Differences in Micro & Macro Teaching

Many teachers use whole group instruction when introducing a new topic.
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No matter the grade level or subject matter, teachers use a variety of techniques when instructing their students. Depending on the content you need to deliver, you may engage macro teaching, which means lecturing the class as a whole, or micro teaching, in which you divide your students into smaller groups or even work one-on-one with individual students for a short period of time.

1 What Is Macro Teaching?

The term “macro” means “large-scale” or “overall.” If you look at a macro teaching PDF online, you can find the definition. When applied to teaching, the macro method simply indicates instruction that is being delivered to the entire class at one time. This is a useful method for when teachers need to give instructions for an assignment or introduce a new concept or background information to the class.

Teachers can also implement macro teaching on a professional development level when they are looking at long-term curriculum planning for the year. Macro planning, for instance, allows you to review course goals with your students for an entire semester (or year) at the beginning of the course. This helps your students know what to expect from the course as they progress through the subject matter.

2 What Is Micro Teaching?

In the field of teaching, micro teaching has two separate meanings. First, it can indicate a classroom teaching style in which teachers work with small groups of students for short periods of time. This technique is common in earlier grade levels, such as elementary school, in which students work in “centers” while the teacher rotates among tables.

Micro-teaching can also imply a type of professional development activity in which you deliver a short lesson in front of a small group of peers or students. The lesson is sometimes video recorded. Following the lesson, the mentor teachers or students will work with you to evaluate the lesson and provide feedback.

Micro teaching, which was founded in the 1960s by Stanford professor Dwight W. Allen is widely considered to be one of the most effective forms of teacher training because it allows teachers to “test out” new lessons and instructional techniques in a low-pressure environment before expanding it to an entire class.

3 Difference Between Micro Teaching and Simulated Teaching

Like microteaching, simulated teaching can refer to a teaching style that is being used in the classroom, or it can refer to a teacher training method. In the classroom, simulated teaching is when you assign students to particular roles in a simulated environment. For instance, students can role play scenes from a novel or particular time in history, and then respond to a given assignment as if they were a specific character or historical figure.

Simulation can even require students to take over the role of the “teacher” and instruct the class. In teacher training, simulated teaching is similar to micro teaching: Teachers “role play” a particular lesson in front of a group of peers who are acting as students and then, the peer group evaluates the lesson and provides you with feedback.

4 Mini Teaching Definition

As with micro teaching, mini teaching can refer to either an instructional definition or teacher training. Either way, the mini teaching definition shows that it is basically a scaled-down form of micro teaching. In the classroom setting, mini teacher implies a scenario in which the teacher works with very small groups of students (perhaps two or three) for short periods of time.

Mini teaching can also refer to a brief lesson of five minutes or less (often referred to as “bell work” in the field of education). When it comes to teacher training, mini teaching shares its methodology with micro teaching: You will deliver a short lesson of approximately 10 minutes to a small group of peers or students, who then evaluate the lesson and share feedback with you.

Jennifer Brozak earned her state teaching certificate in Secondary English and Communications from St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., and her bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Pittsburgh. A former high school English teacher, Jennifer enjoys writing articles about parenting and education and has contributed to Reader's Digest, Mamapedia, Shmoop and more.