Teachers face challenges in the school when they do not receive co-operation from the parents. It is obvious that parents' support can be shown through the simplest action of attending the schools' Parent Teacher Association meeting, providing generous amount of financial support for school fund, and supporting the effort of the school towards betterment. However, lately it has been reported in the national mass media about parents' complaints and dissatisfaction towards teachers' approach in punishing their children. The issue that raised their concern involved the way teachers exert punishment at school. In fact, some of them lodged police report and even filed a law suit on teachers. Compared to the good old days, parents allow teachers to apply any kind of punishment towards their children so they would be well educated and disciplined. Besides, there are parents who complain when they need to provide extra support which usually involves little amount of money to improve the quality of their children's education at school. In addition, disciplinary problem, which is not a tale, really happens in school and the people who are involved are the students. Therefore, all of us have to be alert of students' disciplinary problems that are becoming uncontrollable because students go to the extreme when they are involved in truancy, gangsterism, vandalism, attitude problem, disrespectful and other critical unthinkable behaviour problems.
Parental guidance is very important because a child naturally observes and imitate the adults' actions. However, when the students are at school, the adults who these teenagers are with are the teachers, while the parents attend work or complete house chores. It is relevant to add that peer pressure also adds up to the present disciplinary problems because they are easily influenced at this stage where they are in search for self-identity. The students who are less concerned about gaining knowledge usually lose their main objective of attending school. I will not say that their actions reflect their parents' attitude and behaviour for this one reason. In my opinion, some overinvolved or uninvolved parents do not really know their children. The students wear different masks at home and at school, which means that they behave differently at home and at school. Hence, teachers are to be solely blamed when their children are punished or shall I say, literarily "abused" by the teachers when they commit disciplinary problem. How funny is that? If parents themselves are not convinved of the capability of the school as a whole, it is certainly impossible to successfully improve our country's education system. The question to be asked here is why are the parents behaving weirdly? In relation to the country's effort towards paradigm shift and global thinking, it is indeed surprising to witness some citizens who still lack of general knowledge and self-awareness although our country has been independent since year 1957. Anyhow, I am not 100% blaming the parents for this happening but these are some of the truths in our developing country.
The next point is that being a teacher requires the person to be physically and psychologically ready to carry the idealistic image of a teacher. Once a person is a teacher, he or she is automatically seen as a role model. In other words, the teachers have to fulfill the expectations and demands from the public in terms of the specific way that teachers should behave, present themselves, and to some extent, pretend to be the figures that they are expected to be. Believe it or not, it happens. "Practice what you preach" made a discipline teacher at my previous school trimmed his hair until there was almost completely none because he wanted to show the right example to the fellow students. People should bear in mind that teachers are homosapiens that live like others of their kind. It means that they have their own daily routines to deal with such as themselves, family, friends, society and the environment. In this case, a teacher is always a teacher no matter if he or she is inside or outside the educational settings. Teachers are usually aware of the roles that they will play once they have decided to end up in this profession. Therefore, even if the teacher does not want it to happen, they have no other options but to accept the fact that they are public figures, in a way or so. It is not so bad afterall because teaching is very rewarding once the teachers discover that their students excel in their academics and succeed in their life as individuals who are able to contribute to the community. It would take years and centuries for an effective teacher to be forgotten by the students, considering their performance at school.
Teaching should never be a last resort for desperate unhired post-graduates who are job hunting nor does it should be seen as a relaxing job because of the short working hours compared to other government professions. For example, the Malaysian government has introduced the Post-Graduate Teaching Course (Kursus Perguruan Lepasan Ijazah) to train the post-graduates for the teaching world. So now the questions are, "What makes us so sure that they are really interested in teaching?" and "Are effective teachers born or made?". There are certain qualities and favourable types of personality that teachers should possess. I did a research on how students view teachers' personality and classroom management in Malaysian secondary school. It was found that 90 out of 115 respondents (78%) mentioned that they are able to notice when teachers are not interested to teach in the classroom. Majority of the respondents agreed that they are able to do so by looking at teachers’ facial expressions and teaching style. In my personal opinion, we should never just let any individuals without sufficient knowledge and suitable personality to be a teacher. Students are not guinea pigs that should be constantly used in this kind of experiment, because this would imply a bad perspective on the teaching profession itself. Furthermore, students are able to think for themselves. If our education sector lacks of quality manpower in the teaching profession, try looking again because there are many other qualified candidates who are sincerely wanting to work with the children genuinely.
Next, where on earth do people get the idea that teaching is a getaway or escapism to a more relaxing occupation. Today's teachers are not like yesterday's teachers, I am not being judgmental but it is apparent nowadays that teachers carry more responsibilities or burden, depending on how they perceive their tasks. Furthermore, they do not just have to teach but they are given other responsibilities in the school administration too. I could still remember having a separate conversation with two different teachers in a school during practicum. The first teacher mentioned that teaching has now become the second importance for her after other school related activities because she has to handle co-curricular activities, school administrative work and other workloads. The next teacher who will be retiring in a few years mentioned that her passion level for teaching has decreased for the increase of new responsibilities in school other than teaching. Moreover, in today's globalisation world, teachers are required to get in touch with new technology, new knowledge and new skills to be incorporated in the classroom as well as for self-improvement. An example would be the ability to utilise the computer and the internet resources to assist them in teaching. They are very fortunate because the government is also providing them with free laptops to assist them in their work, and hopefully they are able to utilise them to their fullest.
