Questions Unanswered on Multi-Grade Instruction

"It is symptomatic of both heirarchies that multigrade teaching barely warrants a mention in international and national education research agenda, in teacher education research and materials, in priorities attached to training scholarships and in education information networks." (Little 2005)

There is a incredible lack of attention, information, and situational analysis on this situation which is prevalent throughout the poorest contexts-both in rural manifestation (low population densities, small school locations) and in complex EiE manifestation (high population densities, complex class environments, multi-level and multi-grade classes due to a specified lack of required inputs). Despite the "invisibility" of this problem in many education systems, analysis conducted has shown its huge prominance across many education systems-84% of primary schools in India in 1996, 63% of primary schools in Sri Lanka in 1999, 78% of primary schools in Peru in 2001, for example. I would note that many of these locations are the most rural, historically neglected areas, and proper attention/resources are rarely lavished on these locations, and thus, they continue to remain hidden and neglected. In addition, it is critical to note that ALL teachers face multilevel teaching situations as the centerpoint of all class enviroments; lessons can be extracted from pedagogical approaches (learner-centered) as we move to the "margins" from these "regularities." However, lessons must be suitable, reasonable and duplicable. Furthermore, I would summise that the findings from studies which have taken place, which contain a huge developed-country bias, are largely unapplicable to limited resource, developing contexts. In this situation, the opposite must be targeted-developing reasonable responses in the developing world that can feed into rich-world policy. What can work without resources should be duplicatable with resources; vice-versa, not so much.....

Relevant questions highlighted by Little (2005) include: *1. Are there alternative modes of organizing and presenting curricula that embrace the needs of multigrade teachers as well as monograde teachers?

  1. Can learning materials...be designed in such a way that they may be used by students even in the absence of teachers?
  2. Can assessment schemes for students to assess their developmental progress across grades and to increase awareness among teachers about expected learning outcomes of students across several grades?
  3. Might assessment schemes provide the necessary structure for the organization of curricula and learning materials?