Multigrade Classes

Multi-grade teaching refers to the teaching of students of different ages, grades and abilities in the same group. It is referred to variously in the literature as ‘multilevel’, ‘multiple class’, ‘composite class’, ‘vertical group ‘,’ family classes, and, in the case of one-teacher schools, ‘unitary schools’. It is to be distinguished from mono-grade teaching in which students within the same grade are assumed to be more similar in terms of age and ability.
However, substantial variation in ability within a grade often leads to “mixed-ability” teaching. There can also be wide variations in age within the same grade, especially in developing countries, where the age of entry to school varies and where grade repetition is common. This condition of “multi-age-within-grade” teaching appears not to have generated such universal recognition, perhaps because it occurs more often in developing than in developed countries.
The summary of experiences from Australia, Bangladesh, Peoples Republic of China, India, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Thailand confirmed that: • primary curriculum documents and their associated lists of “minimum learning competencies” have not been specifically designed for use by teachers in multi-grade schools • school plans, instructional materials and methodological guidelines are often difficult to apply to multi-grade teaching situations • there is a shortage of support materials for teachers and individualised instructional materials for learners • there is a need for more work on the kinds of continuous evaluation, diagnostic testing, remediation and feedback which would best assist multi-grade teaching and added that • although many teachers work in multi-grade teaching situations few countries have developed special teacher training curricula for pre- or in-service training.