Several years ago, my friend whose mother is a teacher asked for my clarification if I really want to take up the teaching course because from her observation, all her mother does was basically routine work. Besides that, a tuition teacher expressed his surprise when I told him the same thing. Previously, I mentioned that teaching is indeed a noble job, and now what's with this clarification and surprise? It is not so bad afterall, isn't it? Maybe it should be mentioned over and over again that once a person becomes a teacher, he or she does not need to dream too much in changing the system. After few years they will be going with the flow and if they survive, thank God, whereas if they drown, just follow the light at the end of the tunnel. In other words, teachers still have to follow what the Ministry of Education has planned for the schools. In my Professional Development class discussion, I found out that not many educators are up there in the ministry to implement the changes and development in education. I think that we need real people who deal with the real school experience to be making the decisions in improving the school system. There was once an issue about placing the Excellent Teachers (Guru Cemerlang) in the Ministry of Education because it would shake the performance of the students and the school once they left. They should then be remained in the same school to benefit the teacher and students by sharing their ideas, experiences and knowledge so that they can improve. I hope to see that my country has a well structured plan that is workable, so that precious time for planning is saved and the people can start progressing instead of lagging behind, wondering about the already knowns. We have built the tallest building, became the best host for the Commonwealth Games, we claimed ourselves as a global community and there is no doubt that we should be able to improve our approaches in improving the educational system.
In conclusion, teachers in Malaysia still face many kind of obstacles in this profession. In fact, teachers from all around the world might face the similar obstacles in the profession. The responsibilities, expectations, issues and happenings that relate to teachers really exist. Teachers play an important role in the society thus, everyone in the country should be aware of their contributions to the improvement of our national standard of education. Innovations IN THE CLASSROOM
Efforts to make learning more interactive and more fun for students appear promising, but it may be too soon to judge if they are positively impacting children's performance in standard tests and surveys. Meanwhile, teachers complain that these efforts have added to their already heavy burden. Padmalatha Ravi reports.
11 January 2007 - The census of 2000-01 showed that the dropout rate from schools in Karnataka stood at 10.5%. One of the main reasons cited for the dropouts was that teaching methods used in the schools are archaic, and do not sufficiently motivate students to remain in class. Educationists say that in addition to outdated teaching methods, inadequate teaching learning material (TLM) and laboratory equipment are also factors that contribute to dropouts.
Taking heed of these observations the state government decided to revamp the education system in the state-run schools. Educationists and teachers were roped in to devise new teaching methods. An interesting curriculum, along with interactive learning, was the new mantra adopted. "Chaitanya" a special programme to train the teachers in adopting new interactive teaching methods, was designed. Chaitanya was an extension of the "Nali Kali" or 'joyful learning' programme that was tested successfully in some of the schools in Heggadedevana Kote taluk in Mysore. Nali Kali was a collaborative effort of the state government and UNICEF. Both these programmes stress interactive learning methods. The teachers use colourful charts and stories to explain concepts from the textbooks.
Picture: Students listening to a radio programme in a government school in Hebbagodi, near Bangalore.
More than 50,000 teachers have undergone training under the Chaitanya programme in the last four years. Both primary and higher secondary students have benefited as a result. Dr. T Padmini, a retired Head of the Department of Education at Mysore University, who was part of the Chaitanya's design team says "The state's intended curriculum is very well designed, so what we needed was a child friendly way of teaching it. Boring teaching methods can cause cumulative deficiencies of interest in children, which may lead to dropouts. The Chaitanya programme teaches teachers to use stories, songs and even drama to teach concepts."
Alongside government action, NGOs too are leading from the front in interactive learning. Pratham, in Mysore, is promoting Universal Elementary Education (UEE) by partnering with the Department of Public Instruction. The organisation works with government schools in the slums of the city. They run "Balawadi" and "Balasakhi" programmes in these areas. The Balawadi programme prepares children for formal education using play-way methods, ensuring the children enjoy their school-going experience. Balasakhi is a remedial education programme, in which the NGO appoints a special teacher at the government school who aids the children in learning languages and mathematics using the special packages developed by Pratham.
The government also introduced the trimester system to reduce the burden on the students.
• An instruction set for teachers
Mr. Chandrashekar, principal of government higher secondary school in Mysore says "Pratham's intervention has been very useful for us. The children have fun learning Kannada and arithmetic and because of that it becomes easier for us to teach them what is in the syllabus". The children too like the new way of learning. Salman, a Class 4 student from Mysore, says "addition and subtraction is more fun now. Earlier I was scared of arithmetic problems." The language kit developed by Pratham along with Dr. Padmini is hot favourite among parents too. They say it is especially helpful to students who don't speak Kannada at home but have to learn it in school.
The new method however is not without problems. Teachers say it has increased the burden on teachers. Meera Bai, headmistress of Sri Ramakrishna Education Society, Bangalore says "It is true that the new method is good for students but we have to spend a great deal more time on preparing for the lessons and evaluating them. Giving individual attention becomes very difficult when there are more than 40 students in each class." Why is India still a developing country and what is stopping it from being a developed country? This particular question strikes me every time when I read something about India’s education system. I see India’s education system as a stumbling block towards its objectives of achieving inclusive growth.
Let me inform you about certain startling facts. India is going to experience a paradox of nearly 90 million people joining the workforce but most of them will lack requiste skills and the mindset for productive employment according to a report in DNA. India has about 550 million people under the age of 25 years out of which only 11% are enrolled in tertiary institutions compared to the world average of 23%.
I wouldn’t be laying too much emphasis on the drawbacks of India’s public education system because it has been an issue well debated over in the past and the main flaws have already been pointed out before. I will be focussing on how the education system’s failure is leading to another social issue of income inequality and hence, suggest certain policies to improve India’s education system and reduce inequality.
The really critical aspect of Indian public education system is its low quality. The actual quantity of schooling that children experience and the quality of teaching they receive are extremely insufficient in government schools. A common feature in all government schools is the poor quality of education, with weak infrastructure and inadequate pedagogic attention.
