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Multigrade Teachers' Challenges and Adaptations

Updated: Jan 19, 2023


Rey B. Abannag, TIC/ Cataw Elementary School


The delivery of basic quality education in all areas of society develops a learner into having a better quality of life and being able to contribute to the progress of a nation. Republic Act 9155 otherwise known as the “Governance of Basic Education Act of 2001” mandates the accessibility of free and compulsory elementary education, thus the launching of Multigrade Program in Philippine Education under DepEd Order No. 86, putting up Multi- Grade schools in school- less barangays.


With this, each teacher in a pure multi-grade school has to teach learners with different curriculum grades in one classroom. For teachers to be able to handle such classes, the Department of Education has provided various trainings, seminars, and workshops to equip them in providing the needs of every learner. Regular monitoring is conducted to sustain training gains and to provide technical assistance as well as instructional support.

However, teaching multigrade classes poses challenges that could lead to teacher burnout. In other parts of the world, some multigrade teachers experience insufficient time in handling classes, difficulty traveling to the school assignments, miscommunication with parents due to illiteracy, language, and cultural barriers, poor economic background, and challenges in the actual teaching and learning process. These first-hand experiences of multigrade teachers in other countries are quite similar to the experiences of teachers in the Philippines.


Ten years ago, Mirando (2012), in his study, revealed that the most common problems in multigrade classrooms were preparing different lessons for different levels of learners on a day-to-day basis, mismatches of trainings received to multigrade teaching (case-to-case basis), physical conditions of the classrooms, and absence of needed materials in teaching multigrade learners. These challenges, remain present in multigrade schools to date. Naparan & Castaneda (2021) observed that some teachers are still not prepared in teaching multigrade classes, multigrade allowances may not be enough to compensate for expenses, stressful work environments due to the physical condition of classrooms and buildings, language barrier, difficulties in classroom management, lack of needed materials and resources, risks in traveling to school assignments, workload, absenteeism, lack of stakeholders’ support, and lack of trainings.

According to research, these challenges continue to manifest due to several instances such as teachers deployed in remote areas to handle multigrade classes are not from the locality and thus language barriers and miscommunication happen. While multigrade teachers were given trainings to capacitate them in the field, some trainings are not applicable in some areas, and some lacked experience in handling these classes. Additionally, situations that are beyond the control of the teachers such as the response of the community in helping the multigrade school, the commitment of parents in sending their children to school, funding, resources, and the like.


Although these challenges happen in the day-to-day life of multigrade teachers, some coping mechanisms were developed for them to carry on their duties and responsibilities of delivering quality education to their learners. Naparan & Castaneda (2021) documented these coping mechanisms such as strengthening one’s faith through prayers, utilizing the power of the internet and its vast information readily available at the end of our fingertips, following a timetable in doing duties and responsibilities, and finally, renewing one’s mind in the process of self-conditioning. With these mechanisms came the results of sharing resources among the multigrade teachers, developing flexible grouping practices to meet the needs of their learners, conducting cooperative-collaborative learning, connecting lessons to real life, and integrating technology, among others.


Moreover, through Deped Order no. 81 s. 2009, Special Hardship Allowance to multigrade teachers is strictly implemented, and continuous trainings, Multigrade Training Resource Package (MG-TRP) and the Multigrade Teach-Learn Package (MG-TLP) are provided


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