How can schools embrace precision teaching to bring fluency to their classrooms?
What is Precision Teaching and How Can it Help Students Learn?
Precision Teaching is a revolutionary method that aims to address the individual needs of students, particularly those who struggle with specific areas of the curriculum. This technique has gained recognition for its effectiveness in ensuring high levels of accuracy and fluency in the learning process. As opposed to traditional teaching methods, Precision Teaching focuses on tailoring educational experiences for each student, thereby fostering an environment conducive to skill acquisition and fluency development.
In the Precision Teaching approach, students hone their key skills by engaging in short, focused tasks on a regular basis. This allows educators to closely monitor and track their progress, making adjustments as needed to ensure that learners are benefiting from the full potential of practical applications in precision teaching. By employing this strategy, teachers can offer targeted support and highly effective instruction to address specific challenges or fluency requirements.
One of the core components of Precision Teaching is the multisensory precision teaching approach, which incorporates visual, auditory, and kinesthetic elements to create a rich and engaging learning experience. This innovative strategy enhances basic teaching resources and ensures that students develop well-rounded literacy skills and learner abilities.
The primary goal of Precision Teaching is to facilitate fluency of reading and other essential skills by providing carefully designed tasks that encourage regular practice. This methodology also incorporates a systematic approach to analyzing and monitoring progress, enabling teachers to continuously adapt their instruction to best support each student's growth and development.
As a result, Precision Teaching has been shown to significantly improve students' levels of fluency and overall educational outcomes. For further reading on this topic, refer to the following academic sources: 1. Lindsley, O. R. (1992). Precision Teaching: Discoveries and Effects. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 25(1), 51-57. and The Precision Teaching Book.
Precision Teaching offers a unique and novel perspective on education, emphasizing the importance of individualized instruction and the cultivation of fluency in key skills. This approach has the potential to transform the learning experiences of countless students, providing them with the support and tools necessary to excel in their academic endeavors.
The Power of Individualized Instruction: Addressing Student Needs in Precision Teaching
As previously mentioned, Precision Teaching emphasizes the importance of individualized instruction, which has a profound impact on addressing the unique needs of students. This powerful approach recognizes that, much like snowflakes, no two learners are alike. By focusing on individual students, teachers can provide tailored support to help them acquire practical skills and develop their learner abilities.
Precision Teaching involves identifying a target skill, such as skills for spelling or reading comprehension, that an individual child may find challenging. This is particularly valuable for students with learning difficulties, such as dyspraxia or dysgraphia, who require specialized attention to overcome their specific challenges. According to Bruner's theory of cognitive development, the schema, or cognitive framework, of each child is unique and requires tailored instruction to ensure effective learning.
A study conducted by McDowell and Keenan (2007) showed that students who received Precision Teaching intervention demonstrated a 37% improvement in their target skill compared to their peers who received traditional instruction. This significant increase in performance highlights the potential benefits of catering to the individual needs of students.
Implementing Precision Teaching methods can also boost the confidence of children by providing them with achievable goals and consistent feedback. In turn, this positive reinforcement encourages them to continue building upon their newly acquired skills.
In essence, Precision Teaching acts as a master gardener, carefully nurturing the growth of each unique seedling (i.e., individual students) by providing the right amount of sunlight, water, and nutrients. By considering each student's unique learning profile, teachers can foster a supportive environment that enables every child to reach their full potential.
The power of individualized instruction in Precision Teaching allows educators to address the diverse needs of their students, ensuring that each learner acquires the practical skills and confidence needed to excel in their academic journey. With the support of a growing body of research, this innovative teaching method is poised to revolutionize the educational landscape.
How is Precision Teaching used in learning?
Precision teaching is a systematic method that is mostly performed between a student and a teacher on a one-to-one basis. These interactive sessions are suggested at least 3 times a week for approximately 10 minutes.
Precision teaching is meant to help students to think fast until they can recall the spelling of a specific word nearly instinctively. For this reason, teachers with high potential for precision teaching use very much repetitive and fast-paced teaching procedures. According to the precision teaching principles, young learners must continue to practice spelling and read words until becoming confident and fluent. The students will only move on to learn a new set of words after mastering the vocabulary they are currently working on.
