The Pros and Cons of Looping
Rmarmion | Dreamstime.com
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Next year, my children’s elementary school will begin looping and keeping the students for up to three years with one teacher. The children will only have two teachers in elementary school (K-1-2) and (3-4-5). Is this good preparation for middle school where they will have several teachers each day?
Whether students attend an elementary school where they have a new teacher each year or the same teacher for two or more years, there will be an adjustment to having several classroom teachers in middle school. In some countries, looping continues into high school where students have the same content area teacher.
On balance, there are more pros than cons to looping. The big advantage for students is a continuing relationship with a teacher. Other advantages for them include an easier transition at the start of the school year, stronger relationships with classmates, more individualized instruction, more self-confidence in the classroom, and greater continuity in what they are learning.
There are advantages to teachers also. In the second year of looping and beyond, teachers save time at the start of the year because they already know their students’ strengths and weaknesses and what they have been taught. They also have more time to develop solid relationships with students and their families. Plus, they have more time to meet the special needs of their students.
There is one big con for both students and teachers, if they are a poor match. Another is a poor match between classmates. It can also be difficult for new students who join a class that has been together for more than a year.