I participated in an edchat tonight while sitting in my car waiting for my wife to finish up with an appointment. I wasn’t expecting to get into it much since I knew I would have to leave at any moment.
The topic was multiage schools. This is one of those trendy, “I am so cutting edge and progressive” type buzz topics out there right now, but in reality it is not something new at all. I am (surprise) open to new ideas and listening, but I tend to ask questions and push people on their points to see if they really have something. Every time I asked questions about multiage schools, I got back answers about varying ability levels, mentor relationships, kids being at different steps in the process,familiarity with the teacher and more things of that tone. My response each time was, “doesn’t that already happen in schools with well placed classes, looping, and other things we are ALREADY doing. I am not saying multiage schools can’t work or do not have good concepts from which we can learn. What I am saying is simply, why is this better?
What I see in this discussion is a different way. A way that includes a variety of potential problems to achieve something that (in most cases) can be achieved simply by doing a good job of class placement. There is certainly merit in the conversation, and in some cases I am sure this would work better because of school size, location, limited resources and more.
The point I really want to make, is that we should not allow ourselves to always get caught up in accepting whatever flavor of the month we hear about next. We should be questioning these ideas to see if they are actually something useful for us. We should be asking why is this better?