Gradual Release of Responsibility

How do you get kids to learn?

Learning happens gradually over time. We know that content that is revisited over time has a much larger impact over content that is delivered in a ‘one and done’ style.

So what does it mean to gradually release responsibility.

This means that we are moving students from needing us to not needing us. We are moving them to independent tasks.

So what does this look like in the classroom.

Well it looks at 4 different levels of support that you move students through to teach a concept.

It means that we don’t expect students to do anything independently before we get them to do it with us. Now that doesn’t mean they don’t try. But it does mean that we don’t assess them until we can get work them through the learning.

The four different levels are

  1. Modelled teaching
  2. Shared learning
  3. Guided learning
  4. Independent learning.

So what does this look like in the classroom?

Modelled Teaching

In this phase students are introduced to learning about something.

The teacher is teaching the students are watching. There is a lot of talking through what you are doing to make your thinking visible. This is like show and tell of teaching.

The teacher has 90% of the control over the learning.

In Writing – you are walking them through how you do something. You show them and talk them through your thought process.

In reading you are doing the reading. You are sharing the thinking. You are the only one with the book.

In math – you are showing students how you do something you are making your thinking visible. Say it, show it, do it live.

Shared Learning

In this type of learning you are learning along side your students the teacher is less in control.

You may lead the learning but the students have all of the materials in front of them.

They are starting to use this as a way to follow along as you do it with them. You ask them for more input as this is less of a passive experience.

Think of this as a 60/40 split. Where the teacher is still doing most of the heavy lifting. Teachers create anchor charts and learning objectives here for students to follow.

In Writing – you may write together. Whole group teacher asks for input but leads the discussion. More interactive with students.

In reading – everyone has a copy of the text and you work though it together. You ask questions and get answers but the teacher is still leading.

In math – you may work through a problem together. Students share what they learned and you help to walk them through the learning.

Guided Learning

This is small group learning

Targeted instruction

Easy assessment opportunities.

More work done here by student.

Teacher as a guide not a leader.

Independent Learning

Student on their own without support.

Students lean on examples and previous support

Use anchor charts from previous lessons.

Here is where you assess

Can they apply what they have learned to do as you ask.

Students also do not pass through this in a straight path. Sometimes it is two steps forward and one step back.

This is why time is your friends and revisiting concepts over and over helps

Give small goals and take baby steps.

What is driving you crazy focus on that. Do that. Fix that. Show them how, do it together, let them try.

Just don’t do too much for them.

Students will not do it all all at once. It will be one step at a time.

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