Innovative Practices

“Ensuring autonomous Learner in Multi-Grade Multi -Level context’’
Finding solutions to Reach Out–of-school-children  through a Multi-Grade Multi-Level curriculum way
DIET Jorhat ,  ASSAM with support from SCERT and SmSA Assam

Why  was it  decided that the special training material (package) would be revised/designed based on MGML teaching and learning practice?
MGML package has been developed to orient the students as autonomous learner. The last 7 years experience in practicing MGML methodology over 450 schools has convinced us that students undergoing learning in different multifaceted situations can adequately be supported through this methodology. Particularly the localities which are predominantly weighed down by poverty, illiteracy and low life expectation appear as a stumbling block in our effort to improve quality learning. MGML methodology offers encouraging support to the students of such localities with huge dropout rates. Even learners (long period absentees) can also resume studies without humiliation at any point of time. When situations faced in the ambitious Special Training Centers run by SmSA have been scanned  it appeared that MGML methodology with its flexible and goal oriented framework might provide opportunities to the learners in Special Training Centres. When the learning materials developed by SmSA Assam were reviewed to identify strength and weakness, it was surfaced that the books were having lot of potential and could be made more effective  by contextualizing MGML package to enhance learning in Special Training Centres. In order to be more effective the package must cater to the individual differences of the learners. MGML package includes various instructional tools- book/card material, ladder of learning, children progress chart, flexible sitting arrangement(without desk-bench) flexible time table, learning resource zone(learning corner),community centre, and performance portfolio , learners’ Government etc.
The entire effort of developing this package is to make it cost effective and sustainable and portable (online/offline).It has been developed to make students and teachers more accountable and to groom interdependence skills. The success of this package is embedded to action research by practicing teachers to modify existing information and practices. The Package has provided golden opportunity to test the efficacy of a skill based learning programme when literacy and numeracy emerge as a byproduct. This has provided opportunity to do away with mandatory order of fixed learning activities arranged in the Ladder of learning as the learners can choose activities as per their own style of learning. What is more important, the learners develop democratic mindset with ample concerns to love his or her peers, love the schools and its teachers and love the country and its heritage.


Why was this seen as important?
The package increases accountability among the partners in a mutually interdependent way. The ladder itself is a planning and execution tool for students, teachers and the parents.
Considering the challenges that special training centre confronts like- age wise, grade wise, level wise, culture wise variations of learners, the MGML package might prove adequately effective in Special Training Centre setting.
Children in these centres have already developed many life skill elements such as- negotiating problem, developing mastery in their area of interest, learning from different sources, adjustment in unfamiliar situation etc ,they need basically support in four areas- appreciation, recognition, support and guidance( to be appreciated, to be recognized, to be supported, to be lead) .The package provides ample scope for the dictum - Learning to learn and learning to teach.
The learning ladder has been prepared to incorporate different types of activities that can suit children’ own learning style. The package has been aimed in to help children acquire skills not memorize contents.( several activities for one position in the ladder.
 For lower grades the package can take up book form instead of cards. In the Book form all the cards are pinned up along with Ladder of learning, Progress chart and other components in a handy form. This is effective in a comparatively bigger class size situation and where the classrooms are narrow and partitioned.
Benefits of skill based learning package
It facilitates integration of different subject matters. Children learn different contents effortlessly and naturally. The learners get opportunity to use their acquired knowledge. The process of assimilation and accommodation is strengthened. The learner can easily move to a big idea and can appreciate the linkage with topic discussed. As acquiring of skill is a matter of practice, completion of one activity is not important, and each activity provides benefits of mistake and this leads to acquiring of targeted skills. The Teachers and the learners can always develop better activity in case the practiced activities are not suitable. Moving from lower order to higher order skills (cognitive, affective and psychomotor) is possible. Guiding Principles of NCF 2005 can be followed naturally.

How will this be taken forward?
It can reshape the present model of Open schools. The package can be handled in a Bag and can be taken to a place of choice. It can lead to development of traditional Ashram Centres with modern attributes. It can be a counseling centre for adolescent learners who are already the victim of insecurity and unfulfilled aspiration. The whole package can be programmed in an ICT frame. The package can be useful to different situation as there are number of variants (different models for unique situations). As each school initially needs adequate support and encouragement to grow as a model centre, small beginning in limited centres are advisable. Once Model centres are ready, it is easy to go for horizontal expansion as seeing is believing.

