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Multigrade teaching, gender and the community in Zambia


Multigrade teaching, gender and the community
Learning ,education and development.


The legal base for multigrade classes can create an instrument for monitoring and evaluating pedagogical innovations to promote girls' education.To give the multigrade schools a kind of official status,to convince parents of the advantage of MTG teaching,MTG schools could be considered as branch schools depending on a "mother school.The local communities must be involved in the management of the school.Parents participation is a need and a must!The grouping of multigrade schools for administrative purpose could bring all the children into one community independent the schools they attend.Parents'committees are created in order to promote girls' education and education in general.Their activities could be defined by the regulations of the parents' committee of each school. They strengthen the link between the school and the family. Grouped multigrade classes should have an average of 35 pupils.When there are over 40 pupils ,different groups should be formed.There should be at least two blackboards in one classroom, one in the front and one in the back.Teachers from branch and mother schools should meet on a regular base to discuss problems.The system of multigrade teaching schools improves the teacher-pupil ratio and reduces running costs.The system of MTG teaching promotes active teaching and prepares pupils better for real life situations.This develops their sense of responsibility, maturity and leads them to greater self-reliance.

By seeing that girls are fully respected in Multigrade schools, parents will participate more and contribute more to the education of their children.In dialogue with the Multigrade teachers parents should point out the needs and lack of skills of their children, especially relating to the girls, who are often not expected to earn their own salary due to pregnancy and early marriages.

The area in which change is most difficult, but also most decisive, is in the daily interactions between teachers and pupils. This is why the kind of reform most likely to succeed will begin in the classroom. The content and the methods recommended by the curricula must make good use of all cultural experiences which encourage learning. Curricular content, while it should be based on national policies and on international perspective, must be structured in such a way that local needs are taken into account. In all cases, the main concepts should be adapted to the universe of the child: his or her culture, his or her language, his or her potential for development, etc.

One of the major benefits of a multigrade classroom is the continuity over time that multigrade provides. The pupils benefits from having the opportunity to stay with the same teacher and classmates and experience the same teaching style and routines over a two year period. Since the teacher is already familiar with many of the pupils from the previous year, instructional time is not lost getting to know a whole new class of children each year. In a multigrade classroom there is time to recognize that a child's social and emotional needs are as important as academic needs, and there is time to devote to those needs Another advantage of more than one year in a multigrade classroom is the relationship developed between the teacher and the entire family.

I am glad that I could reflect on my personal practical knowledge including influences from my childhood, early schooling, college ,professional development opportunities and on my teaching experiences including interaction with students,pupils, other teachers, district,provincial and national office personnel, and the process of teaching. I have developed a new understanding of the curriculum and ways of instruction, and I have also been able to consider alternate ways of teaching. Upon reflecting on my practice, I can see certain conditions for change emerging from the narrative, which may be helpful for other teachers considering change in their practice.


First, it is necessary to identify personal beliefs about teaching and learning and to determine how those beliefs can help or impede a change in practice. Second, it is necessary to examine classroom organization and management with a view to identifying those factors which better support learning. Taking a different perspective on curriculum and seeking alternate instructional strategies comes next.

A further condition is noting and establishing a collaborative relationship between pupils and teacher and determining the roles and responsibilities in that relationship. Being committed to including parental and community involvement in education is another condition. Last but not least, the desire to want to change is one of the essential conditions for changing any practice.I believe that change will not happen in classroom practice until practitioners are ready and willing to seek what they need to make any changes and obtain the support necessary from other teachers, the administration and district office in order to implement successful change. Any teacher, group of teachers, or school improvement team wishing to make a change from single-grade, multigrade or traditional methods of teaching or attempting to look at curriculum and its delivery in their own classrooms, would find that multigrade instruction is flexible and has application in any teaching situation.

Finally, all I have read in the literature on multigrade teaching and my own personal experiences throughout a twenty year career, points to multigrade as being appropriate for the way children learn. For this reason, many teachers in urban areas are choosing to organize their classrooms using this approach because of its effectiveness when implemented properly. As teachers in rural areas become aware of the characteristics and advantages, I feel with proper training and support, they too will use the multigrade approach throughout their schools and feel enthusiastic about the prospect.

In order to make the change from a traditional to multigrade progress, we have to be realistic about the time and resources necessary to make a change of this magnitude. Keeping this in mind, I strongly believe that implementing a multigrade approach to teaching and learning is worth promoting.