The Pros and Cons of Looping
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.
My 8-year-old step-daughter is an only child. At home, she’s very relaxed and skilled at entertaining herself. We see no attention problems. However, her second-grade teacher is convinced she has attention issues. What gives?
You certainly need more information from the teacher than that your step-daughter has an attention problem. Find out from her teacher specifically when she isn’t paying attention and whether it is seriously affecting her learning. It would probably be helpful to go to school and observe how the child is behaving in the classroom.
One reason that you may not see any attention problems in your home is because there are fewer distractions there than in a classroom with other children involved in different activities.
Many young children have to learn how to focus in the classroom and are inattentive at times. You can find out more about the symptoms of attention problems at these two excellent websites: Children & Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (chadd.org), which gives an overview of attention deficit and how to manage. The second is ADDitude: Living Well with Attention Deficit (additudemag.com). Generally speaking, a serious attention problem needs to be manifested in more than one setting