Methodology followed in the Special training package-
Theme: Big issues/big idea drawn from day to day real life situations
No fixed textbooks
Integration of different subjects
Different types of activities based on Bloom’s taxonomy
Information processing skill
Major thrust in Reading, writing and numeracy

Our Assumptions

  1. If a learner acquires the skill of reading and writing then they are better placed to acquire other pedagogical content knowledge.
  2. Acquiring of skill is dependent on number and time on task activities.
  3. The focus on skills leads to inclusion of different subject areas.
  4. Skill based curriculum creates a natural outlet for learning where anyone can go up according to their pace of learning (learning from mistakes)
  5. Evaluation is basically for teachers to identify learners’ level of engagement in learning.

Components of The Package -
Activity/Learning Card,
Learning ladder
Progress chart,
Flexible sitting arrangement,
Community participation and
Student government.

  1. Activity/Learning Card

Learning cards are a fundamental element of MGML curriculum
It promotes individual and team work
It encourages independent thinking of teachers and promotes ownership
It promotes communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity
It attempts to fulfill the learning objectives enshrined in the national curriculum framework
It supports both class and annual  school planning .

Learning Ladder:
It is the activity transaction plan which is inbuilt in the activity card/learning book. This presents a visual display of transaction which can be operated both by children and teachers and community members. It sets the goal for a particular grade. This ladder provides lot of opportunities for development of learning materials. This ladder for special training centers helps in understanding the overall MGML curriculum. It explains how both content and procedural knowledge is processed.(ladder and card).It also explains how students shift from lower order to higher order cognitive, affective and psychomotor skills. It also helps the teachers to assess how in the long run assimilation of information is shifted to accommodation of information.

Procedural design
This special training centre package is basically build on whole school approach .The Learning cards have been developed on themes that are linked to day to day realities. Naturally the focus is on pedagogical content knowledge where specific skills are identified for practice and acquisition .Thus this skill based approach provides lot of activities across the subject areas and procedural part of knowledge is upper hand in our mind. There is no display of activities in a linear way. Children can take up any activities in the ladder except the introductory activities as per their own choice and pace .However they have to complete the activities included in the ladder as a whole. Lot of practice activities have been included to enable the children to learn from mistakes. The volunteer teachers cannot run this ladder without active personal engagement as they are required to prepare supplementary learning materials for key activities. It ensures their ownership of the package. Each child has been provided the individual and assessment activities in a book form so that they can preserve their own work in their respective file for subsequent interaction with parents and other members of the community. The entire package is divided in two parts-one part is developed  for grade I and grade II, the other part for grade III to grade VIII. The major focus of this procedure is to put children in the driver’s seat by enabling learners to read and write in grade I and II.
The package contains manageable number of card Activities contrary to a voluminous  textbook. This package can be transported to places outside the centre and can be operated in any place.

Base paper on Learning package for Special Training Centre

Our Assumptions:
1. learning in not linear or can be put in a structured format.
2. Natural learning is possible in an environment tuned to cultural set up.
3. Skill based approach ensures inclusion of multiple learning situations. (Skill based learning is not an end in itself but a means to an end)

Our Strategy :
What we propose to do?
Why do we think that Multi Grade Multi Level methodology will serve the purpose?
How will the Multi Grade Multi Level  methodology serve the purpose?
What will be the new  learning package like?

