Sunday, December 3, 2017

Education for improving knowledge and skills

Education plays a significant role in social and economic development of the people in a society. It is an end in itself not just a means to an end. Capacities among individuals are developed through education. Many doors of opportunities of access to income growth and employment are opened by education. Education improves particularly in females the ability to manage basic child care, taking care of diets and ensure effective diagnosis of diseases.  
Education develops an individual’s intellect, improves his/her quality of life and skills and efficiencies in producing useful things. At the same time education contributes to provide satisfactions to the educated themselves, their friends and their neighbours and in producing materials in large quantity and of better quality.
Education significantly improves methods of increasing products such as use of appropriate amount of fertilizers, seeds and machines and the selection of crops. The selection of appropriate amount of seeds and fertilizers for a certain space requires knowledge of computation, abilities to identify fine seeds and knowledge of how to use them. For example in northern areas of Pakistan, agriculturists through non-governmental organisations provide seeds, small plants and germicides to the people who are concerned with agriculture. This increases their productions from crops and plants and prevents them from diseases. This way production in agriculture side has increased to a quite great extent.   
In short, education contributes to economic growth through improving knowledge and specific skills and developing productive attitudes among the individuals for a variety of job opportunities. It contributes to economic growth of society by improving health, reducing birth rate and by political stability.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Relative Importance of knowledge and schooling

Rate of population growth may be brought down through education because of strong link between knowledge of fertility and literacy provided by the school. The knowledge to regulate fertility through different ways increases with increase in school years. Education develops abilities among female to do better jobs which also reduces birth rates. A large number of school years for acquisition of knowledge delays the age of marriage because of required time and self confidence of females to get better opportunities for good jobs. This way pressure on education system in future declines. With the declining or slow growth of school age population, a society can spend more on schooling to provide quality education (Haq and Haq, 1998).  
According to Hargreaves (as cited in Willinsky, 2005), it is important that schooling of individuals incorporate such knowledge which supports the beneficiary of education for both individual and society. For example if an individual leaves educational process after matriculation or intermediate education, he/she should have enough knowledge and skills to earn for him/her and contribute in the development of the society. 
Schools provide knowledge, skills and values to enhance the abilities and competencies of individuals by creating systems, teams, and cultures. This maximizes the opportunities for mutual, spontaneous learning striving to form learning systems, learning organizations, and professional learning communities (Willinsky, 2005).

To be effective workers in their different fields, individuals receive necessary knowledge and skills through liberal education in their schooling. The knowledge and skills equip individuals with the abilities to be good citizens, able to understand, live and operate in different socio-political cultures, adapting to an increasingly integrated world. The students are imparted with knowledge and skills in their schooling process to create students who think continuously, and think critically (Xhafferi & Iqbal, 2009).

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Curriculum Implementation Process

Curriculum implementation is such a process which involves the change of current condition by accepting and utilizing a newly created curriculum or a part of it. It is a process of putting a newly developed curriculum into practice. If it is accepted and utilized successfully, it is said to be institutionalized curriculum (Print, 1993, p. 217).
Curriculum implementation is about putting change in content into practice and the process by which change comes out. The content includes knowledge, skills, concepts, ideas and values while process of change includes the strategies and techniques through which new content will be provided to the learners in classroom. One of the important aspects of curriculum implementation is need of change and developing beliefs, perceptions, and practices by teachers relevant to the change (Lavot & Smith, 2003).
Role of the teacher in implementation process                 
The teacher controls what is actually going to be implemented in classroom. Creation of conditions to promote actual implementation, the teachers need to put their autonomy aside to develop a sense of cooperatively work for effective instruction. The teacher takes time to understand the importance of adopting a new program attending in-service training and implementing a particular program (Fullan & Park, n.d, pp. 56-57).
The teacher assists other change agents such as parents, board members and community workers in form of informal groups and problem solving in developing support groups from the society to implement a new program. He/she works out the meaning of implementation in practice. The teacher is a professional person who learns about the implementation process from other fellow teachers and external resource person (pp. 29-30). Effective implementation requires some ongoing, systematic, face to face small scale interaction among the teachers and between the teachers and others (Fullan & Park, n.d, and p.23).
Role of the principal in implementation
The principal is a facilitator of implementing curriculum guidelines. The principal is a gate keeper of change. The principal provides effective assistance in implementation process. This assistance involves planning for implementation at school level to manage resources and address those factors associated with the change. He/she is a critical person for better or worse, when implementation comes to school planning. The key role of principal is mediator between curriculum document and teachers (Fullan & Park, n.d, p. 30).
The principal monitors access, resources and decision making. He/she may empower teachers and provides opportunities for teacher participation in problem solving, especially in activities related to instruction. The Principal needs to spend more time interacting with teachers concerning clarifications of instruction and to develop collaborative work relationships.
Stages of implementation
Fullan (n.d) has given three stages or phases of process of implementation, initiation, implementation and revision or institutionalization.
Initiation phase
This phase is concerned about planning for implementation by a large or small scale change in curriculum guidelines. Sometimes it involves a need assessment, getting a policy direction established, mobilizing resources, having in-service works and so on. This is the starting point of implementation.
Implementation phase
At this stage plans for implementation are put into practice by the teachers by modifying the methodologies, materials and beliefs about provided guidelines. The principals are gatekeepers for successful implementation. They can facilitate teachers to successfully implement the guidelines. It may be on a large or partial scale, but it is the doing part.
Revision/institutionalization phase
This stage relates to the evaluation of the programme that what happened over a period of time. If the implementation was done successfully the curriculum guidelines are revised and institutionalize it.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Training Course on Teaching Methodologies

