Sunday, 25 October 2015

COLLABORATIVE TEACHING LEARNING PRACTICES IN EDUCATION

“It is the long history of human kind (and animal kind) those who learn to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed”

                                                                                     Charles Darwin

Introduction
1.         A major part of a child’s formative and transformative years are spent with his teachers.  Teachers not only mould the ability of a child to learn but have a major impact on his behavioural and inquiry based abilities.  It is rightly said, “What a teacher writes on the blackboard of life, can never be erased.”Teaching is a calling, a commitment, much more than any profession.   A teacher’s job, today, is to take a bunch of live wires and see that they are well grounded.  Therefore, any person who dares to teach must never cease to learn.
Problem Statement 
2.         The paper will attempt to analyse ways and means of the following:-
(a)       How can we make teaching and learning practice more contemporary, meaningful and interesting by collaborative method so as to relate to the enthusiasm and energy level of young minds?
(b)       Examine options available to develop a collaborative curriculum which will develop the capability of teachers in the nation?
Objective
3.         The objectives of paper:-
(a)       To examine the present collaborative practices in Indian education system and critically analyze its pitfalls.
(b)       Creating meaningful metamorphosis in education by collaborative teaching learning practices.
(c)        Suggest a systematic framework for collaborative in-school and in-service teaching learning integrated training programme to best meet the present and future needs, by developing the needed competencies in education.
(d)       Develop a National Level Strategy to enhance the capabilities of teachers for collaborative teaching learning based on the need to understand and respond appropriately to educational needs in difficult conditions.

Present Collaborative Teaching Learning Methodology
4.         Present System.   The present day teaching learning system in India has come a long way and a large number of policy initiatives like Right to Education Act have provided impetus to elementary education and planted seeds of education in rural and less privileged sub urban areas.  However, certain pressing challenges at hand that hamper the proliferation of quality education need to be addressed.


5.         Pitfalls of Present Teaching Learning Methodology.   The present system is more lecture based with minimum importance been paid to open ended discussion, building of hypothetical situations and interventions.  As a result, we have teachers who go through their curriculum in a boring and routine manner and students pursuing rote learning as compared to deep understanding of the subject.

Meaningful Metamorphosis by Collaborative Teaching Learning Practices.

6.         Definition of Collaborative Teaching Learning Practices.  Collaborative Teaching Learning Practice is a style of direct interaction between at least two co-equal parties voluntarily engaged in shared decision making as they work towards a common goal.

7.         Need for Collaborative Teaching Learning Practices.   Often teachers are left to their devices, struggling to solve their instructional and/ or classroom management dilemmas.  For teachers, collegiality is the intellectual effort, they put forth to better themselves as a group to benefit their students.
8.         Defining Characteristics.
(a)       Voluntary.   It is voluntary by personal choice and not administratively mandated.  It is an in-formal partnership with colleagues.
(b)       Parity.   Teacher’s collaborating must believe that all individual’s contribution is valued equally.
(c)        Goal.  Although teachers may divide their labour when engaged in collaborative activities they must share responsibility accountability and resources leading to a clearly defined and common Goal.
9.         Implication of Collaborative Teaching Learning Practices :Teachers.     
(a)       Share Ideas, Feelings and Views.          Solicits the teachers’ ideas and feelings involves them in the teaching learning process by inviting them to share their experiences, discuss their ideas, and engage in problem-solving.
(b)       Set Goals and Agenda. Teacher’s goals and the training agenda which they pursue to achieve.
(c)        Evaluate and Feedbacks.           Teachers evaluate each session and incorporate their feedback into subsequent sessions. 
10.       Implication of Collaborative Teaching Learning practices : Students.  Collaborative teaching learning practices would have the following implication on students :-
(a)       Breaking Free.        We need to break free from ‘Stereotype’ and follow a more flexible system of teaching learning.
(b)       Interaction to Match the Enthusiasm and Energy Level.         Encourage sharp interventions and look forward to enhancement of inquisitiveness and responsiveness. 
(c)        Contemporary in Skill and Experience.               Teaching learning must be contemporary.  It should be a live experience, enhancing skills, which they need for their profession.
(d)       Interesting.     Teaching learning must be such that it is able to draw not only their attention but also of the student and make the topic interesting.
(e)       Collaborative Teaching Practices.    
(i)         Study of case studies and formulation  of best practices so as to initiate the teachers to achieve professional enhancement.
(ii)        Brainstorming to achieve realistic, practical and hands on solution to equip teachers with necessary crisis management skills.
(iii)       Sharing and gaining by equipping teachers in skill to plan and synchronise teaching methodologies and child behavior.
(f)        Social Competence.   Promoting social competence by praise and attention, managing misbehavior by using redirection, moving beyond discipline and self discipline to social and emotional regulations.
(g)       Collaborative Parents Involvement.      A teacher must always endeavour to involve the parents in the growth and learning of a child.  
(h)       Teacher Training Groups as Support Systems.     Peer learning among teacher can best be        achieved by the following:-
(i)         Nominating Programme Leaders.
(ii)        Mentors.        To overall supervise, teacher training, in a larger group, nominate mentors.
(iii)       Formulate class room technique by daily routine observation, mentor assigning and class management.
(iv)       Exposure to class function, school functions, interactive sessions, seminars and exhibitions.
(v)        Improve emotional intelligence and tolerance level of teachers to handle slow learners.
Collaborative Training Programme