We propose to design and evolve a learning package that will improve learning skills in children and teaching skills for teacher simultaneously by involving the teachers in identifying the suitable instructional strategies as the classes move on. The simple meaning of this seemingly ambiguous proposition is that when a teacher is provided adequate liberty and opportunities in the transactional process they encounter a process of trial and error and if provided a little bit of chances they can modify their teaching strategies. For example - a particular teacher is trying to develop children’s ability to connect information to work on a problem, the teacher can use his or her innovative decision to select the suitable activities. If we do not allow the teacher to do it for themselves the teacher might resolve to mechanical adoptions of selected activities as provided by the expert group or the material provided to them. The most important focus here is enabling the teachers’ to develop teachers teaching ability related to a particular learning ability. So this learning package will only provide some suggestive learning situations along with some classroom instructional strategies. The practising teacher will have to modify and complete the apparently unfinished/semi finished learning package. The list of required learning skills will be provided to the teachers and also the list of required teaching skills will be presented for open discussion . Original MGML strategic teaching plan will be modified in such a way that the teacher will have to design activities as and when required as per their own requirement and scale up the learning ladder. In this process the children will also corporate with the teachers to modify the ladder. It is hoped that through this exercise they will develop ownership of the entire teaching learning package in a natural setting . What is important is that in the monthly planning meet the practicing teachers will get the opportunity to explain why he or she decided to implement new teaching practices. Our task is not to go for remedial teaching for learners but for cooperative modification of teaching abilities of teachers. Another frame of action is - this practising teacher will adopt his or her own action research .We propose to depend on the skills (both learning and teaching).This learning package will ensure sufficient waiting time for teachers to master a particular teaching skill.
This package will also ensure a smooth transition from whole class transaction to learners’ group transition then to individualized or personalized learning. There will be a structure in the whole process but this structure will be completed only with the participation from teachers and children Multi Grade Multi Level methodology with an inbuilt structure of providing a process of learning challenges several existing popular practises. MGML  methodology provides learner is the centre stage.

MGML process seeks for alternative arrangement-
1. in sitting arrangement
2. in classroom routine,
3. in assessment/ promotion system and above all
4. in the nature of learning by encouraging co-operative learning .

This is possible because activities are designed in such of a way that it brings a link between content and practice. MGML transaction plan is intelligible to children and parents also. Each child is provided to move up as per his/her own ability. This independent learning is possible because 80% of the total activities have been designed in such a way that children can attempt without teacher involvement.
The MGML methodology has provided scope for children who attend the school in their late age. As the activities are sequential from simple to complex and more emphasis on developing skills.
One activity does not appear as a problem but as a solution . It is equally suitable for children who dropout and join class after long absence. The children can carry on with the activities where they have last left. This is possible as there is frequent repetition of similar activities in the package which new children can pick up comfortably.
In the existing MGML package that we developed last 10 years, the text book was followed to a great extent. The lesson based transactional plan was introduced so that the teachers are not confused whether they are following the textbook or a different package. It was really a hard time for the designer of this MGML package to integrate the important skills . But in this new package for special training centres there is no need to follow the textual design because in special centres the students are not clubbed on the basis of classes therefore anyone irrespective of any age join the centres to acquire basic learning skills only. Now our task is not complex. We know the common learning skills that a child need to acquire during this multi-age(NCF-2005) . So we can adopt a theme based approach where the theme will help us integrate different subject and also the learning skills. Our activity will be designed to facilitate ample scope for practising the skills in a multi situational setup.
It is also hoped that this will also develop content knowledge of students in a relatively short period.
This theme based approach will be operated in the MGML methodology by sticking to three steps (3  symbols)

  1.  Introduction (whole class)
  2.  Practice (learners group)
  3.  Evaluations (individualized)

So far  Nature of learning is concerned we will stick to broadly four steps(four symbols): Teacher, peer support, partially teacher/peer support and  individual learning.
The assessment will be continuous as the students will track their self progress in the progress chart and for the initial 2/3 months the teachers will assess the skills with the help of rubric and it is expected in the long run the students will develop the rubric themselves and assess their skills.For designing activities and also for implementation of activities Blooms Taxonomy will be followed.


  • Sustaining steady horizontal expansion of the MGML model in Jorhat and other districts of the State.

    DIET Titabar, in collaboration with UNICEF, is implementing Multi Grade Multi Level ( MGML) teaching learning approach in --- schools in Jorhat district. The project has entered 6th year and has been running with vigor. Within these 6 years, the project has made its presence felt in the important discussions held at various levels. The Chief Minister of Assam has taken pleasure to introduce the MGML APPROACH in other districts also. SSA.Assam hasalso confirmed its support to the programmeand DIET Titabar has been recognized as a resource agency for providing support fororientation of key resource persons of the districts where MGML has been introduced by SSA, Assam, visit of Head teachers to MGML schools at Titabor for firsthand exposure, initial support to schools by the Resource group members of DIET ,training of young teachers who have joined the profession recently.

