The Group Profile: “One size does not fit all”

By Vernon Kearl, Health and Social Care

Why do I need to use a group profile?  What do I need to put in it?

Whilst working as a teaching and learning coach with new members of staff these are common questions that I always get asked and my response has always been that a group profile can be one the most effective teaching tools that we have to support us in the classroom.

I have always used the group profile to support me in the planning and delivery of my teaching sessions as it provides me with a summary all the learning strengths and potential areas that need to be improved on for all my students.  In short by having an understanding of these key points I am able to consider how to provide an outstanding learning experience that encourages, challenges and supports each student to achieve their full potential. In order to achieve such an outcome for every learner there is a need to gather all of the information during the induction period of the course, this will ensure that the needs of each students are considered, identified and recorded in the group profile. These should include:

  • The knowledge and skills that each student has at the start of a lesson (including prior attainment grades, GCSE qualifications and the level of numeracy and literacy skills held).
  • Career aspiration (can include work experience opportunities)
  • ALS requirements to support learning needs
  • Information relating to the way in which each student typically approaches their learning (e.g. learning and thinking styles)
  • Differentiated methods of checking learning
  • Strategies to support individual learning
  • Appropriate assessment strategies

Understanding the starting point for each student is a prerequisite for planning teaching strategies as this will ensure that each session engages every student and challenges them sufficiently to develop new skills, acquire new knowledge and extend their abilities. It is important to remember that all of our students learn and develop their knowledge and understanding through a variety of approaches and as such our session planning should reflect this diversity by offering opportunities for learning to take place for all students. The more we know about our students, the more we can plan on differentiating based on their individual needs rather than taking a one size fits all approach.

The group profile is most effective when we know the various ways that each of our students makes sense of the session content and the more we understand our students then the greater the chance we have in a successful session taking place.

Here’s an example:

Student ALS GCSE Grades Year 1 Grade Predicted Grade Learning Style Career Aspiration Tutor Notes
Student Name Yes Maths F

Eng C

BKSB IA/Diag

Maths L1 32%

Eng L1 65%

D MM Reflector

Visual

Social Worker Still appears to be settling in to the group and seems to be reluctant to move outside of her peer grouping. Quiet individual who lacks confidence, no behavioural issues. Likes to have handout or copy of presentation. ALS – need to check visual interpretation and understanding, has not requested additional support. Uses green overlay. Strategy Positive reinforcement. Needs to be pushed to put her point of view across (TQA) and contribute to the group.  Needs to be paired with a strong peer. Question on understanding during walk round.  Provide handouts and ensure work is on the VLE. Attends FS Maths. N&L Multiplication and percentages.  Spelling and use of a dictionary.