Precision teaching is a method of focused teaching that aims to refine core skills in numeracy and literacy such as spelling, reading, and doing multiplication and division. The goal of precision teaching is not to establish foundational concepts but to build upon existing learnings so that children can become fluent in a language, for example. Oftentimes children will practice their new learnings through quick-fire associations through images and words, or sounds. Using visual prompts like those in our Match and Spell Game is a helpful way to get children thinking about associations.
How is Precision Teaching Carried Out?
Precision teaching is carried out one-to-one between a teacher and student so that teaching can be tailored to the level and abilities of the student and specific areas of learning can be addressed. Normally precision teaching lessons are planned as short but frequent sessions. Students with SEND often benefits well from precision teaching to give them the assistance they need to keep up with the rest of the class.
Through precision teaching, students are expected to recall spelling and grammar quickly to encourage instinctive selecting of words and letters. Students will work on particular literacy and numeracy skills to fluency before moving on to anything else. Using handheld whiteboards is an effective way to conduct fast-paced precision teaching, as words and sums can be written out and wiped away quickly.
Try out these highly customisable precision teaching resources from Tes that can be split up for each individual student to practice words, letters, sounds, and numbers.
When it comes to identifying letters and sounds having clear and engaging visuals will help to solidify the correct responses in a student’s mind. Using a tool that students can engage with will help even more to make the connections in their minds. An app like this Letter Recognition App can be used to encourage children to learn letters and sounds with an interactive game.
For teachers looking for help and support in how precision teaching should be carried out, Teachers Pay Teachers is a useful source. Teachers can download activity sheets but also books and booklets that explain certain procedures to facilitate precision teaching. Some also include data charts to help you track student progress.
Precision Teaching for Teaching Assistants
If you are a teaching assistant you might already know that precision teaching is a valuable skill to bring to the classroom and the teacher you are supporting. It’s not often feasible for the teacher to go round every student individually multiple times a week to conduct precision teaching sessions. A TA can be an invaluable resource to help the children benefit from precision teaching more.
One-to-one sessions can take place throughout the normal day of lessons when students are working on a relevant subject, or during a quiet time when the whole class is doing an activity. A teaching assistant can easily move throughout the class and work through students that require a short precision session while the teacher conducts lessons and group tasks.
If you are a teacher or an assistant teacher who thinks you can bring more value to your class through precision teaching there are a number of courses available that give you the skills needed to effectively carry our precision sessions. One such precision teaching course is by Training 4 Schools through The School Psychology Service, a CPD certified conductor of teaching courses. Through this course, you will learn about the theory of precision teaching and an example roadmap of how to conduct precision teaching in class.
Precision Teaching for Numeracy
Lots of people instinctively think of spelling, reading, and writing when they think of precision teaching. But this method is often used to help students grasp lessons in numeracy better too. Children learn to sort information and solve mathematical problems at different speeds and precision teaching can give them that little push to help lock certain mathematical concepts into place.
Grouping information mentally is a key step in grasping problems and solving them. For example, in the following question:
Each basket contains 6 apples. How many baskets of apples do we need to feed 12 people if everyone needs 2 apples?
The student must understand how many total apples are required and then how many baskets will be needed. Multiplication and division are needed at different stages. Using a prompt like these Times Tables Number Crunchers to help students look at the different components of a sum and try to find the solution in different ways. This is a useful way to encourage children to look at the different elements of a problem and how they relate to the whole instead of getting stuck trying to solve it one way.
Redbridge SERC offers free downloadable resources for 1-5 times tables and 6-9 times tables that can be printed out and laminated for longer use. These can be cut up and used as flashcards to reinforce times tables that the children are learning.