  • Taking up the challenges that the intervention has helped to figure out for further development

    It has been observed that grooming of Pre-Primary children play a crucial role in the successful implementation of MGML methodology in the Primary level of education. Three years that the children pass in the Pre primary stage are too valuable for a child who can attain sufficient grasp in oral literacy and are familiar with sign literacy. In fact this period can be dispensed for familiarity with multiple languages including English. This requires systematic study of the opportunities available. DIET as an institution for innovation may take the lead to ascertain the degree of preparedness for early grade learners. DIET Jorhat has initiated a research based programme for the early graders in the year 2015 and it has paved for experimenting emerging assumptions.

  • Teacher preparedness at DIET Jorhat for grooming schools for carrying forward reform initiatives introduced at school level

    It has been observed that the teachers need intensive training at the pre-service stage to be able to provide strong leadership to fight against the odds that tend to deft any changes to existing system. This requires overhauling of present teacher training modalities specially the assessment part when a would be teacher need to prove how best she can handle professional challenges. At present, in spite of the introduction of suitable strategies suggested in the curriculum, the ground reality is still the same----- as teacher education is still detached from school reality. DIET Jorhat has undertaken some pioneering tasks to follow a skill based schema for its teacher trainees and feels that based on this platform the strategy can further be strengthened. DIET Jorhat can join hands with other DIETs to review and evaluate the reform measures and prepare common agenda for implementing changes. The innovative practices being undertaken in MGML schools have provided opportunities for the Teacher Trainees of the D.El.Ed Course to complete their course assignments in different papers as they are now able to visualize the match between content and pedagogy in the MGML schools. It is worthwhile to note that MGML methodology has been specifically included in the Teacher Training Curriculum.

  • Important break through during the year 2015:

    SSA,Jorhat and the District Administration have recognized the contribution that the MGML schools at Titabor has made towards quality improvement and teacher empowerment specially in schools with multiple disadvantages. The Chief Minister of Assam visited MGML schools (Bakhor Bora LP )to get the first hand experience about the functioning of these New schools.
    During the Month of August,2015, the Chief Minister declared the ambitious programme under the guidance of Columbia Global Centres /South Asia (Mumbai) —the school as a way of life----- 50 Model schools in 3 Districts in the State where DIET Jorhat was entrusted to look after the academic inputs based on MGML approach. Dr. NirupamBajpai ,Director CGC had visited DIET on 5th August,2015 and also Visited MGML schools .

    Printing of learning cards for 100 schools by UNICEF which were distributed

    Basic programmes identified for the year 2016:

    1. Training of Grassroots level SSA personnel (CRCCs and newly recruited SIs) to facilitate expansion of MGML schools in Jorhat districts.
    2. School based support by Project facilitators both in Jorhat and other districts of the State.
    3. Conduct of studies on the functioning of Learning Hub- a centre for Early graders.
    4. Organization of Seminars to discuss the emerging issues related to MGML approach.
    5. Development of study materials (Training Modules on MGML, study material on MGML for Dl, El,Ed trainees as per Teacher training Curriculum.
    6. Visit of community people of other Districts where MGML is introduced to Model schools developed in Titabor Block.

  • Outcomes expected from the proposed programmes:-

    1. All the CRCCs/SIs of Jorhat District will be oriented to sustain MGML schools with existing resources. 20 CRCCs of Morigaon, Goalpara and Bongaigaon district will get orientation to promote MGML approach in their respective Clusters.
    2. 50 newly developed MGML schools in Jorhat and Majuli Block will receive continuous support by the Coordinator, MGML, Project facilitators and trained CRCCs.
    3. The findings that the Researchers take up as a result of close monitoring of the Learning Hub,will be documented and a Report will be published.
    4. All the teacher trainees of the Institute will be exposed to MGML approach and one set of training booklet and two study materials on MGML as a whole will be developed and published.
    5. Parents, SMC members, Members of Anchalik and village panchayat will get first hand experience of the basic nature of MGML and the emerging role of community leaders.

About DIET

Founded in year 1989, DIET JORHAT is located at Jorhat, Assam. It is an Institute affiliated to Dibrugarh University approved by National Council Of Teacher Education, India. The Institute offers Diploma courses and Bachelor Degree in various disciplines like Education. It offers Courses like D.El.Ed. , B.Ed., ODL.