ISSN-2231 0495

Hindi

Catering to the Needs of Highly Active Learners

Catering to the Needs of Highly Active Learners 

Rakesh Kumar

Assistant Professor

MV COLLEGE OF EDUCATION,

University of Delhi.

Abstract

There is no doubt that textbook material if properly planned can serve as a reference for learners. The chapters in the textbook can be useful as summaries of hands on experiences. For hands on experience the textbook can become a pre-reading exercise. The textbook chapters can provide information both for the use before and after the activities. The teacher can complement the text with activities and illustrate the underlying concepts. In the science classroom based upon hands on activities approach, the whole process is demanding on both the teacher and the learner, noisy and hectic, energetic and localised and most importantly it is unpredictable. More so with the highly active learners putting their energies in a way teacher is not able to channelize. In the case of highly active learners most of the approaches and strategies seem to feel when the diversity in the pace of learning becomes unmanageable for the teacher. The present study is based on the context of highly active learners in informal learning environments framework. The data collected in the study reveals that the range is 1.55 for which minimum value is .25 and maximum value is 1.80. It shows a very-very high difference between minimum and maximum value. The mean is 1.2367 which means most of the teachers agree that they catered to the needs of highly active learners while some strongly agree with it and it can also be seen in the graph. Standard deviation is .39739 which indicates that most of the teachers scored between .83 and 1.63. Skewness is -.608 which is highly negatively skewed i.e. the number of low scorers are much more than the number of high scorers. In the probability curve drawn in the study we can see that the left tail is longer than the right one which indicates negative Skewness. Kurtosis is .071 with standard error .833 which shows that the distribution is slightly Leptokurtic. More action orientation may have increased the numbers of highly active learners in the classroom. In this context the study concludes that the pre-service teachers do not perceive to have catered to the needs of highly active learners. And therefore, even in informal environments designed especially for science learning the expected attention to highly active learners had not been possible to the extent expected by the pre-service teachers from themselves.


Key Words: Culture of Science, Highly active learners, Role of textbooks, Science classrooms, Pre-service science teacher education, learning strands 



Introduction:

There is no doubt that textbook material if properly planned can serve as a reference for learners. The chapters in the textbook can be useful as summaries of hands on experiences. For hands on experience the textbook can become a pre-reading exercise. The textbook chapters can provide information both for the use before and after the activities. The teacher can complement the text with activities and illustrate the underlying concepts. In the science classroom based upon hands on activities approach, the whole process is demanding on both the teacher and the learner, noisy and hectic, energetic and localised and most importantly it is unpredictable. More so with the highly active learners putting their energies in a way teacher is not able to channelize. This unpredictability which is inherent in scientific discoveries is difficult to achieve in text teaching. In contrast text teaching is repeatedly easy, unchallenging, full of discipline and predictable. This makes text teaching filled with boredom and examination anxiety. Therefore, we can interpret that hands on inquiry and text teaching present fundamentally different believes about how learners learn, what should be learnt, what should be assessed and how it should be assessed. In this context we need to evaluate and reflect upon the role of text book in science teaching. Moreover we identify the individual differences in the classroom settings. While we theoretically accept the need and importance of giving individualised attention to all the learners of the classroom, the highly active learners are the ones who suffer the most negligence on the part of the teachers.

