Teachers Respond to Unique Challenges of Combined Grades

TORONTO, Feb. 9 /CNW/ - Teaching, planning, and managing in a combined grades classroom can offer daunting challenges for both new and experienced teachers. The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has responded with a new resource that outlines the successful strategies, ideas, and expertise that have been field-tested by ETFO's combined grade classroom teachers.

The resource, Learning Together - A Teacher's Guide to Combined Grades, was written collaboratively by public elementary school teachers, all ETFO members. It is available through shopETFO on the ETFO website (www.etfo.ca).

A recent ETFO survey indicates that approximately 36 percent of public elementary school teachers, about 20,000, teach a combined grade, while 6 percent teach a triple combined grade.

"The simple reality of a combined grade is that teachers must find some way of teaching one half of the class while managing the learning for the other half. Sometimes there are three or even four grades to be juggled," explains Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario president Sam Hammond.

"Combining subjects is not possible due to content-specific curriculum, so the highly specialized strategies for a combined grade classroom that are detailed in this new resource have become essential."

ETFO believes that the combined grade setting is not an optimum learning setting for many students and recognizes that it imposes increased workload on teachers. The federation has long advocated for as few combined grade classrooms as possible and more teacher input and control over decisions related to the teaching of combined grades.

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 73,000 elementary public school teachers and education workers across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.

SOURCE Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

For further information: For further information: Sam Hammond, President, ETFO, (416) 962-3836 (Office); Larry Skory, ETFO Communications, (416) 962-3836 (Office), (416) 948-0195 (Cell)

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Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

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