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Challenges Facing Multi-Grade Teachers

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As school budgets are shrinking more and more schools are forced to go in for multi-grade classrooms, which is an organizational structure that provides for students of different ages, grades and academic abilities to be taught in the same group and frequently by the same teacher.

This poses greater challenges on teachers who are mainly trained to teach mono-grade classrooms and are ill-prepared to cope with situations, which can arise in such a heterogeneous learning environment. They often feel stressed out and uncomfortable preparing for several grades and developing separate programs for every grade level. This might be a very exhausting, experience which requires a teacher to invest a lot of time, energy and effort, while the outcome is not always what it is expected to be.

There are a few tips that every multi-grade teacher can use in order to make their combined lessons more effective. Having the right attitude and a clear vision of teaching strategies will turn multi-grade teaching into a fulfilling and interesting experience:

1. Good planning is essential when it comes to teaching multi-grade classes. Since there are no comprehensive multi-grade syllabus programs available at the moment, a teacher will have to plan and organize the program according to the particular learning needs of their students. It will require a teacher to spend time developing a long-term plan based on teaching resources and textbooks, designed for students of different grade levels. There are going to be connections and recurrences so a teacher can arrange for the same topics to be learnt by some and revised by others at the same time.

2. The most challenging part of this is to make sure that students of different grade levels are equally challenges in class. This means their teacher will have to prepare individual tasks for students to prevent them from getting bored or disorientated.

3. Although being a great pressure this experience might actually turn out to be beneficial for promoting students’ academic performance. It is a multi-grade teacher’s duty to make sure nobody feels isolated from the rest of the class. It is a good idea to set up the classroom so that students of different grade levels can collaborate with each other, thus providing younger children with an opportunity to get extra help from their classmates and giving a chance to older students to serve as tutors for younger kids.

4. As advised it can be helpful to design special in-class assignments or projects that will demand from all students to cooperate, creating a team.

5. It is important to make sure that younger students are well aware of the differences between the grade levels and the teacher’s expectations concerning their performance otherwise they might try to do something that is not appropriate for their age or academic level, which in its turn can result in their frustration or disinterest.




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