The Benefits of Teacher Looping
In our Lower School (grades 1-8) the “Class Teacher” is a central figure that stays with a class for multiple years (looping). They teach an extended “Morning Lesson” each day where the class rotates through “blocks” of study (math skills, literacy skills, history, geography, the sciences, etc.). The Class Teacher also works closely with their class’ specialty teachers so there is a cohesive understanding of the class, its progress and its well-being. Our Class Teachers generally loop either through the lower grades or middle school grades. The continuity of the Class Teacher allows for a deep relationship and understanding to form between the teacher and each student and it also informs the teacher’s work with the class as a whole.
In our High School, we have class advisors who stay with the class for all 4 years and teachers have the same students for different courses over multiple years. If you ask our teachers what they love about working with students in a small school, the top answer is that they really get to know the students as individuals and they are deeply invested in the growth and success of each student.
While looping has been the practice of Waldorf schools for over 100 years, new studies show that a teacher educating the same group of students in multiple subjects over multiple years has lasting benefits. Students who stay with the same teacher see both academic improvement as well as reductions in absences and behavioral issues. Teaching a student for multiple years allows teachers to better understand each student’s learning style, to work with families to help support students, and to challenge them to do their best work. This multi-year student-teacher relationship helps each student to unfold their unique potential.