What the government is not realising right now is that education which is a source of human capital can create wide income inequalities. It will be surprising to see how income inequalities are created within the same group of educated people.Let me illustrate this with the help of an example:
Let us take P be an individual who has had no primary or higher education. His human capital is zero and hence it bears no returns. Let Q be an individual who completed his MBA from S.P Jain college and let R be an individual who completed his MBA from IIM Ahmadabad. The average rate of return for an MBA student is 7.5% (hypothetical). Q gets a rate of return of 5% and R gets a rate of return of 10% due to the difference in the reputation and quality of the management school. Let the income of P, Q and R be 1.In a period of 10 years, P will be having the same income as he does not possess human capital. For the same time period Q will earn an income of (1+0.05)^10=1.63 and R will earn an income of (1+0.10)^10=2.59. Now lets see what happens when the rate of return on human capital doubles. Earnings of P will not change since he does not have any human capital. Now Q is going to earn (1+0.10)^10=1.63 and R is going to earn (1+0.20)^10=6.19. Flabbergasting! As soon as return on human capital increases proportionately income inequality increases. With return on human capital doubling, Q’S income increases by 59% and R’s income increases by 139%.
The above example just shows the effect of the quality of human capital n income inequality. So if the government does not improve education system particularly in rural areas the rich will become richer and the poor will get poorer.
Hence, it is imperative for the government to correct the blemishes in India’s education system which will also be a step towards reducing income inequality.
Certain policy measures need to be taken by the government. The basic thrust of government education spending today must surely be to ensure that all children have access to government schools and to raise the quality of education in those schools. One of the ways in which the problem of poor quality of education can be tackled is through common schooling. This essentially means sharing of resources between private and public schools. Shift system is one of the ways through which common schooling can be achieved. The private school can use the resources during the first half of the day and the government school can use it during the second half. It is important to remember that the quality of education is directly linked to the resources available and it is important for the government to improve resource allocation to bring about qualitative changes in the field of education. Common schooling is one of the ways in which government can use limited resources in an efficient way and thus improve resource allocation.
Another reason for poor quality of education is the poor quality of teachers in government schools .Government schools are unable to attract good quality teachers due to inadequate teaching facilities and low salaries. The government currently spends only 3% of its GDP on education which is inadequate and insufficient. To improve the quality of education , the government needs to spend more money from its coffers on education.
Most economists feel that the only panacea to the ills of the public schooling system is the voucher scheme. Under the voucher system, parents are allowed to choose a school for their children and they get full or partial reimbursement for the expenses from the government. But however, the voucher system will further aggravate the problem of poor quality of education in government schools. Such a system will shift resources from government schools to private schools. This will worsen the situation of government schools which are already under-funded. Moreover, if the same amount given as vouchers can be used to build infrastructure in schools then the government can realize economies of scale. For example- The centre for civil society is providing vouchers worth Rs 4000 per annum to 308 girls. This means that the total amount of money given as vouchers is Rs 1232000. If the same amount can be used to construct a school and employ high quality teachers who are paid well then a larger section of the society will enjoy the benefit of education. A school can definitely accommodate a minimum of 1000 students.
I hope government takes certain appropriate policy measures to improve the education system otherwise inequalities are going to be widespread and India’s basic capabilities will remain stunted. Let us strengthen the case for a stronger education system. High School Teacher Requirements
Prospective high school teachers should enroll in a bachelor's degree program in secondary education with an area of concentration in the subject that they wish to teach. Alternatively, aspiring high school teachers may major in their content area and minor in secondary education. Most undergraduate programs in secondary education prepare students for licensure in the state in which the program is accredited.
Students usually complete a student teaching requirement as part of the curriculum. High school teachers instruct students in subjects such as mathematics, history, English and science through classroom discussions, lectures and other methods. Also known as secondary school teachers, high school teachers evaluate a student's progress in a subject through examinations and coursework. An individual interested in becoming a high school teacher needs to be proficient not only in the subject matter, but also in the administrative and technological aspects of the classroom. Teachers should also be able to communicate effectively with parents, students, and other staff members.
Listed below are common requirements for becoming a high school teacher:
Degree Level Bachelor's degree*
Degree Field Secondary education with a minor in subject area teaching or major in subject area with a minor in education (also sometimes called a teacher education program)* Licensure and Certification Secondary or high school certification; private schools don't require licensure* Experience Student or mentorship teaching to obtain licensure* Key Skills Passion and a dynamic approach to the subject matter; ability to retain names; flexible teaching approaches specified to each student's needs; coaching and development techniques; high level of organization*** Computer SkillsMaintaining a website and/or managing online discussion boards may be required**; instructional and video editing software*** Technical Skills Proficient in use of films/slides, overheads and other projectors and/or video cassette players and recorders, as well as photocopiers, scanners and other commonly used office equipment*** Additional Requirements Background checks
Sources: *Teach.org, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ***O*Net Online.
Step 1: Complete a Bachelor's Degree and Teacher Preparation Program State requirements or preferred degree programs can vary. Generally, students will complete a major in the subject area they intend to teach with a minor in education or with concurrent enrollment in a teacher preparation program. However, some schools have students major in secondary education and minor in the particular subject area in which they plan to teach. Whether a student is enrolled in a teacher preparation program or another type of education degree, they generally complete a student teaching or mentorship teaching component in the program.
