What are teachers’ perspectives of teaching and learning in a multigrade setting in county Donegal?
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The objectives of the research were: 1. To identify, analyse and discuss teachers’ perspectives of teaching in multigrade setting in Co. Donegal. 2. To identify, discuss and analyse teachers’ perspectives of students’ learning in multigrade settings in Co. Donegal. 3. To contribute to previous existing knowledge and research on multigrade teaching and learning by disseminating findings of the research This research aimed to gather teachers’ perspectives of teaching and learning in a multigrade setting in this county. Teachers discussed multigrade teaching in terms of teaching up to four classes within one classroom setting and also pupils’ learning and how learning in a multigrade setting can impact their learning outcomes. Within this research, four semistructured interviews with four multigrade teachers from different corners of the county are included. This qualitative data was then be analysed thematically to present the findings from the research interviews. The research concluded that although multigrade teachers feel there is a copious amount of workload in their setting, especially in terms of paperwork planning and preparation and also there are gaps in the training and continuous professional development of teachers specifically for multigrade classes. Also, it was concluded that the multigrade setting allows for strategies such as group and peer learning to have a beneficial impact on pupils’ overall learning. Future policy and practice amendments are suggested such as revisions to teacher training programmes and provisions for specified and collaborative continuous professional development. Finally, opportunities for future research in the area of multigrade teaching and learning are provided. This study has provided a viewpoint unique to Donegal whereby only the perspectives of multigrade teachers working in Donegal were used.
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