(Brandwein, 2010) contended that Perhaps, the family-school-community, college-university, and cultural ecosystems would contribute to the brilliance of the world if, in their interconnectedness, they would lend their collaborative resources to all young who aspire and are capable of achieving. Then, students who acquire the trained intelligence—in whatever capacity—desiring to enter the sciences prized in the United States would fulfil their powers in the pursuit of excellence. And, as they shaped their own opportunities, they would begin to define their self-concepts as well. They would know, from the beginning, that the massive achievements characterizing scientific research generally result from the works of scientists in all categories: From artisan to novice to eminent scientist. According to (Zubrowski, 2009), this undervaluing of explorations is also seen in the practice of some teachers when utilizing these kinds of materials – there is a strong tendency to move quickly to introduce terminology such as pressure if they were leading an activity with siphons. According to this view, defining terms and giving definitions is where the real teaching happens. Although this may be an oversimplification of the intent of curriculum materials and teaching practice, there is still the legacy of past practices that for many years has emphasized the importance of the text over experience. Some call this a transmission model of instruction. This approach to teaching was seen with student teachers in an undergraduate methods course I taught. They demonstrated the adage that you teach the way you were taught. These students wrote their lesson plans centred on the introducing and elaborations of definitions of scientific words even before there was any experience with the materials. This was their vision of what science teaching was about.

Conceptualisations place in the classrooms or construction of mental models is a prerequisite. (M.C. Núñez-Oviedo & Rea-Ramirez, 2008) put it this way. New vocabulary and conceptualizations describe teaching strategies that foster teacher-student co-construction of mental models in large group discussions of complex topics. We will focus in particular on an overall teaching strategy called Model Evolution that emerged from detailed analyses of videotaped lessons and protocols with middle school students in the area of human respiration. Model Evolution is a teacher-student interaction process through which students restructure their initial ideas to produce successive intermediate models, until, hopefully, reaching the target model for the lesson. The Evolution process utilizes several sub-processes, such as Element Disconfirmation, Element Confirmation, and Model Modification, and we present diagrammatic models of their contributions. These vocabulary terms and conceptualizations will be used to examine two examples of large group discussion in which concepts of circulation and diffusion are built. Our long-term goal is to make these implicit modes of teaching explicit, so that teachers are more aware of them. This will provide teachers with new and important strategies for fostering model construction.

Linked in the classroom settings with textbooks, a simple observation of the curriculum at different levels will reveal that the role of science textbook is different for different grades. As the learners become older, that is when we go from middle to high school level, textbooks play a greater role in terms of providing more information and conceptual understanding in them. At middle school levels, the textbooks provide more hands-on activities then conceptual information. Whereas at high school level is, the textbook provides more information on conceptual understanding then providing hands on experiences. At high school level the textbooks can be seen as providing minds on experiences. Thus, at middle and high school levels, the role of science textbook may be seen in terms of reinforcing what the learners have learnt through hands on minds on experiences in the science classroom and imbibed through the discussions thereon. On the other way around, hands on minds on experiences can be used to reinforce what the learners have read in the text book. Thus hands on minds on experiences and text book material can be seen as complementary to each other. This integration of hands on minds on experiences and textbooks can be used to foster curiosity and create motivation, understanding of the relationship of concepts, developing problem-solving strategies, appropriate learning skills and lab skills. In the case of highly active learners all these approaches and strategies seem to feel when the diversity in the pace of learning becomes unmanageable for the teacher.

Need and Significance:

The above discussion of the role of textbook brings forth the argument that textbooks becomes worthless in the absence of hands on minds on possibilities for the learners who are highly active. Teachers using only a textbook in their science classroom will keep on wondering why the learners lack the motivation to learn. In this argument the inherent significance of the influence of beliefs about learning paradigms of individual teachers has emerged. Ultimately, the optimal utilisation of resources depends upon choices and constraints presented to the teacher. The teachers’ values and reflective practices, innovative attempts, eagerness to empower the learners may help in developing the integration of hands on minds on experiences and textbooks. Lack of time for hands on minds on activities in science classroom has been mentioned by many teachers as a constraint. This leads the teacher into covering the text from the textbooks so that the syllabus can be covered in time. In order to create opportunities for hands on minds on its lenses for learners, the teachers can identify core concepts from the textbooks and integrate by selecting appropriate activities with them. For this purpose locally available materials may be very useful. In the context of highly active learners in informal learning environments framework may be tried out.