11.       Collaborative Tasks.  A collaborative training programme needs to develop the following four collaborative tasks:-
(a)          Team Meetings.
(b)          Planning.
(c)          Teamwork.
(d)          Personal and Team Satisfactions.

12.       Explicit Skills Facilitating Collaborative Tasks.         The explicit skills that facilitate development of the above four collaborative tasks are as given below:-


Collaborative Tasks
Required Skills or Traits
Team Meetings.
Process Skills

·             Team Meeting Protocols.  Agendas, minutes and time management.
·             Decision Making Skills.  Consensus, fairness, trust, avoiding-groupthink, adversial approaches, coercion and continued collegiality, assigning team roles, setting team goals, setting team rules.
·             Individual Skills.  Commitment to the team, accountability, feedback, communication skills, conflict management skills and self evaluation skills.

Planning.
Curriculum Skills

·             Knowledge.
·             Communication.
·             Creative.
·             Negotiation.
·             Team Management.
Level of Teamwork.
Management Skills

·             Support team.
·             Decision making.
·             Backup.
·             Protecting.

Personal and Team Satisfaction.
Performance Skills

·             Recognising and acknowledging the success of others.
·             Celebration of individual and whole team achievements.


13.       In-School and In-Service Teaching Learning Integrated Training   Programme.     A suggested systematic framework for collaborative in-school and               in-service teaching learning integrated training programme contain the following six programmes:- 
(a)          Programme One.  Importance of teacher attention, encouragement and praise.
(b)          Programme Two.  Motivating children through incentives.
(c)           Programme Three.  Preventing behaviour problems – the proactive teacher.
(d)          Programme Four.  Decreasing student’s inappropriate behaviour.
(e)          Programme Five.  Building positive relationships with students.
(f)            Programme Six.   How to teach social skills, problem solving and anger management in the classroom.

14.       Content and Objectives Of the In-School and In-Service Teaching Learning Integrated Training Programme. The contents and objectives of the In-School and In-service Teaching Learning Integrated Training Programme are as follows:-



Content

Objectives
Program One : The Importance of Teacher Attention, Encouragement, and Praise.
·       Using praise and encouragement more effectively.
·       Building children’s self-esteem and self-confidence by teaching children how to praise themselves.
·       Understanding the importance of general praise to the whole group as well as individual praise.
·       Knowing the importance of praising social and academic behaviours.
·       Recognizing common traps.
·       Using physical warmth as a reinforce.
·       Providing nonverbal cues of appreciation.
·       Doubling the impact of praise by involving other school personnel and parents.
·       Helping children learn how to praise other and enjoy others’ achievements.

Program Two : Motivating Children Through Incentives.

