ISSN-2231 0495

English

Tsunami Awareness of High School Students Belonging to Coastal Areas of Kerala

Tsunami Awareness of High School Students Belonging to Coastal Areas of Kerala

Dr. P.D. Subhash
Assistant Professor
PMD, NCERT
Dr. Usha Parvathy
Associate Professor
Avila College of Education
Edacochi, Cochin, Kerala
Sulekha Ram
Research Scholar
Jammia Miallia Islamia University
New Delhi

 

Abstract

Indian Ocean earthquake which occurred on Sunday, 26 December 2004, with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia caused a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing over 230,000 people from fourteen countries.  India was the third country severely tattered after Indonesia and Srilanka. In India, the States ruthlessly affected by tsunami are Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Andaman and Nicobar Island. The Tidal upsurge had affected around 250 kilometres of the Kerala coastline and entered between one or two kilometres inland. The coastal area of Kerala covers 571 km from Parasala to Manjeswar. A good number of schools are situated in the disaster prone areas especially tsunami prone areas.  The people were not much aware of preparedness, mitigation and response strategies. This increased the causality in the coastal districts of Kerala. The death toll in natural disasters like this can be reduced to some extent by giving proper awareness about causes of tsunami, nature of tsunami waves, the precautionary measures to be taken. This paper analyses the tsunami awareness of high school students from the coastal areas of Kerala. The sample included 100 high school students from the coastal areas of Kerala.  Tsunami awareness test prepared by the authors was used to collect the data required for the study. Focus group discussions were also conducted with teachers and local people. The results of the study show that the students have good awareness regarding the causes of tsunami and comparatively less awareness about the nature of tsunami and precautionary measure.

Introduction

The coastal areas in all parts of the world are under threat of inundation from the rising seas. Global warming has resulted in an alarming increase in the water level. Apart from it, other natural calamities like earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, meteoric impacts, etc can create huge tidal waves or tsunamis. Even though students have come across the term ‘tsunami’ in their geography classes, the devastating effects of tsunami was unknown to us.

Wegscheider, Muck, Zosseder, Kiefl & Strunz (2012) pointed out the catastrophic consequences of the tsunami attack when it happens unexpectedly and the lack of awareness among the people. The 26 December 2004 tsunami was instrumental to begin of efforts to design and implement a tsunami early warning system and also bring to notice the necessity to strengthen community based disaster management strategies, especially awareness and preparedness strategies. Human immediate response capability is another area which needs more attention. It comprises the reception, processing and decision to take proactive action when we get tsunami warning (Mileti, 1995; Drabek, 1999; Sorensen, 1993, 2000; Sorensen et al., 2004; Lindell and Perry, 1992).

Davis (2006) reveals that many coastal residents are unaware of the threat of tsunami and unprepared to respond to a tsunami warning. Studies conducted by Kurita, (Asian Disaster Reduction Center, Kobe, Japan),  Nakamura, (Asian Disaster Reduction Center, Kobe, Japan), Kodama, (Asian Disaster Reduction Center, Kobe, Japan),  Colombage, (Kobe University, Kobe, Japan) ( 2005) indicates that most of the residents lacked tsunami knowledge prior to the 2004 tsunami attack. The studies show that the main source of information during the disaster was direct information from family and neighbours and school education is important for raising awareness of disaster reduction. An early warning system is a key requirement for reducing damage in the future. The school surveys reveal that; about 30 percent of school children do not yet understand what causes a tsunami; 90 percent of school children have a keen interest in studying natural disasters and a comprehensive disaster education has not been provided. The studies also reveal that audio-visual means are thought to be the most effective tool for disaster education. The survey of officials shows that seminars and drills on natural disaster have not been conducted among general officials other than the military and police and measures need to be developed to safeguard the interests of tourists and local people. The officials who conducted the studies also opined that TV and radio broadcasts are effective tools for disseminating disaster warnings to residents.

If the people living in the coastal areas had a better understanding of the nature of tsunamis and the precautionary measures to be taken, casualties could have been reduced in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Only few studies are conducted in India to check the awareness of the people living in the coastal areas regarding Tsunami. The present study was conducted to check the awareness among high school students from the coastal areas of Kerala regarding the causes and nature of tsunami waves and precautionary measures to be taken. The coastal population of Kerala was badly affected by the 2004 tsunami because they had insufficient awareness of its impact on their life and property.

Objectives of the Study

  • To find out the awareness of high school students from coastal areas of Kerala regarding   Tsunami
  • To find out the awareness of high school students from coastal areas of Kerala regarding the causes of Tsunami
  • To find out the awareness of high school students from coastal areas of Kerala regarding the nature of Tsunami
  • To find out the awareness of high school students from coastal areas of Kerala regarding the precautionary measures to be taken during Tsunami

Hypotheses of the Study

  • There is significant difference in the total scores regarding Tsunami awareness among of high school students from coastal areas of Kerala on the basis of gender.
  • There is significant difference in the scores regarding the causes, nature and precautionary measures to be taken during Tsunami among of high school students from coastal areas of Kerala on the basis of gender.

Methodology

The researchers adopted survey method for the study. A sample of 100 high school students which include 47 male students and 53 female students from the coastal areas of Kerala were selected randomly as the sample of the study. The students were from standard IX from the State Schools of Kerala state, India.

Research Tool

The tool used for the study was an Awareness Test prepared by the investigators. The tool was carefully prepared after collecting proper information regarding the cause and nature of tsunami waves. The test included 40 items of which the first 10 questions were related to the cause of tsunami waves; 18 questions were about the nature of tsunami waves and the last 12 questions were about the precautionary measures to be taken. The data required for the tool was collected from Julia et al. (2003) & Alfred (2005). All the questions had 2 choices – Yes or No. One mark was awarded for the correct answer and zero mark for the wrong answer. The results of the analysis of the data are given below. The mean score and the corresponding percentage were found out. The total and section wise mean scores were compared on the basis of gender using t- test and the results are given in the following tables.

Analysis and Interpretations of the Data

The chart given below shows the scores of high school students from coastal areas of Kerala regarding the causes, nature and the precautionary measures to be taken during Tsunami.

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Table No.1: Shows That The Mean Score Of High School Students From Coastal Areas Of Kerala In The Tsunami Awareness Test

ITEMS

MEAN

%

Mean and % of Total correct answers

20.75/40

51.85%

Mean and % of correct answers related to items based on  cause of tsunami

6.67/10

66.66%

Mean and % of correct answers related to items based on  nature of tsunami

7.5/18

41.67%

Mean and % of correct answers related to items based on  precautionary measures

6.58/12

54.83%

 

The table given above (table 1) shows that the Mean score of high school students from coastal areas of Kerala in the Tsunami awareness test is 20.75.The mean scores of the three sections (cause & nature of Tsunami waves and the precautionary measures) are 6.67, 7.5 and 6.58 respectively. The % of students who have marked correct answers in the awareness test (total and three sections) is 51.85, 66.66, 41.67 and 54.83 respectively. The scores regarding the nature of Tsunami waves is the lowest and the scores regarding the precautionary measures is also less. A good awareness about the nature of Tsunami waves is required to know the precautionary measures.

The students have comparatively better score in the section related to the cause of Tsunami waves. Most of the students know that earthquakes can trigger Tsunami, but only very few students know that glaciers, landslides, meteors and underwater explosions can also cause Tsunami. The students have less awareness regarding the nature of Tsunami waves. A proper understanding about the nature, height, etc of the Tsunami waves is necessary to take precautionary measures. In the section related to precautionary measures also the score is less.

Table NO.2: Shows Mean Scores, SD And T Value Of High School Students From Coastal Areas Of Kerala On The Basis Of Gender

categories

Mean

SD

t

Level of significance

Male

Female

Male

Female

Total score

(Mean = 20.75)

 

20.52

20.99

3.22

3.01

0.75

P > 0.05

Scores regarding the causes

(Mean = 6.67)

 

6.25

7.09

3.40

3.23

1.27

P > 0.05

 

Scores regarding the nature

(Mean = 7.5)

 

7.14

7.86

3.52

3.08

1.07

P > 0.05

Scores regarding the precautionary measures

(Mean = 6.58)

 

7.12

6.04

2.84

2.72

2.01

P < 0.05

(Table values for significance at 0.05 and 0.01 levels are 1.98 and 2.63 respectively)

The table given above (table 2) shows that there is no significant difference in the total scores regarding Tsunami awareness among of high school students from coastal areas of Kerala on the basis of gender.  There is no significant difference in the scores regarding the causes and nature of Tsunami waves among high school students from coastal areas of Kerala on the basis of gender. But there is significant difference in the scores regarding precautionary measures to be taken during Tsunami among high school students from coastal areas of Kerala on the basis of gender.(t=2.01, significant at 0.05 level).

Conclusions and Suggestions

The study shows that even though there is no significant difference in the total scores regarding Tsunami awareness, scores regarding the causes and nature of Tsunami waves, there is significant difference in the scores regarding precautionary measures to be taken during Tsunami among the high school students from coastal areas of Kerala on the basis of gender. The scores of male students were significantly higher than the girls. This shows lack of awareness regarding the precautionary measures to be taken during Tsunami among high school students from coastal areas of Kerala especially among the female students. They have good awareness regarding the causes of Tsunami waves but comparatively less awareness regarding the nature of the waves and the precautions to be taken. This is evident from the percentage of scores. (Data is given in table-1).

