Here's an example that highlights some of practical problems with an orientational approach. It comes from the New American School's large whole-school reform initiative of the late 90's. It comes from a teacher in a lower-socioeconomic school who was part of a whole school reform design.
She stated that many [students] came from unstructured home environments and thus needed more orderly classroom experiences.
[I]t would work probably better with a group of kids that are on grade level, that have a lot of self-control...If the come from a home where there is no structure, [and] they come into a classroom where there is no structure...that's the problem. But I really feel, and I might be wrong, that this works with a different population much better than what it has worked with our students.
Teachers at a CON [specific reform design type] school stated that their design units had to be "modified" to address their student's basic skill needs. (Berends, et. al. 2002, pp. 114)So, does this represent a small-group orientation which is concerned about customizing/optimizing things for the contexts of a particular group - say the disadvantaged students in the class. Or, does it represent a large-group orientation which is concerned about the hidden curriculum of institutionalized education - say student should learn the value of order and structure?
Obviously such dichotomous questions are ill-formed. First off, intentions matter much less than behaviour. Behaviour matters much less than fitness. Short-term fitness matters much less than long-term fitness which incorporates anti-fragility concerns.
Berends, M., Bodilly, S., Kirby, S. (2002). Facing the Challenges of Whole-School Reform: New American Schools After a Decade. RAND, Santa Monica California.