·       Understanding why incentives are valuable teaching strategies for children with behaviour problems.
·       Understanding ways to use an incentive program for social problems such as noncompliance, inattentiveness, uncooperativeness and hyperactivity as well as for academic problems.
·       Setting up individual incentive programs for particular children.
·       Using group or classroom incentives.
·       Designing programs that have variety and build on the positive relationship between the teacher, child and parent.
·       Using incentives in a way that fosters the child’s internal motivation and focuses on the process of learning rather than the end product.
·       Providing unexpected rewards.
·       Appreciating the importance of involving parents in incentive programs.

Program Three : Preventing Behavior Problems – The Proactive Teacher.
·       Preparing children for transitions.
·       Establishing clear, predictable classroom rules.
·       Using guidelines for giving effective commands or instructions.
·       Identifying unclear, vague, and negative commands.
·       Understanding the value of warnings and helpful remainders, especially for distractible and impulsive children.
·       Engaging children’s attention.
·       Using nonverbal signals not cues for communication.
·       Recognizing the need for ongoing monitoring and positive attention.


Content
Objectives
Program Four : Decreasing Students’ Inappropriate Behavior.
·       Knowing how to redirect and engage children.
·       Knowing how and when to ignore inappropriate response from children.
·       Using verbal and nonverbal cues to reengage off-task children.
·       Understanding the importance of reminders and warnings.
·       Using guidelines for setting up Time Out in the classroom.
·       Avoiding common mistakes in using Time Out.
·       Handling common misbehaviours such as impulsivity, disengagement, noncompliance, tantrums, and disruptive behaviours.
·       Using the colour cards system.
·       Recognizing when to use logical consequences or removal of privileges as discipline.
Program Five : Building Positive Relationships With Students.
·       Building positive relationships with difficult students.
·        Showing students you trust and believe in them.
·       Fostering students’ sense of responsibility for the classroom and their involvement in other students’ learning as well as their own.
·       Giving students choices when possible.
·       Teaching students how to ask for what they want in appropriate ways.
·       Fostering listening and speaking skills between students.
·       Teaching students how to problem solve through role-plays and examples.
·       Promoting positive self-talk.
·       Implementing strategies to counter students’ negative attributions.
·       Promoting positive relationships with students’ parents.
Program Six : How to Teach Social Skills, Problem Solving and Anger Management in the Classroom.












·       Helping increase children’s awareness of different feelings and perspectives in social situations.
·       Building children’s emotional vocabulary.
·       Understanding how to help children identify a problem and to generate possible solutions.
·       Helping children learn to think ahead to different consequences and to different solutions and how to evaluate the most effective solutions.
·       Helping children recognize their anger and learn ways to manage it successfully.
·       Using puppets to present hypothetical problem situations such as being teased, bullied or isolated by other children.
·       Providing small-group activities to practice friendship, group entry, play and problem-solving skills.
·       Helping children learn how to use friendly talk such as giving compliments, providing suggestions, offering apologies, asking for help and sharing ideas and feelings.
·       Helping children learn classroom behaviour such as listening, quiet hand up, cooperating and following teacher’s directions.


INTEGRATED TRAINING PROGRAMME 

State Level Strategy to Develop Capability of Teachers by Collaborative curriculum  

15.       The state level strategy to develop capability of teachers is as follows :-
(a)       Set Up Stage (State Level).
(i)         School self assessment and goal setting.
(ii)        Teachers’ team formation.
(iii)       Structured support for teacher team facilitators.
(b)       Kick Starting Stage (School Level).
(i)         Examine Students work.
(ii)        Examine Teacher work.
(iii)       Define Instructional Strategy and set goals.
(iv)       Implement Instructional Strategy.
(v)        Monitor students progress.
(vi)       Revise and repeat Inquiry Cycle.
(c)        Networking Stage (District Level).
(i)         Action to build teacher and school capacity at state level.
(ii)        Reflect on Teacher Team’s results and examine for changes (with teachers assuming leadership role).
(iii)       Analyse school capacity and plan for state wise upgrade.
(d)       Sharing Stage (State Level).        In order to ensure maximum proliferation of quality education in the State make optimum use of the existing information technology expertise and infrastructure to have a multiplier effect.