The study underlines the necessity of the awareness programmes for the students on the consequences of the natural calamities and the role of students, teachers and the public in dealing with such situations. Students from coastal areas should be given proper awareness regarding the precautionary measures to be taken during Tsunami, floods, earthquakes, etc. The study shows that there is significant difference in the scores regarding precautionary measures to be taken during Tsunami among high school students from coastal areas of Kerala on the basis of gender. Hence, special care should be given for the education of girl students regarding the precautionary measures to be taken during natural calamities like Tsunami. Apart from it, teachers should undertake the responsibility to create awareness among the students and the public regarding the precautionary measures to be taken during emergency situations.

References

  • Bruce, Julia et al. (Eds). (2003). Planet Earth and the Universe. London: Toucan Books Ltd.
  • Best, J.W. & Kahn, J. W. (2002). Research in education. New Delhi: Prentice- Hall of India.
  • Retrieved February 15, 2013 from http://www.dominican.edu.
  • Kurita Tetsushi, Nakamura Akiko, Kodama Miki, Colombage Sisira R.N. (2006). Tsunami public awareness and the disaster management system of Sri Lanka. Retrieved February 15, 2013 from http://www.emeraldinsight.com.
  • LeMaitre, Alfred. (2005).Top Islands of the World.London: New Hollond Publishers.
  • News and Sports. (2012). Retrieved February 15, 2013 from http://vincyview.com.
  • Post J., Wegscheider S., Muck M., ZossederK, Kiefl R., Steinmetzand T., &Strunz G. (2012). Assessment of human immediate response capability related totsunami threats in Indonesia at a sub-national scale. Retrieved February 15, 2013 from http://www.nat-hazards-earth-syst-sci.n   
 

CONSTRUCTIVIST APPROACH AND TEACHING-LEARNING OF ECONOMICS: HOW FAR HAVE WE REACHED?

CONSTRUCTIVIST APPROACH AND TEACHING-LEARNING OF ECONOMICS: HOW FAR HAVE WE REACHED?

Dr. Ashita Raveendran
Assistant Professor
Department of Education in Social Sciences
National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT)
New Delhi

Abstract

The curricular materials for economics developed in India following the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) - 2005, in conjunction with various attempts to enhance quality of education, were based on the constructivist approach. This paper looks into the basic principles as envisaged in NCF- 2005, its reflection in the curricular materials and classroom transaction.  Linking of classroom curriculum to student realities makes the subject more meaningful and useful for students. The subject information attained does not remain confined within the school boundaries as the relating of economic concepts to one’s own life helps them in retaining what they learn. The epistemological shift envisaged by the curriculum reformers has not been translated into praxis. The portrayal of the economics curriculum in the light of NCF- 2005 and how it could be developed in line with the curricular expectations will be of particular interest to curricular reformers, teacher educators, teachers and researchers.

Key Words: Constructivism, Systemic Reforms, Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation

Introduction

In 2005, the school curriculum in India was equipped with an extensive set of principles aiming at constructivist practices. With the aim of correcting the deep distortion in educational aims and quality, five guiding principles for curricular development i) connecting knowledge to life outside the school; (ii) ensuring that learning shifts away from rote methods; (iii) enriching the curriculum so that it goes beyond textbooks; (iv) making examinations more flexible and integrating them with classroom life; and (v) nurturing an overriding identity informed by caring concerns within the democratic polity of the country have been proposed (NCF, 2005).

“Constructivism leads to new beliefs about excellence in teaching and learning and about the roles of both teachers and students in the process. In constructivist classrooms, students are active rather than passive; teachers are facilitators of learning rather than transmitters of knowledge” (Stein et al., 1994). Classroom committed to constructivist practices is not expected to promote solely sequential, linear-based, didactic assignments or techniques. (Niederhauser, Salem & Fields 1999, Petraglia, 1998). The classroom situation is envisaged to be rather interactive were student responses are taken into consideration for driving lessons, shifting instructional designs and even altering the content.

The Present Study

National Curriculum Framework, 2005 brought in an approach in its curriculum which has been considerably influenced by constructivism and is been reflected in the curricular materials designed to influence the curriculum and pedagogy of classrooms in India.With more than eight years of implementation of the curricular reforms based on the constructivist approach, there is a need to look at the current practices used in the classrooms and the perceptions of teachers and students on constructivist practices and strategies in the classrooms.

 

A study was conducted to explore the evidence of using constructivist practices while teaching economics, during presenting new information, conduct of learning activities and while assessing the learners. The researcher observed classrooms, interacted with students and teachers of different schools in Delhi and Haryana and also analysed the assessment practices in the schools.

Results and Discussion

Constructivist Approach and Economics Curricular Materials

Economics as a separate entity made its presence in the school curriculum in the secondary stage long back in 1977 but had to struggle for its mere presence on the list of social science subjects. The Ishwarbhai Patel Review Committee agreeing with the conclusion of the Education Commission (1964-66) recommended the teaching of social studies under the name of history, civics and geography and dropped economics from the scheme of studies in the name of load shedding. [NCERT, (1985)] However, it continued to exist as one of the subjects in social sciences. ‘Besides imparting knowledge of History and Geography, the social science curriculum for classes VI-VIII and IX-X should convey the philosophy and methodology of the functions of our socio-political economic system and enable the students to analyse, understand and reflect on the problem and priorities of socio-economic development’ (Report of Learning without burden, 1992-93). Economics as a separate discipline figures in the social sciences only from the secondary stage onwards. The economics component following the NCF-2005 at upper primary stage is expected to enable students to observe economic institutions like the family, the market and the state and at the secondary stage when the discipline of economics is being introduced as a separate entity to the child, the topics are discussed from the perspective of the people.

The themes chosen in the economics curriculum, keeping with the spirit of NCF-2005, is based on the perspective of the masses. Rather than emphasising on the definition of the subject or laws and principles in economics, it tries to facilitate the students to see that the institutional framework of the economics undergoes changes and how it is different in different places. It makes them aware of the current problems and issues that affect the everyday life of the common man. At the upper primary stage, (classes VI to VIII) economics is dealt as a part of Social and Political life, wherein the discussion revolves around the people and their surroundings, to enable the children understand the real-life functioning of institution like the family, market and the state and ideals to enable co grasp the deep interconnectedness between the political and social aspects of her everyday life and its impact in the realm of economic decision making. At secondary stage, the changing pattern of the institutional framework is illustrated through a few economic themes and institutions.

Constructivist Learning Situation in the classroom- What is Expected?

Constructivist teaching is to be guided by (1) activating prior knowledge, (2) acquiring knowledge, (3) understanding knowledge, (4) using knowledge, and (5) reflecting on knowledge (Tolman & Hardy, 1995). For activating prior knowledge the teacher initiates the discussion by asking students what they know. This helps the teacher in planning for instruction as she gets acquainted with students’ thinking.

Within the classroom, teachers are expected to provide opportunities to students for sharing own experiences, listen to peers, adults etc and collect information on the differences in the living and working conditions of the rural and urban labour. The learners are expected to show understanding of different ways of living, work and activities involved and will be able to locate these within their own experiences. Teachers are expected to encourage learners to trace out the areas which require government intervention from own experiences and discuss/debate it in the classroom.

The curricular materials also takes care to make the perspectives of women integral to the discussion and the role gender plays in ordering social and economic lives epistemic shift from the patriarchal preconceptions. It recognizes the gendered nature of all issues and speaks about the invisibilation of women’s labour.

The discipline of economics as a separate textbook is introduced to the learner at the secondary stage wherein it discusses various issues from the perspective of the masses.The discussion of poverty and unemployment are no longer to be undertaken in terms of statistics, but instead derive from an understanding of the elitist functioning of many economic institutions and the inequality sustained by economic relations (NCERT, 2006). While discussing the issues relating to the nature of economics and utilization of resources, inequalities, etc. teachers are expected to emphasise on the normative nature of economics and the role of economic policies. Different views and perspectives are provided for enabling the learner in acquiring analytical skills and at the same time developing perspectives.  The curricular materials also expose the learner to study how men and women are placed with an aim to sensitise the child from gender perspective (NCERT, 2006).

Teaching-Learning and Assessment in the Classroom- The Reality

The interaction with the teachers, classroom observations and analysis of assessment techniques show that what is envisaged at the philosophical level have not been translated into praxis. Even with the curricular material prepared in lines with the new approach of constructivism, the teaching-learning in schools continues to remain the same.

A striking pattern that emerges while examining the reality in the classroom is the approach towards syllabi as something which learners are ‘taught to test’ and they ‘learn for test’. Even with the curricular guidelines of relating the concepts to outside life, teachers seldom practice it which results in lack of curriculum relevance to students’ lives. Students are left unaware of the connection between classroom material and their own realities. The Indian education system has been criticised for its vast disconnect between academic topics studied and life outside. (Ramanathan, Chaitra, 2006).

