School and community perspectives on literacy in multigrade schools in Peru

A high percentage of primary school children in Peru attend multigrade schools. Although teachers receive little training or support, they develop different strategies to cope with multigrade teaching. What are these strategies and what other important factors could be taken into account to enhance learning in this classroom environment?

Multigrade schooling features prominently in Peru. In rural areas, nine out of every ten schools use the multigrade system, yet teachers receive no consistent pre- or in-service training and salaries and the availability of teaching materials are low. A 1993 study highlighted problems with the quality of education, prompting the government to introduce changes in the schooling system to improve quality. Although the design of the new programme did not specifically take the multigrade system into account, it opened up new possibilities for these schools.

This study looks at how the recent changes in education policy offer potential for improving multigrade teaching. It analyses teachers’ strategies to manage multigrade classrooms and their ideas about literacy learning, and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the different strategies. It looks at children’s learning outside of the school environment and the potential for improving learning in school.

Most teachers used one of two strategies, though some used a combination of the two:

The study found that:

It is the multi-age nature of children’s interaction with other children and adults when playing, learning and working that makes learning possible. The study makes the following suggestions:

‘A Multigrade Approach to Literacy in the Amazon, Peru’, in ‘Education for All and Multigrade Teaching: Challenges and Opportunities’, pages 47-66, Springer: Dordrecht, edited by Angela Little, 2006 Full document.
Further details about this research project on the DFID Research for Development website Full document.

Funded by: UK Department for International Development (MIS Number: 786620039 / EDA 9800472/832/015A)

id21 Research Highlight: 25 May 2007

Further Information:
Patricia Ames
Instituto de Estudios Peruanos
Horacio Urteaga 694
Lima 11

Tel: +511 3326194 ext. 238
Fax: +511 3326173
Contact the contributor: pames@iep.org.pe

Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, Peru

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'Multi-grade teaching: facing the hidden reality of education's have-nots'

More about the Institute of Education's Multigrade Teaching Project

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