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Small group collaboration modality – Teach to One: Math

How OrangeTheory Fitness and Teach to One Personalize Instruction

What do OrangeTheory Fitness and Teach to One: Math—New Classrooms’ personalized learning model—have in common when it comes to personalized instruction? In an insightful new article by Mike Petrilli, both OrangeTheory and New Classrooms are equivalent analogies in their respective work to improve the workout/learning experience. Specifically, both models are working to strike the right balance between personalized instruction and group work.

In this article, I’ll take a look at the major approaches that schools are taking to solving this problem today—but will do so using the world of fitness to provide insights into their pros and cons. That’s because fitness studios have a similar challenge: how to provide a great experience for twenty-five or thirty students at the same time, one that meets everyone where they are, can cope with great variation in fitness levels and goals, challenge everybody (but not so much as to drive them away), and enable the participants to gauge their own progress on metrics that they trust and understand.

Read the full article here. Here are three specific commonalities between OrangeTheory Fitness and Teach to One.

OrangeTheory and Teach to One want to achieve the “the best of both worlds.”

OrangeTheory is giving clients a personalized workout experience while keeping them together in one group, regardless of being at different fitness levels. This model allows them to reap the benefits of working together (“It’s a Community — Not a Competition” is one of their slogans) while receiving individualized attention that lets them push themselves in the right way to get the most out of their workout. Teach to One, meanwhile, provides students with a personalized learning experience while keeping them together as a cohort, even though their readiness levels vary widely. TTO’s model includes multiple modalities in which students not only learn independently, but also through small-group collaboration and through teacher-led instruction.

In both models, the role of the teacher changes in important ways.

Several key design components are generated centrally for OrangeTheory Fitness (daily workouts) and Teach to One (daily schedule, lessons, and modalities). In TTO, the teacher is freed to spend less time lecturing and more time providing individualized attention, checking in with struggling students, “coaching” students with feedback, and facilitating small-group discussions.

Technology plays a key role, but isn’t front and center.

Big Board at Bear Creek – Teach to One: MathIn the case of OrangeTheory, the technology is an interactive heart monitor called OTconnect. For Teach to One, it’s a combination of a daily scheduling algorithm, online portals for students and teachers, and large television screens called Big Boards – or, as Petrilli calls them, “airport monitors.” “But the technology is not front and center; it plays a supportive role from the backroom,” he writes.

Here’s how it works: At the end of each day, students take a brief assessment to gauge how well they have mastered the math they’re working on. Overnight, an algorithm designed by New Classrooms figures out the exact skill each student is ready to learn next, as well as the “modality” that would be the best fit—like whole group instruction, small group instruction, or online learning. In the morning, kids look up at “airport monitors” to find out what and where they will be learning that day, and off they go. Most of the instruction is done with a teacher, in large or small groups, but those groups are constantly changing, bringing students together who are all ready to learn the same skill.

Want to learn more about Teach to One’s school-based learning model?

New Classrooms