IMPLEMENTING PEDAGOGICAL APPROACHES IDENTIFIED IN NATIONAL CURRICULUM FRAMEWORK IN DESIGNING LESSONS
The purpose of this paper is to get an insight of the effective pedagogies in Maldives. This paper entails three different parts. Firstly, the pedagogical approaches used in the lesson plan (by myself and my peer) are identified. Secondly, the pedagogical approaches used in other countries are compared to that in Maldives. Finally, challenges faced in Maldives to conduct engaged pedagogies are discussed with their possible solutions.
ANALYSIS OF MY OWN LESSON PLAN
The aim of every teacher would be to improve the skills, attitudes, and knowledge of their students. Every lesson is planned to make them more capable and independent. The pedagogies used by the teacher plays a significant role in achieving these. Looking at the pedagogies used in my own ideal lesson, several approaches are related to engagement in learning. At the start of the lesson, a simple activity of think-pair-share was used to encourage discussion and thinking of the students. It enhances engagement since the students discuss their ideas with peers and the whole class (Sampsel, 2013).
Another pedagogical approach used is cooperative learning. A group work is assigned after grouping mixed ability students. The students communicate, discuss, share, explain and help each other students in the group to finish the task in the given time. Cooperative learning improves the engagement of students in the learning process (Herrmann, 2013; Reszel, 2016). A study conducted by Drakeford (2012), cooperative learning improves the participation of students at risk of societal failure. Furthermore, cooperative learning creates a positive learning environment (Herrmann, 2013), encourages reflection and cater the individual differences among the students. Students feel safe in the positive learning environment.
Additional pedagogy used self-assessment of the students. A sheet to assess their own self is provided and filled at the end of the class. This pedagogy engages the learning of the students since it identifies the areas where students have to concentrate more. According to Martin-Kniep (2000), self-assessment “increase the efficiency of student learning by enabling students to be strategic learners”, (para.4). Efficiency is improved by identifying the deficiency areas and improving those. Moreover, when students self-evaluate and reflect on their own learning, the performance of them is improved with their motivation in the class (McMillan & Hearn, 2008). This pedagogical approach fosters reflective practice of the students.
Further pedagogical approaches used in the lesson include relating the concept to the life of students, creating a positive learning environment and sharing learning intentions and success criteria. The concept of the compound perimeter was related to the life of students (asking to find the perimeter of their room including the toilet). This approach makes learning meaningful and it links the prior learning to the new learning (National Institute of Education, 2014). In addition to this pedagogy, pedagogies enhancing positive learning environment was used in the lesson. Those include motivating the students, encouraging to participate all students (team work), praising and conveying the expectations. The expectations let the students guide their learning and identify what they are expected.
ANALYSIS OF THE LESSON PLAN MADE BY PEER
There are several pedagogies which are effective in improving learning of the pupils. It helps to create a safe learning environment in the class. In the search for the pedagogies used by a peer, a lesson plan created by him (Ibrahim Athif, 9104) was analyzed. It was found that the peer applied several simple pedagogies which increase engagement of the students.
Cooperative learning was used by the peer as a main pedagogical approach in the lesson. The group work conducted in the lesson identifies that cooperative learning was meant to be effective in the class. Cooperative learning strategies are effective in engaging the students in the learning process (Herrmann, 2013; Reszel, 2016). Students discuss, clarify, motivate each other, share and help in cooperative learning. These features let the learners feel safe in the class thus creating a positive learning environment. Positive learning environment enhances the participation and engagement of students in their learning process (National Institute of Education, 2014).
Moreover, other pedagogies followed include making explanation simple and a closure activity of Rocket throw. The explanations are simpler as seen in the lesson plan. This helps learners understand the concepts easily and quickly. In addition to this, in the lesson plan, it was identified that the students who finish their work quickly will be provided with other challenging tasks. All the level of learners was catered in the lesson plan. Finally, the rocket throw was the pedagogy used in the end of the lesson to conclude. Students throw rockets in which they have written what they have learned. It identifies whether the learning objectives are met or not. This activity will improve the motivation and engagement of the students. Eventually, they will be keen on activities to be done in next class.
COMPARISION OF THE CURRICULUMS
National Curriculum Framework (NCF) focuses on enhancing the learning of the students with the purpose to make them knowledgeable and capable persons. With this aim, well-planned and effective pedagogies are implemented in the classes. There are numerous pedagogical approaches which help learners understand, recall, demonstrate and evaluate the concepts identified in the NCF. Some of the key pedagogical approaches acknowledged in NCF of Maldives focuses on student-centered learning. Those include problem/project-based learning (PBL), inquiry-based learning, differentiated instructions and self/peer-assessment.
With the increasing of popularity of the learner-centered pedagogies in the world, different countries are ensuring that these effective pedagogies are used in their classes. One of those is Malaysia. The key pedagogical approaches identified in NCF of Maldives is similar to that used in Malaysia. According to Adilah (2014), project-based learning is a popular pedagogy in Malaysia. In addition, when Malaysian Studies and English language is taught through PBL, motivation of the students is boosted (Aiedah & Lee, 2012). In addition to PBL, the learning needs of individual students are met in their classes. They modify the approaches to cater all level of learners. Even though the curriculum places greater importance on PBL, it still focuses on differentiated instructions in Malaysia (Ministry of Education, 2013). So, two key pedagogical approaches in Malaysia is similar to ones mentioned in NCF of Maldives.