Most of the classrooms are dominated by teacher talk and they generally expect students to learn and repeat the fields of knowledge dispersed. Rarely, there were student-initiated questions and student specific questions. Teachers rose questions in general to which the students responded in chorus along with the teacher. The classrooms were textbook centric, with textbook reading followed by question answer sessions. The basic norm of the ‘textbook culture’ was to treat the prescribed textbook as the de facto curriculum, rather than as an aid. There is no promotion of critical thinking abilities of the child and teachers asked questions to ascertain the learner’s ability to state the ‘right’ answers. The facility to demonstrate mastery of usually accepted understandings seems to be more valued than construction of knowledge.

While examining the reasons for the absence of the constructivist ideology in the school education system in spite of it being reflected in the curricular materials, a few key factors namely the class size, examination system, low autonomy of teachers, ignorance of the theory and its practical knowledge, lack of time along with mark centric assessment of teachers by the authorities emerge in fuelling the perpetuation of the ‘teaching to test’ and rote memorisation.

It is also revealed that undue importance given to examination and the teachers were purely interested in teaching all important questions and making the learner ‘learn’ the answers that seemed fit for gaining marks/grades. The marks oriented teaching-learning and looking at the examination is undoubtedly rooted in social or market reality (Agrawal &  Agrawal, 1997). These static learning processes often dedicated to prescribed answers given in textbooks or help books and while assessing the answer sheets teachers stringently followed this fixed answers leaving no room for multiplicity of answers or even stating it in their own words. A teacher working in reputed Kendriya Vidyalaya had a note book in her hand which contained the key answers to the questions that came for a recent test paper. This was followed by a set of answers for each question and on the margins were names of different students. The researcher found the answers to be on varying degree and hence enquired to the teacher about the purpose of the same. “Actually I provide answers to different students according to their level. See, all children cannot learn the complete answer. As I know how much they can, I delete something which I feel that might go above their head and give them the mere basic. You know, they can only learn that much. Now if they write at least that much and get through, my job here is safe. Otherwise, I am sure to get the transfer order. It’s like this, for the students they get the fail report card and I too get my due.” This teacher certainly believes she is giving the children the best chance of succeeding, but is in fact limiting them.

Indian education system have often been criticized that the task (assessment) has usually wagged the dog (of teaching and learning). (Examination Reforms, 2005) The excessive importance gained by assessment results possesses the danger of instruction being guided by assessment results and other goals of curriculum being ignored (Romberg et al, 1989). The traditional type of examination has been replaced by a new kind of evaluation, based on Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE). NCF-2005 advocates school-based CCE in order to (i) Reduce stress on children, (ii) Make evaluation comprehensive and regular, (iii) Provide space for the teacher for creative teaching, and (iv) Provide a tool for diagnosis and for producing learners with greater skills (Examination Reforms, 2005). Constructivism calls for the elimination of grades and standardized testing. Instead, assessment becomes part of the teaching-learning process.  The feed backs containing qualitative remarks, necessitates individual attention and recording. However, the changes in classrooms have often been superficial and have not made the expected contribution to pupils’ school performance. Assessment is been carried out as a separate activity and therefore resulted to be time consuming. Due to lack of knowledge of systematic note-taking, writing diaries, teachers had to resort to marks and grades gained by the learner in the ‘continuous’ tests (Raveendran, Ashita, 2013).

Various studies have highlighted the association of teachers’ autonomy to student learning (Palfreyman & Smith, 2003; Sinclair, McGrath, & Lamb, 2000) and it has surfaced as an important term associated with educational quality, innovation and decentralization of schools across different countries. NCF-2005 recognises the constraints in the autonomy of the teacher within the system of administrative hierarchies and control, examinations and centralised planning for curricular reform.

However, even after they are provided with the curricular freedom, teachers are hesitant to practice it. The autonomy of teachers is also being chipped away as they are not trusted to be able to plan, create teaching techniques and assess effectively. Teachers are reluctant to point out even factual mistakes and intuitively feel that there is no need for them to critically examine the curriculum and the curricular materials they use. Moreover, the increased amount of curricula teachers are expected to cover along with assessment leaves her with less time to plan, create and grow.

Policy Implications: A Way for Moving Ahead

Constructivist perspective on teaching-learning has been well documented in the policy documents, research studies and other curricular materials. Then quite cavalierly, it is passed on to the practitioners to work out the practice. Apart from the theoretical disagreements, there are difficulties in practicing the theory of constructivism in its full rigour which are often left out with no discussion.

Researches on the curriculum reforms show that the curriculum materials do not teach themselves. Even if there is a well-developed curricula, they turn out to be successful only when handled by teachers who could understand the reform (Good and Brophy, 1995). Teachers are to be trained for asking encouraging questions that assist students in linking knowledge with their personal lives. This helps them in formulating classroom lessons and differentiating instruction on the basis of students’ needs and interests. Discussions on the economic issues and its impact on their life is to discussed rather than copying of notes and rote learning of large number of propositions.

As and when the students realize the relevance in their daily activities, their interest in learning grows. Teaching-learning being governed by the assessment practices leaves lot of importance to the methods of assessment. Teachers need to be trained in assessing student learning in the context of daily classroom teaching-learning.

 

The barriers to the constructivism like the lack of understanding of the approach, psychological impediments, lack of autonomy of teachers, etc. are to be removed for effective implementation of the curriculum based on the constructivist approach. These have to done together with a set of systemic reforms and examination reforms. As teachers learn better by doing, the pre-service and in-service training should orient the teachers towards the constructivist approach by way of demonstrating constructivist practices in their teacher training programmes and simultaneously making them practice it.

The administrators also need to be made aware of the theory and concepts of constructivist teaching so that they will be capable to render adequate support to the teachers and also be enabled to remove the notions. Through discussions the issues and concerns of teachers needs to be addressed and a supportive understanding needs to be given.

References

  • Agrawal, S. P., & Agrawal, J. C. (1997). Development of education in India- Select documents 1993-94. Concept Publishing Company: New Delhi.
  • Good, T.L., & Brophy, J. E. (1995). Contemporary educational Psychology (5th ed.). White Plains, NY: Longman
  • Govt. of India. (1993). Learning without Burden: Report of the National Advisory Committee. Ministry of Human Resource Development: New Delhi.
  • NCERT. (1985). School curriculum in India- Status paper. New Delhi.
  • NCERT. (2005). National Curriculum Framework for School Education. New Delhi.
  • NCERT. (2006). Position paper on teaching of social sciences. New Delhi.
  • NCERT. (2006). Syllabus for secondary and higher secondary classes. New Delhi.
  • NCERT. (2006). Position paper on examination reforms. New Delhi.
  • Newell, G.E., & Holt, R.A. (1997). Autonomy and obligation in the teaching of literature: teachers’ classroom curriculum and departmental consensus. English Education, 29, 18-37.
  • Niderhauser, D. S., Salem, D. J., & Fields, M. (1999). Exploring teaching, learning, and instructional reform in an introductory technology course. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 7,(2) 153-172.
  • Palfreyman, D., & Smith, R.C. (Eds.). (2003). Learner autonomy across cultures: Language education perspectives. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Ramanathan, Chaitra. (2006). A call for change: Transforming Indian education by connecting academic disciplines to student realities, Master's Integrative Project, Teachers College, Columbia University.
  • Raveendran, Ashita. (2013).  Beyond testing and grading: Using assessment to improve teaching-learning. Research Journal of Educational Sciences, 1(1), 2-7.
  • Romberg T.A., Zarinia E.A. & Williams, S.R. (1989). The influence of mandated testing on mathematics instruction: Grade 8 teachers’ perceptions. Madison: National Centre for Research in Mathematical Science Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Sinclair, B., McGrath, I., & Lamb, T. (Eds.). (2000). Learner autonomy, teacher autonomy: Future directions. Pearson Education: UK.
  • Stein, M., Edwards, T., Norman, J., Roberts, S., Sales, J., Alec, R., & Chambers, J. (1994). A constructivist vision for teaching, learning and staff development. Unpublished manuscript: Wayne State University Detroit, MI.
  • Tolman, M. N., & Hardy, G. R. (1995). Elementary science method' content, and problem-solving activities. Needham Heights, MA.: Allyn & Bacon.
 

Giving Space to Children’s Voices, Experiences and Needs: An Analysis of Pre-service Teachers’ Natural Dispositions

Giving Space to Children’s Voices, Experiences and Needs: An Analysis of Pre-service Teachers’ Natural Dispositions

Rakesh Kumar

Assistant Professor

MV COLLEGE OF EDUCATION,

University of Delhi.

