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Challenges of multigrade teaching.
The Multigrade Teacher training module for Zambian teacher trainers
The history of Multigrade teaching in Zambia.
Challenges of multigrade teaching.
Classroom management.
Curriculum planning in a multigrade classroom.
Assessment and evaluation.
Documentation in multigrade teaching.
Instructional materials.
Final word




1.    An average primary school teacher is ill equipped to handle a multigrade classroom situation.

2.    The nature of the curriculum and textbooks, which are prepared almost entirely in a monograde context create further problems.

3.    Teacher training programmes have not focused on practical issues and techniques for handling multigrade teaching studies.

4.    There is no training package for multigrade teachers. The aspects could be;



-         Time management

-         Improving teaching skills

-         Preparation and organisation of the teaching learning materials.

-         Organisation of art and cultural activities.


5.    Timetables are not flexible enough.


Teachers of MC should have extra preparation time.

Teachers assigned to MC should preferable be those who are most willing to teach.

In service and information concerning appropriate groupings, classroom organization, instructional strategies and curriculum modification should be provided to principals and teachers.

In a MC 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.

The student benefit from having the opportunity to stay with the same teacher and classmates and experience the same teaching style and routine over a two-year (ore more) period.

In a MC there is time to recognize that a childs social and emotional needs are as important as academic needs.

Another advantage of more than one year in a MC is the relationship developed between the teacher and the entire family.

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.

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.

In a classroom where all children are learning at different rates and are not all the same age, there is a little competition.

By helping each other, students reinforce their own understanding of knowledge, skills and attitudes.

Conversations are encouraged as the children talk through their work in progress. These conversations help them understand just what they have learned.

Multigrade classrooms take the focus of meeting the needs of the whole group of learners instead meet the needs of each individual student.


I.                 On the conference on MGT in 1988, organised by UNESCO, five general problems came out:

a.     Inadequately trained teachers.

b.    Scarcity of varied levels and types of materials.

c.     Lack of flexible and special types of curriculum organization.

d.    Inadequate school facilities.

e.    Lack of incentives for teachers in multiple classes.



II.            Multigrade in Vietnam, the problems.

a.     There is a serious shortage of teachers, especially skilled teachers for MGT.

b.    Teachers of MGT are working in different isolated conditions.

c.     The training of teachers for MG classes does not meet the requirement in either quality or quantity.

d.    Most of the MG schools lack textbooks, guidebooks and reference material.

e.    Multigrade classes are in very bad conditions.


III.        What is the principals role in a multigrade school?

a.     The principal plays a key-role in creating a supportive school culture.

b.    The principal, the head teacher must ensure that all teachers feel supported.

c.     The head must provide teachers with opportunities to learn multigrade teaching methods, monitor the progress of implementation and give the teachers praise, feedback and suggestions.

d.    The head should be adept at facilitating positive, cooperative interactions among teaching team members.


IV.         There are definite characteristics of successful multigrade teachers, which should be considered in teacher selection.

a.     Well-organized

b.    Creative and flexible

c.     Willing to work hard.

d.    Resource full.

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.

V.              Seven general types of activities found in most class rooms:

a.     Quiet or individual study.

b.    Testing

c.     Whole class instruction.

d.    Partner work

e.    Group discussion

f.      Reference work.




1.    How will / can you create an enabling and effective teaching- learning environment in a multigrade classroom.

2.    How could teachers spend more time on a particular subject or practice work?

3.    How can a teacher maintain discipline in a multigrade classroom?

4.    Which teaching aids are specific for a multigrade teaching?

5.    How can a teacher be enabled to organise the subject matter in the best possible way?

6.    How can the teacher understand the gaps in his or her teaching method, and appreciate student needs better?




1.    Multigrade teachers must be trained to give different lessons at the same time to pupils at different grade levels.

2.    Children sit in grade-groups facing their own blackboard (BB)

3.    If there are two grade groups in the class the BB are placed either end of the classroom with children facing opposite directions.

4.    During the lessons 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 BB, the other grade will be instructed on a new math item.

7.    The extra work involved in multigrade teaching must be recognized by giving teachers 50% additional salary for two grades and 75% for three or more grades.

8.    Teachers in multigrade classrooms must receive a lot of support and must meet regularly with teachers from other multigrade schools.



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