Multi-grade and Multi level Teaching
Joya Ssenchowa* (firstname.lastname@example.org)
As a primary teacher of government school in rural areas, I got the opportunity to attend the Hornby Regional school on “Low Resource Classroom’ , which was held in kathmandu, Nepal last year. There I got to meet many teachers from South-East Asia including Nepal who were not quite aware of Multi-grade teaching. There I had to answer a lots of questions from other teacher friends about what is Multi-grade teaching and how it can be practiced best in a classroom. That situation made me ponder about the topic. I thought of bringing out my ideas and my experience on Multi-grade teaching to forefront. This article is the outcome of that urge to share what I know about multi-grade/level teaching and how it can be successfully implemented in the classroom.
Teaching more than one grade at the same time in a classroom by teacher is known as Multi-grade teaching. The Multi-grade teaching is not a new concept in our system of education in India. This system was followed in our traditional “Gurukul” method. Even today, this Multi-grade teaching is being practiced in many schools.
Multi- Level Teaching
Teaching of students or groups having different level of achievements in a classroom by a teacher at the same time is called multi-level teaching.
In multi- level teaching, a teacher teaches the content to the students of different learning levels or skills or abilities. All learners do not possess the same level of learning ability. As a result, a teacher has to apply appropriate techniques, approach, technology and learning method to enhance the students, achievement skills in multi-level teaching.
Multi- grade level teaching method is not only followed in India, but also in other parts of the world. Multi- grade teaching in the primary level is in seen in countries like Philiphines, Vietnam, Lakshadeep, China, Pakistan, Indonesia, Nepal, Australia, England, Canada, Germany and USA.
Different types of approaches are adopted in different countries in multi- grade teaching. Approaches vary according to the natural, Social, economic, environmental background of the society, parents educational management etc.
Challenges faced by teachers in Multi-grade level teaching
- Handling of different classes simultaneously in a same room.
- To pay individual attention to the slow learners.
- To provide sufficient reading practice and supervise the students.
- To act according to the individual difference of the learners.
- Implementing Activity-based learning, play way method and learning by doing method in the classroom.
- Supervising of activities and assignments in the class.
- Identifying student’s difficult aspects and teaching them.
- To concentrate in group activities.
- To Concentrate in evaluation or correction of assignments.
- To concentrate in the allotment of activities.
Advantages of Multi- graded teaching for the Students
It develops the skill of collecting data and the communication skill in the young age itself.
It develops co- operative learning, group learning and helping attitude among the students.
Students strengthen their learning by explaining the learned concepts to other students. They understand the concepts clearly.
Group discussions predominate in multi-grade environment. Students give up shyness and fear and help one another to improve one self.
This type of multi-grade classroom helps to recapitulate the learnt materials and strengthen the learning.
Techniques used in Multi-grade Teaching :
In multi-grade teaching, the teacher applies techniques according to his/ her professional skill and experience.
A teacher needs more attention and concentration in a Multi-grade classroom. A teacher can follow different approaches like direct observation for the guidance of peer group students, subject oriented teaching, group learning & supervision method.
A single teacher may face a situation to handle two or three or five classes at the same time.
If the teacher happens to handle 2/3 classes at a time, he/she divides the periods into 2 or 3. In one standard the teacher teaches the subject and the other 2 classes, she gives exercises and activities. The teacher designs the contents, lessons and learning activities well in advance depending upon the subject and the standard.
Subject Oriented Teaching :
If two classes are taught by a teacher at a time, he / she should be given in charge of two consecutive standards. Practical and activities are designed separately by the teacher for each standard. The reinforcement and feedback of the students become possible if listening and reading activities are provided in language subjects. So, planning is very important in subject oriented teaching.
Combined Class :
The students in a combined classes are divided according to their learning skills.
- The students are grouped according to the five categories mentioned above.
- For integrated subjects, multi-grade teaching can be done in one group.
- Verification of follow-up work is essential.
Planning Teaching Activities :
Proper planning makes the multi-grade teaching easy and successful-
- Designing the time
- Preparing of content related teaching learning materials.
- By tabulating the common competencies in the multi-grade teaching, lessons / contents can be
Teaching Activities :
- Teaching activities between teacher-student:
In multigrade teaching, learning occurs in many ways and the teacher is inevitable in the following situations.
- During introduction of a lesson
- During evaluation of a lesson
- While implementing remedial activities
Group learning :
Group learning is useful for the students to continue their learning from their known knowledge. Group learning is beneficial to the students if they are involved in reinforcement activities.
Formation of Groups : (Points to ponder) Students can be grouped under three categories (Gifted, Average & Slow learners).
The students group need not be a permanent one. It can be changed and divided according to the subjects. The groups may belong to different grades. They can be grouped in the following ways –
- Fully self-supported group
- Partically teacher supported group
- Fully teacher-supported group
- Peer group supported group
Learning occurrences between the student and teaching learning Materials :
Learning is consolidated when students use learning materials in their learning process. This enhances interests among the learners. Different picture cards, flash cards, puzzle cards, maps, charts, models, puppets, clay models, etc. are used by teachers as TLM in a multi-graded classroom.
Teacher’s Multi work Dimensions :
The professional skill of a teacher gets enhanced when a teacher handles multi-grade/ level classes. The teacher’s multi-work dimensions in a multi-grade teaching are as follows.
- The teacher collects the students’ information.
- He/she identifies the behaviour, activities and participation of a child in the
- He/she knows the needs of the
- He/she maintains diary to register the learning activities.
- He/she prepare notes of lesson weekly and annual syllabus.
- He/she designs the classroom objectives and equally distribute in weekly and daily activities of the class to achieve it.
- Shares his/her experience with colleagues .
- Renews knowledge through cognitive skills in service training and self learning. He/she generates knowledge through classroom experiments, creative activities and action research programmes.
Multi-grade teaching is not an attempt to compensate the paucity of teachers in a classroom/school. It is responsible techniques adapted by a teacher to enhance the standard of education.
Research reports from many countries on ‘Multi-grade teaching’ reveal that teaching in a multigrade/level classroom is an ordinary situation for a motivated teacher with the thorough knowledge of the subjects, different techniques and approaches of the classroom management. In multi-grade teaching, teacher becomes the teacher educator for the entire school and thus he/she helps shaping the future of the children and the society.
(*Ms. Ssenchowa, M.A. in EL & ELT from Guwahati University in Assam, India is a Master Trainer of English since 2010 under SSA (Assam) . Presently, she is working as a Primary English teacher in a rural school. She started her teaching career as a K.G teacher in VKV, Majuli in 2002. Afterwards, she has earned the experience of teaching K.G. to P.G. level. She has the experience of working in both Private and Govt. sector – from art of the state facility to Low Resource classrooms. She is always open to new and creative ideas in teaching- learning and hopes to make a change in rural educational scenario at primary level with her teaching and training.)