Abstract

National Curriculum Framework, 2005, reiterates that children’s voices and experiences do not find expression in the classroom. Often the only voice heard is that of the teacher. When children speak, they are usually only answering the teacher’s questions or repeating the teacher’s words. They rarely do things, nor do they have opportunities to take initiative. And that, Our children need to feel that each one of them, their homes, communities, languages and cultures, are valuable as resources for experience to be analysed and enquired into at school; that their diverse capabilities are accepted; that all of them have the ability and the right to learn and to access knowledge and skills; and that adult society regards them as capable of the best. Such framework of teaching learning processes makes it mandatory to respect the learners’ contexts and needs. The present study consisting of feedback on 592 science lessons from 30 pre-service teachers shows diversity in Pre-service teachers’ natural dispositions towards testing the contextualized teaching-learning process as per learners’ needs in science. The teachers agree that they ‘contextualized teaching-learning process as per learners’ needs in their average dispositions. Further, analyses of these dispositions show that these are skewed towards teachers having dispositions ‘more than agreeing’. Slightly Platykurtic behaviour of the Bell shaped curve is also noted. The range is large that shows a high difference between minimum and maximum value. The mean is 1.3520 which means most of the teachers agree that they contextualised teaching- learning process as per learners’ needs while some strongly agree with it and it can also be seen in the graph. Skewness is .271 which is moderately positively skewed i.e. the number of low scorers are more than number of high scorers. Kurtosis is -.520 with standard error .833 which shows that the distribution is slightly Platykurtic.

 

Key Words: Learners’ needs, Contextualised teaching-learning processes, science education, pre-service teachers


Introduction:

Children’s voices and experiences do not find expression in the classroom. Often the only voice heard is that of the teacher. When children speak, they are usually only answering the teacher’s questions or repeating the teacher’s words. They rarely do things, nor do they have opportunities to take initiative. The curriculum must enable children to find their voices, nurture their curiosity—to do things, to ask questions and to pursue investigations, sharing and integrating their experiences with school knowledge—rather than their ability to reproduce textual knowledge. Reorienting the curriculum to this end must be among our highest priorities, informing the preparation of  teachers, the annual plans of schools, the design of textbooks, learning materials and teaching plans, and evaluation and examination patterns. Children will learn only in an atmosphere where they feel they are valued. Our schools still do not convey this to all children. The association of learning with fear, discipline and stress, rather than enjoyment and satisfaction, is detrimental to learning. Our children need to feel that each one of them, their homes, communities, languages and cultures, are valuable as resources for experience to be analysed and enquired into at school; that their diverse capabilities are accepted; that all of them have the ability and the right to learn and to access knowledge and skills; and that adult society regards them as capable of the best. We are becoming more aware of the importance of these needs as our schools expand and increasingly include children from all sections of  society (NCERT, 2005).

(Worth, 1999) in ‘The Power of Children’s Thinking’ thinks of children as natural scientists and posits that, “They do what scientists do, but perhaps for some slightly different and less conscious reasons. They are anxious to understand the world just as adults are or one can say even better than them. There is a terribly interesting, but rather confusing, world full of stimuli all around them. Many adults, however, have learned to ignore some of that world rather than investigate it. Young children ignore very little” (Worth, 1999). We can actually think of children to be waiting for being scaffolded in that anxious curiosity to find put about this world. But this is only one of the needs of the learners.

Need and Significance:

National Curriculum Framework, 2005, emphasis some more needs of the learners in the following way. Conceptual development is a continuous process of deepening and enriching connections and acquiring new layers of meaning. Alongside is the development of theories that children have about the natural and social worlds, including themselves in relation to others, which provide them with explanations for why things are the way they are, the relationships between causes and effects, and the basis for decisions and acting. Attitudes, emotions and morals are thus an integral part of cognitive development, and are linked to the development of language, mental representations, concepts and reasoning. As children’s metacognitive capabilities develop, they become more aware of their own beliefs and capable of regulating their own learning.

•  All children are naturally motivated to learn and are capable of learning.

•  Making meaning and developing the capacity for abstract thinking, reflection and work are the most important aspects of learning.

•  Children learn in a variety of ways—through experience, making and doing things, experimentation, reading, discussion, asking, listening, thinking and reflecting, and expressing oneself in speech, movement or writing—both individually and with others.  They require opportunities of all these kinds in the course of their development.

•  Teaching something before the child is cognitively ready takes away from learning it at a later stage. Children may ‘remember’ many facts but they may not understand them or be able to relate them to the world around them.

•  Learning takes place both within school and out- side school. Learning is enriched if the two arenas interact with each other. Art and work provide opportunities for holistic learning that is rich in tacit and aesthetic components. Such experiences are essential for linguistically known things, especially in moral and ethical matters, to be learnt through direct experience, and integrated into life.

•  Learning must be paced so that it allows learners to engage with concepts and deepen understanding, rather than remembering only to forget after examinations. At the same time learning must provide variety and challenge, and be interesting and eng aging. Boredom is a sign that the task may have become mechanically repetitive for the child and  of  little cognitive value.

•  Learning  can  take  place with or  without mediation. In the case of the latter, the social context and interactions, especially with those who are capable, provide avenues f or learners to work at cognitive levels above their own (NCERT, 2005).

(Meichtry, 1999) depicts the nature of science as a human activity, a process used to investigate natural phenomena, a process used to add to an existing knowledge base, and a social enterprise. On the other hand, scientific knowledge is presented as a product of the human process of science and its social context. (Lederman, 1999) elucidates that scientists have inherent, agreed upon processes and assumptions. These processes and assumptions help them to construct meaningful knowledge. The culture of science will include these inherent, agreed upon, processes and assumptions. In science classrooms, the practice of this culture of science can prepare the science learners for participation in the generation of scientific knowledge. (Peters & Kitsantas, 2009) contends that the culture of science is passed down from generation to generation through science classes. If each generation receives the idea that science is a body of knowledge and has no access to the nature of science, knowledge about how science generates and verifies knowledge will no longer be part of the public’s understanding of science. Education has a responsibility to teach learners how to think like a scientist in order to continue to be progressive, critical thinkers in our technological future. The idea of being a critical thinker in the progressive future is not a utilitarian one, but is integrated with the development of the human being while culture of science is being practiced.

The pace makes difficult, if not impossible, for the development of any sense of how concepts and theories originate, how they come to be validated and accepted, and how they connect with experience and reveal relations among seemingly disparate phenomena. If a teacher understands the nature of science, he or she is better able to pose questions to learners about why they are doing process skills as well as establishing an environment that allows learners to construct meaningful scientific knowledge (Meichtry, 1999). Thus a teaching learning processes in science have to be designed and executed in such a way that it is in conformity of the culture of science and is modified as per the needs of the learners. Contextualized teaching-learning process as per learners’ needs in science has been found to be an important aspect in this perspective in learning science.

This work explores the pre service teachers’ self-assessment related to their classroom practices in terms of Contextualized teaching-learning process as per learners’ needs in science. No a-priori assumptions have been created and no delimited variables used. Instead, their own self-assessment on the question had been analysed in terms of what emerged out of established settings of science classrooms. In the lack of delimited variables, no hypothesis has been formulated. This also helped the researcher in keeping a gap from his own preconceived notions about the matter to maintain objectivity of the research.

Research Methodology

Research Questions and Objective

The following question is the focus:

How do science teachers perceive their natural disposition towards Contextualized teaching-learning process as per learners’ needs as a part of the teaching-learning process?

The study has focused on the following objective:

“Exploring teaching learning contexts in science classrooms, with special reference to Contextualized teaching-learning process as per learners’ needs as a part of the teaching-learning process”.

Methodology, sample and tools:

Methodology:

Based on understanding developed from the review of related literature and researcher’s own experience as science teacher/teacher educator, a comprehensive tool was developed by the researcher. This tool related to different issues related to different areas of the teaching-learning processes in science.

This tool was used on 38 pre-service teachers. Data from 30 pre-service science teachers was collected in the form of self-assessment feedback regarding 592 Science lessons transacted by them during their school life experience program. 8 Pre-service teachers became non-responding. The teachers were asked to rate themselves on the basis of self-assessment after each lesson. This feedback on 592 lessons from the teachers is received, analysed and reported. The feedback is quantified, described and analysed in terms of science teachers approach towards forming and addressing Alternative Frameworks during the science classes with special reference to posing interpretative questions to the learners in science.

These 38 Pre-Service science teachers who are the B.Ed. students of the two of Education in Delhi, India) were chosen as samples for the study. Most of the observations, interpretations, analysis and reflections done by the participants were discussed with them also to develop their insight about their own science classrooms.

All types of schools were allotted to these science teachers during their school life experience program. Training of teachers was done for both data collection (one day) and analysis (three days). In addition, two days were devoted for reflection and discussion on resolution of the problems faced during the process.

Sample

Total 38 Pre-Service Science teachers participated from two B.Ed. colleges of University of Delhi and GGSIP University, Delhi. This “ensured participation of total 18 schools in which above Pre-Service teachers had their School Life Experience Program. These teachers had diverse graduation and post-graduation subjects.

 

Figure 1 - Classification of teachers’ sample


 


 


Figure 2 - Classification of School sample


Notations: G- Government; P- Private; G.A.-Government Aided; K.V.-KendriyaVidyalaya


Out of total 38 Pre-Service teachers, code numbers 1.01 to code number 1.30 were given to 30 Pre-service teachers from Guru Ram Dass College of Education and 8 Pre-Service teachers from Maharishi Valmiki College of Education received code numbers 2.01 to code number 2.08. Clearly, the sample is not a random sample but a purposive one. Although no deliberate attempt was made for the sample to be homogeneous or representative, it got addressed in the process to some extent. The science teachers belonged to different socio-economic backgrounds. The science learners’ belonged to different sorts of school settings. These types of schools included all boys’ school, all girls’ schools, government, government aided and public schools. Therefore, we can say that different socio-economic backgrounds and diversity in teaching-learning settings has been represented largely in the sample.