The following sections of this paper report the three days training course on teaching methodologies for the teachers of a private secondary school in northern region of Pakistan. This report comprises the rational, objectives, process of the training course, achievements, challenges and recommendations. The training course started on July 31 and ended on August 02, 2017 comprising 5 hours per day. Total 20 course participants attended the training who were mostly having masters degrees in different disciplines and two consultant trainers who along with professional rich experiences earned their M. Ed degrees from IED and NDIE conducted the training course.
Looking at the demands of rapidly changing society, after the developments in education in twenty first century, the up to date knowledge and cutting edge teaching skills have become need of the teachers. Thus the teachers in PSS were also needed the pedagogical support and this training course responded that call.
The objectives of the training course were:
Providing teachers with an opportunity to take part and harness their knowledge and understanding about teaching and learning,
Providing an opportunity to share experiences and learn from them
Developing their skills on teaching methodologies and prepare them for implementing new learning in their contexts
In order to achieve the above mentioned objectives, the training course was processed mentioned as under:
DAY 1: Introduction, Emerging roles of the teachers, Assessment, cooperative learning
The training course was started with a brief and simple opening ceremony which started with the recitation of some verses from the Holy Quran. Then the Consultant Trainers (CTs) introduced themselves and asked the CPs to introduce them through sharing their names, qualification and institutions. After the introduction training norms were set by CTs and CPs and expectations were shared bilaterally.
The next activity involved eliciting of prior knowledge of the CPs about assessment. After that the CTs delivered an oral presentation on what, why and how to assess students’ learning. Then the presentation group work was assigned to CPs to develop a test involving objective and short subjective type test in their subject areas. Previously developed question papers were given to the CPs to review. Then each group presented their group work and other participants asked questions to critique on the developed test papers. At the end of each presentation CFs provided feedback on the basis of delivered presentations.
Cooperative learning approach came under discussion. Through asking questions, CPs prior understanding was found on which new learning could have been constructed.  Then the CT explained the importance and procedure of cooperative learning with the help of examples. CPs were assigned with pair task to share with each other about the procedure of the cooperative learning and assigning tasks in groups.
Another theme for the day was emerging roles of the teachers. Reading materials were distributed among the CPs to read in groups and share their understanding. On sharing of understanding by each group, CT provided feedback and explained ten standards of teachers in Pakistan. A reading task was assigned to CPs as home task and instructed them to present next day.
Then the sessions of the day were winded up through oral reflections of CPs and feedback given by CFs. Task was assigned to be prepared to share reflections on the sessions next day.
 Day 2: Jigsaw strategy of cooperative learning, Teaching methods and techniques, Home work,
The sessions of the second day were started with three to four reflections on previous day’s sessions by the CPs and feedback was provided on the basis of reflections. Reflections of the CPs revealed that their existing beliefs about teaching and learning are changing and they assured to bring about changes in their practices in classrooms.
After reflections, Jigsaw a strategy of cooperative learning during which a lengthy topic in a short time can be addressed effectively was brought into discussion. First of all, the steps of jigsaw were explained. CPs asked questions wherever they needed. Then through forming groups of CPs, practically jigsaw was demonstrated. Content was taken from a social studies of 8th grade which was related to education system in Pakistan. CPs worked in home groups and expert groups followed by presentations. While providing feedback to CPs, with the help graphic presentation, CPs learning was reinforced by clarifying their misconceptions.
Another them of the day was teaching methods and techniques for which a brain storming activity was conducted about modes of teaching, methods/approaches of teaching. With the help of discussion, the modes of teaching such as transmission, transaction, and transformation were covered. Inductive/deductive methods were touched and teaching techniques were addressed in detail through hands on activities. Some hands on teaching techniques such as scramble, word formation, vocabulary tree, magic box, enlist the terms and rub to ask, hide and guess, and so on were explained. The CPs asserted that such techniques are productive and easily applicable in their classroom teaching.
Speed reading in English and Urdu languages was practically demonstrated by the CTs and it as declared that for improving reading fluency the technique of speed reading needs to be introduced in classrooms. Home work was a short theme for the day which was covered through identifying positive and negative impacts of homework on students’ personalities. Some real examples of positive and negative impacts from the classrooms were shared by the CTs and CPs. Productive, challenging and short home work was suggested to be assigned which could not be cheated by the students and they would do on regular basis. Then the sessions for the whole day were recapitulated and summed up the sessions.
Day 3: Classroom Management and Organization, Collaborative working environment, Multiple Intelligence
The session was started as usual and reflections were shared following feedback from the CFs.  The reflections of CPs revealed that have got command over regarding the addressed themes. Then according to the plan, in order to dig out prior learning of CPs about the classroom management and organization, they were assigned a group task to bring their understanding about the topic into the drawing sheets. In groups they discussed their previous knowledge about classroom management and prepared graphical presentations. After sharing their graphical presentations with the whole class, CTs gave the input on classroom management in detail. Four dimensions of classroom management and organization were addressed through the example and experience from classrooms.
With the help of a multimedia, one of the CTs delivered a detailed presentation on collaborative work environment and discussed the ways people work in teams. Requirements for team work, collegiality and other procedures of team work were shared involving the CPs by asking questions from time to time.
The CTs generated a discussion and elicited responses from the CPs on Multiple Intelligences. After that CTs delivered a presentation about nine multiple intelligences. CPs asked questions and shared examples during the presentation.
As it was the last day of the training course and therefore CPs were given Training Evaluation Tools (TET) to fill. A closing ceremony was held where the CPs and CTs shared their reflections on trainings and the application of learning in classrooms was emphasized to get the maximum benefits of the training. The Principal of PSS shared his ideas and discussed the importance of training for professional development of teachers. The Chairman of the governing body of PSS shared his ideas about the efforts governing body for development of the school. He shared the plans for the future of the PSS and asked the teachers to support the principal and governing body in achieving the goals of the organization. With a vote of thanks the closing ceremony was ended.  
Some of the major achievements during the training course are mentioned below:
A group of twenty teachers were equipped with the professional knowledge and skills.
CTs successfully implemented the plan in the form of manual.
The CPs reflected analytically on the session on daily basis.
The CTs tried to create conducive learning environment where the CPs raised critical questions and showed agreements/disagreement with the CTs based on reasoning and justifications.
  • The hot weather along with the short fall of electricity was a big challenge for the smooth conduction of this training course
  • Three days duration for the training was short as the themes were important to be smoothly addressed
  • Skewed level of understanding among the CPs as there were some high qualified teachers while some had no strong background of secular education.