What are the steps of applying Precision Teaching in the classroom?
Even though a precision teaching program is very much spontaneous, it follows a step-by-step procedure that supports the teachers in performing the intervention in the most useful way possible. Following are the 8 steps - providing precision teaching overview - that can be used to make precision teaching as effective as possible.
- Step 1: The child's baseline assessment is conducted as a precision teaching - welcome tool to check which words a child can easily spell and which words he finds difficult to spell or read. For this, teachers may use a structured teaching intervention to create year group word lists, phonics words or high-frequency words from each phase. According to the principles of precision teaching, these lists must contain words that the learner is presently working on.
- Step 2: On basis of the findings of the initial assessment, the teacher would pick three words the students can spell/read and two words that the learner found to be difficult to read/ spell. These few words will be the first of those words that the student will work on in the intervention sessions.
- Step 3: At this step, the teacher would act on basis of observations and student behavior analysis. They would only teach those five words that have been identified. According to the principles of precision teaching, these words must be taught in the most engaging and fun way possible to make sure that the student remains focused during the session. It is also suggested to discuss the meaning of the word and use each word in a sentence. Students may use a dictionary to use each word in their independent writing. For primary school students, teachers may compose a memorable silly rhyme to help students to learn the spelling of a word. Teachers may also use a multisensory precision teaching approach, especially for the learners who benefit the most from supplementary sensory input. For instance, practical applications of precision teaching tools - such as a recorded lesson - can be used as a precision teaching auditory tool; or magnetic letters, paints and whiteboards, could be used to help visual learners remember the words.
- Step 4: This step normally lasts for just 1-minute step. This step is carried out to assess how much information is retained by the student. After step 3, the students are asked to read aloud and spell all the words they have learnt. It is recommended to count the total number of correct and incorrect answers given by the students.
- Step 5: At this step, the student’s progress of correct and incorrect answers is measured on an editable fluency chart. As a measure of performance, the teacher may join up the results using a ruler to provide a visual representation of the student progress on analyses of behavior forms on weekly basis. Older students may take a more active role in their learning by performing this step by themselves.
- Step 6: After the students have become comfortable with using the first five words, they can move on to a new group of words. To check precision teaching - sound progress - the teacher would assess whether a student has mastered the five words. The student needs to use the same words with a success rate of approximately 90% in four to five sessions in a single week.
- Step 7: At this step a new precision teaching assessment probes sheet is created, involving 3 old words from the last test and two new words. Here starts the cycle of recording fluency every day and assessing the progress of precision teaching signals every week on the chart.
- Step 8: No progress on the probe chart during the first 3 to 4 days, which could mean that the task or the words identified in general are too hard for the learners. In this case, it is crucial to adjust the words to be simpler - findings from experiments show that it is also helpful to include the words the student is already comfortable
If no positive impact on children is noticed, even after constantly using precision teaching for a week or more, it is suggested to check other factors that may be affecting the results. For example, the classroom surroundings are suitable or not (is the classroom too noisy?), how are the practical applications of precision teaching used to enhance newly-acquired behavior? Or, the online precision teaching intervention is working for improving the students performance in college setting or not.
What are the main benefits of Precision Teaching in the classroom?
The most effective applications of precision teaching are used to reinforce the acquisition of basic academic skills in students. According to several exploratory case studies, applications of precision teaching can stimulate students engagement and motivation in learning.
A major advantage of using this method of training is that it’s a flexible teaching method, that enables teachers to easily modify their instructional strategies through availing additional training opportunities or attending the occasional follow-up training sessions to target particular areas that students need the maximum support with.
The main effectiveness of precision teaching lies in its flexibility, which helps teachers build the confidence of children very easily. Numerous studies proposed that the practical applications of precision teaching, such as using the vocabulary the children are already comfortable with may help improve students' observable behaviors and increase their interest in the process. According to a comprehensive training package of precision teaching, revisiting the commonly used words is a good way to keep students motivated to learn.
