Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) is an evidence-based approach pioneered by Pratham, that moulds classroom instruction to a child’s learning level. The crux of the approach is grouping children according to their learning levels, focusing on foundational reading and mathematics skills, and targeting instruction to a child’s current level.
What are TaRL’s core classroom principles?
TaRL classes break free of the “chalk and talk” practices commonly found in primary school classrooms across the world by encouraging the use of engaging, fun, and creative activities focused on building foundational reading and mathematics skills. TaRL classes are
No, TaRL classes are not based on a curriculum. In many regular primary school classrooms, lessons are organised linearly, around terms or months, with content becoming progressively more complex. Children might not learn in the particular order or pace set out in a curriculum and many tend to fall behind or not accelerate as quickly as they are able to. Therefore, TaRL classes encourage instructors instead to focus on the learning level of the child, keep track of what children can and cannot do, and allow each child to properly grasp foundational skills. TaRL activities are guided by the core principles above and the specific principles for reading and mathematics classes.
Through the initial assessment and level-wise grouping, instructors recognise what children do and do not understand. With this recognition, instructors craft activities and classes around the current level of their group. Training, practice, and mentor support, equip TaRL instructors to create engaging classes pitched at the level of the child.
Instructors are careful to notice when children in their class progress. They regularly reassess children and move them to the next group when they progress faster than their peers. This ensures that children can accelerate through the learning level groups as well as ensuring that groups remain homogenous and manageable for instructors.
Some programmes provide short instructor manuals which explain TaRL activities and act as a refresher for instructors. Manuals avoid providing day-by-day instructions or stating a particular order for TaRL classes. Instead, instructors are given the flexibility to craft activities and classes for their particular group of children.
Can I create new TaRL activities or games?
When TaRL programme implementers decide to create new level-appropriate games or activities, they consider the core TaRL principles, as well as the specific reading and mathematics skills they are aiming to develop. When they try out these new games or activities, they reflect on the practical aspects (classroom space, time, whether each child is able to participate), and observe whether the game or activity helps children to grasp key concepts.