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Multi-grade Teaching: The Latin American Experience

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1 Multi-grade Teaching: The Latin American Experience
South Asia Regional Conference on Education Quality New Delhi, India October 24-26, 2007 Eduardo Velez Sector Manager for Education Human Development Sector Latin America and the Caribbean

2 Rural Education…a global challenge
In Latin America is a challenge because: -20% enroll late -About 40% repeat 1st grade and about 25% repeat 2nd grade (repetition in primary education represent a waste of about $3.5 billion annually and together with late entry create high heterogeneity in ages of children in the classroom and this limits learning, specially when traditional methods are used) -Average schooling is about 4.5 years -Roughly half of the kids in 4th grade can’t read Primary growth enrollment in Africa is about 80%. In Latin America only about 61% of age group reaches grade 5. In South Asia is a little better (66%). There are about 55 countries ‘at risk; of not achieving 100% NER by 2017 (one of the Millenium Development Goals), and about 80 countries ‘at risk’ of not achieving universal primary completion by 2015 (another Millenium Development Goal).

3 However, basic education in rural areas in LAC, like everywhere else
- raises incomes and reduces poverty -helps to sustain economic growth (a minimum level of human capital is required for this) -is not sufficient for any modern economy, but a necessary first step to get there -has important externalities: lower fertility, better child health, ‘human capabilities’ (Sen)

4 Net Enrollment Rate in Primary Education
Source: UNESCO

5 Rural Education in LAC…and quality
Why we still have the gap in basic education? -Not enough resources -Inadequate use of resources -Bad quality: Low learning Late entry, high repetition and dropout -Focus on coverage not enough, quality is key In Latin America, for example, in the best scenario students attain about 50% of the official curriculum. About 20% enter late. About 40% repeat first grade. Every year about US$2.5 billion are spent in 20 million repeaters. Half of the fourth grade students are not able to understand what they read.

6 Rural Education…and quality
Why low quality? (1) -Traditional expository methodology: emphasis on memorization and not in comprehension skills -Limited amount of time in first grades to learn basic skills -Cultural barriers in transition from home to school mainly in minority areas -Lack of text books and learning guides for students and teachers that are appropriate with active methodologies and that respond to the diversity within the classroom (specially different learning rhythms) -Rigid calendars, promotion and evaluation systems -Insufficient time for effective learning, specially in language and in math

7 Rural Education…and quality
Why low quality? (2) -Overloaded curriculum and not related to student’s environment -Ineffective and inadequate pre- and in-service training for teachers -High percentage of incomplete schools where teachers have not received training nor material to deal with the situation -Few teachers have been trained in active teaching process -Schools located in isolated areas do not attract qualified teachers -Permanent transfers of rural teachers to urban areas

8 Rural Education…and quality
Why low quality? (3) Students: -Under-nourished children -Health problems -Inadequate psycho-social development (little exposure to ECD) -Lack of motivation and support for learning (from families)

9 Then…what to do? What can be done to correct these problems in rural education? 1. Schools must be adapted to function more effectively 2. Student learning skills before entering primary education must be improved 3. Flexible and open programs for children and out-of-school youth 4. Organization of planning, management and monitoring mechanism at the local level must be created 5 Advocacy, social mobilization, community participation and stimulation of demand for quality education must be promoted

10 Multi-grade (the New School approach)
A proposal to improve rural education. An agreement among Ministers of Education in LAC -Need to view the school as a fundamental unit of change. Effectiveness of improving policies is largely determined by school factors -Need to change teaching and learning practices (improving classroom teaching practices demands a profound revision of basic education in light of the new education paradigm centered on the child as an active subject who participates in his own learning process). Improvement of student learning is central challenge for education policy -Change the role of the teacher (not simply transmitter of information) New type of school with renovated teaching methods, different learning rhythms and styles. --Need for more personalized and group learning; the lack of flexibility of the traditional frontal teaching limits learning process, specially in poor schools

11 Multi-grade (the New School approach)
Objectives for the student in a new school 1.Develop a child-centered active and participative learning process 2.Develop higher level thinking skills 3.Advance at their own pace in learning 4.Develop activities of tolerance, solidarity and cooperation 5.Improve learning achievement 6.Improve self-esteem 7.Gender equity in participation in school activities

12 Multi-grade (the New School approach)
Objectives for the teachers in a new school 1.Improve teaching practices 2.Modify their role from expository to facilitating roles with permanent interaction with their student 3.Positive attitudes towards the pedagogical strategy 4.Satisfaction with their work

