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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

In 'squads' model, student teachers really are students

Eighth-grader Ayaan Khurram helps classmates in his algebra class at Gilroy Prep, a charter school near San Jose. Photo: Karl Mondon/Bay Area News )

Jeremiah Williams has 30 students in his algebra class at Gilroy Prep, part of the innovative Navigator charter network south of San Jose. Twenty-seven are divided into nine "squads" of three. The other three are his teaching aides. He meets with them at the start of class to ensure they understand the lesson. Then the eighth-grade student teachers circulate among their three squads, making sure their classmates get it too.

If the teaching aides report a lot of confusion, Williams will teach a mini-lesson on that concept. He'll also check the results of an end-of-class quiz to see how much students have mastered.

All of Gilroy Prep's middle-school math and English classes use the Squads model, reports Luis Melecio-Zambrano in the San Jose Mercury News. Navigator is piloting the model at its other schools, and hoping to see it spread across the country.

Gilroy Prep has higher test scores and a lower absentee rate than the surrounding district, school leaders note. About two-thirds of students are Hispanic, and half come from lower-income families.

James Dent, Navigator's chief academic officer, thought students would learn more if they taught themselves and each other. The school started experimenting with the idea in 2016, before deciding on this version of the model.

Williams likes the fact he "now has three students and often another instructor to help him monitor the room," reports Melecio-Zambrano. “I have five sets of eyes getting to them all. So no one’s getting left behind."

So, teachers, what do you think?

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3 Kommentare

26. Mai

I attended a school in sixth grade that was an IE School (Independent Education) - 1972. Students learned at their own pace teaching themselves. In math, after a few days of slogging through the math textbook, I would take the self -administered quiz; grade it myself, and earn a B. My buddies were all earning As. I started earning As, too, soon after. What a disaster! After one year, the program was abandoned.

I've used what I called Skill Experts

,who, after mastering a math skill or concept volunteered to help others. It worked for awhile until others learned that trying to solve a problem on their own wasn't worth it and immediately asked for hrlp.

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26. Mai

Everything old is new again. This is just a 21st c version of the monitorial system popular in early 19th c, wherein older student monitors teach younger or less advanced ones.

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Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith
25. Mai

No one's getting ahead. You'll never get my kids to attend that kind of school. Instead, your top pupils should have their mathematics, science, English, second language, and human science differentiated, as should their normal technical peers, as they are in Singapore, so that this community can keep up with their peers in Chinese cities like Shanghai: will Ayaan Khurram have the opportunity to learn inverse proportional functions this year, as will the 16 million Chinese born the same year that he was?

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