Participate in internship and student teaching opportunities. Most teacher preparation programs (and their varying forms/names) include student teaching; however, there will likely be additional opportunities to gain field experience or complete volunteer work through the school or community. Students should consider these opportunities to gain an understanding of the subject matter as well as to round out and populate their resume for obtaining positions after graduation. Become a tutor. Students who show a proficiency in subject areas, demonstrated by grades in related classes and cumulative GPA, are likely eligible to tutor these subjects through the school or university. These positions are often paid and students can specialize in one subject area or tutor in several. Complete an alternative teacher program if applicable. Alternative teacher programs generally take 1-2 years to complete and are available to students who already possess a bachelor's degree that is closely related to the subject area in which he or she wishes to teach. This can be an expedited route to begin teaching for students who already hold a relevant bachelor's degree. Step 2: Earn Teaching Credentials
After bachelor's degree attainment, there are additional exams and requirements necessary to complete in order for a student to obtain his or her initial teaching credentials. These also vary by state. Generally, the student will have a basic skills exam in addition to an exam specified to the subject in which they intend to teach. These test scores in conjunction with transcripts showing completion of the bachelor's degree and teacher prep program as well as state and federal background checks must be submitted with a completed application to the State Board of Education.
States also require teachers to complete several requirements to obtain permanent credentials. This can include additional coursework, exams and tests. Some teachers may be required to earn a master's degree, as well as a minimum amount of teaching experience.
Complete additional coursework requirements online. There are online and hybrid online/on-campus courses available to complete state requirements for permanent credentials. This includes master's degree programs. Use development resources. Most teachers associations offer programs that teachers can utilize to gain additional teaching techniques and other skills in addition to staying current on technology commonly used in the classroom. Step 3: Pursue Voluntary Certification
According to the BLS, pursuing additional credentials, such as those offered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), can increase job prospects for teachers. The NBPTS offers the National Board Certification, which is an advanced teaching credential. These certificates are available in a variety of areas, including health, library media, mathematics, physical education and science, for secondary teachers. Teacher workload
In high schools, it is important to consider not only the number of students per class but the nature of the class, and the subject the teacher is teaching. For example, a math teacher might have no problem teaching an advanced math class, or several math classes, with 35-40 students. But an English teacher teaching four classes of 40 students would probably not be able to give the proper attention to written assignments from that many students, and might not give as many assignments because of the large number of students.
Some schools might have classes of 40 taught by a team of two teachers. The class size by itself is not necessarily an indication of the attention students are getting.
Some schools effectively use parents and upper-grade students as volunteers in the classroom. This type of instructional help may not appear in a school's data about class size. Teaching Methods in Indian Schools. An understanding of modern less formal methods of teaching is greatly needed in the Indian Service. Indian schools should at least reach the level of better public schools in this respect. This is especially necessary because the best modern teaching, especially with young children, takes into account the kind of personality problems that are basic in the education of Indians.
Need for Knowledge of Modern Methods. Although there are some striking exceptions, principals and teachers in Indian schools as a rule are not acquainted with modern developments in teaching, though " educational leave " has brought some improvement. The impression a visitor almost inevitably gets upon entering the classroom of an Indian school is that here is a survival of methods and schoolroom organization belonging in the main to a former period. The nailed-down desks, in rows; the old-type "recitation"; the unnatural formality between teacher and pupil, the use of mechanistic words and devices, as "class rise !," "class pass! "; the lack of enriching materials, such as reading books and out-of-doors material, all suggest a type of school-keeping that still exists, of course, but has been greatly modified in most modern school systems, if not abandoned altogether, as the result of what has been made known in the past twenty-five years about learning and behavior.
This condition is, of course, only what one would expect from what has already been said about personnel. If methods of teaching in Indian schools, with a few conspicuous exceptions, are old-fashioned, without, for the most part, the redeeming quality of " thoroughness" that some of the old-time teaching is supposed to have had, it is due almost entirely to the lack of training standards and professional personnel. An encouraging feature of the situation is that here and there one does find interesting and successful efforts to get away from the formal and routine in teaching; a first-grade teacher trained under Montessori getting a delightful spontaneous activity out of her little Indian children; young college women coming back from a summer-session demonstration school touched with the newer way and struggling to put the new ideas into practice; still other teachers using the Indian interest and talent in art to give Indians a creative opportunity; a principal and group of boarding school teachers demonstrating that Navajo children, proverbially so shy that they hang their heads and will not speak in the presence of visitors, can in a few short months, with the abandonment of the stiff furniture and stiffer military routine characteristic of government boarding schools, become as lively human beings as any white children. These suggest the possibilities if personnel can be improved, if teachers can be helped by supervisors and staff specialists who know better methods, and if every effort is made to keep the education of the Indian in the stream of modern education development instead of isolated from it.
Study of the Individual Child. Perhaps the most characteristic fact about modern education is the attention given to study of the individual child and the effort to meet his needs. This is the real justification for intelligence testing and for the whole measurement movement. Given more knowledge on the part of the school and teacher of the health of the child, of his abilities, of the home conditions from which he comes, it should be possible to help him more satisfactorily to capitalize on what he has for his own sake and for the sake of society. So little measurement work has been done in government Indian schools that one danger in the measurement movement has not developed to any extent, but it needs to be borne in mind: Testing, particularly intelligence testing, should never be used in a school as a means of denying opportunity, but only as a means of directing opportunities more wisely. Most of the talk about some Indian children "not being worthy of an education beyond the grades" is indefensible. It is based on a misconception of the reason why society furnishes schooling at all. Discovery of low mental ability in any child, white or Indian, no more relieves society of the responsibility of educating him than diagnosis of a weak heart by a physician would relieve society from giving the person thus diagnosed a chance at life—in both cases the diagnosis becomes the first step in a process of improvement. It is at least as necessary in the case of Indian youth as in the case of white, perhaps more necessary, that the Indian's capacities and traits, whatever they are, shall be developed to the full; that he may become an asset rather than a liability to the community.
