“(…) it sounds great, but one has to look closer” : A Case Study of Multiage Classroom in Germany
Orozco-Möhl, Jennifer (2023)
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The following thesis is a case study in a multiage classroom in Germany. There is a research gap in the study of such classrooms, creating a need for more research in the area. There were two main goals, one being to observe and analyze how teachers allow their students to be independent in such a setting with the focus on one classroom. The other focus was how students interact, help each other, and provide feedback through peer support. This class was observed over the course of 18 schooldays and two interviews with the main teachers were conducted. The data collected through the interviews and observations was then analyzed with thematic analysis. The main results found were remarkably interesting. Both teachers were not satisfied with how the students were working in their classroom. It was discovered that the setting in this classroom was not ideal for students’ autonomy. There seemed to be a clear discrepancy between what the students could choose and how much knowledge they possessed regarding their own learning. Students had no overview regarding competences that they had to achieve or any clear goals and yet they were expected to decide what to work on. All students worked mostly on workbooks, and they only got to choose when to work in which one. The materials available to the students seemed unappealing and were rarely used, all classrooms had the same materials and workbooks, teachers did not choose which materials they wanted in their classroom. Regarding peer support, there is a lack of group work and students tend to work rather alone, leaving room for mostly negative interactions between the students. The amount of help and constructive feedback that students could give each other was lacking and less than expected. The teachers both mentioned the lack of social skills their students possessed, which could be still repercussions from the Covid-19 pandemic. The main findings of this research were the importance of the need for structure in multiage classrooms to provide more freedom. At the same time teachers need to be provided with more guidance and more freedom in what materials they use in their classroom.
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