National Level Strategy to Develop Capability of Teachers

16.       General.  Indian’s Educational System is a stumbling block towards its objective of being a developed country and achieving inclusive growth.  The Indian Education System is poor in quality, weak infrastructure and inadequate pedagogic attention leading to wide income inequalities and affecting the quality of human capital.  A national level collaborative capability building strategy for teachers needs to be formulated and a plan defined to achieve country wide higher capability level of teachers.
17.       Scope of Strategy. The collaborative national capability building strategy for teachers training must include the following:-
(a)       Length of Spectrum.        Must cover the complete spectrum of teachers at K-12 courses.
(b)       Complete Country: Remote Corners.     Reach the length and breadth of the complete country adequately with a mix of peer collaborative interactions, class room learning and distance teaching by general use of intimate informal interaction and information technology.
(c)        Access and resources for continuous learning.       Extrapolate teachers to integrate technology into their staff development especially in rural areas.       Provide every teacher access to broadband to learn, update and finally issues instructions to the students.
(d)       Propotional Release of Funds to Bridge Educational Gap.  Explore creating ways to fund educational opportunities so as to narrow the gap between rich and poor schools by budget restructuring, leasing and multi-year technology innovation funds.
(e)       Low Cost Aids.  Consider the use of Radio and Television to communicate new teaching methods and updating of content to teachers in remote areas.  Use of printed materials for initial training finally graduating to digital contents.
(f)        Digital Content Move finally towards more of digital content by integrating data system, low level technology innovation, real time update, assessment and feedbacks.
(g)       Monitoring.   Regular monitoring, supervision and follow up are critical.  Mid course correction may be the order of the day to ensure the successful implementation of the strategy.
Challenges for Collaborative Teaching Learning Curriculum
18.       National / State Level.  The main challenges at National / State level are as follows :-
(a)       Mindset of policy makers / stakeholders.
(b)       Funding.
(c)        Difficulty to work with diverse sets of organization.
(d)       Lack of clear shared vision, direction and focus.
(e)       Shortage of teacher training institutes.
(f)        Resources to redesign curriculum.
19.       School Level.    The main challenges at school level are :-
            (a)       Lack of sense of ownership.
            (b)       Attitudinal reorientation.
(c)        Leaderlessness -  When everyone is encouraged to lead the end result is that no one does.
(d)       Sameness -   Too many collaborate teams adopt rigid standards and impose upon themselves, foreclosing deviation.
(e)       Group Think.
(f)        Increased and competition among groups.
(g)       Time constraint.
(h)       Limited resources.
(j)         Staff turnover in key positions.


20.       Desirable End State for Collaborative Teaching Learning Curriculum : Teachers.
(a)       ‘Empower’ teachers so that they feel confident about their     teaching skills and their ability to respond to new situations that may     arise.
(b)       It also reminds them that they have powerful supports in the             other teachers in the school and encourages them to make     continued      use of these links between and even beyond training sessions.
(c)        Collaborate in problem-solving, to express their appreciation for each other, and cheer each other's successes in tackling difficult problems.  They also learned to share their feelings of guilt, anger, and depression, as well as experiences that involve their own mistakes or misbehavior from their students.
(d)       Creates a climate of trust, making the group a safe place for teachers to bring their problems.
(e) Encourages debate and alternative viewpoints, treating all viewpoints with respect. 
21.       Desirable End State for Collaborative Teaching Learning Curriculum : Students.

(a)       Accelerate Quality of Education.
(b)       Students in classrooms where teachers participated in the program are less aggressive, less noncompliant, more pro-social and more engaged in classroom activities.
            (c)        More positive discipline strategies in student behaviour.
(d)       Enhance the social and academic development of all children to prevent behaviour problems.
(e)       Attention to other’s point of view.
(f)        Presuming positive pre-suppositions through trust.
(g)       Balance between advocacy and inquiry.
(h)       Enhance nature of probing and putting forward ideas.
(j)         Better used time.

Conclusion

22.       Teaching and learning are living, breathing and doing subject where there are no ready resource available in the forms of text or reference books that fits easily in this mould. But as always, teachers have to rise stoutly to the occasion and come up with remarkable ideas to turn our young minds into contributing citizens.

            “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”

                                                                                                            Helen Keller

Rupa Chauhan

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