Using Tests in the "Regular Subjects." In the Indian schools not even the most elementary use has as yet been made of either intelligence testing or objective tests of achievement in the types of knowledge and skills that are usually referred to as the "regular school subjects." Thus reading, the one basic tool for the intellectual processes, is seldom taught with the resources that modern research in this field has put at the disposal of teachers. " Silent reading " is seldom understood or utilized, and the large number of supplementary readers that are always available for the use of children in a good modern primary room are almost never found in an Indian school. Some of the texts used in teaching reading antedate modern scientific work in this field, and even teachers who have recently been at summer schools and know better find it difficult to get what they need. Few, if any, of the teachers in Indian schools develop their own reading materials out of the life about them, as do many successful primary teachers of the newer type.
Almost the only use made of achievement tests with Indian children is found in public schools, though such testing is almost the only way in which questions as to the effectiveness of the half-day plan, the platoon plan, and other schemes involving the tool subjects can be answered. A practical way to improve this situation, apart from encouraging attendance upon summer sessions and visits to other schools, would be to develop close relations between Indian schools and nearby universities, such as already has been begun at Haskell Institute. Perhaps the most obvious example of the lack of utilization of the modern testing movement is in connection with the annual examinations. If examinations are to be used at all in this way, they should at least be formulated in accord with modern principles. A staff person at Washington familiar with measurement procedure could straighten out this testing business and direct considerable valuable work in the schools by teachers and other workers.
Emotional Behavior and Teaching Methods. Recently efforts to analyze and measure "mental ability," or intelligence in the restricted sense, have been supplemented by a very great interest in understanding other elements in the lives of human beings that are usually described as "emotional behavior " and "personality." Although the terms may be subject to criticism, there can be no question as to the significance of the thing itself. Important though it is that human society should be interested in "intelligence" in the narrow sense, and especially make better opportunities for gifted children than it now does, the fact remains that for the everyday concerns of life emotional reactions are much more important. Unless teaching methods take these into account they cannot succeed in the fundamental educational task of affecting human behavior to better ends. Members of the survey staff were struck with the fact that this is particularly the case with regard to Indians, but that Indian schools and those in charge of Indian affairs generally have given almost no attention to the problems that are involved. Nearly every boarding school visited furnished disquieting illustrations of failure to understand the underlying principles of human behavior. Punishments of the most harmful sort are bestowed in sheer ignorance, often in a sincere attempt to be of help. Routinization is the one method used for everything; though all that we know indicates its weakness as a method in education. If there were any real knowledge of how human beings are developed through their behavior we should not have in the Indian boarding schools the mass movements from dormitory to dining room, from dining room to classroom, from classroom back again, all completely controlled by external authority; we should hardly have children from the smallest to the largest of both sexes lined up in military formation; and we would certainly find a better way of handling boys and girls than to lock the door to the fire-escape of the girls' dormitory.
Methods Depend Upon Personnel. Teachers already in service can be helped to better teaching methods to some extent, but in the end the problem of method comes back again to that of personnel. Teachers prepared in the better teachers' colleges and schools of education would not have to be told that there are more scientific methods than are now used in Indian schools. Their training would lead them to keep constantly in touch with educational journals and other sources of information on changes in education. If, in turn, the principals of schools were better equipped they would know how to direct more effectively the efforts of teachers who already understand better methods. And unless the administration of the Indian jurisdiction is in the hands of a superintendent sufficiently trained to understand how to let qualified technicians in health, education, and social work do their own work, even properly equipped employees cannot carry on their activities effectively. The matter reaches still further back, of course, to the office at Washington. With staff specialists constantly in touch with educational changes, ready to advise and encourage in experimentation and prepared to help teachers keep alive on developments, newer methods are bound to come. It is significant that the few signs of better methods in the Indian schools are in those fields, namely in domestic arts and in nursing, where there is the beginning of professional aid at the central office.
The term “reading habit” refers to the behaviour which expresses the likeness of reading of individual, types of reading and tastes of reading (Sangkaeo, 1999). It is a pattern with which an individual organizes his or her reading. Reading is important for everybody in order to cope with new knowledge in a changing world – that of the technological age. The ability to read is at the heart of self education and lifelong learning. Yet, reading culture in sub-Saharan Africa is not encouraging. Based on this, Sangkaeo (1999) clearly states that “we are not reading society in Africa but chatting society, the background of learning through culture; the cultural habit of people…prefer to listening and chatting more than reading”. Darko-Ampem (2005) asserts “the great divide between home and school, the facilities of education system to recognize the oral culture of communities- especially, folklore and story telling traditions, and the lack of culturally relevant materials in indigenous languages, are all factors which contribute toward the lack of a reading culture in many African communities”.
Objectives of School Library
School library serves intended purposes,which are aimed at academic excellence.Oguntimehin and Adeyemi (2004) gave the following as the purpose/objective of the school library:
Support the teaching programme of the school
Guide students on the choice of relevant materials for study Provision of material resources to enhance academic growth and development Assist the pupils to develop skills in the use of books and libraries Acquire the relevant books and non-book materials to meet the requirement of the school curriculum. It can be deduced from the above that the school library is of paramount importance.It helps to guide the student in all areas of their academic endeavour, inculcate in them the desired reading culture before graduating from high school and also provide appropriate materials to supplement classroom teaching.
School library has been appraised by different scholars as an inevitable segment of the educational system.Thus,it is an integral part of the educational system that cannot be ignored without jeopardizing the quality of education in schools.The school library,therefore,is an important part of elementary,middle and high school programmes, without which students would not thrive academically and would find it most difficult to do research before they reach the college level.
Reading has been described as the art of interpreting printed and written words (Devarajan, 1989). It is regarded as one of the most effective processes of conscious learning. According to Devarajan and Gray, as cited in Panigrahi and Panda (1996), reading influences the extent and accuracy of information as well as the attitudes, morals, beliefs, judgement and action of readers. These authors postulate that “a creative and
pragmatic education involves the habit of personal investigation,which requires self study to be followed by self thinking and analysis”. Strivastar, cited in Panigrahi and Panda (1996) sees self study, i.e. reading at one’s own accord, as a habit which is technically known as reading habit.
