Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
School of Education
Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.
Problem. This study examines the instructional practices, perceptions, and attitudes of multi-grade teachers in one- and two-room schools in the Seventh-day Adventist educational system.
Method. The researcher developed a survey and mailed it to a randomly selected stratified sample of 500 teachers in one- and two-room schools in the Seventh-day Adventist educational system in the United States and Canada. Two hundred eighty surveys were returned; 276 were used in the data analysis. Descriptive statistics give a demographic picture of these teachers--the practices used, their perceived levels of expertise, methods of grouping students for instruction, and their assessment of multi-grade students' cognitive and psycho-social development in comparison to single-grade peers. Qualitative questions were asked concerning what teachers liked and disliked about teaching in the multi-grade room, what would strengthen their multi-grade teaching, and whether or not they would choose to stay in the multi-grade room if they had the opportunity to teach a single-grade class. Data from two sub-groups who were either very satisfied with multi-grade teaching or who were very dissatisfied were compared.
Results. (1) Individualized and small group instruction were strategies multi-grade teachers reported using most; learning centers, computer instruction, and portfolio assessment were used the least. (2) Less than 20% of the teachers responding to the survey considered practices specific to certain subject areas essential to their multi-grade program. (3) Few teachers reported grouping across grade levels for instruction. (4) The two most frequently stated reasons for use of a practice were "effective for multi-grade" and "it fits my teaching style." (5) Most teachers rated the psycho-social development of multi-grade students "superior" and their cognitive development "comparable" to the psycho-social and cognitive development of single-grade peers. (6) Multi-grade teachers appreciated their autonomy; they were troubled by the workload and the isolation. (7) Teachers indicated that training and curriculum materials specific to multi-grade needs would strengthen their multi-grade teaching. (8) About 50% of the teachers indicated they would prefer to teach in a single-grade classroom if it were offered, about 30% would consider the offer, and about 20% would prefer to stay in a multi-grade classroom.
Conclusions. Most multi-grade teachers would prefer to teach in a single-grade classroom. They need training in methods for organizing multi-grade curriculum and using instructional practices valuable for the multi-grade classroom. They need stronger support from pastors, parents, boards, and conference personnel.
Those teachers who are most satisfied with their multi-grade assignments indicate higher levels of use and expertise in instructional practices effective for multi-grade teaching and are more likely to group grade levels for instruction.
Combination of grades, Seventh-day Adventist elementary schools
Anderson, Judith Leist, "Instructional Practices and Attitudes of Teachers in One- and Two-Room Schools in the Seventh-day Adventist School System in North America" (1996). Dissertations. 189.
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