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OF THEORY INTO PRACTICE Darvesh Karim, Instructor, Aga Khan University, Professional Development Centre North (PDCN) Gilgit INTRODUCTION Being from a rural and a backward context and having been exposed to the teachercentered teaching methods during my schooling period and afterwards in my own initial teaching career with the traditional concept: “a teacher‟s role is to deliver a moral, pass on knowledge and skills, and help students solve puzzles,” (Confucius). In other words, my teaching methods in the classroom were naturally traditional as I had adopted a teacher-centered academic style from my past. This academic teaching style is characterized by teaching techniques of grammatical explanation and translation, and so is sometimes known as the 'grammar-translation method.' (Cook, 2000). Through this style, I believe I succeeded in delivering the necessary language knowledge as well as giving cultural information to my students for almost ten years of my teaching career. Furthermore, as a teacher, before the class, I sometimes use to prepare my lessons very carefully and thoroughly. In the class, I did my best to pass on as much knowledge as possible to my students. Once I fulfilled the syllabus‟s requirements, I was satisfied and my superiors were also satisfied. Hence I believed that I was a good and responsible teacher. Such a situation remained until my selection for Masters in Education at Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development Karachi where I studied different approaches of modern teaching learning processes, specifically the Action Research theory and practice for which I could say a paradigm shift in my understanding occurred. However; I understand that university studies only draw a thin line towards school development, while the whole road has to be constructed when we practically involve in school development initiatives.
Management and Administration Head Teacher has a clear vision for school and high expectations.Professional Development Centre. The centre and focus of change in the program is the „child‟. manages finance. (Shafa. head teacher. inviting and attractive. Children and teachers take pride in their environment and maintain high standard. North (AKU-IED-PDCN) which is an institute totally dedicated for the capacity building of all the stakeholders of schools with a special focus on teachers. Parents are involved in their children‟s learning. Leadership. manages finance. While initiating the quality mechanisms for school development Quality of Teaching and Learning Teachers have high expectation of pupil‟s achievement. It is effectively used Resources. lesson plans and evaluation procedures. During the first year of my practical work I was assigned a very significant task to run Whole School Improvement Program (WSIP) in a private school of Gilgit from my institution Aga Khan University . Moral and Spiritual Development of Student and Health Education. demonstrates instructional leadership. HT communities effectively. and show respect towards each other ad all members of the school community . They use appropriate text books. display and resources for teaching and learning. WSIP is the major program which is also called the flagship program of PDCN. parents. Students and teachers collaborate. material and financial resources are utilized to achieve the objective that is holistic development of the child. They have clear objectives. Standards of student‟s behavior and discipline are exemplary. with the long term aim of development and effective group dynamics and collegiality amongst teachers. and policy making. supports teachers and visit them in class. In other words all mechanism of the school machinery simultaneously takes part for a proper functioning of the school system.Institute for Educational Development . teachers. shares responsibilities. 2011). Community Participation Parents and community are involved in the work of the school. They take risks and are not afraid to make mistakes. Karim & Alam. There are good displays of children‟s work and other materials. so that quality education and conducive learning environment and opportunities could be provided to the students of Gilgit-Baltistan. community and senior management of the system contribute their complementary or interdependent roles in improving quality of education in schools. Children are active learners and do sustained work. Quality of Education Improving Opportunities for Children to learn The project school which was assigned to me to run WSIP during the academic session 2009 – 2010 for one year school based rigorous input and two years follow-up support was a private girls‟ high school in district Gilgit. They co-operate and collaborate with head teacher and teaching staff. cooperative and keen to tale responsibility. Students are well behaved. School organizes regular meetings and classes for the community. provides for staff development. including the library. are adequate and easily accessible. Building. plans a head and keep good records. I re-joined the practical field of teaching and learning and I began my journey as a professional teacher-researcher with an esteemed university‟s offsite campus in a remote area of Gilgit-Baltistan. Among other courses of AKU-IED-PDCN. All the stakeholders such as students. supports teachers and visit them in class. work collaboratively with parents and community. They are highly motivated. demonstrates instructional leadership. work collaboratively with parents and community. provides for staff development. Accommodation and Resources School environment is maintained. Social. eager to learn and show initiative. school management committee. plans a head and keep good records. The main principle of WSIP is to treat the school as a unit of learning rather than an individual. students and communities for the purposes of ongoing educational dialog and improvement. All human. Curriculum Development and Staff Development Head Teacher has a clear vision for school and high expectations. HT communities effectively. shares responsibilities. Parents and community share their skills with teachers and children.With a theoretical understanding and a thin line drowned by the university towards school development. head teachers and school management committees.