Tools for data collection

In the review of the available tools, it was identified that these tools cannot be used in order to collect required data for the present study or in other words, suitable tools for getting the relevant data could not be located. Thus, in order to explore teaching learning contexts in science classrooms with respect to possible sites of formation of Alternative Frameworks among learners in science, a tool was needed. Self-assessment feedback schedule in the form of self-appraisal developed by the researcher for Science teachers was thus prepared for data collection. This self-appraisal had both open ended and close-ended questions, questions that can be analysed in quantitative and qualitative ways. The major themes of the questionnaire include exploration about the resources that the learners tend to tap, their preferred learning styles, possible sites of Alternative Frameworks, their notion about themselves as science learners etc.

To validate the tools, the First draft of tools was given to experts namely school teachers, and colleagues in teacher education institutions, and ambiguous language and other issues resolved and the items modified subsequently.

Analysis of Data

Self-assessment feedback Schedule, contained 26 items originally, had the option of responding in terms of strongly agree, agree and disagree. In order to understand this data, these three categories were given the weight two, one and zero respectively. Thus from one day feedback of a particular science teacher there were responses in the form of zero, one and two. For one particular science teacher, these responses were collected on Microsoft Excel sheet for the period of entire school life experience program. From this, average score of one particular teacher on each item is calculated. Similarly, this process was repeated for the 30 teachers who responded to this self-appraisal. These average scores of 30 teachers were then entered in another Excel sheet to be analysed for their responses on the selected item. Various descriptive of the item is calculated and reported. Graphs were plotted to show the average per day score of the 30 science teachers. These were further analysed and reported in terms of graphs showing histogram and probability curve for giving pictorial idea of the responses of the learners (Figure 1 and Figure 2). The descriptive that have been calculated are Min., Max., Range, Mean, Std. Deviation, Skewness, and Kurtosis.

Findings

Table 1 shows the average scores of many teachers on the feedback schedule correlated to the Fact “Contextualized teaching-learning process as per learners’ needs” of the teaching-learning environment in status of Teachers' Self-Assessment. The analysis, interpretation and appropriate graphical descriptions had been made in the following discussions using the information from the Table 1. Table 2 describes the properties of unclear variables in the above table.

 

Table 1 - Individual average score of different respondents on the item: Contextualized teaching-learning process as per learners’ needs

 

Table 2 - Properties of undefined variables in the Table 1

 

 

Figure 3 - Individual average score of different respondents on the item ‘Contextualised teaching-learning process as per learners’ needs’

 

Figure 4 - Grouped average score of different respondents on the item ‘Contextualised teaching-learning process as per learners’ needs’

At a glance:

 

Mean: 1.3520 (Most teachers agree and some strongly agree)

 

Standard Deviation: .32554

 

Range of 1 Standard Deviation: (1.03 - 1.68)

 

Skewness: .271 (Moderately positive)

 

Kurtosis: -.520 (Slightly Platykurtic)

Analysis and Interpretation:

The range is 1.25 for which minimum value is .75 and maximum value is 2.00. It shows a high difference between minimum and maximum value. The mean is 1.3520 which means most of the teachers agree that they contextualised teaching- learning process as per learners’ needs while some strongly agree with it and it can also be seen in the graph. Standard deviation is .32554 which indicates that most of the teachers scored between 1.03 and 1.68. Skewness is .271 which is moderately positively skewed i.e. the number of low scorers are more than number of high scorers. We can also see in the graph that the right tail is longer than the left one which indicates positive Skewness. Kurtosis is -.520 with standard error .833 which shows that the distribution is slightly Platykurtic.

Conclusion:

For any qualitative change from the present situation, science education in India must undergo a paradigm shift. Rote learning should be discouraged. Inquiry skills should be supported and strengthened by language, design and quantitative skills. Schools should place much greater emphasis on co-curricular and extra-curricular activities aimed at stimulating investigative ability, inventiveness and creativity, even if these are not part of the external examination system (NCERT, 2005). This paradigm shift cannot be imagined without the teacher providing necessary scaffolding to the leaners in their own context by modifying his/her design of the teaching learning processes. From the study we note that there is diversity and range in the pre-service science teachers’ natural dispositions towards contextualized teaching-learning process as per learners’ needs in science. This range and diversity goads us to focus on the pre-service science teachers’ preparedness towards giving context based support to learners in science as per their needs.

References:

  • Lederman, N. G. (1999). Teachers´ understanding of the nature of science and classroom practice: Factors that facilitate or impede the relationship. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36, 916–929.
  • Meichtry, Y. J. (1999). The Nature of Science and Scientific Knowledge: Implications for a Preservice Elementary Methods Course. Science & Education, 8(3), 273–286. doi:10.1023/A:1008693930840
  • NCERT. (2005). National Curriculum Framework-2005. New Delhi, India: National Council of Educational Research and Training.
  • Peters, E. E., & Kitsantas, A. (2009). Self‐regulation of student epistemic thinking in science: The role of metacognitive prompts. Educational Psychology, 30(1), 27–52. doi:10.1080/01443410903353294
  • Worth, K. (1999). The Power of Children’s Thinking (2nd ed.). Washington DC: National Science Foundation.
 

Science Learning Contexts and Network of Conceptions in Reference to the Topic – AIR

Science Learning Contexts and Network of Conceptions in Reference to the Topic – AIR

Rakesh Kumar

Assistant Professor

MV COLLEGE OF EDUCATION,

University of Delhi.

Abstract

Learners do not wait for adults to help them in coming up with some answers, they just put their best efforts to understand the physical and natural world. Many a times these are not the conceptions that scientific community accepts as efficate ones. These OTHER CONCEPTIONS are the issue that had been challenging contemporary understanding on how should we design teaching-learning processes in science. Different researches show that Alternative Frameworks are formed in both formal and informal settings that are difficult to understand in discontinuity from each other. This generates the need to understand science learning contexts in an integrated form from multiple dimensions. In the present study the science learning context had been explored while the topic/area of explorations was ‘AIR’. The study reveals that approximately 49 % learners wanted to know something more on the topic discussed in class; 71 % learners tried to look for other resources of learning; 47 % learners asked questions on the topic discussed; 28 % learners wanted to ask questions on the topic discussed; one–third learners planned or performed an activity; 56 % learners shared their observations and explorations with others;87 % learners thought that they are learners of science; Approx. 51 % learners thought that they could help in the development of science; maximum learners thought that they know about wind /air. The study also reveals through the diagrams made by the learners that they do not confine themselves to just the area ‘Air’ but make linkages to every form of linkage that can be extended. The diagram made by one learner also shows the place of rudder in the sail boat as different from it usually is. These type of diagrams can be considered by the teacher to be starting point of their explorations of the learners’ Alternative Frameworks.

 

Key Words: Teaching-Learning contexts, Air, Alternative Frameworks, network of conceptions, learners’ questions, learners’ diagrams


 

Introduction

The most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows. Ascertain this and teach him accordingly”

(Ausubel, 1968)

When asked ‘What causes the phases of the moon? Why does season change?’ Learners do come up with some answers, even though they have not had any such discussions with elders, says  (Weiler, 1998). Many a times these are not the conceptions that scientific community accepts as efficate ones. These OTHER CONCEPTIONS are the issue that had been challenging contemporary understanding on how should we design teaching-learning processes in science. “Some call these early ideas that children form as Alternative Frameworks; others label them naive conceptions, or alternative conceptions. Alternative Frameworks might also be referred to as preconceived notions, non-scientific beliefs, naive theories, mixed conceptions, or conceptual misunderstandings. Basically, in science these are cases in which something a person knows and believes does not match what is known to be scientifically correct. These terms identifying similar mismatches are used interchangeably in this study and are referred to as Alternative Frameworks” (Worth, 1999).

(Barrass, 1984) wrote of “‘mistakes’ or errors, ‘misconceptions’ or misleading ideas, and "misunderstandings" or misinterpretations of facts, saying that teachers and brighter learners can correct errors. But what attention is paid to misconceptions and misunderstandings that are perpetuated by teachers and textbook researchers?”

The term preconception has a defining characteristics of pre-instructional thought advanced by the science student. “The term preconception has a connotation of pre-instructional conception developed by the science learner. “Teachers and researchers generally refer to pre instructional knowledge as preconceptions. Before beginning instruction on any new topic, teachers need to know their learners’ preconceptions because learning, and therefore instruction itself, varies depending on whether learners’ preconceptions agree with the concepts being taught or contradict those concepts” (Lucariello, 2012).

When the preconceptions discussed above appear to be synchronised with the concepts in the designated curriculum, the preconceptions are titled 'anchoring conceptions'. In different words, the preconceptions that are in conformity with curricular goals are termed as anchoring conceptions. It is understandable that the presence of anchoring concepts will boost knowledge of the logical concepts. However, with the presence of anchoring conceptions, learning is only a procedure of enrichment and conceptual expansion, but they still require to be distinguished from the incongruent preconceptions. On the other hand, pre-concepts may be counter-productive.

