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This study examined how teachers in multi-grade classrooms manage and use available resources in their classrooms. The study focused on multi-grade classrooms in farm schools in the Free State province of South Africa that cover Grades 1 to 9. The concepts “multi-grade classrooms” and “resources” are explained below. The availability and utilisation of resources in multi-grade classrooms is discussed in some depth. A qualitative research design was used to collect data. Interviews were conducted with 9 teachers who worked in multi-grade classrooms. The data reveals that the availability of resources has improved somewhat in the multi-grade classrooms surveyed; however, textbooks specifically meant for multi-grade classrooms are still lacking. The data also points to several other trends. For example, most multi-grade schools in the sample have insufficient resources. Where available, the resources are either under-utilised or used improperly. Furthermore, it is usually the case that learners are required to share resources across various grades. Moreover, teachers often use their personal resources to get their work done, and in this regard, smartphones play an important part. Finally, the study also reveals that teachers do try to use various types of resources to cater for different learning styles.
Keywords: activity centres; classroom organisation; Montessori educational theory; multi-grade classrooms; resource corners; resources