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Exploring teaching strategies used by teachers in multi-grade classrooms in rural settings in the Umlazi District.

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This study illustrates the curriculum strategies used by teachers in the multi-grade classroom in rural settings. Two schools practising multi-grade teaching were identified to generate data related to the phenomenon reviewed under study, using the qualitative interpretive case study approach of four multi-grade teachers in the Umbumbulu area of the Umlazi District. The data was generated by using semi-structured interviews and focus group discussion for the research study. Purposeful and convenience selection was used to choose the most valuable and obtainable participants. The study analyses multi-grade teachers’ experiences of navigating how they teach in the multi-grade classroom. The following strategies were identified in the literature: (1) Mixed/multi-age classroom arrangements. (2) Quasi-mono-grade models. (3) Learner-centred approaches in multi-grade classrooms (4) Peer instruction in multi-grade classrooms. The findings from the multi-grade teachers’ experiences identified the challenges that arise within the school and the community concerning the dwindling of learner numbers and the multi-teaching of different grades in one classroom under one teacher’s instruction. The findings detected suggestions in the curriculum planning that needs close attention by the Department of Basic Education curriculum planners particularly in multi-grade classrooms that seems to be unattended to at the macro-level. The findings recommend the empowering of mono/multi-grade teachers and parents on how to build rapport amongst them and to learn to work together to improve the children’s progress. Further, they have to understand that the significance and the presence of multi-grade schools in the vicinity is meant for the benefit of learners and to support society.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.