  • In the training evaluation tools, most of the CPs recommended that the duration of training courses should be extended
  • Refresher courses on the basis of application of learning during training need to be arranged
  • Follow up mechanism need to be developed after training so that the impact of training could be observed in real classrooms

Monday, August 14, 2017

Curriculum in realism

Beliefs in realism include the regularities of material environment are the chief source of all human experiences as well as in order to reach the level of real knowledge one must analyse and experience down to the level of sensations and if this is done there will be no difference of opinions among the individuals. Aims of the education according to realism are to give the pupil a complete knowledge and understanding of human society, human nature, motives, and institutions. Subject matter consists of modern languages because they enable individuals to read, write and conduct all types of social interactions. Branches of natural sciences are suggested to be offered in realism to give the pupil requisite skills and knowledge to apply in real situations. Regarding teaching methods, Synthetic method of teaching is applied in classroom. The teacher begins with parts and tries to show the whole under given conditions.  The teacher’ role in realism is dual as recognizing the demands of the students as well as every aspect of the teaching should be dominated by reality. The teacher is a helper of the students in discovery of realities. The role of learners according to realism is of a discoverer under the facilitation of the teacher. Their needs are given great importance in realism. Epistemology in realism is the knowledge discovered from the material things through inquiry and it is applicable in real situations. Ontology is about the nature of material things, their structure and changes in them due to environment. Axiology revolves around caring the environment and valuing the experiences in real situations.