What is guided practice?

In this blog we will discuss what guided practice is.

We will also discuss what are the theoretical underpinnings of guided practice, the stages of guided practice, the applications of this practice of teaching and instruction and its benefits. 

What is guided practice?

Guided practice is a teaching practice that was developed and pioneered by Barbara Rogoff. 

This practice of teaching is also defined as a scaffolded independent practice where the aid and support in learning is gradually removed until the individual is able to do the task independently.

It involves a four step process where the teacher first models the task, then the teacher and student do the task together, then the student and other peers do it together, and finally the student completes the task on their own. 

Guided practice is mostly based on empowering the students to practise their own skills as well as develop their own way of doing the task while also giving feedback and concern inputs that can help them learn better and perform the task better.

Guided practice is interactive meaning that there is a lot of back and forth between teacher and students where the teacher provides as much information as they can while also listening to the inputs and queries of their students. 

It also contains assignments, handouts, etc which can guide the student as well as allow them the space to practise independently. They can also use other aids in learning such as mnemonic patterns and acronyms to help serve as retrieval cues to help students’ remember the steps. 

Teachers should encourage the students to express their inputs on how they plan to complete the task as well as encourage them to visualise the process and predict outcomes. 

It is also encouraged that the students should also debate amongst themselves about better and more effective ways of doing and completing the tasks. 

Students should also be encouraged to ask questions and for help when they need it and there must be aid available in whatever form when the students ask for it. It is important that the teacher is present and is observing the students in thai stage to correct any misconceptions. 

It is a cyclical process so, their development at stage four becomes the new zone of proximal development where the entire learning of new topics and tasks will re-start with the I-Do stage. 

What are the theoretical underpinnings of guided practice?

The concept of Guided practice in terms of learning and development has its roots in the Gradual release of responsibility model which is a social constructivist teaching strategy.

This model has been designed to promote competence and confidence in completing tasks and this theory takes from three Socio-Cultural theories of learning:

Zone Of Proximal Development

Zone of Proximal Development is a concept that was developed by Vygotsky who hypothesised that the best way to teach learners is to challenge them with tasks that are harder than what they are capable of doing in this state but possible when done with someone who is capable of doing it- like a teacher or another student. 

Here, the Zone of proximal development is the space between what the learner can do without the help of other people and what they can do without more guidance and collaboration with other capable people.

In guided practice, this concept is taken into account and applied by making each progress that the student makes as the next zone so that there is steady never ending progress and learning. 

More Knowledgeable Other

Another concept that is included in this practice is the “more Knowledgeable other” also proposed by Vygotsky. 

Vygotsky proposed that for students to achieve maximum progression they should learn alongside someone who is more knowledgeable than them in the matter- teacher or a more capable peer. 

So that this individual can provide assistance by prompting, modelling, explaining and suggesting that can help them progress.

Scaffolding

This is another concept of learning and development proposed by Bruner who expanded on Vygotsky’s ideas.

Instructional scaffolding refers to the learning strategy where the various forms of support of scaffoldings are removed as the student becomes more competent. 

For example, as a student learns how to tune their instruments, their need for a turner is removed- here the tuner is a scaffolding. Or in the case of guided practice, the aid of the teacher is removed gradually as well as the aid of another peer until the person can perform the task independently.

What are the different stages of Guided practice?

The different stages of guided practice according to Chris Drew for Helpful Professor are as follows:

I Do (Teacher Modelling)’

In this first stage, the teacher modeles the learning by doing so that the learners can understand what needs to be done and how to do it. 

At this stage the teacher should break the task down to smaller steps that can be grasped easily, and use visual aids to help the student understand what needs to be done. 

They can also use other aids in learning such as mnemonic patterns and acronyms to help serve as retrieval cues to help students’ remember the steps. 

At this stage it is important that the students take notes and reflect on what is being done as they watch the teacher model the behaviours- active participation is imported here even if the students are simply watching. 

We Do (Co-Construction)

At this stage, the students and the teacher practice the task together meaning that the students participate in the process. 

Here the students will re-do what was done by the teacher with the teacher or with other students so that they can support each other through learning. 

Here the teachers should encourage the students to express their inputs on how they plan to complete the task as well as encourage them to visualise the process and predict outcomes. 

