Implementing multiage education: A practical guide.
Kasten, W.C., & Lolli, E.M. (1998). Implementing multiage education: A practical guide. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon (312 pp., $39.95 paper, ISBN-0-926842-78-1).
The old adage, everything old is new again comes to mind when rediscovering multiage education, the once standard model used in one-room schoolhouses of the pre-industrial era. Multiage schools and classrooms are now regaining popularity in American schools and Wendy Kasten, a university researcher and Libbie Lolli, a former multiage school principal and current trainer for multiage implementation, provide a readable resource for educators to consult when considering the shift towards this trend. The authors leap to assumptions that constructivist con·struc·tiv·ism
A movement in modern art originating in Moscow in 1920 and characterized by the use of industrial materials such as glass, sheet metal, and plastic to create nonrepresentational, often geometric objects. learning, authentic assessment Authentic assessment is an umbrella concept that refers to the measurement of "intellectual accomplishments that are worthwhile, significant, and meaningful," as compared to multiple choice standardized tests. , and whole language approaches to literacy are synonymous with synonymous with
adjective equivalent to, the same as, identical to, similar to, identified with, equal to, tantamount to, interchangeable with, one and the same as multiage education and provide examples, testimonials, and resource materials throughout the text in alignment with those philosophical approaches. Educators wishing to implement multiage classrooms in the absence of the aforementioned initiatives may find the text more challenging to apply in their settings.
The authors intend for this guide to be read by teachers and administrators together citing, "the best-case scenario is that they are working on change together" (p. xvii). The stated purpose of the book is to "guide the reader through a successful and exciting change process at the community, school, and classroom levels" (p. xviii) and toward that goal organized the book into three sections to address those levels of concern. Part 1: Before Multiage Happens provides a philosophical and research-referenced rationale for multiage groupings additionally supported by testimonials and anecdotes from educators, parents, students, and others praising the model. This section also includes a concise and readable review of the literature on change in schools that would be tremendously helpful to administrators as they plan to implement multiage education locally.
Part 2: Inside the School contains two chapters that outline factors to consider when planning a multiage environment. The first chapter includes the foundations of a multiage school, recommended grouping structures (only heterogeneous groupings are considered appropriate), classroom structures and configurations, discipline beliefs, and a discussion about the attributes and characteristics of effective multiage teachers. Some sections of this chapter read as edicts rather than recommendations, and may be too rigid for some educators to follow as prescribed pre·scribe
v. pre·scribed, pre·scrib·ing, pre·scribes
1. To set down as a rule or guide; enjoin. See Synonyms at dictate.
2. To order the use of (a medicine or other treatment). . The second part of the section contains information about consensus teams, parent involvement issues, and a helpful section, "Advice to Administrators from Administrators" that briefly addresses the issues of most importance (e.g., dealing with sabotage sabotage [Fr., sabot=wooden shoe; hence, to work clumsily], form of direct action by workers against employers through obstruction of work and/or lowering of plant efficiency. Methods range from peaceful slowing of production to destruction of property. to change efforts, communicating to parents) to seasoned multiage administrators. The last section of the chapter deals with evaluating the progress of multiage settings and asks readers to consider evaluation in wider terms than merely standardized test A standardized test is a test administered and scored in a standard manner. The tests are designed in such a way that the "questions, conditions for administering, scoring procedures, and interpretations are consistent"  data, suggesting qualitative assessments of school climate, progress towards short-term goals, and reflections of staff members.
Part 3: Inside the Classroom contains five chapters that address issues most pertinent to teachers in multiage classrooms. The first chapter deals with the context of the classroom and the importance of creating a positive classroom community. The remaining chapters deal with curriculum, instruction, and assessment. The authors provide a brief survey of many curricular and instructional models (constructivism constructivism, Russian art movement founded c.1913 by Vladimir Tatlin, related to the movement known as suprematism. After 1916 the brothers Naum Gabo and Antoine Pevsner gave new impetus to Tatlin's art of purely abstract (although politically intended) , multiple intelligences theory, manipulative-rich experiences, inquiry models, integrated thematic models, and technology-embedded curriculum). Notably absent from this section is a discussion of differentiated instruction Differentiated instruction (sometimes referred to as differentiated learning) is a way of thinking about teaching and learning. It involves teachers using a variety of instructional strategies that address diverse student learning needs. , a philosophical approach that undergirds much of the multiage philosophy and recommended practices. The section on instructional strategies provides an equally cursory cur·so·ry
Performed with haste and scant attention to detail: a cursory glance at the headlines.
[Late Latin curs discussion of strategies (flexible grouping, guided reading Guided reading is a method of teaching reading to children. It forms part of the National Literacy Strategy for England and Wales and is therefore a preferred approach employed within primary schools. Guided Reading sessions involve a teacher and a group of around six children. , book talks, literature circles, contracts, and independent studies among many others). The authors assume some familiarity with these concepts and seem to showcase them for their particularly effective use in multiage settings. The last chapter, Assessment in the Multiage Classroom provides readers with a brief denouncement of formal grading and a rally towards alternative assessment followed by an equally expansive list of assessment possibilities (anecdotal anecdotal /an·ec·do·tal/ (an?ek-do´t'l) based on case histories rather than on controlled clinical trials.
anecdotal adjective Unsubstantiated; occurring as single or isolated event. records, working portfolios, audio tapes of children's reading, videotapes of children's work, narrative reporting, and conferences with children). While the list of possible assessments could be used effectively, inexcusably absent is a discussion of assessing mastery of objectives, assessing the quality of work, creation of and use of rubrics, and communicating achievement to students and families. The exclusion of such vital information makes this chapter particularly unhelpful to practitioners.
The text is effective at providing a readable rationale for multiage education, made more authentic from testimonials and anecdotes of teachers and administrators who explain pitfalls and possibilities with the model. The organization of the text with summary clipboards and discussion memos (concise, reproducible talking points bulleted bul·let·ed
Highlighted or set off with bullets: a bulleted list. at the end of each chapter and section) make the format useful for administrators looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. a quick read on the topic. The authors' beliefs and philosophical views To take the philosophical view in common speech means to observe without passion.
Philosophers are fond of describing the stands they take on particular philosophical disputes as views. They also call them theories. (in support of heterogeneous grouping, whole language experiences in literacy, and anti-ability grouping) are made clear to readers, and consequently all recommended models, strategies, and resources are in clear alignment with those views. Others from differing perspectives may need to read the text more globally, and may find resources less helpful. The effectively run multiage classroom, rich with differentiated experiences for all, can be an appropriate setting for gifted learners, especially when the continuous progress component is effectively emphasized. While no specific discussion of the alignment of gifted learners and multiage settings is presented in this text, a clever reader can see the possibilities within the model as written.
Reviewed by Catherine Brighton, a former assistant principal/curriculum coordinator in a multiage-continuous progress elementary school elementary school: see school. , and currently a doctoral student in gifted education Gifted education is a broad term for special practices, procedures and theories used in the education of children who have been identified as gifted or talented. Programs providing such education are sometimes called Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) or at the University of Virginia.