This page is located at:

Individualized Group Instruction

Volume 7: Chapter Five
Perrine Robinson-Geller

In Chapter Five, Perrine Robinson-Geller reports on a literature review and series of interviews conducted to examine the use in adult basic education (ABE) of individualized group instruction (IGI), which she defines as an instructional model in which students gather in a group with a teacher but work independently on individualized assignments while the teacher assigns work, corrects students work, keeps records, and assists students as necessary. After describing the model in depth, she lays out factors which led to and perpetuated its use, including the nature of federal funding, adult learning theories of the time, the materials available, and structural issues that led to mixed level classes and sporadic attendance.

Using informal and general reports, Robinson-Geller builds a picture of IGI today. It is widely used as an instructional model, although use varies from state to state. IGI classes tend to focus on isolated skills in traditional subject areas such as reading and math. The materials rather than the teacher tend to do the teaching; little research has been done on the effectiveness of the materials themselves. Less self-directed students may be less successful in the model; students with low basic skill levels may also flounder with this model. Teachers often use variations of IGI: grouping students for minilessons, for example.

Although IGI is ubiquitous in ABE, Robins-Geller reminds us, the effectiveness of IGI as an instructional model has not been studied and should be. Current federal, state, and local policies drive its use; surely those policies should be reviewed once more is known about the impact of the model as compared to methods of instruction. Until that time, Robinson-Geller points out, policymakers should consider policies that do not force ABE programs to use IGI but encourage choice and innovation.

 Chapter 6   arrow