Even though sometimes learners' conception may happen with the logical explanations, there still may be some conflict between the learner's aptitude and the scientifically acknowledged and meaningful understanding of nature and natural phenomenon. “The term alternative conception is used to mean learners’ ideas, manifested after exposure to formal models or theories, which are still at odds with those currently accepted by the scientific community” (Boo, 1998). There is however a clear cut difference between the terms alternative conceptions and alternative framework. This difference is related with the consistency of using an alternative conception in more than one context. “When an alternative conception is used with consistency over more than one context or event, it is referred to as an alternative framework” (Boo, 1998). "Alternative Framework is a word from constructivist framework but cannot be limited to its boundaries and should be used in more diverse meanings" (Kumar, 2011).The following effort is directed to the issue of identification of possible sites of Alternative Frameworks and explorations of the teaching- learning contexts in which these have been explored has been drawn from the reflections and analysis of the  teacher  teaching them.

Need of Study:

(Worth, 1999) in ‘The Power of Children’s Thinking’ thinks of children as natural scientists and posits that, “They do what scientists do, but perhaps for some slightly different and less conscious reasons. They are anxious to understand the world just as adults are or one can say even better than them. There is a terribly interesting, but rather confusing, world full of stimuli all around them. Many adults, however, have learned to ignore some of that world rather than investigate it. Young children ignore very little” (Worth, 1999). The curiosity of children is many times evident in the questions that they ask. Since children are more curious and receptive than usual adults. Instead of idealised world of scientific theories, they weave. The web of their understanding from the exploration of messy world around them and this is with what a child enters the school.

“Moreover when children start school and throughout their school years, they already have preformed ideas about how the natural world works. These ideas may come from within the instructional setting or from their experiences outside of school. Research has shown that teaching is unlikely to be effective unless teachers and curriculum materials take into account learners’ preconceptions” (Driver, Squires, Rushworth, & Wood-Robinson, 1994). Alternative Frameworks are formed in both formal and informal settings that are difficult to understand in discontinuity from each other. This generates the need to understand science learning contexts in an integrated form from multiple dimensions.

The nature of the study is such that it is not possible for the researcher to control the variables in the process of formation and addressing Alternative Frameworks among learners in science. Thus, in the absence of controlled variables no hypothesis has been formulated. This also helped the researcher in keeping a distance from his own preconceived notions about different dimensions of the study.

Research Methodology

Research Questions and Objective

The following questions are focussed:

  • How do science learners perceive their natural classroom environment while a topic AIR is being undertaken?
  • What are the possible sites of formation of Alternative Frameworks when the topic AIR is taken up in the classroom?
  • What questions come to learners’ mind when the topic AIR is taken up in the classroom?

The study has focused on the following objectives:

  • Exploring teaching learning contexts in science classrooms, with special reference to topic AIR being undertaken.
  • Identifying possible sites of formation of Alternative Frameworks when the topic AIR is taken up in the classroom (if any).
  • Identifying the questions that come to learners’ mind when the topic AIR is taken up in the classroom.

Methodology, Sample and Tools:

Methodology:

From a review of related literature guided by his own experiences in the classroom, the researcher came to the understanding that there might be many more possibilities of formation of Alternative Frameworks in the life experiences of science learners that might need deep probing. For this, the science learning experiences were explored to locate potential sites of formation of Alternative Frameworks. Based on understanding developed from the review of related literature and researcher’s own experience as science teacher/teacher educator, a comprehensive tool was developed by the researcher. This tool related to different issues related to different areas of the teaching-learning processes in science.

These 38 Pre-Service science teachers who are the B.Ed. students of the two of Education in Delhi, India) were chosen as convenient samples for the study. Most of the observations, interpretations, analysis and reflections done by the participants were discussed with them also to develop their insight about their own science classrooms. These 38 prospective science teachers of the two colleges (MV College of Education and GRD College of Education in Delhi) who were chosen as samples for the study have henceforth been addressed as science teachers. These science teachers were also a connection to reach to the science learners in the schools. Thus an input from the science classrooms was available to the teachers during their school life experience program. All types of schools were allotted to these science teachers during their school life experience program.

A tool described in later part of the study tool was used on these 38 pre-service teachers. But the data from 30 pre-service science teachers was collected in the form of self-assessment feedback regarding 592 Science lessons transacted by them during their school life experience program. 8 Pre-service teachers became non-responding. All types of schools were allotted to these science teachers during their school life experience program as described later. Training of teachers was done for both data collection (one day) and analysis (three days). In addition, two days were devoted for reflection and discussion on resolution of the problems faced during the process.

Sample

Total 38 Pre-Service Science teachers participated from two B.Ed. colleges of University of Delhi and GGSIP University, Delhi. This “ensured participation of total 18 schools in which above Pre-Service teachers had their School Life Experience Program. These teachers had diverse graduation and post-graduation subjects.

Figure 1 - Classification of teachers’ sample



Figure 2 - Classification of School sample


Notations: G- Government; P- Private; G.A.-Government Aided; K.V.-KendriyaVidyalaya


Out of total 38 Pre-Service teachers, code numbers 1.01 to code number 1.30 were given to 30 Pre-service teachers from Guru Ram Dass College of Education and 8 Pre-Service teachers from Maharishi Valmiki College of Education received code numbers 2.01 to code number 2.08. Clearly, the sample is not a random sample but a purposive one. Although no deliberate attempt was made for the sample to be homogeneous or representative, it got addressed in the process to some extent. The science teachers belonged to different socio-economic backgrounds. The science learners’ belonged to different sorts of school settings. These types of schools included all boys’ school, all girls’ schools, government, government aided and public schools. Therefore, we can say that different socio-economic backgrounds and diversity in teaching-learning settings has been represented largely in the sample.

Tools for data collection

In the review of the available tools, it was identified that these tools cannot be used in order to collect required data for the present study or in other words, suitable tools for getting the relevant data could not be located. Thus, in order to explore teaching learning contexts in science classrooms with respect to possible sites of formation of Alternative Frameworks among learners in science, a tool was thus developed in the form of a questionnaire. The major themes of the questionnaire include exploration about the resources that the learners tend to tap, their preferred learning styles, possible sites of Alternative Frameworks, their notion about themselves as science learners etc.

To validate the tools, the First draft of tools was given to experts namely school teachers, and colleagues in teacher education institutions, and ambiguous language and other issues resolved and the items modified subsequently.

In the questionnaire filled by the science learners in different schools in Delhi, the question number six was ‘Mention the question you asked/wanted to ask’. In order to analyse these questions, the researcher categorized the questions in the response to this question in terms of the topics/areas they represent. Originally 449 questions were received from the science learners.  After removing repetitions, 17 areas finally emerged out of these questions as categories. In the questionnaire filled by the science learners in different schools in Delhi, the question number thirteen was ‘What figures, diagrams and scientific terms did you use? Please draw/write it.’ On this question total 908 diagrams and figures were received and were grouped according to the concept represented in them. In each of the groups the analysis follows regarding the concepts depicted and possible sites of alternative framework. The questions asked by them were also explored. This part along with the preceding one constitutes the breeding ground of Alternative Frameworks amongst learners in science that will need deep probing to start the journey of addressing them. Also it is to be noted that this approach can guide the science teachers to assist learners in moving towards scientific conceptions that are at the heart of science learning by identifying the point of start. The analysis of figures and diagrams made and terms used by science learners was analysed to identify following sites of formation of Alternative Frameworks that will further deep probing for understanding of their context.

Collection of data:

The questionnaire prepared by the researcher and vetted by two eminent scholars was used for the collection of data. This questionnaire was distributed to more than 1207 learners of science (as described in the Figure 3) studying in classes sixth to tenth across Delhi and received from total 979 learners. These schools catered to the needs of a diverse population. Some particular topics were under focus in various schools (due to the schedules fixed by the educational structure) at the time when data from school was collected. Thus, some topics got more coverage in the study than the others as the topics under discussion were not in researcher’s control.

 

Figure 3 - Classification of science learners

The questionnaire for science learners containing total 17 items was given after transaction of 12 to 15 lesson plans and collected on the same day itself by the science teachers. The primary task of analysing and reflecting on these questionnaires filled up by the science learners was given to the science teachers so that they are able to make linkages with their own classrooms in their particular contexts, which is not possible for the researcher to make. Science teachers were given about 10 days for this task. This analysis and reflection was summarized by the researcher and analysed to see patterns, exceptions and other aspects. Two of those 17 questions from the questionnaires filled up by the science learners were analysed by the researcher. These two questions were related to ‘questions that are coming to the mind of the science learner’ and second the ‘figures, diagrams and scientific terms used’ by the science learner. While the former was analysed to understand the nature of questions that are coming to the science learners mind, the latter was analysed to identify the concepts depicted and the possible sites of Alternative Frameworks (if any).

Analysis of Data

Questions from the questionnaires filled up by the science learners were analysed in two ways.

(a)        The first and the primary analysis was done by their own science teachers, that are discussed in part

(b)        Two questions i.e. question number six and number 13 were analysed by the researcher only. Question number six was related to the questions that come to the students’ mind while the teacher was transacting a particular lesson on a topic from their curriculum and question numbered 13 was related to the figures and diagrams made and terms used by the science learners. The study includes only the analysis from these two questions.

