Identifying the professional knowledge base for multi-grade teaching
Most countries have made significant progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal of Universal Primary Education by setting up multi-grade schools in rural and remote areas. The new Sustainable Development Goal for education specifies Quality Education. This paper reports a small-scale qualitative study of teachers and teaching principals in multi-grade rural schools in Australia, focusing on identifying the professional knowledge base required for teachers in such contexts. Such a knowledge base is essential for improving the quality of multi-grade teaching. Interviews and observations revealed that multi-grade teachers need to develop the skills of learner grouping, organisation and routines, curriculum mapping, differentiating the curriculum, multi-level assessment, planning, and time management. Professional learning for multi-grade teachers will help them to implement increasingly effective methods for providing a quality education for the diverse range of learners in their classrooms.
Keywords: Multi-grade teaching, types of teacher knowledge, quality education, curriculum mapping, routines, groupings, differentiation, planning