Why do we persist with inauthentic structures in schools?


Originally posted on Music Teacher Musings Blog:

In what real-world setting does any community of people work strictly and/or most successfully in single-year age categories or abilities?

As a music teacher, I get to experience working with students across different year groups in a united setting every day, although rarely in curriculum time. One of the best things about music ensembles that run after the timetabled school day is the opportunity they provide to build diverse teams, observe commitment in a non-compulsory setting, and support progress for all, despite, or in fact more successfully, because of the age range of its participants. Look at any year group or class in isolation in a typical school. We know we are already presented with a diverse range of starting points/expertise for any given subject/skill when we teach (even if they are in ‘streamlined’ sets), and know that it doesn’t have to get in the way of great learning for all. In fact, many of us believe that it can make for a better learning experience overall. So, why do we constrict our students on a daily basis to experiences shared only, for example, by their fellow thirteen year olds? What could be gained from a different set-up?

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