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Adaptive Education Strategies: Building on Diversity.

The publication of this book is timely, given the current examination of our public schools. Adaptive education, with its emphasis on individualizing within heterogeneous group instruction, has equitable education as its ultimate goal. The educator's role is to coach students to be competent, self-directed learners. Its focus is on active student participation and learning options within an educational environment designed and facilitated by the education team.

This text is an excellent presentation of the theory behind adaptive education, as well as the practical information needed for implementation and evaluation. The author's intent is for the text to be "a generic practical guide for school personnel and teacher educators interested in designing and implementing innovative programs using the adaptive education approach...." Wang synthesized over 20 years of research and best practice into a readily usable format.

Chapter 1 of 8 outlines the theory and practice of adaptive education, then describes several models. Chapter 2 focuses on the importance of a comprehensive needs assessment and how to implement one. It provides realistic time estimates for each phase of the assessment and who should be involved in the process. Chapter 3 emphasizes laying a solid foundation for the new program with all those affected by it (school personnel, families and community).

Chapter 4 recommends analyzing school curricula across various subjects as well as organizing and adapting curricular resources to meet individual learning needs. Chapter 5 reviews overall instructional management, including development of students' self-management skills. Topics of interest include coordination between regular teachers and specialized personnel, scheduling, grouping, motivation and discipline.

Following chapters focus on implementing comprehensive staff development necessary for successful program execution. Throughout these chapters, Wang emphasizes adapting training to the identified needs of the school, district and individual participants. The concluding chapter stresses the importance of program evaluation for improvement of service delivery. The "Afterword" discusses barriers to successful implementation, including current school responses to diversity.

This text is especially strong because each chapter can stand alone as individual training modules or can be used in combination. Strong appendices include needs assessment forms, planning forms, answers to common questions about adaptive education, a comprehensive outline for awareness presentations, sample learner prescription sheets, implementation checklists and suggested readings.

In summary, the author provides much needed information on handling a broad range of diversity in the general education classroom. The scope of this text provides a firm foundation through effective implementation.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Association for Childhood Education International
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Gilstrap, Robert L.
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 1993
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