In order to analyse these questions, the researcher categorized the responses to question no. 6 of the questionnaire in terms of conceptual areas. Originally 449 questions were received from the science learners. After identifying repetitions, 17 broad conceptual areas of questions finally emerged. These questions along with the topic have been reported in the study. On the response to Question number 13 a total of 908 diagrams and figures were received and were grouped according to the concept represented in them. These were analysed with two major focuses namely the concepts and the keywords representing the possible sites of Alternative Frameworks. These two have been reported along with the original diagrams and figures drawn by the science learners in the study. In order to meet the ethical standards, the names and identifiable information of the science learner has not deliberately been put on the figures and diagrams. But the questionnaire responses filled up by every learner was coded so that the linkage with the sheet can be made without having to identify the personal information of the science learner and is imprinted on every diagram and figure.

The type of questions posed by the learners are questions from activity done in the class, conceptual queries, dilemmas, from their own observations around them, basic questions that are definitional in nature, queries that require reasoning and arguments, exploratory questions requiring experimenting, questions projecting Alternative Framework sites etc. Table 1 shows the details of the teacher and the leaner along with the topic/area that emerged from the natural settings as described above.

Table 1 - Details of emerging topics/areas along with teachers and learners on possible sites of alternatives frameworks

Results:

Teaching-Learning Contexts:

Approximately 49 % learners wanted to know something more on the topic discussed in class; 71 % learners tried to look for other resources of learning; 47 % learners asked questions on the topic discussed; 28 % learners wanted to ask questions on the topic discussed; one–third learners planned or performed an activity; 56 % learners shared their observations and explorations with others;87 % learners thought that they are learners of science; Approx. 51 % learners thought that they could help in the development of science; maximum learners thought that they know about wind /air.

Figure 4 - Learners’ context

Questions asked related to the topic/area ‘Air’

Diagrams made by learners

Possible sites of Alternative Frameworks from analysis of figures and diagrams made by science learners

Position of rudder in the sail boat is not correct.

Conclusions:

Alternative Frameworks have many serious concerns attached with their presence and something especially concerning about them is that we, at all stages of our development, continue to build further knowledge on our current understandings. This development of learning would be seriously impacted if there are Alternative Frameworks at their core (Black, 2006). [...] 22 of the 25 Harvard University faculty and graduating learners they interviewed -- including some with science majors -- had reverted to their childhood notions of the universe”. While addressing these Alternative Frameworks the learning contexts play an important. For example what questions were there in their mind, what are the learning style preferences? The study reveals that during or after the teaching learning processes related to the topic AIR following represents the learners’ framework - maximum learners thought that they know about wind /air; 87 % learners thought that they are learners of science; 71 % learners tried to look for other resources of learning; 56 % learners shared their observations and explorations with others; Approx. 51 % learners thought that they could help in the development of science; approximately 49 % learners wanted to know something more on the topic discussed in class; 47 % learners asked questions on the topic discussed; one–third learners planned or performed an activity; 28 % learners wanted to ask questions on the topic discussed. Also we have seen that the position of sail boat by a learner can be taken as starting point to find out the reason for that particular position. This might lead us to some of the Alternative framework of the learner. Thus possible site for the development of alternative framework is identified. There is a visible network of issues that the learners have correlated with the topic AIR. These issues include the upward motion of smoke, effects of air pressure differences, kinetic energy, vehicular pollution, acid rain and sailing as a process. Important inference from this network pertains to variety of conceptions that the learners attach to the topic undertaken by the teacher. These conceptions are not necessarily taken all together. And all of them might not have been coming directly from their formal classroom setting.  Implication of this lies in accepting the variety of issues that bother a learner’s mind while the teacher is busy in completing the task directed by the objectives decided by the teacher, curriculum planners or policy makers. All of these forget that while they may be busy directing what the child must go through, the child might not be in agreement with the same. The role of informal environments in learning is also what we often fail to give importance to.

References:

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  • Barrass, R. (1984). Some Misconceptions and Misunderstandings Perpetuated by Teachers and Textbooks of Biology. Journal of Biology Education, 201–205.
  • Black, S. (2006). Is Science Education Failing Students? American School Board Journal, (November), 48–51.
  • Boo, H. K. (1998). Students’ understandings of chemical bonds and the energetics of chemical reactions. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 35(5), 569–581.
  • . Routledge. Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?id=Y1xetwAACAAJ&pgis=1
  • Kumar, R. (2011). Development of Alternative Frameworks Among Learners in Science: A Reflection on the Learning Theories and Models. Journal of Teacher Education in Developing Nations, 2(2), 55–61.
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Light Pollution and Environmental Awareness amongst higher secondary school students in Nadia District, West Bengal

Light Pollution and Environmental Awareness amongst higher secondary school students in Nadia District, West Bengal
Dr. Mridula Das
Assistant Professor, B.Ed Department
Kalna College, Kalna, Burdwan, 713409

Abstract

Light pollution is the alteration of light levels in the outdoor environment due to manmade sources of light. Indoor light pollution is such alteration of light levels in the indoor environment due to sources of light, which compromises human health. Light pollution is a side effect of industrial civilization. Country-wide light pollution monitoring needs both a great number of measurements, in order to cover most of the country, as well as frequent re-measurements to record how light pollution changes over time. These factors together with the simplicity of the method make schools, universities and amateur astronomy associations ideal parthers for light pollution monitoring programmes. On their side, this can be part of learning in a science or environmental class in secondary education, physics and astronomy class in University and light pollution monitoring of sites suitable for astronomical observation by amateurs.

Environmental education is the study of the relationships and interactions between natural and human systems. It is interdisciplinary, combing aspects of natural sciences such as economics, law, and public health. The educative process and activities are controlled and organized by the community to meet the local requirements. The educational at programmes and curriculum are designed in view of the future requirements of the community. The educational process is made more meaningful and purposive. Awareness of environmental education is to be given from primary level to the university level. Therefore content and tasks are to be analysed at primary, secondary, higher secondary and higher levels so as to identify teachers training requirement at these levels.

The present study was aims to investigate the environmental awareness in light pollution of Science and arts students in higher secondary level. Sample of the study considered of 300 students from four different higher secondary schools of Nadia District to collect data. Then their awareness in light pollution was measured. The data were analysed with the help of statistical techniques like Mean, Standard deviation and t-value. The result of Analysis shows that, there exist difference light pollution awareness among higher secondary students belonging Arts, Science and commerce background.

Key Words: Environmental awareness, light pollution, intelligence, global warming, statistical treatment, reliability, validity and significance.

Introduction

Light pollution is a broad term that refers to multiple problems, all of which are caused by inefficient, unappealing, or unnecessary use of artificial light. Specific categories of light pollution include light trespass, over-illumination, glare, light clutter, and skyglow. Light trespass occurs when unwanted light enters one's property, for instance, by shining over a neighbor's fence. A common light trespass problem occurs when a strong light enters the window of one's home from the outside, causing problems such as sleep deprivation or the blocking of an eye Over-illumination is the excessive use of light view. Blinding glare describes effects such as that caused by staring into the Sun. It is completely blinding and leaves temporary or permanent vision deficiencies. Disability glare describes effects such as being blinded by oncoming car lights, or light scattering in fog or in the eye, reducing contrast, as well as reflections from print and other dark areas that render them bright, with significant reduction in sight capabilities. Discomfort glare does not typically cause a dangerous situation in itself, though it is annoying and irritating at best. It can potentially cause fatigue if experienced over extended periods.

Medical research on the effects of excessive light on the human body suggests that a variety of adverse health effects may be caused by light pollution or excessive light exposure, and some lighting design textbooks use human health as an explicit criterion for proper interior lighting. Education is a powerful instrument for social change as well as social control and environmental education is problem centered, interdisciplinary value as well as community oriented programme concerned with man’s survival.

Light pollution is mostly unpolarized, and its addition to moonlight results in a decreased polarization signal. In the night, the polarization of the moonlit sky is very strongly polarized. Polarized moonlight cannot be seen by humans, but is believed to be used by many ani The Government has acknowledged that pupils need encouraging studying science. The National Curriculum, at Key Stages 2 (7-11 year olds), 3 (11-14 year olds) and 4914-16 year olds) requires school pupils to learn about the sun, earth, Moon and the solar system. The Government memo random states that pupils are encouraged to supplement their learning with activities such as visits to a planetarium, observing the night sky, and using online resources, including webcam pictures and satellite images of astronomical phenomena. On the effect that light pollution has on school pupils observing the night sky.

The experts and scientists are prepared by the educative process. If the awareness and understanding is given to child in home and school from the very beginning, they become the experts of environmental education and can integrate these two extreme processes. The objectives of environmental education are directly related to child development. The child development includes physical, intellectual, social, emotional and psychomotor development.

Proper execution, organization and management of environment is most crucial measure to prevent and control the environmental pollution. In our country there is a large list of environmental acts and legal laws at state and central levels, some of these have been enumerated in earlier paragraphs, but these are not properly enforced in practice.

