Teachers teaching multi-grade classes in a rural setting.
This study aims to explore the experiences of teaching foundation phase multi-grade classes in rural settings. I am interested in understanding how teachers teach multi-grade classes so that I am able to make sense of the challenges and opportunities that they encounter. This is a qualitative case study and is guided by the interpretive paradigm. Purposeful sampling was used to select participants. I collected data by using qualitative research methods including interviews and observations. Interviews were audio-taped, transcribed and interpreted through an open coding process. Data was synthesised and resulted in the formulation of five themes. The findings show that teachers were faced with challenges which include lack of proper training, insufficient support from stakeholders, no workshops organised for multi-grade teachers, lack of resources at school which makes teaching and learning difficult, conditions of the school and the community that are not conducive to effective teaching and learning. Recommendations include that multi-grade teachers need to receive ongoing support from stakeholders. They also need to be given pre- and in-service training so that they are aware of strategies they can use to overcome challenges that they encounter when teaching. The Department of Education needs to provide relevant support for the benefit of the learners and the community.