The Age-Based Classroom Kills Education

The Age-Based Classroom Kills Education

We are unable to recognize some things for what they are because they are so obviously foolish but so entrenched in society. But once understood, what didn’t make sense suddenly makes sense, and everything that appeared normal is crazy.

It is impossible to unsee something after it has been witnessed. And our current system of schooling is completely insane. The age-based classroom is not only foolish, but it is also terribly counterproductive. It is the impetus behind every single terrible thing we do, including our obsession with grades, our use of Standardized Tests, and our stubborn reliance on fear and the inability to motivate.

Academically, students face several difficulties that occasionally obstruct their path to achievement (BAW, 2022). Covid uncovered the myth about age-based education. Now that we all have classrooms of 20 to 30 students divided throughout four or five extreme grade levels concerning academics, social skills, and emotional development,

The Myth

The myth of the age-based classroom was uncovered by Covid. We all now have classrooms of 20 to 30 children, scattered across four or five extreme grade levels, with the idea that they will all be roughly on par.

Classroom control was a teacher’s biggest task before Covid, and it rarely produced even remotely satisfying success. If children were as similar in their interests, personalities, and rates of development as they can be in age, teaching would be simple while I do my assignment. However, they are not, and as a result, we have kids who are uninterested alongside those who are passionate, behind and in front of us, calm and emotional, and mature and immature students.

Before Covid

A semblance of balance was achieved by forcing children into a nebulous homogeneity every year starting in kindergarten because they were all present at the same time, doing the same things, at the same age. The same group can be advanced at age six, age seven, and every subsequent year if you start with a five-year-old and demand they all act in a specific way and learn certain things. Expectations and content can adjust in line with these changes, which occasionally gives time to address the outliers. We all agreed that the timetable couldn’t be questioned because, for the vast majority of children, it worked mediocrely, if frequently in a repetitive and cheerless manner.

Covid, however, destroyed that. We had students who had missed significant amounts of the daily classroom blacksmithing that typically went into forming homogeneous groups of students who were similar in an age when classrooms returned to what they had been two years previously. Some third graders were still in the first-grade behavioral and social stages of rolling around on the carpet, some fifth graders were still in the third-grade behavioral and social stages of being unable to sit still for ten minutes, and many eighth graders were still in the elementary school behavioral and social stages of believing in Santa. The same applies to learning, development, and shared content.

The Wider Hysteria

Started in the media. Not simply because of the lack of teachers and their behavior, but also because of the widespread concern over “kids falling behind” in tale after story. Demanding more specialized attention is the universal remedy in every situation. Fewer kids in the classroom give teachers more time to prepare and work with them as well as greater support. Districts, Administrations, and Education Associations are all focusing on “catching up” by hiring more and more one-on-one tutors.

But what are you catching up to? What receives customized attention? Is your assignment done for you by someone else?

The timetable. where children should be at a certain age.

Yet why? Why do we automatically presume that everyone must be at a given age or in a certain place? When was the last time all of us had the same schedule?

Why should every five-year-old be required to read a particular kind of text and possess a certain level of numeracy by the age of six? What occurs if kids start reading at age eight? At ten?

Because we grouped them all together according to age, of course.

not aptitude, passion, growth, maturity, or anything else.

Anyone with spiritual wisdom would tell you that fear is the main cause of most rage. Because it asserts, with unwavering conviction, that every kid in that room must grasp the curriculum. The age-based classroom instills a great deal of anxiety in its students. If you have any doubts, consider the seemingly endless list of penalties for failing a class or an academic year. It’s frequently required, but it’s never beneficial. It isn’t good when it occurs, and none of the several instances leading up to it was good either. The awful culmination of a lengthy string of prior failures is failing a class. Many people may never fully recover from the agony of failing an entire grade.

Yet Why?

There are many, many good reasons why a student may not be prepared to learn the content. However, if we insist that age is the sole criterion that determines readiness, then the only correct phrase for not meeting the demand is failure. Failure to perform by a student is sometimes attributed to “laziness,” whereas failure to teach by a teacher or institution is typically attributed to ineptitude or, worse, bias.

Fear is essential to the age-based classroom’s operation. Fear is necessary because, despite all of our talk about reaching every student, about leaving no child behind, and about individual learning styles, the most effective way to control a room of 25 people who are forced to master one particular skill in one specific way in one specific moment is to threaten severe negative consequences. They won’t all be prepared, they won’t all be able to see its value, and they won’t all be able to value all of their education for what it is.

Any meaningful education suffers as well since instilling fear is not a particularly effective approach to raising respectable, dignified people. Numerous studies have shown how completely fear and rage inhibit learning (Bleske, 2022).

For that very reason, we have spent the last 30 or 40 years changing our classrooms to eliminate unfavorable outcomes. But since we won’t give up the age-based organization that governs every school, we can’t genuinely implement it. It’s crazy.

An Effort To Persuade

Prod, or pounding some type of common learning onto a roomful of uncommon people has been the driving force behind nearly every educational reform of the past century. All provide solutions to the fundamental issue of specific abilities, knowledge, or behavior asked of endlessly varied human beings. Whether Differentiation attempts to address learning styles, Standards force a more strictly defined curriculum, or Standardized exams attempt to quantify learning. But the schedule itself is the one item we never seriously doubt. We alter the ‘what’ or the ‘who’ to accommodate individual differences, but never the ‘when’. We never ask why age should be the starting point.

If we give up our commitment to the age-based school structure. Most of the educational catastrophes we face—particularly Covid-related ones—can be controlled. Instead of stressing out because pupils aren’t “reaching grade level objectives”. We need to start reorganizing our entire educational system on a new foundation.


Bernie Bleske (2022). The Age-Based Classroom Kills Education. BAW (2022). How Academic Help Providers Save the Students’ Future?