THE EFFECT OF REFLECTIVE TEACHING ON THE CLASSROOM ACHIEVEMENT OF PRESCHOOL TEACHERS
This research project is designed to review the effect of reflective teaching on the classroom achievement of preschool teachers in Efon Local Government Area of Ekiti State. The purpose of the study is to examine the influence of reflective teaching on the classroom achievement of preschool teachers. Secondly to identify the awareness of reflective teaching by preschool teachers. Thirdly, to examine the willingness of preschool teachers to seek professional development. The data used for the study were collected through the use of one hundred (100) viable questionnaires. It is so much expected of the UBE [i.e. Universal Basic Education] of Nigeria to equip the preschool teachers with adequate workshops and trainings to enhance the effect of reflective teaching on their classroom achievements.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Objective of the Study
1.4 Research Questions
1.5 Significance of the Study
1.6 Limitation of the Study
1.7 Definition of Terms
CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF RELATED
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHOD
3.2 Research Design
3.3 Population of the Study
3.4 Sample and Sampling Techniques
3.5 Method of Data Collection
3.6 Validity of Instrument
3.7 Method of Data Analysis
CHAPTER FOUR: ANALYSIS OF DATA AND RESULTS
4.1 Result Analysis
4.2 Discussion of Findings
CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION
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1.1 Background to the Study
It is necessary for us to first identify who a child is before discussing anything about early childhood education. (i.e. who is a child?). If we are able to do this, then it will not be difficult for us to classify children into early, middle or later childhood. A child is anyone that is below the age of 18 (N.P.E., 1998).
In Nigeria, the number of children with working parents is growing nationwide, the proportion of children under 6 years with employed mothers percent in 1980 and labour force participation rate for women between ages of 25 and 54 (who have traditionally been the primary caregivers of young children) is projected to rise to 83 percent by the year 2005. This means that a growing number of children even every young children, will be cared for by people other than their parents.
Welfare Reform which requires mothers to work, will greatly increase the numbers of children needing child are in the future. With more women entering the workforce and increasing numbers of individuals entering the work force in welfare-to-work programs, a growing number of children spend their critical early years in day care. During these years, it is especially important that children have a quality childcare experience that addresses their developmental needs (Ibid, 2005).
According to Brunet (1995), children exposed to positive stimulating experiences as young children develop enhanced learning capabilities which improve their odds for excelling in school. Children who attend preschool or other early education programs have:
· balanced cognitive, verbal and school development
· significantly higher IQ(s) (i.e. Intelligent Quotient). NICHO Early childcare Research Network (1997)
· can enter school better prepared to learn
· are lens likely to exhibit later delinquency and anti-social behaviour.
· tend to demonstrate higher levels of school achievement and better social adjustment.
· are less likely to have to repeat a grade or be placed in special education classes.
· are more likely to graduate from high school (Brunet, 1995).
Clearly, there can be long-term benefits from quality early childhood education. Infact, according to one researcher for many children, preschool programs can mean the difference between falling and passing regular or special education, staying out of trouble or becoming involved in delinquency, dropping out or graduating from high school Ibid (2005).
Children from impoverished environments tend to reap the most dramatic benefits from early childhood programs. Early education can increase parents’ and teachers’ expectations of children’s performance. Children growing up in poverty or near poverty face many health and environmental risks. They in particular need to get of to a good start in quality early education programs Barnett, Steven Ph.D (1995).
There are some reasons why Early childhood education is made available everywhere. According to the National Policy on Education (1998), in Nigeria, government has realised the importance of pre-school education (i.e. early childhood education), hence it has stated the purpose of this level of education in the National policy on Education (1998) as:
· to effect a smooth transition from home to school
· to prepare the child for the primary level of education.
· to provide adequate care and supervision for the children while their parents are at work (on the farms, in the markets, offices etc.).
· to develop a sense of co-operation and team-spirit
· to learn good habits, especially good health habits
· to teach the rudiments of numbers, letters, colours, shapes, forms e.t.c. through spontaneous play.
The concept of reflective teaching stems from Dewey (1933), who contrasted ‘routine action’ with ‘reflective action’. According to Dewey, routine action is guided by factors such as tradition habit and authority and by instructional definitions and expectations. By implication, it is relatively static and is thus unresponsive to changing priorities and circumstances. Reflexive action on the other hand involves a willingness to engage in constant self appraisal and development. Among other things, it implies flexibility, rigorous analysis and social awareness.
Dewey’s notion of reflective action, when developed and applied to teaching, is both challenging and exciting. In this section, we review its implications by identifying and discussing what we have identified as seven key characteristics of reflective practice. These are:
· Reflective teaching implies an active concern with aims and consequences, as well as means and technical efficiency.
· Reflective teaching is applied in a cyclical or spiralling process, in which teachers monitor, evaluate and revise their own practice continuously.
· Reflective teaching requires competence in methods of evidence-based classroom enquiry, to support the progressive development of higher standards of teaching.
· Reflective teaching requires attitudes of open-mindedness, responsibility and wholeheartedness.
· Reflective teaching is based on teacher judgement, informed by evidence-based enquiry and insights from other research.
· Reflective teaching, professional learning and personal fulfilment are enhanced through collaboration and dialogue with colleagues.
