Looping: Needed Now More than Ever

No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship

James P. Connor, Comer School Development Center

Looping at The Willows has always been an integral part of the school’s philosophy. From 1st to 2nd grade and from 3rd to 4th grade, Willows’ students have the same teachers and classmates for back-to-back years. Looping in schools has been shown to have a positive impact on both students and teachers. The Willows has always understood and embraced the positive benefits of looping, but now with the pandemic, for the next school year, looping is going to be more significant than ever before.

Why looping?

Relationships with students

When teachers spend two years with the same students, there is a level of trust that is formed. These deep bonds allow students to be more open to taking risks in the classroom, which in return, will foster more authentic learning experiences. Teachers will also have a better understanding of their students’ learning styles from being with them for two years and will be able to adapt their approach to fit their students’ needs. These formative years are crucial for students to build a strong bond with their teacher.

Relationships with parents and families

We all know the importance of the home/school connection. It takes a partnership. Not only is trust extremely important between students and teachers, but trust between parents and teachers is equally as important. Having two years together helps parents and teachers build on that trust. Once that foundation is established, parents will feel more comfortable asking questions and taking advice from teachers. Parents will know the style of teaching and how the classroom is running, and generally, have a better sense what to expect during the year.

Students adapt less to change

The beginning of any school year is a transitional time. It sometimes takes months just to get in a routine. A great deal of this time is spent getting to know the students and students adjusting to classroom expectations such as rules, schedules, and acceptable behavior. This transitional time, while extremely important, can take away from the academic learning that takes place in the classroom, especially if teachers have to do it yearly.

We all know students like routine and structure. They like to know what’s coming next. Looping provides the stability and consistency at school that all students crave and need. By integrating looping into schools, children spend less time adjusting to classroom expectations and rules, and they won’t have to adapt every year to a new teacher and classroom. This will allow students to have more time to focus on the academics and social emotional facets of school.

I’m going to leave you with this analogy.

The notion of finding a new doctor or dentist every year sounds absurd. We, as well as our children, want to develop a bond with our doctors in order to feel comfortable with them, and so do our doctors with us. This bond that’s built on trust and experiences are developed over time and provides doctors with a better understanding of our growth and development. So why wouldn’t this concept of looping not be utilized in our schools?

For more information about distance learning at The Willows. Please visit our Distance Learning hub at www.thewillows.org/distancelearning.

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