13 Multi-grade (the New School approach)
Objectives for the administrators in a new school 1.Change the role from traditional supervisory functions to a more pedagogical support and advisor to teachers 2.Positive attitudes towards the pedagogical methodology

14 Multi-grade (the New School approach)
Objectives for the community in a new school 1.Strengthen the relationship between the school and the community 2.Promote the participation of parents in the different activities of the school 3. Articulate curriculum content with the family and the community 4. Serve as information center for the community

15 Multi-grade (the New School approach)
Objectives for the educational system in a new school 1.Offer complete quality primary education 2.Reduce repetition and drop out rates 3.Improve learning achievement 4.Improve equity

16 Multi-grade (the New School approach)
Two fundamental assumptions for the implementation of the new school reform 1.Introducing changes at the level of the student implies innovation in the teacher training, the administrative structure of the school and its relationship with the community. This requires specific strategies for children, teachers, administrative personnel and the community 2.It is indispensable, from the beginning, to develop mechanisms that are replicable, decentralized and feasible from a technical, political and financial standpoint. The design of the system has to include strategies to go to scale

17 Multi-grade (the New School approach)
Features of the new school (1) 1.It offers full primary education at multi-grade schools where one, two or three teachers handle several grades simultaneously 2.It benefits students, teachers, administrators and communities through its four interrelated components: curriculum process, teacher training, school administration and school-community articulation 3.It uses classroom teaching materials proven to have a positive impact on learning, such as textbooks, classroom libraries and learning corners

18 Multi-grade (the New School approach)
Features of the new school (2) 4.It moves from traditional lecture-based teaching towards a new method based on comprehension and non-rote learning, that respect different students’ learning paces, on the teacher’s role as a facilitator and evaluator, and on participation and cooperative learning 5.It encourages strategies of ‘learning by doing’, such as student government to teach democracy, participation and civil responsibilities, social skills to promote habits of collaboration, companionship, solidarity, and tolerance. Children learn to act responsibly in organizing and managing the school through committees, and to comply with work plans

19 Multi-grade (the New School approach)
Features of the new school (3) 6.Numerous evaluations have shown that the quality of education can be improved despite a school’s limitations in terms of resources 7.It gives teachers an opportunity for horizontal participation through teaching workshops or study circles for training and follow-up 8.Teachers receive in-service training at sequenced workshops providing firsthand experience with methodologies similar to those they will apply with their students. Training is decentralized, replicable and continuous

20 Multi-grade (the New School approach)
Features of the new school (4) 9.Students learn to be active, creative, participatory and responsible. Develop capacity to communicate, to think creatively, to analyze and, above all, to apply what they learn at school in the family and community 10.Students use an active methodology that allows them to learn by doing and through play. This helps them to solve problems in daily life 11.Children work in small groups facilitating cooperative learning and systematic interaction, It also favors a collective building of knowledge and tutorial support between students

21 Multi-grade (the New School approach)
Features of the new school (5) 12.It offers learning guides to help students acquire the basic lessons included in the curriculum. The guides are designed to promote participatory methodology with a learning process focused on the student. The teacher acts as a facilitator 13.The classroom becomes an area for dynamic and active work, developed with all available resources and through cooperative activities and student government 14.Study topics proposed in the guides are related to student’s way of life and that of their communities

22 Multi-grade (the New School approach)
Features of the new school (6) 15.Promotion is flexible and respect each student’s pace of learning.Repetition is eliminated. Children are able to study and help their parents with domestic chores or productive activities like harvesting without jeopardizing the quality of their education and without having to drop out of school 16.The school operates as an in information center and a force for community integration. Parents take part in school activities and the school supports activities of benefit to the community. There are specific instruments to help the teacher understand the community and to build its relationship with the school. COMMUNITY, COMMUNITY, COMMUNITY, COMMUNITY

23 Multi-grade (What is the New School approach?)

24 Multi-grade (What is the New School approach?
Basic education innovation developed in Colombia Set out to address all the nested factors of education simultaneously, rather than ineffectively tackling each in isolation Systemically integrates curricular, in-service training and follow up, community and administrative strategies Guarantees access and quality of basic education Evolved from a local and state innovation to a national policy - implementation in most rural schools of Colombia (20,000 at the end of the 80´s.) 4

