Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What Does the Research Say: Single-Focus or Multi-Focus?

A debate about single-focus instruction versus multi-focus instruction arises now and then at the elementary school.

For example, I was never a fan of the Every Day Math Program, because students had to switch their focus too often. One chapter typically had a multi-focus and not enough depth, in my opinion, for mastery.

Now with program attention, teachers are discussing whether same students can learn three different math concepts, skills, or knowledge points in a singular day or is it better to focus on one skill, concept, or knowledge point with depth. I know as a learner, I like to reach greater depth with a singular concept before I try to learn the next concept. As a teacher I prefer to teach concept, skill, and/or knowledge point with depth and then at the end of the unit integrate past concepts, knowledge points, and skills for a rich synergy of content taught.

Last night a colleague confirmed my approach when she told me the story of how their RTI approach focused on the same concept and learning as the core teaching time. She said that the progress for individual students was terrific.

This is a topic I'd like to research more with regard to cognitive science and research. What do cognitive scientists and the research have to say about this. I want to know.

I think this Saul Khan video may shed some light on the topic so I plan to watch it in the morning when I have a fresh brain.