Multi-Grade Teaching

Key Terms:

·        Classroom

                A classroom is a place where students learn social behavior’s, values, learn to communicate and gain knowledge according to their age and learning ability. This prepares them to deal with real life situations in a better and competent manner.

·        Class room Management

                         Classroom management is a process and a skill which plays a vital role for effective teaching and learning. A well-managed classroom results in active learning.

·        Cooperative Learning

                        Cooperation is working together to accomplish shared goals. Within cooperative activities individuals seek outcomes that are beneficial to themselves and beneficial to all other group members. Cooperative learning is the instructional use of small groups so that students work together to maximize their own and each other’s learning.
The idea is simple. Class members are organized into small groups after receiving instruction from the teacher. They then work through the assignment until group members successfully understand and complete it.

·        STAD (Students Teams Achievement Division) Models

                       In this model, after a teacher presentation, students work in teams to learn the taught material and then take individual quizzes and finally receive the team awards.

·        Background Information of Multi- Grade Teaching:

                      Multi- Grade teaching involves the teaching of children from two or more grade levels in one classroom. Normally the problem is faced in rural, sparsely populated areas, where the number of students enrolled doesn’t warrant posting of one teacher for each class. Sometimes, due to financial constraints, the posting of more teacher isn’t possible. Multiple class teaching may be practiced in large schools sometimes, when a teacher is absent for one reason or another and a substitute isn’t available.
Multi-Grade teaching implies the school situations where the number of pupils in different grades is so small that the pupils of several grades together add up to a normal or slightly larger than normal class. It connotes combination class groupings in a school with one two to three classrooms. Multi-grade teaching is generally seen in one teacher schools, two teacher schools, sometimes even in three teacher schools, multi-level classes in larger establishments, ungraded early childhood education units and special multilevel aggregation of pupils. The enrollment of such schools usually varies between 10 to 100 Multi- grade teaching isn’t an answer to meeting teacher shortages in the educational systems but is a strategy to improve the quality of education in rural communities. 

·        Challenges of Multi- Grade Teaching

1.       An average primary school teacher is ill equipped to handle a multi-grade classroom situation.
2.       The nature of the curriculum and textbooks, which are prepared almost entirely in a mono-grade context create further problems.
3.       Teacher training programs haven’t focused on practical issues and techniques for handling multi-grade teaching studies.
4.       There isn’t raining package for multi-grade teachers. The aspects could be:
o   Time management
o   Improving teaching skills
o   Preparation and organization of the teaching learning materials.
o   Organization of art and cultural activities.
5.       Timetables aren’t flexible enough…..

·        What is the head Teacher’s Role in Multi-Grade School?

A.      The head teacher plays a key-role in increasing supportive school culture.
B.      The head teacher must ensure that all teachers feel supported.
C.      The head must provide teachers with opportunities to learn multi-grade teaching methods monitor the progress of implementation and give the teachers praise, feedback and suggestion.

·        Characteristics of Successful Multi-grade Teachers, which should be considered in teacher selection

A.      Well-organized
B.      Creative and flexible
C.      Willing to work hard
D.      Resourceful
E.       Self-directed
F.       Willing to work closely with the community
G.     Strong belief in the importance of cooperation and personal responsibility in the classroom with the ability to develop these characteristics in pupils.
H.      Prior successful experience at the grade levels to be taught.

·        General Types of Activities found in most Multi-grade classrooms

A.      Quiet or individual study
B.      Testing
C.      Whole class instruction
D.      Partner work
E.       Group discussion
F.       Reference work
G.     Teacher tutoring or small group instructions
·        Facts
1.       Multi-grade teachers must be trained to give different lesson sat at the same time to pupils at different grade levels.
2.       Children sit in grade-groups facing their own writing board(WB)
3.       If there are two grade groups in the class the WB are placed either end of the classroom with children facing opposite directions.
4.       During the lesson the teacher moves frequently between the different groups.
5.       Give reading instructions to one grade; give dictation to the other grade.
6.       One grade is copying handwriting math exercises from the WB; the other grade will be instructed on a new math item.
7.       The extra work involved in multi-grade teaching must be recognized by giving teacher some incentives.
8.       Teacher in multi-grade classrooms must receive a lot of support and must meet regularly with teachers from other multi-grade schools.
9.       In the multi-grade classroom there may be many different kinds of might be working on a group art project while two students may be peer tutoring in math. Two first grades may meet with the teacher, and several students might be completing independent assignments requiring the use of a tape recorder and the computer. The teacher’s task is to arrange the classroom so that all these activities can take place at the same time with a minimum of disruption and of teacher direction and supervision.
·        Three step designing your multi-grade classroom
Step 1
Describe the way it is now.
Draw a floor plan of the room you will be teaching in. this may be the classroom you taught in last year or a new one.
Step 2
Deciding on the types of activities that will occur
Identify the specific learning activities that will take place in your room and write them on the lines below. It may be helpful to write down the types of behavior you expect for each activity.
Step 3
Drawing the final plan
Review your drawing of the classroom in which you will be teaching in terms of the activities you have listed in step 2. Now lay out your classroom to promote the learning activities you desire, noting the placement of furnishings materials and storage area.