Community Participation It is well understood and researched that when we involve parents in education. many times overlooking the fact that school leadership is probably one of the most important kinds of leadership. Leadership and Management When it comes to leadership and management. Leadership and management skills are important in all walks of life. 2010). Efficient teachers use various means and ways to provide concrete and ample knowledge about the different topics to the students. my focus was on six major areas and with the full cooperation of all the teaching staff and the principal of the project school I intervened in an extensive action research project. the more intensively parents are involved in their children's learning. It uses to be a major pillar of WSIP and during the intervention phase. Building. Curriculum Enrichment and Staff Development Curriculum enrichment and staff development are the fundamental aspects of WSIP to ensure quality teaching and learning. Quality teaching is fundamental in the process of school improvement especially to enhance students‟ learning outcomes. So. and they use to integrate different resources and material to enrich curriculum and for better understanding of their students.through an extensive school development plan. the more beneficial are the achievements and their effects with a long-lasting impact (Karim. Accommodation and Resources . children's learning positively relates to higher achievements. many people think of either a business or team environment. Following six areas were the focus of my intervention. Quality of Teaching and Learning Improvement in quality of teaching and learning is the main focus of whole school improvement model. it digests a major chunk of time to mould the teaching learning processes towards the desired curve.
Moral Development and Health Education Social and moral development of children is the prime goal of improving schools to develop children as civilized and cooperative individuals of the society and WSIP‟s focus was also on this dimension of child development. resources and school building even the colour of the walls can affect whether the students and staff members who spend their days in the building perceive it as a place that enhances learning or as just another structure filled with desks and chairs. Change in the school timetable and lesson planning proved to be instrumental for addressing all students‟ learning needs teaching and learning with specific goals and developing interactive teaching and learning environment in classrooms. . I found that teachers accept our preaching for change when they see our strategies working effectively for student learning. Collective competitive environment increased the level of motivation for individual learning and group success. School system‟s high officials also applauded our interventions and positive results in the school. It helped to raise students‟ academic results in the annual examination. kept in mind about the shared space to accommodate computers and ensure accessibility as some classrooms were with larger strengths. Social Studies and Mathematics. further collaboration (planning.School facilities. implementation and assessing change) is required between PDCN and the partner organisation for more productive and sustainable impact in schools. Summarizing the overall achievements and the challenges faced can be listed down as follow. down to earth attitude to all stakeholders to make the process successful and leave a long lasting impact in the school and society. However. Likewise school surrounding landscape also plays a key role in providing a high-quality educational environment. Science. Social. I concluded the WSIP as an intensive and effective program for a holistic school improvement by focusing on its all six pillars. commitment. Hence while planning for this important pillar of WSIP. I as a professional development teacher required possessing and demonstrating profound level of subject competency. The WSIP process at the project school worked successfully in terms of developing teachers‟ content knowledge in English.
