Participatory Action Research on Developing Pedagogical Content Knowledge Among Mechanical Engineering Lecturers

By Asst. Prof. Dr. Hanipah Hussin Center for Language and Human Development Universiti Teknikal Malaysia, Jalan Hang Tuah Jaya Taman Tasik Utama, .Ayer Keroh. 75460.Melaka. Malaysia Abstract This paper reflects a research done on a cohort of Mechanical Engineering Lecturer (20 lecturers) with the aims of emergent the effectiveness of educational practice. Participants were from Kolej Kemahiran Tinggi Mara (KKTM). All participant were involve in short course within 5 month length of learning. 64 hours for Pedagogical Content Knowledge and 16 hours for Micro Teaching where the study used for participatory action research. The lecturers for this course were from UTeM. Part one describes that university challenge brings engineering lecturers and students together in a joint effort to promote the integration of professional practice of their specialization in Mechanical Engineering and to apply their knowledge to solve faculty related need. Part two pealed the participatory action research design methodology and the reflective model used. It explored the notion of reflective practice and mentoring and coaching model and it impact to the innovative and creative teaching and strategies in respective engineering faculty. Part tree discussed how the data was gathered and how content analysis procedure used for data analysis. Research finding, is in part four; it explained the introductory coaching and advanced coaching during the cycle of participatory action research. The challenges faced by the practitioner of participatory action research were discussed on depth. All reflective journals of the 20 lecturers were analyzed and eight teaching knowledge bases were identified through content analysis. Part five explained the most important Teaching Knowledge Base reflected by lecturers was self-knowledge as lecturer, knowledge of learners and knowledge of context of industries. The role of peers, university supervisors, and industries supervisors in creating collaborative emergent the effectiveness of educational practice is discussed widely. Part six concluded that this study affirmed that participatory action research and reflective practice could be embarking in every lecturer at faculty as an appropriate means to enhance professional development among lecturers. Participatory Action Research on Developing Pedagogical Content Knowledge Among Mechanical Engineering Lecturers
4th Qualitative Research Convention 2007(QRC2007)- “Doing Qualitative Research: Processes, Issues and Challenges” PJ Hilton, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, 3-5 September 2007

By Asst. Prof. Dr. Hanipah Hussin Dean Center for Language and Human Development Universiti Teknikal Malaysia, Jalan Hang Tuah Jaya Taman Tasik Utama, .Ayer Keroh. 75460.Melaka. Malaysia

4th Qualitative Research Convention 2007(QRC2007)- “Doing Qualitative Research: Processes, Issues and Challenges” PJ Hilton, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, 3-5 September 2007

1.0

Introduction Drawing on my experience as pedagogies practitioner since 1984, I argue that

reflective practice and participatory action research emerged or spread as an aspect of the universities lecturers based curriculum reforms in the integrated education system in Malaysia. In doing so, I attempt to counter the contemporary approach that lecturers-asresearchers movement was initiated by academics in the higher-education sector. This article show how the idea of reflective practice and practical participatory action research was explicitly brought by the practitioner of pedagogy and their cohort engineering lecturer in Kolej Kemahiran Tinggi Mara, (KKTM). There are 20 young mechanical engineering lecturers volunteer to create and improve from the conventional system of teaching and learning to initiated curriculum reforms based on their subject matter. This is a good move for developing professional engineering lecturers in campus. According to Foshay (1998:110) and (Hanipah (1999:37) during the process of reflective practice and practical participatory action research , the professor and new lecturers learn together to establish a systematic, orderly procedure for exploring problems and finding possible actions to eliminate problems or at least to make them more manageable in nature of student and the university. The effective development of reflective lecturer or tutor is largely dependent on the behavior of professor in the faculty and for that reason professional development of professor is very important. Thus, it was encouraging to note that in KUTKM, Centre for Academic Services (CAS) and Centre for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE) work and innovation of the Staff Development Programs in five faculties, teamwork was very much appreciated. Therefore, other than team coaching and team supervision that is presently in practice, there should be more prerequisite to enable professor to work together in pairs or in small teams during supervisory. This arrangement is not only to facilitate peer observations and to allow the professor and new lecturer to practice content pedagogical knowledge skills but also to accord them opportunities to discuss with reference to content per-se and share their observations reflectively.

