Delve Institute of Learning Research

Educational Research Topics and Digests

Small Group Instruction

There is a lot of research that supports the use of small-group instruction. If you are a teacher, you can use small group instruction in a variety of ways. You can group students by their ability level, their interests, or their learning styles. You can also use small group instruction to differentiate instruction, providing different activities for different groups of students.

Benefits of Small Group Instruction

Here are some of the findings:

Small group instruction allows teachers to provide more individualized attention to students. This is important because students learn at different rates and have different needs. In a small group, the teacher can tailor the instruction to the specific needs of each student.

Small group instruction can be more effective for struggling students. This is because the teacher can provide more focused instruction and support to these students.

Small group instruction can promote collaboration and teamwork. Students can learn from each other and support each other’s learning.

Small group instruction can be more engaging for students. Students are more likely to be engaged when they are working in a small group and have the opportunity to participate actively.

Research Findings

Here are some of the research studies that support the use of small group instruction:

A study by the National Reading Panel found that small group instruction was more effective than whole-group instruction for teaching reading to struggling readers or as a reading intervention.

A study by the What Works Clearinghouse found that small group instruction was effective for teaching math to students of all levels.

A study by the Center for Research on Educational Outcomes found that small group instruction was effective for reducing the achievement gap between white students and students of color.

Overall, the research is clear that small group instruction is an effective way to teach students. It allows teachers to provide more individualized attention, which is important for all students, but especially for struggling students. Small group instruction can also be more engaging and promote collaboration and teamwork.

Research Articles for Small Group Instruction

Some research articles about small group instruction published since 2016 are:

  • Strategies for Improving Small Group Instruction by Andrew Miller, published in Edutopia on July 13, 2020.
    This article provides tips for giving direct instruction to small groups, whether students are in the classroom or learning at home.
  • Facilitating small group learning in the health professions by Annette Burgess et al., published in BMC Medical Education on December 3, 2020.
    This article provides an overview of approaches and tips to improve learner engagement when facilitating small groups.
  • How to Implement Effective Small Group Instruction by Janelle Cox, published in TeachHUB on March 16, 2020.
    This article explains the benefits of small group instruction for English language learners and how to implement it in the classroom.
  • New evidence on the benefits of small group math instruction for young children by Robin Jacob and Brian Jacob, published in Brookings on June 7, 2018.
    This article reports findings from a study that suggests that small group math instruction for kindergarteners is a promising strategy for improving early mathematical competency.
  • 15 Ways to Improve Small-Group Instruction by Larry Ferlazzo, published in Education Week on November 9, 2021.
    This article offers practical suggestions for teachers to make small group instruction more effective and engaging for students.
  • Small Group Instruction vs Guided Reading by Matt Foster, published by TeamTom Education 2019.