Students‟ confidence level has tremendously increased and they take very active part during lesson delivery by the teachers as well as when the visitors visit the school. In secondary section. pair work.KEY SUCCESSES 1. 5. and group presentations. 7. 6. I was successful to build a strong and respectful relationship with students as well as teachers. Only one student could not make it to qualify with one subject drop. greeting cards and the welcoming behaviour. Teachers have adopted these vibrant teaching methodologies enthusiastically because they have felt the students‟ learning outcomes and motivated responses in their classes. As a teacher. as in these focused classes we initiated the practices on regular basis. Teachers have developed a capacity to manage classrooms through group work. Teachers have developed a caring attitude towards students and corporal punishment has been totally abandoned. 2. Teachers are now on the way to develop a positive and strong relationship with students. Specifically in SSC-II examination overall result remained 94% and grades have also improved than the earlier board results. Teachers provide individual support to the students and most of the classes are now use to be focused on activity base teaching and peer assessment. through occasional gifts. Students‟ grades and pass percentage has been now improved. Students are confident now to write anything as they have been habitually and creatively write. 4. To respond the questions from the visitors most of the students raise their hand. which has been very prominently expressed through reflections of teachers as well as the students. 3. Mostly teachers stay back in school to complete the planning for the next day or to prepare the required material and teaching aids for the next day. This rapid change has also been brilliantly felt and expressed by the senior officials of school system who appreciated the efforts of PDCN and formally thanked for the WSIP intervention and the fabulous success in this regard. while students reflections and teachers reflection were very . While the rest of the school result remained high than the previous years. Teachers have adopted interactive methods of teaching and utilize sufficient time for lesson planning and classroom teaching and learning. which reflect whenever we visit the school. students have developed the capacity of creative writing and mental maths.
have been introduced and are in daily practice. 12. school and with the community as a whole. It can be now claimed without any hesitation that students are now sound ethically.much evident to prove that I was able to build a strong relationship and attachment with the students. 14. Teachers and students have developed a mutually respecting attitude. Distributed leadership concept is in practice effectively. while other opportunities to exercise the roles to boost up the leadership qualities are in place now. Students‟ handwriting and spelling has improved to a great extent which was weak before the intervention. socially and morally as a result of effective integration of reflective practices during lessons. He also gives rewards and gifts to the students in assembly to appreciate and encourage the performances of students. as on daily basis teachers take turns to lead the school as day teachers. Teachers and students are now more regular and punctual at school and classroom. attendance and punctuality record. Students‟ self-esteem has improved as a result of presentations. or during any task which involves the houses. teachers. student councillor. event incharges etc. a competition. Most of the students have developed a learning attitude and a spirit of team work has been extended. 9. individual responsibilities. 10. Behavioural problems are very much less now because of students‟ counselling and consistent practice of caring attitude by the teachers. respect and sharing ideas freely without the hesitation of being wrong. School culture has been changed towards mutual understanding. Physical environment is now comparatively cleaner and tidier and houses are now very actively involved in cleaning of their respective classes to get the praise from the teachers and management. 15. Head teacher keeps students‟ academic record in order to review teachers and students performance based on weekly and monthly tests along with the attitude record. section in-charges. 11. 8. freedom of asking questions for clarity and sharing ideas in classrooms as well as outside classrooms. 13. 16. . many responsibilities like house coordinators. Enrolment has increased from 410 to above 500. which can be observed while a group work. weekly workshop leaders.