1.1

Statement of The Problem

This study also takes in account the predictions and changes in future education that emphasizes the need of lecturers that are knowledgeable in general pedagogy and content pedagogy, innovative and use the practice and application oriented education at KUTKM. This awareness has brought all professor and lecturer from every faculty to continue the
4th Qualitative Research Convention 2007(QRC2007)- “Doing Qualitative Research: Processes, Issues and Challenges” PJ Hilton, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, 3-5 September 2007

effort of the organization to implement the education approach. Reflective practices and practical participatory action research in the classroom is one of the tool that has been chosen as an engine to move the educational approach in to practice in every faculty through practical participatory action research design. Lecturers have to learn new skills during teaching that we know as reflective writing. To persuaded that ‘learning to be reflective’ has been in line with application orientation during teaching we develop a serial design. The serial design included two cycles in order to answer the process of practicing the reflective writing and to take an action to innovate new teaching and learning techniques and professional development among lecturers. 1.2 Why reflective practice and practical participatory action research is needed?

i. To increase lecturers competence in pedagogical reasoning. ii. To increase the awareness of giving a meaning to classroom experience. iii. To produce lecturers that are able to think and take action without being ask to do so in increasing their professionalism. iv. To produce lecturers that are innovative and proactive in order to increase the skill of assessing their strength and weakness as a lecturer. 1.3 The objective of the research / what prompted it to research?

i. To explore the experience of the implementation of reflective practice through practical participatory action research in KUTKM ii. To analyze the teaching and learning problems of lecturers through their writings in the reflective journals. iii. To identify the trust and values of lecturers towards their colleagues, supervisor and professor that influences their pedagogical way of thinking. The study focuses on the content of reflective writing in helping lecturers to develop their pedagogical reasoning in classroom during field experiences. At last this study brings forward these research questions clearly: 1.4 Research Questions

1. What is the pedagogical reasoning of lecturers toward their respective engineering field? 2. Does the reflective format facilitate lecturers to think reflectively in classroom practice?

3.What do lecturers report about the influence of the university community (colleagues, mentors and professor) in developing pedagogical reasoning

2.

Literature Review

4th Qualitative Research Convention 2007(QRC2007)- “Doing Qualitative Research: Processes, Issues and Challenges” PJ Hilton, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, 3-5 September 2007

Background of the Participatory action research 1990’s in Malaysia, EPRD cooperation of the schools, Kim Paik Lah (1994), Syarifah Bee Abu Bakar (1998) Hanipah Hussin (1999) used Participatory action research to increase the professionalism level of student teachers in Teacher’s Training Devision. 1980’s in Australia, Europe and America, Participatory action research is used as an empirical and systematic tool to increase the schools performance. 1991, in Europe, John Elliot use this method in Ford Teaching Project as an approach to help lecturers combine inquisitive effort in teaching and learning in the classroom. Kurt Lewin a social psychologist emphasize collaborative effort to further improve work performance in his department (Kemmis and Mc Taggart), (1981) 1953, Lewin’s idea is used in Lecturers College, Colombia University, New York as a research approach in schools. The introduction of learning to be reflective started with contemporary issues and these issues are complimentary with Malaysian Conceptual Model of Education. The central points are Teaching Knowledge Base (Shulman:1987). In this matter, the researcher uses reflective as the effective tool to create the awareness in beginner lecturers of a lecturer’s role and their accountability toward organization and Allah/God. This is clearly the main root towards building lecturers professionalism in Malaysian ways of philosophic. ALLAH/GOD

Knowledge Skills Attitudes SELF AS LECTURE 3 Method and Procedure in Participatory action research SOCIETY

The research design that is used by the researcher is Practical Participatory action research Design as in Table 1 Table 1: Practical Participatory action research Design Type of Aim Head The Relationship

4th Qualitative Research Convention 2007(QRC2007)- “Doing Qualitative Research: Processes, Issues and Challenges” PJ Hilton, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, 3-5 September 2007

Participatory action research Practical Participatory action research in classroom

Researcher/Professor Roles Formatted the reflective Co-researcher / writing to help lecturer reflect Principles Researcher effectively. coaching and The effectiveness of reflective scaffolds and practice in developing encouraging self professionalism reflection

between facilitator and subjects Co-operation (Consultation) Coach Scaffold

Source: Zuber-Skerrit,Ortrun (2001:1)

Although the study included some faculty but then, this research has a few limitations in these areas: 1. It was a 46-acceptance journal, which was, involves one professor (researcher) and 46 lecturers that share the clinical supervision 2. Based on the small number of participant the research findings can only show the processes of reflective practice are done in that faculty and their nature. 3.1 Sample

An interesting point, that the researcher wants to highlight is the researcher has choose content pedagogy and general pedagogy based on cohort study, that is those that are directly under the researcher’s supervision. The good point about this is coaching and scaffolding can be done directly to the participant during field experience in all spirals planed by the researcher. ‘Although Hanipah rightly pointed out that her finding of her study are not intended to be broad-spectrum, after reading her thesis, I suspect that there may be many commonalties in the difficulties experienced by lecturer and professor in the Malaysian context, and those experienced by many Australian lecturer and professor. These commonalties suggest that they may be considerable potential for cross-cultural differences between the two contexts. I found the study valuable in that it alerted me to this possibility. An additional strength of the study, in my view, is that it very clearly demonstrates the usefulness of practical participatory action research in addressing the ongoing challenges in developing professional lecturers in university.
(Dr.Jennifer Sumsion, Lecturer in Faculty of Education, Macquarie University, Australia,)

