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MUltigrade School Education


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Title: MUltigrade School Education

MUltigrade School Education The MUSE project In
service training for teachers in multigrade
Michail Orfanakis
Ellinogermaniki Agogi 12th EDEN ANNUAL
CONFERENCE 15-18 June 2003, Rhodes
  • Framework
  • Consortium
  • Definition
  • Multigrade school reality
  • The role of multigrade education
  • Identified needs in multigrade schools
  • Description of the MUSE project
  • Projects Objectives
  • Training Framework
  • Current Status

  • Framework

The ?USE project is co-financed by European
Commission within the framework of the SOCRATES
programme , action COMENIUS 2.1
  • Consortium

In addition the partnership consists of 4
multigrade schools in Finland, Greece and
Spain. These schools are going to be the pilot
test sites of the training programme.
  • Definition

Multigrade schools can be defined as schools
where groups of students of different grades are
taught in a single classroom.
The multigrade class structure is known by
various names in different countries these
include composite or combination classes,
double classes, split classes, mixed-age
classes and vertically grouped classes.
Multigrade schools are more than a reality in
primary education in many regions of Europe and
the rest of the world.
  • Multigrade school reality

In Europe multigrade schools are part of the
primary education system in most of the countries.
  • In Greece for the school year 2001-2002, 44
    of the primary schools are multigrade while 15
    of elementary education teachers teach in
    multigrade schools.
  • In Finland multigrade schools represent the 30
    total school number.
  • In Great Britain 6,3 of the primary schools,
    based on 1997/98 data, are multigrade.

Vintturin Tastulan multigrade school
  • Multigrade school reality

In Latin America the educational reforms of the
past years in many countries were focused on
providing educational for all and reducing the
drop out rates in primary education. The portion
of multigrade schools in most of the Latin
America and Caribbean countries is very high
(i.e. Chile 36, Peru 96, Argentina 78,
etc.) Indeed many of the Latin America countries
have paid attention to multigrade schools and
large scale successful national or international
programmes were initiated (Enlaces, Escuela Nueva
An Andean girl uses the internet at a rural
school in Huancayo, east of Lima on April 5,
  • Multigrade school reality

In Asia, Africa the situation in multigrade
education is more or less the same as in Latin
America and some worth mentioned support efforts
exist as well. In Australia there are a lot of
multigrade schools especially in the rural
isolated of inner Australia. Successful
supporting programmes both for the teachers and
the students exist in national scale.
  • The role of multigrade education

Multigrade schools are considered to play an
important role on providing access to education
for all in remote, isolated and underdeveloped
rural areas. On the World Declaration on
Education for All is indicated that much effort
must be put on establishing the conditions
everywhere, even in the most remote and almost
uninhabited villages, so that local citizens have
access at least to basic education. Multigrade
schools facilitate the accomplishment of such a
goal, offering education to pupils who otherwise
would have to decide whether to stay illiterate,
study at home, or leave the place and go to the
nearest town to be educated.
  • Identified needs in multigrade schools
  • Multigrade schoolteachers have a multidimensional
    educational task, which is more difficult than
    the one of their colleagues in monograde schools.
    Consisting of pupils of diverse grades, age,
    learning abilities and interests, these classes
    require specific knowledge, teaching abilities,
    skills and experiences.
  • Multigrade schoolteachers have to develop a wide
    variety of initiatives and teaching strategies
  • In their role of managing the school unit, they
    have to transform multigrade schools so that can
    provide an appropriate school environment for
    learners. This means that teachers in these
    schools should be able to manage resources,
    organise an attractive school life and
    communicate with other groups and individuals in
    the school community.
  • Acting as promoters of multigrade schools
    social role, the teachers have to realise the
    importance of the school in the community. They
    should be able to create links, communicate
    efficiently with groups and individuals outside
    the school community and transform multigrade
    schools to centres of social development.

  • Description of the MUSE project

The project MUSE aims at the development of a new
model of teachers training that assists teaching
in multigrade schools. The project is based on
the use of information and communication
technology (ICT) in school education and in the
training of the staff working in multigrade
schools. Furthermore it encourages innovation in
pedagogical methods and materials and promotes
trans-national cooperation and communication
between schools and teachers training
  • Projects Objectives
  • The specific aims of the MUSE project seem to be
    exactly along with the aspects of multigrade
    education mentioned in the above paragraphs. In
    detail, these are
  • To develop an in-service specialised training
    programme for teachers in multigrade schools,
    aiming to meet the teachers needs.
  • To enhance professional skills of multigrade
    schoolteachers and improve their abilities to
    develop plans according to the needs of the
    specific school environment.
  • To develop a dedicated educational web platform
    which will support in service training and
    support of multigrade teachers.
  • To conduct an intervention study in multigrade
    classrooms across Europe.
  • To enhance communication among remote multigrade
    school teaching environment and outside
    educational community and initiate the formation
    of a European network on the multigrade school
  • To make recommendations on multigrade teaching
    policy and practice.

  • Training Framework
  • The training programme is developing across three
    main axes
  • To provide in service training of teachers in
    multigrade teaching methodologies ( mixed age
    grouping, individual teaching etc.) as well as
    training on organizing and managing multigrade
  • To train teachers on the use of ICT and its usage
    for multigrade teaching. The use of ICT should
    focus on (a) upgrading quality of multigrade
    teaching, (b) supporting students learning and
    (c) fostering social development of the local
  • To train teachers to be able to design, implement
    and evaluate multidisciplinary learning
    activities which should require cooperation of
    groups of students of different ages, grades or

  • Training Framework

  • Current Status

The MUSE project is a rather ambitious and
extensive attempt to examine in a global way
multigrade schools, which exist in many European
regions, work under difficult conditions and form
a neglected or ignored part of the educational
system. At the current stage of the projects
life the training curriculum is finalized while
the training, educational and learning material
is being developed and evaluated In parallel,
the development of the web educational platform
continues while schools participating in the
project, improve their infrastructure. The
final phase consists of two implementation cycles
at schools with parallel evaluation phases. The
final run of the project is scheduled to start at
October 2003.