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ERIC Number: EJ873651
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0013-127X
"Platooning" Instruction: Districts Weigh Pros and Cons of Departmentalizing Elementary Schools
Hood, Lucy
Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, v75 n7 p13-17 Mar 2010
To platoon or not to platoon? That's the question facing Irving Hamer, Deputy Superintendent of Academic Operations, Technology and lnnovation for the Memphis City Schools. This year for the first time, the state's achievement test, Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP), will include algebraic concepts on the 5th-grade test. Of the district's 351 5th-grade teachers, not one majored in math. So that means the teaching of algebra at grade 5 will most certainly be done by people who don't have extensive math preparation. That doesn't mean they won't be able to teach what's required, but the thinking on the part of the administration is that maybe one way to get higher-order math in the 5th grade would be to departmentalize the 5th grade and make sure math is being taught by the most able math teachers in a 5th-grade configuration. Platooning is nothing new. Middle and high schools have long been divvying up instruction according to subject area, with students rotating to different rooms headed up by different teachers for different subjects. Applying that idea to elementary schools, long the bastion of a one-teacher-per-classroom model, is new. Elementary school teachers are trained to be generalists who spend the entire year with one group of about 25 kids and teach them the gamut of subjects--math, science, social studies, and language arts. Conventional wisdom has been that younger students benefit from the stability and continuity provided by having the same teacher every day all day for the whole year. Departmentalizing is a cost-neutral way of upgrading instruction because no additional teachers need to be hired and professional development can instead be focused on fewer teachers.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 5
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Tennessee