3.2

Method and Practical Participatory action research Procedures

Qualitative approach used in this research. case study has been used. Practical Participatory action research Model and Reflective Model has been used as a technique to gather data. Participatory action research model that is used has two cycles (reflex 2 phases) where every cycle has fives smaller spiral (reflex 5 faculties). The reflective process that is used moves two cycles and smaller spiral simultaneously. This technique is called second order participatory action research where the researcher or professor and supervisor subject matter co-operate in coaching and scaffolding, exchange data, reflective and re-plan teaching and learning to improve the current practice.
4th Qualitative Research Convention 2007(QRC2007)- “Doing Qualitative Research: Processes, Issues and Challenges” PJ Hilton, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, 3-5 September 2007

Diagram 1 : Reflective Practice on Practical Participatory action research

1 2 Introductory coaching 3 4 Action Research 5

2 1 Advance Coaching

5

3

4

Cycle 1 shown researcher’s spiral in introductory coaching. 14 weeks length

Cycle 2 shown researcher’s spiral in advance coaching

The triangulation process is repeated until the 5th spiral in the practical participatory action research model, (see Diagram 1 above) 3.3 Triangulation technique

Triangulation technique has been used to make sure the data is valid. There are 6 ways that has been used by the researcher to gather data that is. 1. Lecturer’s weekly journal.

2. Transcript from audio tape of semi-structured interview 3. Researcher’s weekly reflective journal 4. Feedback forms of clinical supervision from supervisor/professor The triangulation process that is done by the researcher can be illustrated as Diagram 2. As summary of the techniques used by the researcher for data gathering is that 4 techniques has been used. The console on the validity of the data using the triangulation technique shows the maturity of the researcher. The continuous analyses of data is planned from one spiral to the other thus the data is vital and generative. This means the data from one spiral stimulate data in the next spiral. Diagram 2 : Triangulation process by the researcher Feedback from professor, peers and supervisor
Reflective Planning Teaching
4th Qualitative Research Convention 2007(QRC2007)- “Doing Qualitative Research: Processes, Issues and Challenges” PJ Hilton, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, 3-5 September 2007

Reflective by trainees Feedback

Reflective by researcher

3.4 Data Analysis Data analysis in this study followed the Strauss and Corbin (1990) procedures called Reflection on Data Analysis in Practical Participatory action research . Researcher used the participants data entry or data collection (for example interview, journal, observational forms) and followed 4. Findings of the Research

The findings of this research, the thinking pattern of the trainees can be detected by reflective practice in the classroom can be shown as below: Table 3: Subject’s Thinking Pattern Based On Reflective Practice In The Classroom
Category 1. Self knowledge Sub category Look at the self aspect as a lecturer Self trust and values Aims and commitment Balance between work requirement and personal needs 2. Knowledge students of Student’s behavior Handling student’s behavior Motivating student to study The student’s intellectual level and study style Likes / dislikes of the student Interaction of the student 3. Knowledge education of School School’s community Personal matters of the lecturer Lecturer Community 4. Knowledge of Structuring activities Techniques in teaching Teaching aids Time control of activities Controlling classroom Lesson plan 5. Knowledge pedagogy’s content of Choosing of assignments Examples of pictures / resources Property 152 56 48 4 65 24 25 20 13 1 49 32 10 6 2 18 17 15 6 2 4 16 4

as a lecturer

general pedagogy

4th Qualitative Research Convention 2007(QRC2007)- “Doing Qualitative Research: Processes, Issues and Challenges” PJ Hilton, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, 3-5 September 2007

6.

Knowledge the curriculum

of

Evaluation Objective School’s curriculum National curriculum

11 6 3 1 8 2

7.

Knowledge vision/

of

Aims of education Malaysia Educational Philosophy

mission

of education 8. Knowledge content of Concept in subject 10

5 5.1

The Implication of the Study Researcher Reflects on Their Experienced?

‘I learned, as a pedagogies professor, theories can be explicitly practices, and that theorizing consisted of articulating those ‘tacit theories’ and subjecting them to critique in free and open professional discourse. I also learned that high-quality professional discourse depends upon the willingness of everyone involved to tolerate a diversity of views and practices.’ (Hanipah:2005) 5.2 Peer Acknowledgement?

As a summary, the researcher as truly made the effort to produce a quality thesis that can drive the reader and future researchers in Malaysia to do further research. This means the basis of reflective practice and participatory action research should be used as a method of educational and human resources future research ’. (Mr.Hamdan Abdul Kadir, Lecturer in Faculty of Human Resources Development, Universiti Technologi Malaysia) 5.3 What Are the External Practitioner Report on The Study?

