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Abang Kamaruddin Bin Nasron

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Teacher¶s Perceptions & Attitudes Towards The Availability and Usefulness of Teaching Resources in Schools

Abang Kamaruddin Bin Nasron Batu Lintang Teacher College, Kuching, Sarawak.

Introduction Teaching resources are one of the factors which contributes to a successful lesson. They play an important role in providing students what their learning should cover and what they should know and learn (Araya, 2007). As for teachers, teaching resources are their powerful teaching tools. They not only help to stimulate students¶ interests, but also confirm their understanding of the content delivered; thus, teaching and learning for teachers becomes smooth and productive. Realising the importance of teaching resources for teachers, this research is conducted to collect data on what perceptions and attitudes teachers have towards the availability and usefulness of teaching resources in schools. This research will examine the report on teachers¶ responses on the availability of teaching resources in schools and how are they useful for them. This is an important area to research because the findings will help not only teachers as the ones who are in needs of resources, but also the school leaders and the government who manage the availability and allocation of teaching resources in schools. Apart from that, this research is essential for teacher¶s development towards better providing students with effective and sufficient teaching resources and supports.

Problem Statement

Although teaching resources are significantly productive for teachers as teaching tools, there is always a problem on the availability of those resources in schools. This might be the lacking element that not every school has been facing, but always teachers need to bear the consequences of the effects of having less resources to their teaching practices. Accordingly, a set of teachers¶ perceptions and attitudes towards the availability of teaching resources and their usefulness in schools are crucial for those responsible bodies who involve in education system.

Abang Kamaruddin Bin Nasron Significance of The Study

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This study is significant to be carried out especially for teacher education development and research. This is essentially due to the importance of the subject that will be researched ± teaching resources ± to the educators, not just in Malaysia, but also worldwide. In addition, there have been a lot of research carried out over the decades about the subject, and this would be another one that would add to the development of the discussion about teaching resources. Accordingly, the result of this study will be extremely crucial to education system especially in Malaysia since the country has always been putting efforts on improving its education system. This is particularly important to the leaders and the responsible bodies which continue to better work on the provision of teacher education for the country.

Research Questions

The following research questions will guide this research: 1. What types of teaching resources are available in Malaysian primary classrooms? 2. What are the perceptions and attitudes that teachers have towards the availability and usefulness of teaching resources in schools? 3. What are the problems teachers have to face regarding the usage and availability of teaching resources in schools?

Abang Kamaruddin Bin Nasron Literature Review

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There are a few studies which have been conducted regarding teachers¶ perceptions and attitudes towards the availability and usefulness of teaching resources in schools. Most of them have come out with similarities in findings; yet, a few have different, but significant findings which have made the discussion even more interesting and productive as a research topic.

Hanson & Carlson (2005) have conducted a research on teachers¶ use of digital resources in the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM); they found that teachers perceived technology as a teaching resource which ³enhances STEM instruction, providing resources for individual students as well as for the whole class, and serves as a means to address individual learning needs´ (p.16). This exemplifies how digital resources could be productive teaching tools which not only benefit the teachers, but only the students who are exposed to those tools in class. For instance, a teacher from a rural area school has positively commented on how useful is technology for rural area students; she claims that µThe Web¶ opens up students¶ perspectives of the world, realizing that the students have not quite often been exposed to the world outside their remote area (Hanson & Carlson, 2005).

Another study by Bortbar (2010), likewise, emphasizes teachers¶ attitudes towards the integration of technology into language learning. Using English teachers as the respondents, the researcher found out that most respondents were positive about the fact that computers are effectively productive educational tools. They also agreed that computers ³save time and effort, motivate students to do more study, enhance students¶ learning, are fast and efficient means of getting information´ (p.41). These findings have definitely added to the positive influences that technology, as a teaching resource, has towards teaching and learning process.

Technology as a teaching resource has also been appreciated as a means to stimulate students¶ interests. Hanson and Carlson (2005) found that as the rural area µkids¶ have ³a myopic view of the world´ (p.16), the active use of technology would increase their interests and enhance teachers¶ teaching strategies as well. This is

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collectively done by teachers through the use of real-world examples and alternative perspectives which are ways to not only increase students¶ interests, but also

³energize the classroom activities and curriculum´ (p.16). Mohd Firdaus Bin Mohd Pauzi (2008), in his study on the effectiveness of teaching resources in the teaching of Living Skills, also found out that students realized that the availability and use of teaching resources help to stimulate their interests in the subject. They further claimed that those real resources made teaching and learning more interesting, and were practically reliable for real-life applications; these were reasons why their interests could be stimulated for learning the subject.

In spite of positive evaluations and comments came from teachers regarding teaching resources, there are still problems reported, yet, by teachers regarding the availability and usefulness of those resources in schools. One of the problems reported was the lack of resources available for students. A teacher from Hanson and Carlson¶s study claimed that there were little numbers of computers allocated for her school in which there were about 1400 students; also, she needed to compete for a projector on a daily basis. Cost was another issue raised (Hanson & Carlson, 2005; Lai Kim Leong, Khaw Ah Hong & Seah Ai Kuan, 2001.). Some teachers could not afford to pay for the subscriptions of good resources that were available online; this definitely would influence how teachers would go about their teaching plans, and, hence, affect what and how students would learn in the classroom.

Abang Kamaruddin Bin Nasron Method Participants

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In this research, a sample of 20 primary school teachers will be selected from a targeted population of 48. This research will be carried out using a random sample. The participants will be teachers from the lower primary school in Malaysia. This includes both male and female teachers with the age ranging from 25 years old to 50 years old. All selected participants will be treated equally that they will be given the same instrument for the research.

Instrument This research will be using a set of questionnaires in which there are four different sections; Section A, Section B, Section C, and Section D. Section A deals with respondents¶ backgrounds where they are to answer some questions about gender, marital status, age, basic income, formal education, periods of teaching, working experience, and teaching subjects. Section B explores the types of teaching resources used by respondents, while Section C attempts to collect data on teachers¶ perceptions towards teaching resources in schools. As trying to acknowledge the problems in the usage of teaching resources among teachers, Section D is designed with a set of µticked box¶ items from which the respondent deal with reasons of µusing¶ or µnot using¶ the materials related.

Data Collection

Procedures

The researchers will be carrying out a quantitative research where the data collected from the respondents will be analysed and put into percentages. Accordingly, a sample of twenty primary teachers will be selected using the random assignment method. The school will be earlier informed about the research. Next, the participants will be given a set of questionnaires to repond to. This will be carried out throughout

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the week, from Monday to Friday. Once the required data collected, they will be analysed and presented to the school as the outcome of the research.

Data Analysis

The collected data from the questionnaires will be analysed by percentages. Each of the item listed on each question will be calculated as a percentage; they will be analysed and scaled from the lowest to the highest percentage. The results, however, will be presented by Sections, excluding Section A; there will be a comparison chart to show the representation of the figures involved.

Reliability and Validity

In this research, there are some internal treats to validity; History, Instrumentation, and Selection Biases. For History, some participants might have been used to using particular teaching resources which they find effective for their teaching practice; they tend to neglect other resources, although there are other resources available for them. This situation might have influenced their responses to the items.

(1521 words)

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References

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Hanson, K. & Carlson, B. (2005). Effective access: Teachers¶ use of digital resources in STEM teaching. Retrieved on January 20, 2012 from

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