ERIC Number: ED376966
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994
From Teachers' Perspectives: The Social and Psychological Benefits of Multiage Elementary Classrooms.
This paper on multiage classrooms provides first steps toward a systemic understanding of the defining qualities of multiage classrooms and, from teachers' perspectives, the benefits of such classrooms for students, teachers, and parents. The multiage classroom movement in elementary schools is viewed as not just restructuring, but also as the beginning of the re-invention of schooling in the elementary grades. The paper presents comments of seven experienced teachers, based on interviews: the teachers agreed that a strong philosophical commitment is required of both teachers and schools, and that it must be maintained over time. The primary components of that commitment are: (1) the class has a minimum 2-year age span; (2) each student remains in a classroom for at least 2 years, (3) teachers learn to perceive each student as an individual; (4) children learn to perceive each other in terms of specific personal qualities and capabilities rather than grade groupings; (5) the classroom becomes a "family" of sorts, generating deeper relationships between students, teachers, and parents; and (6) teachers are motivated to structure learning activities to meet the needs of the individuals, rather than to teach to an imaginary "middle of the class." The student benefits of this innovation include: (1) quality relationships with teachers; (2) a more positive classroom climate; (3) better learning and enhanced self-esteem from increased inter-dependence and peer tutoring; (4) increased independence from teachers; and (5) availability of a wider range of roles within the group for each with students. The noted advantages for teachers include better relationships with students and with parents, less stress and more productive use of time, increased continuity in planning, and a more satisfying teaching experience. Few disadvantages of multiage classrooms for students, teachers or parents emerged from the interviews. (ET)
Descriptors: Class Organization, Classroom Environment, Educational Change, Educational Innovation, Elementary Education, Elementary School Students, Elementary School Teachers, Interviews, Mixed Age Grouping, Multigraded Classes, Parent Attitudes, Parent School Relationship, School Effectiveness, Student Adjustment, Student Development, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Effectiveness, Teacher Expectations of Students, Teacher Role, Teacher Student Relationship
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference and Exhibit Show, "Emerging Images of Learning: World Perspectives for the New Millennium" (49th, Chicago, IL, March 19-22, 1994).