(Bell, Lewenstein, Shouse, & Feder, 2009) proposed a “strands of science learning” framework that articulates science-specific capabilities supported by informal environments. It builds on the framework developed for K-8 science learning in Taking Science to School (Duschl, Schweingruber, & Shouse, 2007). “That four-strand framework aligns tightly with the Strands 2 through 5. They have added two additional strands—Strands 1 and 6—which are of special value in informal learning environments. The six strands illustrate how schools and informal environments can pursue complementary goals and serve as a conceptual tool for organizing and assessing science learning. The six interrelated aspects of science learning covered by the strands reflect the field’s commitment to participation—in fact, they describe what participants do cognitively, socially, developmentally, and emotionally in these settings. Learners in informal environments:

Strand 1: Experience excitement, interest, and motivation to learn about phenomena in the natural and physical world.

Strand 2: Come to generate, understand, remember, and use concepts, explanations, arguments, models, and facts related to science.

Strand 3: Manipulate, test, explore, predict, question, observe, and make sense of the natural and physical world.

Strand 4: Reflect on science as a way of knowing; on processes, concepts, and institutions of science; and on their own process of learning about phenomena.

Strand 5: Participate in scientific activities and learning practices with others, using scientific language and tools.

Strand 6: Think about themselves as science learners and develop an identity as someone who knows about, uses, and sometimes contributes to science (Bell et al., 2009)”.

The present study is based on the context of highly active learners in informal learning environments framework. In this framework pre-service teachers designed science experiences for the learners based upon the requirement from the learner to be an active participant in the teaching-learning processes. Thus more action orientation may have even increased the numbers of highly active learners in the classroom.

Research Methodology

Research Questions and Objective

The following question is the focus:

How do science teachers perceive their natural dispositions towards catering to the needs of highly active learners as a part of the teaching-learning processes?

The study has focused on the following objective:

“Exploring teaching learning contexts in science classrooms, with special reference to catering to the needs of highly active learners as a part of the teaching-learning processes”.

Methodology, sample and tools:

Methodology:

Reflections on his own experiences in the area of science education and review of related literature the researcher in developing some understanding in the area of developing teaching-learning processes in science. These also resulted in some questions that needed further probing. In order to probe those questions, the researcher developed a comprehensive tool to explore various issues concerned with the teaching-learning processes in the science classrooms. This tool was used for understanding the science classrooms of 38 pre-service science teachers. 8 of these science teachers did not respond and as a result, feedback was received from 30 pre-service science classrooms. Feedback responses from 592 lessons delivered by these 30 pre-service science teachers were analysed in this study. The study also contributed towards giving the science teachers. Some feedback on the interpretations and reflections done by the participants. Two days were dedicated for reflections and discussions, and the days were devoted for resolving any problems faced by the teachers in the process of analysis and reflection.

Sample

Total 38 Pre-Service Science teachers participated from two B.Ed. colleges each from 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. First College had 8 participants and second college had 30 participant Teachers. Of these 38 participants twelve were males and 26 were females. From this group fourteen teachers were teaching class sixth, eleven were teaching class seventh, nine were teaching class eight and four were teaching class ninth. 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 present study questionnaire prepared by the researcher was used along with observations and unstructured interviews were used to enrich the data. The questionnaire was designed in the form of self- appraisal consisting of both open ended and close ended questions that can be analysed quantitatively and qualitatively both. The questionnaire design for the purpose was collected by school teachers, feel experts, and colleagues in the teacher education institutions. Some issues related to the vagueness of language formatting style, etc. were resolved in the process. This increased the authenticity of the questionnaire.

Analysis of Data

The schedule of self-assessment response, actually contained 26 items, and also had the choice of answering in terms of disagree, agree, and strongly agree. These three categories of choices are further given the marks of zero, one and two respectively. These responses in the form of marks of zero, one and two were provided as the feedback to the science teachers from the analysis. Also these responses were then collected on the Microsoft Excel sheet for the duration of overall school time interaction program of all the participating pre-service science teachers. Thus the average score of one specific teacher was obtained. And the average scores of these 30 teachers were entered in separate Excel sheet for further analysis of their responses on the items in the questionnaire. Graphs in the form of histogram and probability curve were plotted and analysed for providing pictorial ideas of the feedbacks from the learners. The descriptive which been calculated are Max, Min, Mean, Std. Deviation, Range, Kurtosis and Skewness.

