Small Class Sizes: Focused Direct Instruction (FDI)


Small Class Sizes Can Lead to Amazing Things. 

Students shouldn’t be stuck in large classes, where they can get lost in the crowd. Method uses an innovative rotation model that allows for class sizes of 8 or less in our direct instruction settings. We call these learning environments Focused Direct Instruction (FDI), and they lead to better results and a more positive experience for our students and teachers.

How does it work?

Students work in online content, on projects, or participate in hands-on group courses. As needs are identified, students are combined into small groups throughout the day to get deeper instruction on learning strands they need help with the most. These FDI classes typically go for about 20 minutes – just long enough for the student to learn and retain without getting bored – and the student is returned to the activity he or she was working on previously. This could happen several times during the day using data to determine growth and effectiveness.

How does Method lower class sizes?

Method uses a station rotation learning model. The stations are online courses, projects, and FDI. Both the online coursework and project based learning tracks require less direct teacher support than traditional settings where teachers stand up in front of the class and share their knowledge with students. This means that there is additional teacher support freed up. That extra support is deployed in our FDI classes. So, rather than a class size of 25, which is what the State of California funds Method at, our FDI classes have an actual class size of about eight, because they're in FDI roughly 1/3 of the time (25/3 = 8.33). The rest of the time they're working on projects or in online curriculum. How do they end up in FDI? Our teachers rely on data from the online courses, or they observe trends and patterns that they can use a small class setting, like FDI, to improve or enhance. Sometimes students are in FDI because they're behind, other times it's because they're ahead. 

Which students are eligible?

FDI is one phase of the Method rotational model, and it’s available to students in all iRotate tracks. If students participate in iRotate, which is Method’s onsite learning track, they’re eligible for FDI, regardless of how many days per week they attend.