·        General Guidelines

1.     Room to move:
            Bear in mind that children and you also need to be able to move freely between the groups of desks with a minimum of disturbance to others. Try to avoid jamming children’s desks and chairs against the wall.
2.     Light:
         Arrange the desk as far as possible so that the children don’t have to work facing into direct sunlight. The light should come from the side of the child.
3.     Writing Board:
       Two WB, one at either end of the classroom, are very useful for multiclass teaching. Portable WB that can be moved for group work can be very handy too.
4.     The teachers table:
      This should be carefully placed to give you the teacher an unobstructed view of the whole classroom. Of course the effective teacher spends very little time sitting at his or her desk.
5.     The reading corner:
      The children come to this area for quiet, personal reading or to receive reading instruction. Be kept there, along with books, flashcards, reading games, etc.
6.     The science & nature corner:
      Children at primary school have an enormous curiosity about natural world around them. In this corner they can collect things that interest them. They may grow seeds here, collect fruits and nuts, or display their leaf rubbings. They may keep insects, reptiles, small mammals or fish in transparent containers.
7.     Teaching – Learning strategies:
    Grouping is one of the strategies in multi-grade teaching situation which can play an important role in the teaching –learning situation. In multi-grade teaching a teacher teaches more than one class in the same time or period.
o   Oral quiz competition among all grades.
o   Small group instruction
o   Cooperative learning models
1.       Learning Together (LT)
2.       Students Teams Achievement Division (STAD)
o   Project work among all grades.
o   Work on scrapbook of different grade level students.
o   Brainstorming
o   Discussion
o   Group work
o   Pair work
o   Demonstration
Instruction should be in written form for students by teachers for implementing different tasks.

·        Assessing, Evaluating and Marking:

                      One of the roles which a multi-grade teacher must carry out is to monitor the progress of pupi9ls learning so as ensure quality of education. Usually, this requires teachers to determine the educational levels of pupils when they first enter schooling, during the school year and at the end of the school year.
Therefore assessment should be considered a continuous and integral part of the teaching process.
Teachers have an understanding of what students need to learn and are expected to learn at various stages. Children are learning all the time and this learning isn’t dependent upon what other do over a period of time enabling them to see a student’s development.
The multi-grade classroom allows teachers to assess what a student can do and then extend them from there.

·        Observation:

1.       Teachers of Multi-Grade (MG) should have extra preparation time.
2.       Teachers assigned to MG should preferable be those who are most willing to teach.
3.       In service and information concerning appropriate groupings, classroom organization, instructional strategies and curriculum modification should be provided to principals and teachers.
4.       In a MG there is respect for different learning styles. Teachers structure a positive learning environment where children feel successful, develop positive self-concepts and are helpful and sensitive to others.
5.       The students benefits from having the opportunity to stay with the same teacher and classmates and experience the same teaching style and routine over a two –year or more period.
6.       In a MG there is time to recognize that child’s social and emotional needs are as important as academic needs.
7.       Another advantage of more than one year in a MG is the relationship developed between the teacher and the entire family.
8.       Students feel they are successful when they are working at their own level and know that everyone should be able to do the same thing at the same time.
9.       Each child is accepted at his or her own place on the developmental learning situation. The teacher takes time to assess evaluates and plan next steps for each child. Separate subjects are replaced by an integrated curriculum, which engages children in meaningful activities that explore concepts and topics relevant and meaningful to the lives of the children.
10.   In a classroom where all children are learning at different rates and aren’t the same age, there is a little competition
11.   By helping each other, students reinforce their own understanding of knowledge, skills and attitudes.
12.   Conversation is encouraged as the children talk through their work in progress. These conversations help them understand just what they have learned.
13.   Multi-grade classroom take the focus of meeting the needs of the whole group of learners instead meet the needs of each individual student.



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