Findings

Table 1 shows the average scores of several teachers on the feedback schedule related to the Component “Catered to the needs of highly active learners” of the teaching-learning environment in damage of Teachers' Self-Assessment. The evaluation, interpretation and appropriate graphical descriptions had been used 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: Catered to the needs of highly active learners

table_1


Table 2 - Properties of undefined variables in the Table 1

table2


Figure 2 - Individual average score of different respondents on the item ‘Catered to the needs of highly active learners’

figure_1


Figure 2 - Grouped average score of different respondents on the item ‘Catered to the needs of highly active learners’

figure_2

At a glance:


Mean: 1.2367

Standard Deviation: .397

Range of 1 Standard Deviation: (.83 - 1.63)

Skewness: -.608

Kurtosis: .071

Analysis and Interpretation:

The range is 1.55 for which minimum value is .25 and maximum value is 1.80. It shows a very-very high difference between minimum and maximum value. The mean is 1.2367 which means most of the teachers agree that they catered to the needs of highly active learners while some strongly agree with it and it can also be seen in the graph. Standard deviation is .39739 which indicates that most of the teachers scored between .83 and 1.63. Skewness is -.608 which is highly negatively skewed i.e. the number of low scorers are much more than the number of high scorers. We can also see in the graph that the left tail is longer than the right one which indicates negative Skewness. Kurtosis is .071 with standard error .833 which shows that the distribution is slightly Leptokurtic.

Conclusion:

In traditional science learning frameworks, textbooks are especially useful in re-emphasising the objectives of teaching and standardising the teaching-learning processes across situations in the diverse national environments. In this context clarity of content in the textbooks helps the teacher in yearly planning of the teaching-learning processes conveniently. The sequence outlines of the content and processes of science to be undertaken by the teachers in the science classroom can be easily developed from a well-structured science textbook. We can observe an increased incorporation of hands on minds on approach in the science textbooks. Yet we are away from emphasising higher level skills like classifying, inferring, theorising, generalising, hypothesising and predicting. Not to repeat but to emphasise, the present study is based on the context of highly active learners in informal learning environments framework based on our contemporary understanding of educational processes. In this framework pre-service teachers designed science experiences for the learners based upon the requirement from the learner to be an active participant in the teaching-learning processes. Thus more action orientation may have even increased the numbers of highly active learners in the classroom. In this context the study concludes that the pre-service teachers do not perceive to have catered to the needs of highly active learners. And therefore, even in informal environments designed especially for science learning the expected attention to highly active learners had not been possible to the extent expected by the pre-service teachers from themselves.

References:

  • Bell, P., Lewenstein, B., Shouse, A. W., & Feder, M. A. (2009). Learning Science in Informal Environments: People, Places, and Pursuits. Washington, D.C.: THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS.
  • (pp. 243–259). London, New York: Springer Dordrecht Heidelberg. http://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-2528-9
  • Duschl, R. A., Schweingruber, H. A., & Shouse, A. W. (2007). Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8. (H. A. Richard A. Duschl & E. Schweingruber, and Andrew W. Shouse, Eds.)Social Sciences. Washington, D.C.: THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS.
  • M.C. Núñez-Oviedo, J. C., & Rea-Ramirez, M. A. (2008). Developing Complex Mental Models in Biology Through Model Evolution. In John Clement & M. A. Rea-Ramirez (Eds.), Models and Modeling in Science Education-Model Based Learning and Instruction in Science. Springer.
  • . Dordrecht Heidelberg London New York: Springer Dordrecht Heidelberg. http://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-2496-1



 

Login Form

Notice Board