…‘This study makes a welcome contribution to the research literature about reflective practice in lecturer education by moving beyond the Western focus of much of the existing literature. As a Western reader, I found the Malaysian context of this study most interesting, and in my opinion, this focus gives a number of strengths. This document provides Western readers with insights into Islamic beliefs and their relevance to the professional preparation of Malaysian lecturer. More specifically, it highlights how religious beliefs can be instrumental in fostering a commitment to reflection. The role of religion, and spiritual aspects of reflection in general, are rarely mentioned in the contemporary Western literature about reflection, so the thesis makes a particularly worthwhile contribution in this respect’…
4th Qualitative Research Convention 2007(QRC2007)- “Doing Qualitative Research: Processes, Issues and Challenges” PJ Hilton, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, 3-5 September 2007

…‘I also found the discussion of issues and implications arising from the study very thorough and perceptive. In my view, this chapter demonstrated Hanipah’s ability to critique socio-cultural and political influences impacting on the Malaysian lecturer education context, and to engage, herself, in critical reflection’… (Dr.Jennifer Sumsion, Lecturer in Faculty of Education, Macquarie University, New South Wales, Australia,)

5.3.2

Senior Professor Perspective

…‘A very good report in which she has incorporate a long list of up to date relevant references. In Malaysia, there has not been that many research projects on participatory action research and reflective teaching. Although reflective teaching is a familiar concept to most has been done to promote it seriously. Similarly, clinical supervision became popular especially in lecturer training colleges of Education Ministry in the 80’s. Hanipah’s study should be able to revive the interest of Malaysian educators in those two areas, which if taken seriously, may be able to contribute to effective teaching. All educational systems need more reflective practicing lecturers. The report is well written and presented. Reseach questing were stated clearly and all have been answered generally in quite a comprehensive, organized and well-structured manner. The research methodology was also quite appropriately chosen for the kind of study she had undertaken. She also took measures to control the reliability and validity of instruments used in her study. The theoretical framework and model on which her study is based is clearly explained and rationalized. The title of the study describes the work done accurately’… (Prof. Dr.Zaiton Sidin, Dekan Fakulti Pendidikan Universiti Teknologi Malaysia) 6. Conclusion

The researcher has discuss this study in two main parts that is: 1. How the researcher does participatory action research and the changes that is faced. 2. Discussion on ‘Knowing How’ and Application on Research Methodology in work place. Some difficulty in every spiral had discussed analytically. Grounded Theory and inquiry method had shown clearly. All data used by the researcher and participants to develop new data in their new cycle of participatory action research . The processes carried for four and the half-month. A few obstacle has been identified like getting the co-operation from 2 out of 46 participants to write reflectively and getting the co-operation from the university community to plan reflective thinking is reported hard to supervise. Nevertheless the main matter that was
4th Qualitative Research Convention 2007(QRC2007)- “Doing Qualitative Research: Processes, Issues and Challenges” PJ Hilton, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, 3-5 September 2007

discussing in the thinking pattern is the self-knowledge of being a reflective lecturer where by new lecturers does have more of this. They are also reported to emphasize values and selftrust, aims and commitment in the subject matter. The researcher has made description about the thinking pattern. The second matter that was discussed by the lecturers is their knowledge about their students. The research has made detail comparison of each sub category. Thus, the terms ‘reflective thinking’, ‘reflection’ and ‘reflective practice’ are used interchangeably throughout this study to refer to the process lecturers employed as they reviewed, reconstructed, and critically analyzed issues of concern that arose from their field experience. The process is defined as active and critical. Careful consideration is given to knowledge, beliefs, values, feelings and interesting events in light of the grounds, which support them, and in light of their consequences. In summary, the problems that prompted this study include the background of contemporary issues in the professional development of lecturers in Malaysia and the need to explore of how reflection can be facilitated in early profession. Bibliografi Elliott, J. (1991). Participatory action research for education change. Buckingham: Open University Press. Foshay,A. (1998). Participatory action research in the nineties. Journal of The Education Forum, 62,108-112. Hanipah Hussin. (2004). Learning to be reflective: From theory to practices Malaysia experiences. Penerbit Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris. Tanjong Malim. Kim, Paik Lah. (1994). Developing field inquiry models: A multidimensional approach. An unpublished PhD. Thesis, University of Sydney. Kemmis, S, and Mc Taggart, R. (1981). The participatory action research planner. Victoria: Deakin University. Shulman, L.(1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57(1), 1-22. Strauss,A and Corbin, J (1990). Basic of qualitative research: Grounded theory.procedures and techniques. California: Sage Publication.

4th Qualitative Research Convention 2007(QRC2007)- “Doing Qualitative Research: Processes, Issues and Challenges” PJ Hilton, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, 3-5 September 2007

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