up of varying abilities instead of groups of students with similar strengths and challenges)
  • It keeps the academic rigour of a demanding lesson but splits the responsibility between all the teachers.


Station Teaching

In station teaching, the Gateway is divided into three or more groups and the LIFE space has multiple learning centres. As the students rotate through the stations, the teachers teach the same material in different ways to each group. For example, fractions may be taught with a fraction line at one and with cubes at another. If there are more stations than teachers, some stations may be student-led and at least one will focus on independent work or practice opportunities. 

 

Benefits of Station Teaching are

  • It provides all teachers with an active instructional role
  • It allows teachers to use flexible grouping to tailor teaching to each groups’ needs
  • Lowers the student-teacher ratio
  • Resets student focus with each station rotation, increasing engagement
  • Provides time for students to engage with the content on their own as well as with teachers
  • Supports a differentiated approach to teaching and learning
  • Allows for more material to be covered in a shorter time frame
  • Provides a clear teaching responsibility for each staff member in the room

What Station Teaching looks like in the LIFE space

Different learning stations are set up in various areas of the LIFE space, one for each teacher and at least one for independent student work.



Alternative (Differentiated) Teaching 

In alternative teaching, one teacher instructs most of the class and the other teacher teaches an alternate or modified version of the lesson to a smaller group of students. Alternative teaching is also sometimes described as “big group/small group” teaching.

 

Small groups are often put together based on students’ learning needs. Teachers take time to look over student data to help them figure out which students need support filling in gaps in background knowledge, which students need remediation, or which students could benefit from accelerated learning because they already know the content or have mastered the skills of the large group lesson.

 

Benefits of Alternative Teaching 

 

  • Provides all Gateway teachers with an active instructional role
  • Allows for a lower student-teacher ratio
  • Provides additional support to struggling students without specifically singling them out
  • Gives a chance to re-teach, review, and pre-teach
  • Allows for intervention as well as enrichment opportunities
  • Lets teachers use flexible groups

What Alternative Teaching looks like in the LIFE space.

One teacher is at the front of the room or roaming providing large group instruction, while the other teacher works with a small group of students in a different space.



One Teach One Assist

In the “one teach, one assist” model of co-teaching, one teacher teaches a full group lesson, while the other teachers roam and help individual students. This is sometimes called “one teach, one support,” because the second teacher often provides additional support for learning or behavior management . Prior to the lesson the Gateway teachers will know which students need extra support during the lesson, what that support looks like, and what each student is struggling with. 

 

Benefits of One Teach One Assist

  • Allows one teacher to teach a lesson without interruption from students who need assistance.
  • Gives real-time help for students who need it.
  • Allows teachers to use proximity to keep students on task.
  • Provides for increased classroom management, which can be helpful if the class makeup is particularly challenging.
  • Can provide newer teachers with the opportunity to observe more experienced teachers.

What One teach One Assist looks like in the LIFE space.

The lead teacher is at the front of the room, where all students can see, while the other teacher roams among students and assists as needed.



One Teach One Observe

In a “one teach, one observe” setting, one teacher serves as the primary instructor, while the other teachers  simply observe students’ learning and collecting data, which can be useful in:

  1. Determining what instruction takes place next
  2. Seeing which students need additional help
  3. Deciding what co-teaching model may be used next to address any identified needs
  4. Identifying and tracking helpful school services such as RTLB, IEPs etc.

Benefits of One Teach One Observe

  • Allows for uninterrupted observation and data collection
  • Provides data that can inform future instruction, interventions, and student grouping

What One Teach One Observe looks like in the LIFE space.

The instructing teacher is at the front of a learning space teaching all the students, while the other teachers are stationed somewhere inconspicuous to make observations.