- Bob St. Jacques
Why guided practice is important.
Often a subject is discussed and instructions given and the students are then set loose to do a worksheet or project, The instructor can then monitor individual progress and also help out those that are struggling. This isn't bad, but as the saying goes, "A rising tide lifts all boats." One way to "lift all boats" is to use "guided practice" in the classroom, some of the positives in using guided practice are as follows, everyone is focused at the same time on the same subject, class disruptions are minimized as there is not the issue of some students done (and bored) while others are struggling, and it can easily be used as a tool to help lift the grades of struggling students without offering a "charity grade".
One of the best ways to keep a guided practice going and to keep all the students involved is to offer an incentive for involvement, this can be extra points for their grade, individual recognition for their efforts on the assignment, or a tangible reward, a pencil, or a small piece of candy. Guided practice also has the great benefit of reducing stress for students as they know that by staying on task and focusing they will earn a decent grade on the assignment and they won't feel alone and perhaps too intimidated to ask for help or draw attention to themselves.
Guided practice works and can be a very effective tool in the classroom.