Teaching practice during preservice is invariably carried out in mono-grade schools • teachers posted to teach in multi-grade schools “develop a sort of psychological alienation from the school” • the educational system as a whole pays inadequate attention to the proper functioning of multi-grade schools through, for example, not filling vacant teaching positions in rural areas, the absence of systems of teacher accountability, a lack of basic physical facilities in these schools, lack of training for supervisors of multi-grade schools and a general “inattentiveness of education officers to the needs of these schools” Factors Contributing to the establishment of Multigrade Teaching * * Cultural factors * Socio-economic factors.
* Benefits of multigrade teaching * Richer learning environment * Greater community involvement. Development of health competition * Greater understanding between learners and educators Advantages and Challenges of Teaching Multi-level Classes When faced with the challenge of a multi-level classroom many teachers do not know where to start. They fear that the preparation will take much longer, and that the students will be more demanding. Schools that have multi-level classes often have limited budgets, and teachers may fear that they will not be paid for what they are worth. However, it is only by looking at the advantages of the multi-level classroom and employing strategies to overcome the challenges, that teachers can achieve success.
Advantages of Multi-level classrooms * Students are able to learn at their own pace * Students learn to work well in a group * Students become independent learners * Students develop strong relationships with their peers * Students become partners in learning Challenges of Multi-level classrooms * Finding appropriate teaching resources and material * Organizing appropriate groupings within the class * Building an effective self-access centre in the classroom * Determining the individual needs of each student * Ensuring that all students are challenged and interested Teaching Method Strategies Experiment with different types of groupings to find the ones that work best.
You may find that cross-ability pairs work best for certain types of activities, while like-ability small groups work better for others. If possible, use a wide variety of groupings to keep things interesting for your class. Use a simple schedule that is similar each day. Here is an example: 1. Start with a warm-up that involves the whole group. 2. Break part of the class off into one type of grouping (i. e. pairs) and work with part of the class on a lesson, grammar point, or activity. 3. Break off the class into another type of grouping (i. e. small groups) and have the other students use self-access materials. 4. Bring the class back together for a whole group activity/game.
Isolate students within the class who are interested in peer tutoring. This doesn’t have to be the student with the highest level of the subject. Your students who fall somewhere in the middle may in fact be the most valuable to you, as they strive to attain a level of competency comparable to the most advanced students. Remind your students that the best way to practice and improve a new language is to teach it to someone else. Consider enlisting a volunteer. Limited budgets or low enrolment are often the reasons behind multi-level classes. For this reason, it may be difficult to convince administrators or managers that you need a paid assistant. If you feel overwhelmed, consider hiring a volunteer.
Finding someone who is interested in helping you with your preparation work and teaching may not be as difficult as you think. ARTICLES ABOUT MULTI-GRADE TEACHING/CLASSES Multigrade classes bring more children to school Friday 30th of March 2012 PASIG CITY, March 30 —Will a teacher not hold class if there are just a few enrollees? Should a student drop out if the school is far from home or there is not enough teachers and classroom? If you ask the Department of Education, the answer is no because it continues to find ways to bring children to school in order to complete their basic education. One of these is the holding of multigrade classes.
A multigrade class is a class consisting of two or more different grade levels inside a single grade classroom handled by one teacher for an entire school year. It is offered in elementary schools located in distant and sparsely-populated localities, a statement from DepEd said. Figures from DepEd show that there are close to a million enrollees in multigrade classes across the country. Education Secretary Armin Luistro said most of the students attending multigrade classes are learners who belong to isolated and poor communities, indigenous peoples or those who reside in far-flung mountains and islands where schools are far apart from each other. “This is part of our thrust to democratize access to education and make the learning experience inclusive to as many sectors.
In effect, we are bringing more students to school,” he added. If a class does not meet the required number of enrollees and therefore it is not viable to conduct a class of limited number of pupils, the supposed enrollees are merged into a single class and taught by one teacher,” Luistro explained. The small number of students for each grade level; the shortage of teachers; the distance from the community to the nearest school; and the inadequacy of funds and classrooms are reasons that necessitate the organization of multigrade classes. In the Philippine public school system, classes with two grade levels inside a single classroom and handled by the same teacher is called combination classes.
Those with three grade levels in one classroom and handled by a single teacher is called a multigrade or multi-level class. This means that a multigrade classroom mixes children with different skills and abilities, different developmental levels and needs while working together under the guidance of one teacher. “The truth is long before multi-tasking became a buzzword, our teachers were actually already living up to the word,” Luistro said. While DepEd has always recognized the existence of multi-grade classes it was only in 1990 that the department started to consider the formal organization and continuing operation of multigrade classrooms all over the country in keeping with the goal of Education For All (EFA).
Thus, DepEd continues to invest in teachers’ training, curriculum development and in the preparation of learning materials appropriate for multi-grade classes to improve elementary education especially in underserved and remote areas. (DepEd) More Than One Million Filipino Students Have Classmates At Different Grade Levels Academia March 30, 2012 The Philippine Department of Education says more than one million students are enrolled in multigrade classes, where three or more grade levels are taught by a single teacher. AsianScientist (Mar. 30, 2012) – Should a teacher cancel a class if there are only a few enrollees? And should a student drop out if the school is far from home or if there are insufficent teachers and classroom? The Philippine Department of Education (DepEd) says no. Instead, it has found one way to solve this problem, by holding multigrade classes.
In the Philippine public school system, classes with two grade levels inside a single classroom taught by the same teacher are called combination classes. Classes with three grade levels conducted in one classroom taught by a single teacher are called a multigrade or multilevel classes. Figures from DepEd show that there are close to a million enrollees in multigrade classes across the country. Education Secretary Armin Luistro said most of the students attending multigrade classes belong to isolated and financially challenged communities, are indigenous peoples, and reside in far-flung mountains and islands where schools are far apart from each other. The small number of students for each grade level, the shortage of teachers, the distance from the community to the nearest school, and the nadequacy of funds and classrooms are reasons that necessitate the organization of multigrade classes, he explained. This means that children with different skills and abilities, developmental levels, and needs are mixed in a class under the guidance of one teacher. “This is part of our thrust to democratize access to education and make the learning experience inclusive to as many sectors. In effect, we are bringing more students to school,” Luistro explained. “If a class does not meet the required number of enrollees and therefore it is not viable to conduct a class of limited number of pupils, the supposed enrollees are merged into a single class and taught by one teacher,” he added.
Although the DepEd has always recognized the existence of multigrade classes, it was only in 1990 that the department started to formally acknowledge multigrade classrooms, in keeping with the goal of Education For All. Source: Philippine Department of Education. Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff. A Review on Multigrade Education by admin on Jan. 09, 2012 Multigrade teaching occurs within a graded system of education when a single class contains two or more student grade levels. It is contrasted with the usual pattern of classroom organization in graded systems where a single classroom contains students of only one grade level.
In many graded systems, age and grade are congruent, so a grade level is also equivalent to a particular age group of students. However, this may not be the case in systems where grade level satellite phones repetition and acceleration are common. There are three important reasons why multigrade teaching may occur in both developed and developing countries. First, multigrading is often associated with ’small’ schools in remote and sparsely populated areas. In such schools, there may be only one, two or three teachers, yet they offer a complete cycle of primary education. If that cycle consists of eight grade levels, then each of these teachers must deal with multigrade classes. These ’small’ schools are also sometimes referred to as ‘multigrade’ schools.
Multigrade schools have attracted attention in the developing country context because of their potential to increase primary school participation rates. By bringing the school closer to the community, they encourage more children, especially girls, into school. Second, multigrade teaching is also common in larger urban and suburban schools. In some countries, it is a response to uneven student enrollment. For example, a school with a two and a half grade entry may have to combine two grade levels to make up class sizes. Also, in countries where teacher absenteeism is high, and there is no ‘cover’, grades may be combined to avoid having a class with no teacher present. A single teacher then has to deal with two grade level groups together.
Third, multigrade teaching may be a deliberate response to educational problems. In developed countries, this is linked to the multiage perspective. Proponents of mixed age grouping argue that there are sound pedagogical reasons for placing students of different ages together in the same classroom. Mixed age classes, it is argued, stimulate children’s social development and encourage greater classroom cooperation. These arguments are seldom raised in the developing country literature, although several commentators take the view that multigrade organized classes are potentially a cost effective means of providing quality education in difficult to reach areas.

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