It has been asserted that a child can know much about his environment, only, by exposing him or her to reading books, newspapers, and magazines. As the child is exposed to reading and develops the love for books, he finds it easier to explore the wealth of human experience and knowledge. During childhood, it is possible that children miss the opportunity of getting in touch with books and find it difficult to form reading
habit at the later years. This is based on the belief that reading children become reading adults. Frequent reading is related to the development of sophisticated language structures; higher levels of comprehension, improved word analysis skills, and fluency in significant amounts of voluntary reading, are associated with greater interest and skill development (Irving, International Reading Association, 2000).
Much research has provided insight into the importance of home environments for children’s reading literacy. Long before children develop the cognitive and linguistic skills necessary for reading, early experiences with printed and oral language establish a foundation for learning (Verhoeven cited in Dent and Yannotta, 2005). To these authors, particular home characteristics can create a climate that encourages children to explore and experiment with language and various forms of texts. Some of the major aspects of the home that contribute to reading literacy development as highlighted by (Tella & Akande 2007) are:
Activities Fostering Literacy- the literacy related activities that parents or care givers engage in with children, or encouragement and support (Gadsden, 2000). As children develop their capacity for oral language, they are learning the rules of language use. This knowledge will be translated into expectations for printed language as well. Adults and older children reading aloud to young children, and early association of enjoyment with printed text establish a positive attitude toward reading which eventually motivate young readers (Martin, Mullis and Gonzales in Dent and Yannotta, 2005).
Language in the Home- The fact that children learn to read depends heavily on their early experience with language. The language spoken at home, and how language is used, are important factors in reading literacy. Children whose knowledge of the language used in formal reading instruction is substantially below that expected of children of that age, are likely to be at an initial disadvantaged. Use of different languages
or dialects at home and school may cause problems for young students learning to read.
Economic Resources- Important aspects of the home environment include the availability of reading material and educational resources. Homes that make such resources available convey to children the expectation that learning to read is a desirable and worthwhile goal.
Social and Cultural Resources- Society and culture are inherent in influences on the perceived importance of reading for academic and personal success. Parents and caregivers engaged in many literacy activities to foster children positive attitudes towards reading. For most children, the home provides modelling and direct guidance in effective literacy practices. Beyond modelling, parents or other caregivers can directly support
reading development by expressing positive opinion about reading and literacy.
Home School Connection- Research show that students who discuss their school studies and what they are reading with their parents or caregivers are higher achievers than those who do not (Mullis, Martin, Gonzales and Kennedy, 2003 in Darko-Ampem,2004). Involved parents or caregivers can reinforce the value of learning to read, monitor children’s completion of reading assignments for school, and encourage children through
praise and support.
Students’ Out-of-School Literacy Activities- The child not only enjoys reading for recreation but also for practicing skills that are being learned. Reading for fun or to investigate topics of interest is the hallmark of lifelong reading. They may choose to spend their out-of-school time reading books or magazines, looking up information on the Internet, or going to a local library to read or take out books (Shapiro and Whiteney,
cited in Dumea, 2001).
Tella and Akande (2007) equally observed that, many factors in school affect reading literacy acquisition, directly or indirectly. These include:
School Policy and Curriculum- Literacy policy and curriculum at the school level establishes the context for the formal reading instruction children receive from the beginning of formal schooling. Such policies may include decisions about the emphasis on reading instruction in relation to other content areas. In turn, such decisions according to (Krolak, 2005) help to shape the environment within the school and the resources that
School Environment and Resources- The school environment encompasses many factors that affect learning. The sense of security that comes from having few behaviour problems and little or no crime promotes a stable learning environment. School-wide programs that provide for the basic needs of students and their families (e.g., before- or after-school child care programs) may also be important. Other school-wide programs,
which focus specifically on reading and literacy development, may directly support the acquisition of skills and attitudes toward reading literacy.
Additionally, the context of the classroom cannot be overlooked, when considering factors affecting reading literacy. Even though, the curricular policies and resources of the school often set the tone for accomplishment in the classroom activities, are likely to have a more direct impact on their reading development than the school environment. The instructional approaches and materials used are clearly important to establishing teaching, including the curriculum; the strategies employ to teach it, and the
availability of books technology, and other resources. The teacher of course, is another very influential determinant of the classroom environment. This can include his or her preparation and training, use of particular instructional approaches, and experience in teaching reading. Finally, the behaviours, attitudes and literacy level of classmates may influence the teacher’s instructional choice, thereby affecting a students reading development (Kurtz-Costes and Schneider, 1994 cited in Ekundayo, 2005).
Daniel (2004) reports that the Nigerian School Library Association (NSLA) has played a great role in championing the course of school librarianship especially in the area of drafting of resolution which over the years, have influenced government policies in the provision of school library services.The Federal Ministry of Education and Youth Development in 1992 came up with minimum standards for school libraries in Nigeria,as a result of the argument, that it was because of lack of standard that there was low development in Nigeria.The minimum standard for school libraries was formulated based on the following fact:
Students without access to supplementary reading materials as provided for in a library will be seriously handicapped.His academic success will be based largely on his ability to memorize his lecture notes.On the other hand, the student with access to a good school library can learn and be judged on his own skill in clarifying problem collecting information relative to its solution and formulating conclusion.This student no doubt, will have acquired the foundation for independent,purposeful and life-long learning.The cornerstone of the present policy as stated in the minimum standard includes:
Ø To support teaching and learning;
Ø To enrich the school curriculum;
Ø To promote and develop reading skills and encourage long-term learning habit through reading,listening to viewing a variety of learning materials.Learning habit form the key to continuous success in school as well as personal enrichment of the student pupils;
Ø Stimulate research and independent study by providing a wide variety of reading materials so that it cannot only supply information in printed form but also picture,films,tapes,Information Technology,Electronic mail, Internet etc.This makes learning more exciting;
Ø Provide opportunities for further reading and use of materials other than prescribed classroom textbooks;
Ø Provide recreational materials and encourage students/pupils to read for pleasure;
Ø Encourage students/pupils to develop their power of analytical appraisal by exposing them to varied collection of printed and other multi-media in the library;
Ø Provide students/pupils with vocational information and career guidance leading to the choice of suitable career and
Ø Provide up to date information to keep staff and student abreast of new development.