It is also encouraged that the students should also debate amongst themselves about better and more effective ways of doing and completing the tasks. 

One element that can be introduced here is play, where the students are encouraged to learn by playing- for example, learning spelling by singing songs etc. 

You Do (Facilitation)

The third stage involves students taking responsibility for their own learning process and they try their best to complete the task on their own- without the teacher and without their classmates. 

Here, the teacher can be present in aiding learning and helping students who need further guidance. 

Here the students are encouraged to be open and expressive of what they are doing, how they are doing it, and why. 

Students should also be encouraged to ask questions and for help when they need it and there must be aid available in whatever form when the students ask for it. 

It is important that the teacher is present and is observing the students in thai stage to correct any misconceptions. 

Independent Practice

The final stage is where the students complete the task entirely on their own. Here the students do things either in the classroom without help from the teacher and their peers or they do it at home as assignments. 

The student should be given the choice to do the task in a new environment and the task should be a little different to promote a sense of mastery and competency in the student. 

The task should be something that they are motivated to do, so encouraging enjoyment is important as well as making it a point to let the students know that you are ready to assist them if they need more facilitation. 

By the end of this final stage, assessment of the students development is necessary, if they have not been able to push beyond their early state of development, further guidance will be needed. 

It is a cyclical process so, their development at stage four becomes the new zone of proximal development where the entire learning of new topics and tasks will re-start with the I-Do stage. 

What are the Benefits of Guided Practice?

When it comes to the benefits of guided practice there are two primary benefits:

Focus

Guided practice ensures that the lesson is focused on the topic at hand and breaks down the task making sure that any and all areas related to the topic learned is being covered. 

This ensures that the learning is focused rather than elaborate and vague discussions on the topic just to move on to the next one. 

Clear and specific instructions

Guided practice ensures that the teacher gives clear instructions that define when to use a specific strategy and how to use this strategy to learn and understand the topic. 

Because this form of teaching also includes independent learning and feedback, it also helps to solidify learning and at the same time, improve learning by fine tuning the details with feedback.

Which Student is Guided Practice Appropriate For?

Guided practice works best for students who need collaboration to learn rather than students who are able to learn independently. So this includes students who are younger in age as well as for students with disabilities.

These thoughts of students might require explicit directions through each step in a task and require extra interaction and guidance to learn and complete tasks at a pace and format that meet their need for accommodation.. 

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed what guided practice is.

We have also discussed what are the theoretical underpinnings of guided practice, the stages of guided practice, the applications of this practice of teaching and instruction and its benefits. 

FAQ related to Guided practice

What are some examples of guided practice?

One example of guided practice includes Students practise reading with help of the teacher followed by the students reading with the help of prompts and reminders, then the students reading new material on their own. 

Another example can include learning how to cook by watching your parent, doing it with your parent, doing it alone as they watch and supervise you, and doing it completely alone. 

Why is guided practice important?

Guided practice is important because it ensures that the lesson is focused on the topic at hand and breaks down the task making sure that any and all areas related to the topic learned is being covered , it also helps to solidify learning and at the same time, improve learning by fine tuning the details with feedback.

What is the difference between guided practice and independent practice?

Guided practice is where the instructor teachers by guiding and doing the task collaboratively where as in independent practice students complete the work by themselves without any help.

References

Drew.C.Guided Practice (I Do We Do You Do): Examples & Definition. HelpfulProfessor. Retrieved on 22nd Feb 2022. https://helpfulprofessor.com/guided-practice/

Drew.C.Gradual Release Of Responsibility Model (In 4 Easy Steps). HelpfulProfessor. Retrieved on 22nd Feb 2022. https://helpfulprofessor.com/gradual-release-of-responsibility-model/

Lewis.B.Writing a Lesson Plan: Guided Practice. ThoughtCo. Retrieved on 22nd Feb 2022. https://www.thoughtco.com/lesson-plan-step-4-guided-practice-2081853

Ssebikindu.L. Guided vs. Independent Practice. TeachHub. Retrieved on 22nd Feb 2022. https://www.teachhub.com/professional-development/2020/08/guided-vs-independent-practice/

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