New Zealand has been following the effective pedagogies identified in the NCF of Maldives. The curriculum followed in New Zealand focuses on catering every individual student in their learning environment. Different strategies will suite different learners in different situations, hence teachers have to inquire the effective pedagogies (Ministry of Education, 2007). Teachers are left with the opinion to choose pedagogies in New Zealand, but it is encouraged in their curriculum that teachers have to create a positive learning environment, connect the concepts with the life of the students and facilitate cooperative learning (Ministry of Education, 2007; Te Kete Ipurangi, 2013). These are similar to the pedagogical dimensions identified in NCF of Maldives. In Maldives, teachers have to ensure that these pedagogical dimensions are incorporated into their lessons (National Institute of Education, 2014). With the incorporation of those pedagogical dimensions identified in NCF, the motivation of students will be enhanced.
One of the best educational system which has proven success is the Finnish education system. With the reform in the education system in Finland, students learn by topics rather than subjects (Garner, 2015). Students enjoy learning and educational equity is maintained properly. Some of the pedagogies followed in Finland which is similar to those in NFC of Maldives include inquiry-based learning, cooperative learning, problem solving and self-assessments. Finnish curriculum encourages the students to reflect on their own and assess their self for further improvements (Darling-Hammond, 2010; Garner, 2015). In addition to this, Darling-Hammond (2010), identified that inquiry-based learning is mainly focused in Finland. The teacher provides their full potential to the new change brought to the teaching. Teachers’ facilitate the learning of students through inquiry-based learning in Finland (Garner, 2015; Kang & Keinonen, 2016). Other than these Finland uses cooperative learning to make them socially better person (Garner, 2015). The pedagogies identified in NFC of Maldives is similar with some of the pedagogies followed in Finland.
CHALLENGES AND POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS
The purpose of education is to prepare students for life. To accomplish this broad purpose, several stakeholders strive each and every day. Out of those stakeholders, teachers are the most valid and influential stakeholder related to the education. According to Offiong (as cited in Ogar & Opoh, 2015), “teacher is a major hub around which the success of education revolves”. In the context of Maldives, the national curriculum framework guides teachers with pedagogical dimensions which would enhance the learning of the students. Teachers’ are directed with the effective pedagogies to be applied in the class (National Institute of Education, 2014). However, several challenges are faced in implying these engaged pedagogies in the schools of Maldives. Some of those are discussed below.
First and the most relevant challenge is the lack of educational resources like the library, laboratory and computer labs. These and other educational resources would enhance the teachers in developing and conducting the engaged pedagogies in the schools but are limited in the majority of the Maldivian schools especially in the Atolls. Lack of resources is one of the problems perceived by the newly joined after completing their bachelors (Ali, 2013). Furthermore, Aturupane & Shojo (2012) discovered the lack of resources among the schools in Maldives and hence recommended to allow more resources for the policies. These show that Maldivian schools have been lacking resources and with the implementation of new curriculum further resources are needed. Engaged pedagogies are functional with the required educational resources.
The second challenge is a lack of qualified teachers in Maldives and they have low pedagogical content knowledge. Qualified teachers have a much higher pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) than others. This PCK improves engaged pedagogies used in the classroom. The students’ achievement is positively impacted by the pedagogical content knowledge rather than the content knowledge. Furthermore, according to Coe, Aloisi, Higgins, & Major (2014), pedagogical content knowledge is a component of great teaching and those teachers search for ways to engage students. However, in Maldives, there is a lack of qualified teachers. Several primary school teachers are an untrained teacher in Maldives and in all the stages of schooling, there is some percentage of teachers who are untrained (Aturupane & Shojo, 2012; Shiuna & Sodiq, 2013). Some portion of teachers working in Maldives are not qualified hence they lack information regarding the engaged pedagogies. So, this is a challenge in applying engaged pedagogies in Maldives.
Another challenge is time consuming and teachers do not reflect on their lessons. Reflection on every lesson would improve the planning of lesson and motivate students. “Self-reflection offers teachers an opportunity to think about what works and what doesn’t in their classroom”, (Cox, 2017, para.3). It would make teachers more effective day by day. Furthermore, teachers have to model self-reflection as an engaged pedagogy. This would improve the engagement of students. There is a positive correlation between self-reflection and academic performance of the students (Lew & Schmidt, 2011). Even though of its importance, teachers in Maldives are not seen reflecting on their lessons. This is evident since the style of teaching is not change during the semester. Engaged pedagogies involve self-reflection in a purpose to improve. In addition, engaged pedagogies are time consuming. This is the main reason behind the reluctance to implement effective pedagogies in Maldives.
There are possible solutions for the above stated challenges to implementing engaged pedagogies in the Maldives. Firstly, conducting more professional development programs especially to the teachers teaching in islands. The resources in islands are limited and the opportunities to search for new strategies. With more professional development or workshops, those teachers will get a vision of the new methodologies to use in class. One benefit of this solution is it improves pedagogical content knowledge. According to Van Driel & Berry (2012), the pedagogical content knowledge should be a focus of professional development programs. With such a focus, the PCK of teachers will rise and so the learning of students. Other benefits of this solution include sharing among the teachers about their methods and experiences and encouraging self-reflection among the teachers.
Secondly, providing benefits to teachers. Some of those benefits include providing overtime and other allowances. Since the success of education of the students depends more on the teacher (Offiong as cited on Ogar & Opoh, 2015), their needs have to be satisfied. A research conducted by Chamundeswari (2013) showed that teacher of the school with better infrastructure and other benefits are more satisfied in their job. Better facilities and benefits have to be provided to enhance their working and performance. Through those benefits, complain like time consuming can be turned positive. Thus will enhance self-reflection among teachers and will be keen to work over hours in engaged pedagogies.
Finally, providing a chance for the teachers to improve their education level. The professional level of the teachers have to be observed by the supervisors and on suggestions, the chance to improve the level have to be provided. With such chances, with the improvement in the level of education, pedagogical content knowledge and the standards of teaching will be improved. This would enhance teachers to use engaged pedagogies in their classrooms. Thus improves the performance of students.
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