Library Promotes Teaching and Learning
The school library enhances teaching and learning and by extension,promotes reading habit in children.
Habit die hard,hence,it’s important to “catch the children young” by introducing them to the use of the library right from the kindergarteen/nursery classes to the secondary school.
Joseph (2003) sees the school library as an organized collection of books and other learning materials placed in a school for the use of teachers and pupils,who are the major patrons in the school libraries. It can be inferred from the above that the diverse collection coupled with the quiet,conducive and comfortable seats provided makes reading and assimilation easy.
Odusanya and Amusa (2004) opines that school library play significant and indispensable role in
inculcating reading habits in students at the primary and secondary levels of education.These levels of education according to them, are very crucial to the success of students at tertiary level.
Fayose (1995) views a school library as a collection of books, periodicals,magazines and newspapers,
films and filmstrips,video tapes,recording of all types,slides,computers,study kits and other information bearing resources housed for use by teachers and students for learning,recreational activities,personal interest and interpersonal relationship of children in a school.
The school library serves as impetus to promoting effective reading habit/culture in children.
It can be likened to the foundation of a building.As a weak foundation cannot sustain a building,a weak school library background cannot sustain the academics of the child. Alegbeleye (2010) opines that studies are carried out at all levels through the medium of English Language in Nigerian Schools.She noted that reading,speaking,
listening and writing play a very crucial role at various stages in intellectual growth of the Nigerian child.
Reading is therefore seen as the tool to other subjects taught at school.Reading promotion can be enhanced through book display and exhibition,book fair,excursion to publishers/publishing houses, encouragement of reputable authors to write on desired subject areas and for school libraries to be stocked with the relevant titles.
Much research has provided insight into the importance of home environments for children’s reading literacy (Adams, Ehri, Holdaway, Verhoeven in Dent and Yannotta,2005). Reading habits need to be built and promoted from an early age. Parents who spend time reading to their children, giving them the best possible start on the road to literacy are setting a good example for their educational attainment. Many researches
have also pointed out that children who do best in literacy skills at school are those who come from homes where there are books, where their parents spend time reading to their children and where children see their parents and older siblings engaging in reading activities. In order to encourage reading habit in their children, parents should:
1. Set a good example. If the child finds you reading, instead of being glued to television, he or she may also do the same.
2. Provide appropriate reading material, controlling television viewing and helping the children in their routine to include enough time to both play and read. However, children should not be forced to read. This may make them rebel and not do as told or instructed.
3. Other suggestions include reading story books aloud, creating a learning environment by setting up a mini reading corner with reading materials, visiting the library; bookshops, and offering books as prizes or gifts to the children.
1. The teachers are the next set of people children spend most of their time with after their parents. In the light of this fact, they should know the type of books children should enjoy reading. Hence, they need to request appropriate numbers of books for classrooms, and school libraries.
2. Teachers should introduce books to the pupils after giving them a brief introduction about the contents. This will give children the freedom to choose according to their taste.
3. They should inform parents and policy makers the importance of access to books.
4. Teachers need to appreciate the importance of reading. This will afford them the opportunity to motivate and encourage their pupils to read widely. Fluent reading comprehension skills are the basis of quality educational attainment.
Librarians have a crucial role to play, since they provide the only environment in which most people can access books. Therefore, they need to:
1. Attract children who are reluctant readers, expose them to the joys and benefits of reading.
2. Help the children to develop pleasant and positive attitude towards reading. This should be done before children could develop habits of reading and love for books.
3. Sangkaeo (1999) states that “in any effective school library program, the librarian should have definite responsibilities in certain areas of the curriculum and should have an active teaching role.” To him, the role must always be coordinated with what is taking place in the classroom. By having a wide knowledge of
materials and techniques for using them, the librarian can now make very strong partners in the planning and implementation of the educational enterprise.
4. The librarian working in primary schools libraries should endeavour to make the library attractive to the pupils.
For inculcating the habits of reading from the childhood, the recommendation by (Panigrahi and Panda, 1996) is very relevant here. That school libraries should:
1. Create an environment conducive to reading so that the children feel at home and comfortable;
2. Request teachers to encourage the students to read more books, magazines and newspapers regularly;
3. Request parents to subscribe to good newspapers and magazines for their homes matching the tastes of their children, and
4. Request schools to organize debate and essay competitions, story hours, chat shows exhibitions, quiz hours, etc…, at regular intervals so as to generate reading interest and information gathering habit”.
Radio and television media in the country should include in their program ‘Children Reading’. This should come up at least once or twice a week. They should as well make sure that interesting books are always read on air.This will encourage children to want to listen and thus enhance their pronunciation and reading habit.
The government needs to play the greatest role if the aim of achieving quality basic education is to be realized. Parts of the role should include:
1. The government needs to be aggressive on the issue of improving primary school libraries and should stress the contribution made by libraries to the quality of education for children. Adequate funds should be provided to keep classrooms and school libraries current with quality literature.
