Q&A #4747

Multi-age classroom teaching

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From: Kristina (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Sep 27, 2000 at 13:15:08
Subject: Re: Multi-age classroom teaching

I asked a friend of mine who started a multiage program in her school to
answer this same question.  I don't know if you'll have time to think about
her ideas before your interview today.  Good luck!
 -Kristina, of the Teacher2Teacher service

Here are some important multiage issues that may come up in an interview:

* How one might deliver traditional instruction, like spelling, in an
individualized manner:
 I think that many people, ignorant of what a multiage classroom is, see it
as being void of instruction. Using the spelling example, a teacher could
test the whole group using a bank of the most frequently used words and
create individual lists based on where each student begins to make mistakes
on that list. This list could be supplemented with misspelled words from the
student's writing and words of interest from their reading.

* What is the benefit of multiage?
While all classrooms have a range of abilities, the range of social,
physical, and intellectual abilities in a multiage classroom is greater than
that of a single graded class, thus allowing each child to find their niche.
The dynamics of the class lend themselves to a more inclusive atmosphere. For
example, a small 1st grader might be very social, excel in reading, and be an
average math student. S/he will likely be able to find peers in a multiage
setting that are comparable. A multiage setting with its great range of
abilities allows the classroom environment to be one that focuses on the
concept that everyone possesses areas for growth as well as strengths.

*Does multiage drag down the bright 2nd graders?
No, in fact, multiage classes give the able student the opportunity to
reinforce and solidify their knowledge by explaining or modeling a concept to
someone else.

* It is important to note, that typically, kids will pick up on an idea
faster when it comes from a peer than when it comes from an adult. A multiage
setting allows the teacher to get to know not only the students but the
families, fostering greater understanding, communication, and consistency
between home and school.

* Given the range of abilities in a multiage setting and the need for greater
individualization, multiage students are typically more independent learners.

 -- written by Roseann Squire

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