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Lernleitern ins Leben e.V.

It is a fact that a large proportion of the primary schools in most states of India are faced with a multi-grade situation which means that there is one Teacher trying to handle a number of classes/grades at the same time. The common problems faced by such schools are how to manage a roomful of children of different grades and abilities meaningfully.

Another parallel problem is that the entire existing dimension of Primary Education is limited to reading and writing and even here the focus is on remediation rather than on a right kind of sustained initiatives spread over the entire primary school cycle. Instead of a piecemeal approach to the problem it requires a paradigm shift in the entire teaching–learning process. The focus must shift from teacher attendance and teaching and syllabus completion to student learning. Focusing on “what is learnt” as opposed to “what is taught” ensures greater accountability and improved learning outcomes by the children.

Rishi Valley Institute for Educational Resources (RIVER) addresses these problems in its unique Multi-Grade Multi-Level (MGML) approach to Primary Education.

Why is this Program unique?

We felt that that we needed to begin with redesigning the whole outlook towards curriculum of the village schools. The overall solution to the problem lay in educating the population in schools where they felt at home, studying a curriculum that was familiar. Good schooling, we were convinced, lay in substituting the idea of schools as isolated institutions with the idea that schools are resource centers for the community they are located in. Our model is based on the continuous and progressive decentralization and localization of education, as opposed to the globalizing and homogenizing forces currently in vogue. We believe the only successful model of education to be, that, which allows diversity to flourish, among children, communities, teachers, and nations.

Working through this conviction meant replacing a syllabus-centered, textbook oriented, teacher-directed mono-grade approach with one that met the multiple learning needs of children viewed as members of a community – having fathers and mothers with cultural traditions and diverse livelihoods; children who were otherwise alienated and eventually lost in abstract, information-based learning.

The program, thus, has the following advantages:

Improved classroom interaction:

  • Introduction of a graded curriculum which sets learning tasks along a continuum
  • Supplementing the text books with interesting self-learning materials to make learning individualized, child-centered and interactive
  • Bridge attainment gaps in children so that all children achieve mastery of minimum levels of learning
  • Improved teacher support systems through constant monitoring and guidance

Improved teacher commitment and involvement:

  • Development of teaching/learning material through teacher participation
  • Enhancing teachers creativity and competency by ensuring all teachers have a say in developing, implementing and reviewing material produced
  • Development of transparent monitoring and evaluation materials to ensure accountability

Program for multigrade teaching:

  • Development of material that is locally appropriate
  • Adaptation of an innovative curriculum
  • Development of a good learning environment

Teacher training:

  • Formulate clear guidelines and objectives for multigrade classroom
  • Develop in-service teacher training programs
  • Develop a Core of child centered multigrade teacher trainers who can be mobilized to train other teachers

Establish a teacher support system:

  • Provide better supervision
  • Provide a school based mechanism for regular meetings of teachers for sharing experiences
  • Provide on the job support to strengthen the teaching

And the results that we are looking at are:

  • The learner can be tracked
  • Schools can be tracked
    a. Evaluate/compare achievements across schools
    b. Monitor effectiveness of Teachers
    c. Feedback on Teaching methods/materials
    d. Evolving transparent school evaluation
  • Community School Linkage is existent
    a. Community Curriculum
    b. Mothers Committees
  • Real Life Experiences are given to the children
  • There is an Enriching of the Village Commons
  • Cost Effective Models without diluting the quality
  • An in-built replicating strategy moving in partnerships
  • Capacity building capability
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