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Multi-grade and Multi level Teaching

Joya Ssenchowa* (joyasenchowag@gmail.com)

Background

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

Ÿ It develops the skill of collecting data and the communication skill in the young age itself.

Ÿ It develops co- operative learning, group learning and helping attitude among the students.

Ÿ Students strengthen their learning by explaining the learned concepts to other students. They understand the concepts clearly.

Ÿ Group discussions predominate in multi-grade environment. Students give up shyness and fear and help one another to improve one self.

Ÿ 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.

  Direct observation:-

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 –

  1. Fully self-supported group
  2. Partically teacher supported group
  • Fully teacher-supported group
  1. 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.)

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