Multi-grade teaching generally refers to the practice in primary education of teaching children from a number of grades in one class. It is practiced in various countries as an alternative to promote education for all. In the case of the Philippines, multi-grade teaching can mean several things:
- teaching two or more grade levels in one classroom
- teaching a class of pupils with differing levels of ability
- students of different ethnic groups to be taught a native language
In a multi-grade school, teachers are trained and must be skilled in teaching different grades all in one class. While one part of the class works on its lessons at one grade level, the teacher is free to work with another part of the class at another grade level.
Problems and issues
Despite the efforts to make education more widespread and accessible with this method, certain persistent problems and issues have been observed.
- School plans, instructional materials and methodological guidelines are often difficult to apply to multi-grade teaching situations.
- There is a shortage of support materials for teachers and individualized instructional materials for learners, due to the large class size and diversity of the students’ grade levels.
- There is a need for more work on the kinds of continuous evaluation, diagnostic testing, remediation and feedback which would best assist multi-grade teaching. Although many teachers work in multi-grade teaching situations few countries have developed special teacher training curricula for pre- or in-service training
- The educational system as a whole pays inadequate attention to the proper functioning of multi-grade schools through, for example, not filling vacant teaching positions in rural areas, the absence of systems of teacher accountability, a lack of basic physical facilities in these schools, lack of training for supervisors of multi-grade schools and a general "inattentiveness of education officers to the needs of these schools"
- Birch, Ian and Mike Lally. Multigrade teaching in primary schools. Asia-Pacific Centre of Educational Innovation for Development, UNESCO (1995). Accessed 22 July 2009.
- Multi Grade Education project in the Philippines. Accessed 22 July 2009.
- Multi-grade teaching: Concept and status. Accessed 22 July 2009.