25 What does the New School approach promote?
Child centered, participatory, cooperative and self-paced learning Relevant curriculum based on children's daily life Flexible calendar, promotion and grading systems Closer, stronger relationship between the school and the community Emphasis on the formation of democratic and participatory values 4

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31 What does the New School approach promotes?
Effective and practical in-service teacher training strategies New role for the teacher New generation of interactive self paced, self directed learning textbooks 4

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34 AdministrativeComponent
Who does the New School approach benefit? Children, teachers, administrative staff and community through its four interrelated components, integrated at the school and community level in SYNERGY Curricular Component Teacher training Component SYSTEM AdministrativeComponent Community Component 14

35 The New School Reform - Empirical Evidence
Multi-grade school reform is recommended by international organizations based on positive research findings (for many cases –rural isolated areas- is the only option!) Improved academic achievement, higher propensity to remain in school, and other outcomes such as democratic attitudes Remaining issues: Absence of experimental research (selection bias, internal validity); definition of multi-grade schools; causal inference; etc.

36 The quality of education in Colombia is close to the average
220 225 230 235 240 245 250 255 260 265 270 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 14000 16000 Argentina Chile Brasil Colombia Mexico Venezuela Paraguay Bolivia Dominican Republic Honduras Average Score Per capita income USD $ Source: UNESCO. First Comparative International Study on Quality of Education, 1999.

37 Rural schools in Colombia have better quality than urban schools
220 225 230 235 240 245 250 255 260 265 270 275 280 Rural Score Colombia Argentina Chile Brazil Mexico Paraguay Republic Dominican Bolivia Venezuela Honduras Average Cuba Rural score Urban score Source: UNESCO. First Comparative International Study on Quality of Education, 1999.

38 In rural education, in math only Cuba’s scores are above Colombia’s
210 220 230 240 250 260 270 215 225 235 245 255 Cuba Chile Brasil Mexico Paraguay Dominican Republic Bolivia Venezuela Honduras Colombia Argentina Mathematics Language Source: UNESCO. First Comparative International Study on Quality of Education, 1999.





43 Results from different statistical analysis confirm:
Superior achievements of children of Escuela Nueva Significant reduction in drop out and repetition rates Improvement in self-esteem and civic behavior The National Planning Department of Colombia concluded: “Escuela Nueva compensates for socio economic limitations when comparing children of Escuela Nueva of socio economic level 1 with socio economic level 2.” 28

44 The New School approach in Guatemala
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 % Turns Lead Feedback NEU EUT Comparative Study on Demoracratic Behavior in Guatemala – AED/Juarez and Associates (R.Chesterfield)

45 Adaptation of the New School approach to Urban Populations
1998: ENF implemented the Model in 20 low-income schools of Bogotá, identified with the poorest academic performance in a local standardized test After two years of ENF intervention, an evaluation led by National University of Colombia confirmed an increment in language skills of 40.36% and in math of 69% These schools, with lowest ranking in the city among 2,500 centers evaluated, performed better than the city's average 40

46 Adaptation of the New School approach to Displaced Populations
5,745 indirectly benefited, including parents and community members As it began, 55% of the children were excluded from the school system; after one year of intervention there was a 100% enrollment After UNESCO evaluations, children of EN learning circles obtained the highest level of improvement in both language and mathematics (36.1% for language and 30.4% for mathematics.) 40

47 Adaptation of the New School approach to Displaced Populations
5th grade children of the learning circles are 17.3 points above the national average, with a score of 69.3 in math and 13.9 in language. (83.6% and 69.7% respectively.) Children’s self esteem was improved by 18.5 %. When the intervention began in May 2004, 76% had normal self esteem, 22% low and 2% very low. By November, 94.5 % of the children had normal self esteem, 5.52 % low and none required therapeutic attention. 40

48 Adaptation of the New School approach to Displaced Populations

49 Adaptation of the New School approach to Displaced Populations

50 Key Factors Included in the New Approach (1)
Democratic values, including student leadership Community involvement Individualized and small group instruction Local content (and cultural sensibility) Active learning and teacher as a facilitator Learning centers and classroom libraries Student guidelines Student workbooks and teacher handbooks Local control (and national commitment)

51 Key Factors Included in the New Approach (2)
Cooperative learning Peer tutoring Self-instruction Flexible promotion Integrated versus additive approach Bottom-up Successful experiences maintained by teachers or grass-roots NGOs. The student as the center of attention!!!!

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