Multigrade teaching: Towards an international research and policy agenda

Education and International Development Group, Institute of Education, University of London, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL, UK
International Journal of Educational Development (Impact Factor: 0.95). 11/2001; 21(6):481-497. DOI: 10.1016/S0738-0593(01)00011-6
Source: OAI


Despite its prevalence in many educational systems, multigrade teaching remains invisible. In the global effort to achieve education for all in the post-Dakar decade the needs of multigrade teachers, classes and schools must be addressed. The paper (i) explores the meaning of the term multigrade teaching in developing and industrialised countries and identifies a range of conditions under which it arises; (ii) synthesises knowledge of the practice of and research on multigrade teaching; and (iii) proposes an international agenda for future research on and dissemination of policy and practice. The agenda underlines the need for context-specific questions and comparisons, more awareness of the prevalence and challenges of multigrade teaching, more research on the practices and training needs of multigrade teaching and the exploration of synergies between teachers, curriculum, assessment and classroom organisation. It is suggested that knowledge of multigrade teaching strategies is needed by all teachers and not simply those in classes designated as ‘multigrade’.

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Available from: Angela W. Little, May 11, 2015
    • "engaged in this study. Multigrade teachers teach classes comprising students from both fifth and sixth grade (Little, 2001). Teachers of all upper elementary grades were thus equally involved in the study. "
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    ABSTRACT: In Flanders, there are neither Flemish assessments nor teacher surveys to provide insights into the current practice and outcomes of writing instruction. In the present study, we provide a-state-of-the-art study of the practice of writing instruction in Flemish late elementary education by investigating: (a) how writing is taught, (b) how teachers think about writing and writing instruction, and (c) how student characteristics, teacher characteristics, and classroom writing practices correlate with students’ writing performance. In total, 128 teachers and 800 fifth- and sixth-grade students completed teacher and student questionnaires. Students also completed two writing tests (i.e., writing an informational and a narrative text). The descriptive results on the teacher questionnaire showed that upper elementary school teachers spent only about 65 minutes each week on various writing assignments in class (e.g., stories and worksheets). During these lessons, teachers primarily focused on explicit instruction of writing skills. In addition, teachers were generally positive towards writing and writing instruction and they felt self-efficacious in teaching writing. As to the relationships with students’ writing performance, multilevel analyses indicated that students with a high self-efficacy for ideation and autonomous motivation wrote qualitatively better narrative and informational texts, while students with controlled motivation were significantly less successful in writing narrative texts. Also, teacher efficacy for writing was positively correlated with students’ informational text quality. In conclusion, this study represents an important starting point in unraveling the black box of writing instruction in Flanders. However, more research is needed to further investigate correlates on student, teacher, and class levels.
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    • "Multi-age schooling has been used in some settings due to the benefits of peer tutoring and independent inquiry (Thomas & Shaw, 1992). According to Little (2001), multi-age education is widespread, but it is overlooked by many researchers, teachers, parents and policy makers. Little states that the knowledge of multi-age education is invisible in text books, teacher guides, teacher training colleges, and in teaching methods. "

    05/2015; DOI:10.5901/jesr.2015.v5n2p285
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    • "International literature on training programs to accommodate teaching in rural schools presents a gloomy picture (Little, 2001). The same applies to the situation in South Africa. "
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    ABSTRACT: Teacher training institutions, have to date, paid little or no attention to train teachers to teach in rural schools. This paper examines what needs to be done by teacher training institutions in South Africa to address the issue. Pre-service teachers following the Bachelor of Education programme at a South African university were interviewed to ascertain what needs to be done in order to address the professional needs of pre-service teachers to teach in rural schools? The data indicated that preservice teacher were not given the opportunity to be exposed to teaching in rural schools during their teaching practice and the curriculum content of the Bachelor of Education degree did not include aspects that relate to aspects of rural teaching, making it difficult for rural schools to retain teachers. Based on the findings the following recommendations are made: modules that have a specific focus on teaching in rural schools be included in the curriculum and that every student is required to spend at least one practice teaching session in the course of the Bachelor of Education programme in a rural school. Education faculties must ensure that they have staff members who have experience in teaching at rural schools to teach the modules that relate to rural teaching. It is also recommended that incentives be offered to teachers who teach in rural schools. © MCSER-Mediterranean Center of Social and Educational Research.
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