Ecological light pollution

When artificial light affects organisms and ecosystems it is called ecological light pollution. While light at night can be beneficial, neutral, or damaging for individual species, its presence invariably disturbs ecosystems. For example, some species of spiders avoid lit areas, while other species are happy to build their spider web directly on a lamp post.

Skyglow

Skyglow refers to the glow effect that can be seen over populated areas. It is the combination of all light reflected from what it has illuminated escaping up into the sky and from all of the badly directed light in that area that also escapes into the sky, being scattered (redirected) by the atmosphere back toward the ground. This scattering is very strongly related to the wavelength of the light when the air is very clear (with very little aerosols). Rayleigh scattering dominates in such clear air, making the sky appear blue in the daytime.

Light clutter

Light clutter refers to excessive groupings of lights. Groupings of lights may generate confusion, distract from obstacles (including those that they may be intended to illuminate), and potentially cause accidents. Clutter is particularly noticeable on roads where the street lights are badly designed, or where brightly lit advertising surrounds the roadways. Depending on the motives of the person or organization that installed the lights, their placement and design can even be intended to distract drivers, and can contribute to accidents.

Types of Light Pollution

  • Night time on a dark landscape (remote area, national park)
  • Night time on an urban street (suburban)
  • Night time in an urban street (town or city centre)
  • Flood lighting on a stone building
  • Evening televised Football match
  • Sun overhead
  • Full daylight (not direct sun)
  • Overcast day
  • Very dark overcast day
  • Twilight
  • Deep twilight
  • Full moon overhead

Light Pollutants

  • Large advertising billboards
  • Long lines of vehicles
  • Garbage and boxes in the walkways and curbside
  • Excavation works and rubbles
  • The irregularity of heights, design, materials and regression of buildings
  • Shops and supermarkets irregular billboards
  • Cellular phone internet Towers
  • Demolished building
  • Overfilled and dirty garbage containers
  • Dead and badly trimmed tress
  • Military vehicles and checkpoints
  • Irregular demonstration of goods
  • Crossed over electric wires
  • Beggars and street sellers

Reasons

  • Administration and management reason
  • Business
  • Economic reasons
  • Cultural and Educational reasons

Effects

  • Sleep disruption
  • depression
  • bi-polar disease
  • narcolepsy
  • Decreased alertness and manual dexterity
  • Impaired memory and cognitive function
  • Irritability
  • Weakened immune system
  • anxiety,
  • hallucination
  • Increased incidence of breast and prostate cancer.

Reduction

  • Utilizing light sources of minimum intensity necessary to accomplish the light‘s purpose.
  • Turning lights off using a timer or manually when not needed.
  • Improving lighting fixtures, so that they direct their light more accurately towards where it is needed and with fewer side effects.
  • Adjusting the type of lights used, so that the light waves emitted are those that the light waves emitted are those that are less likely to cause severe light pollution problems.
  • Evaluating existing lighting plans, and redesigning some or all of the plans depending on whether existing light is actually needed.
  • Use night lighting only when necessary. Use only the amount of lighting required.
  • Direct the light downward, instead of horizontally. This will prevent light pollution from effecting nearby households.
  • Use low pressure sodium (LPS) light sources whenever possible. LPS lamp is one of the most energy-efficient light sources.

 

Area of study

The study area Nadia district of West Bengal, India has been chosen for the present study. Nadia is situated between 22º53″ and 24º11″ North latitude and 88º09″ and 88º48″ East longitude and about 390027 Sq Kms. in Area, this District is linear in shape with orientation of North-South. The District is Approximately 46 ft. above the mean sea level. The Tropic of Cancer divides the district in two parts. The geographical boundary of Nadia district comprises Bangladesh in the East, Bardhaman and Hugli district on the West, Murshidabad district on the North and North West and North 24 Parganas towards South and South East.

Methodology

The following steps and procedure adopted in conducting the study.

Research Design

In this study we used the descriptive method. The student needed an average 40 minutes to finish it. The data was used only for the purpose of this study.

Selection of sample

300 school students at higher secondary level from various higher secondary school of Nadia districts, West Bengal are used for collection of the random sample. Sample distribution is given below.

Sample distribution

Group                                                 Group

Stream

High Intelligence

Low Intelligence

Total

Boys student

Science

25

25

50

Girls student

Science

25

25

50

Boys student

Commerce

25

25

50

Girls student

Commerce

25

25

50

Boys student

Arts

25

25

50

Girls student

Arts

25

25

50

Total

 

150

150

300

 

Instrument

Data were collected with a quantitative data collection technique. Students answered the test paper questions. The test comprised 25multiple choice questions. The questionnaire covered with water pollution related issues.

Reliability of the Tool

For reliability of the tool, we used Test-retest method. Retest was taken after 25 days and the correlation is 0.83 (r=0.83).

Validity of the Tool

At the initial stage we choose 35 items for the questionnaire. After content validation 25items are drafted.

Maximum score

Each item has 2 marks. Total 25 x2 =50 marks.

Statistical Calculation

The data were analysed with the help of suitable statistical techniques like Mean, Standard Deviation and t-ratio.

Result

Group

Stream

n

Sum

Mean

SD

SE

t

p

At 0.05 level

Boys student

Science

50

1627

32.54

2.339

0.472

4.346

3.859E-5

Not significant

Girls student

Science

50

1510

30.2

2.989

0.423

Boys student

Commerce

50

1434

28.68

2.683

0.379

6.945

4.170E-10

Not significant

Girls student

Commerce

50

1206

24.12

3.788

0.535

Boys student

Arts

50

1229

24.58

2.433

0.344

7.399

4.742E-11

Not significant

Girls student

Arts

50

1051

21.02

2.377

0.336

 

The above table shows that the mean scores of environmental awareness in light pollution of science boys and girls students are 32.54 and 30.2, commerce boys and girls students are 28.68 and 24.12, and arts boys and girls students are 24.58 and 21.02 respectively. The observed t-values are greater than the theoretical t-value 1.97 at 0.05 level of significance. Hence, the null hypothesis is rejected and alternative hypothesis is accepted. Therefore, there is significant difference in light pollution awareness among science, commerce and arts students.

jyanti_1

The above cylindrical diagram shows that there exists different light pollution awareness in mean score among science, arts and commerce group of higher secondary students.

Findings

  • Science students are significantly higher than Arts and Commerce student about light pollution.
  • Commerce students are more aware than Arts students but low aware than Science student about light pollution.
  • Arts students are low aware than Science and commerce students about light pollution.
  • Commerce boys students are more aware than Commerce girls student about light pollution.
  • Boys students are more aware than girls student in Arts group about light pollution.
  • Boys students are more aware than girls student in Science group about light pollution.
  • Science girls students are more aware than commerce (Girls and boys both) and arts (Girls and boys both) students in light pollution awareness.

Recommendation

  • Timing regulation for video billboards and advertising signs
  • Shielded lighting fixtures for streetlights and spotlights
  • Light pollution as a civil offense in a court of law
  • Government permit required for installing video billboards
  • Light Fixtures Shielded and Properly Directed
  • Nighttime visual impacts are best addressed by avoiding “uplighting” or horizontal light and casting light onto private properties. It is most effective to point lights downward.

Summary

This research provides the students opinion about certain light pollution. Most importantly of all, amateur societies have been attempting for over ten years to educate local authorities, government, lighting retailers and the general public about the problems caused by light pollution. Light pollution has grown to such an extent that it threatens the remaining dark skies in the rural areas of or country. Astronomers have been joined by the campaign to protect rural area in an attempt to persuade government that education and exhortation alone are not enough to stem the swathe of light ruining the night sky for everyone.

Present study shows that there exists significant relationship about light pollution among the students of science, commerce and arts students of higher secondary school level. It was found that higher secondary students studying in science stream were better in awareness in light pollution in comparison to the higher secondary school studying in commerce and arts stream. There may be many reasons behind it and those reasons can also find out by the researcher. The study also reveals that there exist significant differences between awareness of light pollution among higher secondary student belonging to Arts, Science and Commerce group. All these conclusions are sufficient to prove the need to study the related to awareness in noise pollution. Motivation, awareness generation by Governmental and Non Governmental Organization is necessary. Involvement of mass media, organizes of fair and festival etc in this matter can sensitize the society about light pollution.

Limitation of the study

  • · The study was limited to a few schools.
  • · The sample of the study was restricted to 300 hundred students only.
  • · The research was limited only to Nadia District of West Bengal due to shortage of the time.
  • · The reliability of the awareness of light  pollution scale was determined only by test-retest method due to shortage of time
  • · Only the content validity of the scale was determined.
  • · The difference in the mean score of light  pollution awareness was found out only by t-test.

Suggestions for future study

  • The scale of awareness in light pollution can be standardized on the basis of large samples.
  • A similar study can be conducted by including larger samples from various schools of West Bengal or other state of India.
  • This work will be applicable on different college and university students.
  • Other independent variable like age, cast and region etc. will be considered for future study.
  • The study can be conducted upon common people not only the pupils.

Acknowledgement

I would like to offer my deepest sense of gratitude to the Education Department, Kalyani University for giving valuable suggestions and supervising the entire field work. I must acknowledge the great help of Head master of Different higher secondary School of Nadia District, West Bengal who gave permission to use their school for data collection. I offer special thanks to my family for doing this research work.

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