Teachers use a variety of different approaches when instructing their students. Sometimes teachers lecture their students; at other times they encourage their students to work together to accomplish a goal. Macro and micro teaching come into play, as well, because they help dictate what a teacher teaches, how the teacher provides that instruction and who is included in each classroom activity.
Macro Teaching 101
Macro teaching occurs when a teacher provides instruction to the entire class at one time for an extended period of time, usually longer than 10 minutes. Macro teaching is often done in lecture format, and may be used to introduce a new concept, such as adding, or to practice a new skill, such as sounding out new words. Another component of macro teaching occurs when a teacher is developing lesson plans. Macro lesson planning involves mapping out the bare bones of the entire school year with regard to what material -- such as long division or spelling concepts -- will be taught over the span of the school year.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Macro Teaching
Macro teaching allows a teacher to introduce new information to everyone at once. While that's sometimes an advantage, it can be a drawback if several students are performing below grade level and aren't yet ready academically to learn the new material. At the same time, macro teaching can give a teacher an idea of what subjects or concepts she needs to spend more time on, as well who in her class needs additional help. Planning lessons at the macro level helps a teacher stay on track so she's able to meet her goals and cover the entire curriculum before the school year ends.
Micro Teaching 101
Micro teaching occurs when a teacher works with a small group of students for a short period of time. This usually happens with a group of 5 to 10 students for a period of 5 to 10 minutes, according to M.J. Lakshmi, author of "Microteaching and Prospective Teachers." For example, micro teaching occurs when a teacher works with small groups of students she has formed based on their reading ability. Micro lesson planning happens when a teacher creates individual classroom activities that occur on a day-to-day basis.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Micro Teaching
A primary reason why micro teaching has benefits in the classroom is because it allows a teacher to provide in-depth instruction to a few students at a time. For example, if a teacher has several students who are struggling with a math concept, she might separate them from the rest of the class to provide more focused instruction, while allowing the rest of the class to work independently on math problems. This kind of learner-centered micro teaching helps boost understanding, according to the 2010 article "Learner-centered Micro Teaching in Teacher Education," published in the "International Journal of Instruction." A drawback is that, depending on how many students are in the class, the teacher might not have enough time to provide small group instruction for all students who need additional attention. Children who are performing well also may get less of a chance to work in a small group because they don't usually need additional help to grasp a concept.
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