Houston Middle School tries new Classroom approach

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Original story by Ericka Mellon, Houston Chronicle, Sept. 26, 2010

Taking a page out of the way colleges teach students – large classrooms with lots of students – Lannie Milon Jr., principal at Thomas Middle School, has his students attend class in large spaces like the library and auditorium. Each class has 75 students on average and between five and nine teachers. One teachers generally takes the lead while the others assist students who need help. Teachers switch off taking charge based on who is best at explaining the topic of the day. Teachers can learn from eachother and if a student misbehaves, instruction doesn’t have to stop.

“When you don’t have to spend so much time on managing a class, you can deliver a more rigorous lesson” says Milon.

How are teachers responding to these new initiatives?

In the beginning they felt like he was invading their privacy and some even wanted to leave. Now some are starting to embrace the idea. Regardless, this is a bold and fresh idea and I am very interested in learning whether or not this approach will be successful.

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