Subject Examples of Precision Teaching in Action
Sure, here are five examples of how precision teaching can be applied in different subjects in a primary school setting:
- Mathematics: Precision teaching can be used to help students master basic arithmetic operations. For instance, a teacher can create a chart where students track their progress in answering multiplication tables within a set time limit. The goal is to increase the number of correct answers over time, thus improving fluency and accuracy.
- Reading: In teaching reading, precision teaching can be used to improve a student's reading fluency. A teacher can use a passage and time how long it takes a student to read it aloud without making mistakes. The student's progress is charted, and the aim is to decrease the time it takes to read the passage fluently.
- Spelling: Precision teaching can be used to enhance spelling skills. A teacher can provide a list of words for the student to spell within a certain time frame. The student's progress is tracked on a chart, with the goal of increasing the number of correctly spelled words over time.
- Science: In science, precision teaching can be used to help students memorize key facts or vocabulary. For example, a teacher can time how long it takes a student to correctly identify and explain different types of plants or animals. The aim is to increase the number of correct identifications and explanations over time.
- Geography: Precision teaching can be used to improve a student's knowledge of world geography. A teacher can time how long it takes a student to correctly identify countries on a map or their capitals. The student's progress is tracked on a chart, with the goal of increasing the number of correctly identified countries or capitals over time.
Remember, the key to precision teaching is regular, timed practice and charting progress to provide clear visual feedback to the student. This method can be adapted to virtually any subject or skill that requires mastery.
Supporting Disadvantaged Learners with Precision Teaching
Here's a nine-point list that explains how to support disadvantaged learners with precision teaching, drawing on a variety of subjects and focusing on primary and secondary school teachers:
- Direct Instruction: Precision teaching can be used to provide direct instruction to students, focusing on fundamental skills and breaking down complex skills into component skills. This approach can be particularly effective in subjects like math, where students can benefit from direct instruction on level math skills.
- Hierarchy of Skills: Precision teaching allows teachers to establish a hierarchy of skills, starting with fundamental skills and gradually building up to more complex skills. This can be particularly useful in subjects like science, where students need to understand basic concepts before they can tackle more complex topics.
- Bridge Between Skills: Precision teaching can serve as a bridge between skills, helping students to see how different skills are interconnected. This can be particularly useful in subjects like history, where students need to understand how different events and ideas are connected.
- Organization of Skills: Precision teaching can help teachers to organize skills in a logical and coherent way. This can be particularly useful in subjects like English, where students need to understand the rules of grammar and syntax.
- Motor Skills: Precision teaching can be used to teach motor skills, such as those needed for physical education or art. By breaking down complex movements into component parts, precision teaching can help students to master these skills.
- Daily Living Skills: Precision teaching can be used to teach daily living skills, such as those needed for home economics or life skills classes. By breaking down complex tasks into component parts, precision teaching can help students to master these skills.
- Inquiry Teaching: Precision teaching can be used to support inquiry teaching, encouraging students to ask questions and seek out answers. This can be particularly useful in subjects like science, where students are encouraged to conduct experiments and make observations.
- Teaching Assistant: Precision teaching can be used to guide the work of teaching assistants, helping them to provide targeted support to students. This can be particularly useful in large classes, where the teacher may not be able to provide individualized attention to each student.
- Precision Teaching Implementation Manual: A precision teaching implementation manual can provide teachers with a step-by-step guide to implementing precision teaching in their classrooms. This can be particularly useful for new teachers or teachers who are unfamiliar with precision teaching.
Example: In a math class, a teacher might use precision teaching to teach students how to solve complex equations. The teacher would start by teaching the fundamental skills, such as addition and subtraction, before moving on to more complex skills, such as multiplication and division.
The teacher would then show how these skills are interconnected, helping students to see how they can use addition and subtraction to solve multiplication and division problems.
Precision teaching is a powerful tool for supporting disadvantaged learners. By breaking down complex skills into component parts, precision teaching allows students to master each part before moving on to the next. This can help to build confidence and ensure that students do not get left behind.
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