not their own. (But this issue was overcome with the passage of time as I proved myself to be the part of their school not the guest and WSIP as their own program by motivating and taking all the concerned individuals into loop while initiating a new strategy). 21. however engaging the class is somewhat different than handling the class with the relevant subject. there used to be a long story and some failures or challenges too. My intervention in this school was of course not always „All is well‟ situation. 2. Teachers share content and plans with colleagues before going to classrooms. I had to face many challenges and hardships during the intervention. Teachers became sensitized of gender equity and equality after observing lady teachers at PDCN taking lead role during workshops. Behind every success. Teachers now share reflections with colleagues on their daily classroom practices in staff room. Now parents frequently visit school to meet the teachers to know about the progress of their children. Students‟ personal hygiene has improved due to weekly competitions and the awareness given through celebrating Global Hands washing Day and inviting LHV/Doctor as a guest speaker. meetings with mothers. Staffroom environment has been now transformed to academic discussions. 18. This was the problem with the Science subjects especially in class IX and consequently there was a weak result in class 9th as this . Parental involvement has been increased due to the effective intervention regarding community participation initiatives like parent teacher meetings. relevant subject teachers‟ shortage and classroom handling issues – this issue remained from the beginning till the end as some subject teachers were missing and I had to over burden the existing teachers. CHALLENGES 1. They were assuming WSIP as PDCN‟s program. Because. A short summary of challenges faced are listed below. Teachers‟ brain drain. students and teachers were reluctant to accept my presence and were treating me like some visitor or guest. 20. reflections and classroom experience sharing instead of general discussions and gossips. During the initial days of my intervention. to control the class I use to send an available teacher. invitation to parents during the events we celebrated in the school. who was absolutely supposed to control and maintain the discipline of class but not taking the class according to the subject. 19.17.
it becomes problematic as you don‟t have any option to choose or solution for this. because habitually teachers use to leave early on Fridays. they started to take interest and even showed willingness to lead the weekly sessions too. However as the time passed. the displays and leadership opportunities to students and teachers etc. However. Lack of cooperation from the system in terms of establishing computer lab and networking. and on a stage when I had already spent so much time on mentoring. in one way or the other teachers and students use to describe PDCN. many new and effective changes. Teachers were perhaps having over expectations from PDT as I felt that they were assuming our intervention would bring an abrupt change. while I perceive that change is a gradual process and it takes long time.class remained suffer for the whole year because of frequent change in Science subject teachers. 6. but the promise took a whole year to accomplish and till our exit from the face to face intervention. I worked closely with teachers for their professional development. Teachers were initially sceptical towards the change in the weekly workshops. he or she quits the job as it has been the practice in private schools. WSIP and the PDT in good and praising remarks. the conducive learning environment. the promise was not entertained. the discipline and motivation towards learning. 4. I strongly felt that the concerned system officials didn‟t like these remarks (It is just my feeling and might be wrong). so that we could be able to provide teachers as well as students access to the latest information and updates. . 7. We frequently asked for some financial assistance from the school system to hook-up all these computers in a network. Teachers with more working experience and age are difficult to change their beliefs and practices. 3. Secondly. newly emerged quality of teaching and learning in their school. The system officials never denied for the assistance. so that we could be able to get the access to the information highway (internet). They connect these remarks with their understanding and learning. I am confident to say that even within a limited time of one year a change is visible. while weekly workshops needed at least two additional hours of teachers‟ time. 5. Curriculum enrichment is a major pillar of WSIP and we made huge efforts to establish a computer laboratory in school by gathering all the displaced computers and out of order ones repaired. Whenever guests or the system top system officials visit school.
M.2012040102 Karim.145. International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Education (IJICTE). Karim. .8. (2011). Karachi.. and Why? International Journal of Business and Social Science Vol. 2. Unpublished master‟s thesis. WSIP is an extensive programme towards a total change in an educational institution. 20-32. Exploring Head and Deputy Headteachers‟ Attitude Towards Using Computers in Education. Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press. July 11). Dawn Islamabad. Beijing. Shafa. 21. (2009). 8(2).4018/jicte. “Second Language Learning and Language Teaching”.. (2000). S. Pakistan. D. Karim. The six major pillars are much broad to accomplish and achieve all the set targets and objectives within a short period of face to face interaction which is limited to five months only (excluding vacations). REFERENCES Cook. Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development. Accomplishment of all the six WSIP pillars was itself a major challenge. (2010. (2012). D. 16. What Works in Education in Pakistan. 132. Karim. D. V. and Alam. Parental involvement in education. pp. Exploring head and deputy head teachers’ attitude towards using computers in education. doi:10. D.