2. The idea of giving children free books as the case of Bookstart - the books for babies scheme in UK should be emulated. The scheme aims at giving free books to yield extraordinary results. “If books can have such an impact on educational attainment in the UK where information is so plentiful, the impact is likely to be
greater in Sub-Saharan Africa, perhaps in Botswana particularly where learning resources are so scarce and expensive (Mokatsi, 2005).Nigerian children no doubt,would appreciate this offer and benefit by it.
3. More library facilities need to be incorporated in all primary schools where there is none. The government should make efforts to strengthen such libraries.However, it is not enough that the shelves of such libraries are fully stocked with books. It should also be ensured that these are accessible to the pupils and devoid of unnecessary restrictions.
4. Generally, there is need to harness a myriad of opportunities brought by information communication technology ICTs. This has turned the world into a global village as the common saying. We should not be surprised if in the long run, the printed world is converted to electronic as a result of this advancing
technology and thereby opening a new arena of reading promotion. Essentially, therefore, the government should consider it a welcome development to introduce multi-media in school libraries. They may provide primary and secondary schools libraries with Internet browsing facilities and CDs on different topics that have direct relevance to the different subjects offered by the pupils (students) in their respective schools. Some of these topics can also be suggested by the teachers and who can ask children to summarize it. With this, children may become more inquisitive and more encouraged to use the library and search the Internet.
Andrew Loh (2002?) reports the good news that research studies indicate that almost 95% of children can really learn to read at elementary grade by spending just 15 to 20 minutes with proper guidance and care.
Thus, observing that parents can make a real difference in their children’s ability to read by utilizing 15 minutes every day with their son or daughter. He equally identified the following as some of the most common and practical tips to make children learn reading quicker and faster:
Consistent and Habitual Reading: Reading continuously and in a habitual manner can make your child learn reading in a double quick time. Reading to children in a loud voice will help your child increase the general knowledge of the world, enhance vocabulary skills, jack up familiarity with written language (or what you call 'book language'), and step up an active interest in reading. When your kid listens to words read continuously, he or she will start showing an active interest in the language. He or she will also feel that reading is something really enjoyable and pleasing. Repeated reading habit will not only help your kid learn how to read, but also succeed in academic activities.
Using normal and easy to learn language: Right communication starts at your home, and as a parent you will need to talk to your kids in a more refined and polished way. Children are avid and quick learners at all age groups, quickly absorbing critical information through normal interactions and associated experiences with other children, adults, and the general environment. The general rule is very simple and straightforward: The more interactive and interesting conversation and playtime your child is involved in, the more he or she can learn and better will be the ability to talk and read in the future.
Playing meaningful games: Interactive games are the best source of reading and writing skills; a number of games help children read something before they can proceed to the next step of the game. One simple example is matching words with pictures by reciting the word loudly. This type of interactive game is extremely beneficial and cajoling in making your child learn reading books at a young age.
In summary, it can be deduced that teaching a kid to learn reading starts right in his or her ears! One can lay a strong foundation for success in reading and comprehending by slowly and surely reading stories to one’s kids, talk in a simple language and by playing linguistics related games and riddles. As you start reading more numbers of books, your child will start picking up a small collection of simple words. AS he or she starts to build the power of vocabulary, the future will also look brighter and promising.
Sana core (2000) asserts that promoting the lifetime love of reading should be one of our most important goals in middle schools. He stressed that through pleasurable reading, middle school students have opportunity to apply skills to meaningful contexts, build general and content-specific knowledge, experience fluency with connected text and of course, develop the lifetime reading habit. He noted further that our students,therefore,need opportunities in school and at home to enjoy “real” reading as a valued and worthwhile activity.He opines that for middle-level learners to consider reading as a serious part of their lifestyles, they need exposure to a variety of reading materials, including short story anthologies,novels,plays,poetry collections, biography etc. As technology advances, it can be difficult to keep up and adapt to the advancements in both our personal and professional lives. Teachers have an especially important role to play in technological advancements, as incorporating technology in the classroom can be both a learning tool for students and a teaching tool for the instructor. Kids seem to be adapting to the rapid advancements in technology better than many adults, and they actually embrace it. For this reason, incorporating technology in the classroom is a great way to increase a child’s interest in learning.
There are numerous ways that teachers can use technology in the classroom and many are already doing it. Some districts use interactive Smart Boards in place of traditional chalk or white boards in their classroom. These flat screen monitors are networked with the teacher’s classroom computer and the school’s internet connection. Interactive lessons in math, spelling, science and other subjects can be put on screen for students to participate in. The boards use touch screen technology and in some cases, kids are given handheld remote “clickers” that act as controllers for answering questions presented on screen.
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Colorful Worksheets-Engage & Learn. Much Cheaper than Printable Sheets edurite.com/book/Worksheets Many school districts have made it easy for teachers to use technology in the classroom with supportive technology departments and funding, but others are still behind for budget reasons. In those cases, teachers can still utilize technology in the classroom in more unconventional ways. Some teachers encourage middle and high school students to sign up for email updates or text message alerts to receive homework assignments and reminders for tests and projects. Many kids respond well to these types of communications and thus, respond better to the assignments themselves.
Educational book publishers have also jumped on board the proverbial technological bandwagon by making books available online and interactive activities that supplement the curriculum being taught. Many teachers take advantage of these supplemental activities by permitting kids to go online during class to complete them or encouraging children to visit the publisher’s websites and complete the activities at home. Similarly, many of these ancillary websites, as well as other computer software, allow teachers to track their students’ progress and understanding of material.
Most classrooms today provide access to computers and other sources of technology. Incorporating that technology in the classroom and daily lesson plans can be a challenge for many teachers, as they must choose the most efficient means of delivering a lesson and the assignments that reinforce it while staying on target with imposed standards. However, many teachers are finding that once they incorporate technology in the classroom, it benefits their students by engaging them in ways they are familiar with and enjoy, which ultimately makes their job easier.