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Spiral teaching or the spiral model of education is a teaching technique that allows learners to construct much of their own learning process. It differs from the mastery method in that the student doesn’t have to master the topic before moving on to the next “level.” Just as the name suggests, the student is able to spiral back around to the topic in different stages.
• Beginning topic: The topic is introduced to the student. The educator finds out from the student what his experience or understanding level is. Think of it as kind of a contemplative stage, because the student is able to think about it and return.
• Next topic: Move to a different topic. The students aren’t made to feel that they didn’t “get” the first topic, but that there will a time to revisit it later.
• Either return to the first topic or explore another: The educator either moves to a new topic or goes back to the initial topic and gauges the students’ experience and understanding.
• Continue to build on the students’ understanding of the concept.
Some people assume that this method is circular, but it isn’t since the educator is spiraling up or down through the curriculum, depending on the pace of the students’ learning and not continuing in a circle.
More Suited to Student's Pace
One very important concept of spiral teaching is that often a student isn’t ready to learn a subject. The readiness to learn is a core principle. This is especially effective for young learners and also students with special needs, including attention and learning issues.