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5 Key Areas of Multigrade Teaching

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    “These include classroom management, instructional strategies, curriculum, instructional materials and community involvement. These five key areas were also used as a conceptual framework through which the observations, ” There are five key areas which are generally the focus of training packages for multigrade teachers. These encompass the following features. Classroom management techniques Managing a multigrade classroom is difficult because there is more than one grade level in the classroom.

    Hence, the teacher must be skilled in managing instruction to reduce the amount of ‘dead time’ during which children are not productively engaged on task. This means that teachers must be aware of different ways of grouping children, the importance of independent study areas where students can go when they have finished their work, and approaches to record keeping which are more flexible than those prevalent in the monograde classroom.

    Students may need to be taught the value of independence and cooperation by involving them in classroom decision making. Instructional strategies These are seen as a key to improving the quality of teaching and learning in the multigrade classroom. The promotion of approaches that increase the level of student independence and cooperative groupwork tend to be suggested. These involve a change in the role of the teacher from ‘giver of information’ to ‘facilitator’. This is to ensure that time spent away form the teacher is spent productively.

    Three important strategies are peer instruction, in which students act as teachers for each other, cooperative groupwork, which involves small groups engaging in collaborative tasks, and individualized learning programmes which involve the student in self-study. Planning from curriculum National curricula are typically produced for the monograde classroom. Each set of grade level material is typically placed in a separate booklet, which may include specific content to be taught as well as guidelines on how to teach it.

    Such curricula are difficult for the multigrade teacher to use because they tend to require plans to be written for each grade level separately. This is not only time consuming, but may also result in ineffective instruction. Teachers need to be taught how to plan across grade level objectives, or how to amend the curriculum to make it more suitable for their setting. Similar observations may also apply to the school timetable. Instructional materials These also tend to be written for the monograde classroom.

    Consequently. They are produced as grade level textbooks and are designed to be delivered by the teacher to the children. More suitable materials include a self-study element. This might be in the form of workbooks with a self-correction key, or a small classroom library that can be accessed independently by the children. Teachers need to be shown how to produce such self-study materials in a cost effective way. Materials relevant for one country situation may not be appropriate in another.

    Birch and Lally (1995) include several examples of materials developed in Asia and the Pacific. School and community Multigrade schools are often located in remote and difficult to reach areas. They may be far from the educational center and receive little pedagogical support. The communities in which they are located may not see the value of education, and may speak a different language to the ‘official’ one of the school. For these reasons, it is essential that the community be involved in the life of the school.

    Parents can be asked to come in to act as a resource, the curriculum of the school might extend out into the community, or the community can be asked to support the school in other ways. Multigrade teachers should be trained in approaches that help to develop relations between the school and the community. Reference: http://info. worldbank. org/etools/docs/library/94851/Multigrade%20Teaching%20-%20a%20discussion%20document%20by%20Chris%20Berry%20(Anglais). pdf

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