Monday, February 24, 2014

Departmentalized Instruction in Early Grades

An interesting article in Education Week about the increase in what they call "Platooning" in elementary grades (US context) - subject specific classrooms and teachers as opposed to the traditional generalist model. It has grown in popularity in US elementary schools since the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act increased pressure on schools to raise test scores.

Most of the schools moving in this direction are trying departmentalization in grades 3 to 5, but some are implementing this model as early as kindergarten. The article covers some of the pros and cons in the departmentalization of elementary schools, a worthwhile read and interesting approach. And the article has a link to a review of a research paper on kindegarten and how it has become the new first grade:
From 1998 to 2006, kindergarten teachers reported devoting 25 percent more time to teaching early literacy, from 5.5 hours to seven hours per week, according to the working paper by Daphna Bassok, an assistant professor at the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education and Anna Rorem, a policy associate at the university's Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.
A bit of a different approach from Ontario's play-based kindergarten curriculum. And a worthwhile discussion piece for parents...