· Reflective teaching enables teachers to creatively mediate externally developed frameworks for teaching and learning. Dewey (1933)
Each of these characteristics will now be considered more fully:
Reflective issue relate first to the immediate arms and consequences of classroom practice for these are any teacher’s prime responsibility. However, classroom work cannot be isolated from the influence of the wider society and a reflective teacher must therefore consider both spheres. An example from the history of educational policy-making in England will illustrate the way in which changes outside schools influence actions within them. Following the initiation of a ‘Great Debate’ by Prime Minister Callaghau (1976) many of the ‘taken-for-granted’ in education were progressively challenged during the 1980s and 1990. Successive conservative governments introduced for reaching and cumulative changes in all spheres of education. Many of these reforms were opposed by professional organization (see for example, Haviland, 1988 and Arnot and Barton, 1992) but with no noticeable effect on political decision making. Indeed, the allegation was made that educational policy was being influenced by a closed system of beliefs – an ‘ideology’ deriving from a small number of right-wing politicians and pressure groups. Meanwhile, teachers and pupils worked to implement the new forms of curriculum, assessment, accountability, management and control which had been introduced despite the fact that the profession at the time was largely opposed to the principles on which the reforms were based. Such a stark example of the contestation of aims and value in education raises questions concerning the relationship between professionals, parents and policy-makers. It is possible to start from the seemingly controversial argument that in a democratic society, decisions about the aims of education should be ‘democratically’ determined. However, it has been suggested (White, 1978) that teachers should adopt a role as active ‘interpreters’ of political policy. Indeed, that most teachers accept this argument is shown by the way in which they have implemented legislation even when they did not support it though in the 1990s, an unusual number of teachers in England did leave the profession. More recently, Bramall and White (2000) analysed the National Curriculum 2000 and suggested that, whilst, there are explicit aims and a rationale, these may not be owned by teachers and may not relate to the operationalization of these in the actual curriculum. Indeed, there may be a gap between the official rationale of the National curriculum and the day-day experience of many classroom teachers – a problem that reflective teachers may wish to address.
These kinds of stance were very different from the idea of the autonomous professional with which many teachers once identified. Yet, it can be argued that the existence of unconstrained autonomy is only reasonable and practical if ends, aims and values are completely uncontroversial. However, as soon as questions about educational aims and social values are seriously raised, then the position changes. In a democratic society, the debate appropriately extends to the political domain and this of course is what has happened on recent years.
This does not mean though, that teachers even as interpreters of policy, should simply ‘stand by’ in the procedure. Indeed, there are two important roles that they can play. In the case of the first, an appropriate metaphor for the teacher’s role is, as both White (1978) and Sacks (2003) have suggested that of ‘activist’. This recognizes the primary, school teachers and individual members of society who, within normal political process, have rights to pursue their values and beliefs as guided by their own individual moral and ethical concerns. They should thus be as they wish to be in contributing to the formation of public policy. Second, whilst accepting a responsibility for translating politically determined aims into practice, teachers should speak out, as they have done in the past, if they also view particular aims and policies as being professionally impracticable, educationally unsound or morally questionable. In such circumstances the profession experience, knowledge and judgements of teachers should be brought to bear on policy-makers directly. Whether or not the policy makers wish for or act on the advice which is offered (for interesting development of this argument, see Thompson, (1997). Indeed, it is important that within a modern democratic society, teachers should be entitled to not only a hearing, but also some influence on educational policy. Professional and the Geographical Association (GA) together with the General Teaching Councils of each part of the UK, provide collective forms of organisation for such voices. However, in recent years, teacher unions such as the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and Nigeria Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) have undoubtedly been the most effective in making their voices heard.
The reflective teacher should thus be aware of the political process and of its legitimate oversight of public educational services. They should also be willing to contribute to it both as a citizen and as a professional.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Educational issues and demand of classroom teaching are so complicated which makes teacher’s work to be so enormous, challenging and never finished. The teachers practicalities, performance standards in personal ideas, classroom management and educational concerns are put together may becoming overwhelming. These challenges are frequently expressed by experienced teachers, new teachers and student – teachers.
Hence, this work intend to examine how reflective teaching can enhance the classroom achievement of preschool teachers.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objective of this study is to examine the influence of reflective teaching on the classroom achievement of preschool teachers. Specifically, this study will:
i) Identify the awareness of reflective teaching by preschool teachers.
ii) Examine the willingness of preschool teachers to seek professional development.
iii) Examine the attendance of preschool teachers at professional training
iv) Examine the relevance of teachers’ personality in reflective teaching.
v) Examine the teachers’ reflection on their classroom.
1.4 Research Questions
1. To what extent are preschool teachers aware of reflective teaching?
2. Are preschool teachers willing to develop themselves professionally?
3. Does preschool teachers’ attendance at professional trainings and workshops contribute to reflective teaching?
4. What is the relevance of teachers’ personality in reflective teachings?
5. Does teachers’ classroom activities contribute to the effectiveness of reflective teachings?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The essence of this research work is to critically and chronologically examine the effects of impacts that reflective teaching can have on the classroom achievement (i.e. attainable goals) of preschool teachers in Efon local Government Area of Ekiti State.
Classroom teaching can be somehow complicated which makes teacher’s work to be so enormous, challenging and unfinished. Therefore, this research work will help to find out the source of this problem since the aim of reflective teaching virtually mean active actions carried out for efficiency purpose.
In addition, this research will also enable parents to identify or know what their children learn in their schools from day-to-day.
1.6 Limitations of the Study
This research work is limited to the preschool teachers in Efon local Government Area Only.
1.7 Definition of Terms
Reflective Teaching – This is a careful thought that a person have towards impacting knowledge.
Classroom – This is a place where teaching and learning takes place.
Achievement – This is a particular thing that someone has gained in order to be successful.
Classroom Achievement – This is a particular thing that someone gain in the process of a teaching – learning situation.
Preschool – This is a kind of education that is given to children who are too young to go to school from the age of 2 – 5 years. E.g. kindergarten, crèche, day care e.t.c.
Teacher – This is a person whose work is to teach and to impact knowledge.