Nowadays in many schools, looping has been integrated as a regular procedure. It has become normal for students to spend more than one year with the same teachers. This year to enhance learning in first grade, we decided to implement looping, or teaching our kids from last year.
Benefits of Looping
1) Relationships with students
Teachers and students can look back and laugh at shared experiences from previous years, and also look ahead to what things can be done this year. There is a level of trust that can only be built up over time. Students feel comfortable talking to the teacher as a trusted mentor, and will often even share stories that most students would not typically share with their new teacher. A high level of caring and respect is developed in the classroom.
2) Relationships with parents and families
Knowing the parents of my students very well makes it easier to work as a team. Parents know the way the teacher works, as well as what to generally expect during the year. They feel comfortable talking with the teacher or send him/her questions about assignments or grades, which can make things much less complicated than when parents need to adjust to completely different ways of working each year.
3) Understanding student needs
Knowing the students’ strengths and general weaknesses right from the first day of school changes expectations for the year. It is very easy for teachers to remember where students started from, the progressions they have made, and what goals he/she still need to work on. I can remember the skills that each student struggled with the year before, as well as what tasks they usually excel at. There are no wasted days at the beginning of the year – coming back from summer vacation is like coming back after a long holiday. We catch up on what everyone did, and then pick up where we left off, with new skills and projects to work on.
4) Promotes teacher innovation
You just can’t teach the same thing every year when you have the same students! Teachers need to use new skills and competencies to develop according to the education programs the school has and follows. Every year teachers need to think of new projects, new texts to read, new activities to do, and new units to cover. It really prevents them from reusing the same materials over and over for years on end. One of the biggest challenges as a teacher is being up to date with new technologies and ideas in education and be able to incorporate into the classroom.
5) Benefits classroom management
When you start teaching the students in your class, you establish routines and procedures for almost everything. There are rules to follow, and consequences for not following them. Every year, teachers have a new class with new procedures to learn. In my class, the students come in September already aware of what I will tolerate, as well as what I expect from them. New students pick things up quickly as they integrate into our well-established group.
Ms. Nora Sierra
1 A Teacher
Early Childhood Assistant Principal