Guided Learning

What is Guided Learning?

During a guided learning session the teacher works directly with a small group of pupils of similar need or ability once the main ‘shared’ teaching has concluded. The teacher works with a small group of about six pupils, grouped according to their ability or particular learning needs usually for about twenty minutes whilst the rest of the class work independently.

In a guided learning session, the emphasis is on supporting pupils as they apply new learning, identifying and addressing misconceptions in order to help them to become independent learner. A distinctive feature of the teaching is that it consolidates, through targeted support, individual pupils’ learning at the point of application. The teacher plans the guided session in order to steer pupils’ learning in a way that is not always possible in the whole class situation. There are opportunities for pupils to interact with each other, work independently and reflect on their learning.

Some key messages about Guided Learning

  • It is a personalisation strategy for all pupils, not just the least able or gifted and talented.
  • It enables teachers to identify barriers to learning and misconceptions – and provides an opportunity to address them early within mainstream lessons.
  • It links directly to assessment for learning, both in order to identify pupils’ needs and to provide a rich source of information to support pupils further.
  • It differs from group work in that the teacher steers the learning, supporting pupils to apply their learning and develop independence. When teachers use guided learning, the focus is on the application of skills taught in the main part of the lesson, thus sealing pupils’ learning.
  • It’s about ‘keeping up’ rather than ‘catching up’ as it enables teachers to plan support for small groups of targeted pupils rather than waiting for them to get stuck.
  • It provides an opportunity for teachers to expose pupils to transferable skills and strategies and to support them as they apply them in other contexts and subjects.

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