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Vol.13 No.2
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VOLUME 13 NUMBER 2 September 2015

Table of Contents
Applying Extensive Reading to Improve Unmotivated Learners Attitudes toward Reading in English ................. 1
Chiu-Kuei Chang Chien and Kuo-Jen Yu

The Impact of Child Labour on Primary School Childrens Access to and Participation in Basic Education in
Tanzania ................................................................................................................................................................................. 26
Gilman Jackson Nyamubi, PhD

Frameworks for Integration of Digital Technologies at the Roadside: Innovative Models, Current Trends and
Future Perspectives .............................................................................................................................................................. 37
Rogerio L. Roth

Japans Global 30 Program: The Push and Pull Factors of International Student Mobility ........................................ 55
Jonathan Aleles

The Impact of Self-Monitoring Paired with Positive Reinforcement on Increasing Task Completion with a Student
Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Case Study ........................................................................................... 66
Jeremy R. Mills, Ed.D

Effects of Hybrid Active Learning Strategy on Secondary School Students Understanding of Direct Current
Electricity Concepts in Nigeria............................................................................................................................................ 77
Mangut Mankilik and Uche Connie Ofodile

Problem-Based Learning: Mandatory Personal Qualities of Effective Facilitators ...................................................... 88


Nor Junainah Mohd Isa, Ahmad Jazimin Jusoh and Mohd Muzafar Shah Mohd Razali

Scenario-Based Design Methods for Developing a Breast Cancer Health Care Information Website ...................... 97
Dr. Chih-Lin Tseng

Effects of Reflective Learning on the Listening Behaviors of EFL College Students ................................................ 116
Yi-Chun Pan

An Evaluation of Pharmacy Pre-Registration Trainees Perception of Their Placement Tutors in the United
Kingdom (UK) .................................................................................................................................................................... 130
Andrew Makori
The Role of Teaching Experience and Prior Education in Teachers Self-Efficacy and General Pedagogical
Knowledge at the Onset of Teacher Education ............................................................................................................... 168
Cynthia Vaudroz, Jean-Louis Berger and Cline Girardet

Technology Blended Learning Approaches and the Level of Student Engagement with Subject Content .......... 179
Zeina Nehme, Arthur Seakhoa-King and Shameem Ali

Communication Skills Training Through an Inter Professional Education Initiative for Undergraduate Multi-
Professions Students ........................................................................................................................................................... 195
Ismat Mohamed Mutwali, Naglaa Abd Al Raheem, Awad Alkarim M Elhassan, Sara S Ibrahim, Aida Abdulhamid, Enas
Fadulalbary and Aisha Aglan

Teachers Intentions for Outdoor Learning: A Characterisation of Teachers Objectives and Actions .................. 208
Christina Ottander, Birgitta Wilhelmsson and Gun Lidestav
1

International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 1-25, September 2015

Applying Extensive Reading to Improve Unmotivated


Learners Attitudes toward Reading in English

Chiu-Kuei Chang Chien


WuFeng University
Taiwan

Kuo-Jen Yu
Nanhua University
Taiwan

Abstract. Extensive reading has been highly praised by numerous


scholars and researchers for its value to L1/L2 language learning and
acquisition, with the extent of its effects on language learners ranging
from linguistic to affective facets. The purpose of this study was to
understand the effects of extensive reading on the subjects concerning
their attitudes toward English reading. An attitude questionnaire was
distributed to the subjects one year after the extensive reading activity
terminated. The results revealed that the extensive reading improved
the subjects cognitive aspect of attitude; however, affective and
behavioral aspects of attitudes indicated negative results. Some possible
explanations for such results were presented in the discussions.

Keywords: extensive reading, cognitive attitude, affective attitude,


behavioral attitude

1. Introduction
Extensive reading (ER) has long been advocated and perceived as an
effective and stimulating instructional approach to enhance learners
language proficiency. It has been highly valued by numerous scholars
and researchers in the language learning field. For instance, Robb and
Susser (1989) in a study of SRA reading boxes praise the extensive
reading program for both its cognitive and affective effects on language
learners. Green and Oxford (1995) examining the influence of learning
strategies on language proficiency claim that reading for pleasure was
strongly associated with language proficiency. Waring (2009) also claims
that learners cannot get their own sense of language without getting
themselves exposed to large quantity of reading. In her book Teaching
Reading Skills in a Foreign Language, Nuttall (1982) concludes by citing
what other researchers often say when referring to extensive reading,

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2

The best way to improve ones knowledge of a foreign language is to go


and live among its speakers. The next best way is to read extensively in
it. (p.168)

While extensive reading is deemed valuable in terms of its effect on


language learning, some criticisms have also been observed in literature
(Coady, 1997; Green, 2005), particularly on the effect of extensive reading
on learners gains in vocabulary knowledge (e.g., Powell, 2005; Huckin &
Coady, 1999). The reason is that it uses simple texts and there is little or
no consultation of dictionaries while reading. Besides, a general view is
held that real-world texts should be adopted so that learners can adapt
themselves to real-world reading (Day & Bamford, 2002). However, as
Day and Bamford (2002) contend, This is to confuse the means with the
end, and paradoxically to rob students of exactly the material they need to
progress to the goal of real-world texts.(p.2) It is also argued that what
counts is that learners are literally reading something meaningful, which
can really entertain them and trap them in what they are doing.

Extensive reading is also criticized for its costly investment since running
an efficient and effective extensive reading program involves lots of
administrative work (Day & Bamford, 1998). To deal with this problem, it
is suggested that schools or universities make efforts to secure more
funds from central government or cooperate with local governments to
generate sufficient funds so that extensive reading programs can really
run smoothly and be sustained permanently. Day and Bamford (1998)
suggest running a small-scale ER program at the inception or when a
program lacks sufficient funds.

Another criticism comes from the emphasis of the extensive reading


scheme on free voluntary reading to promote language acquisition. It is
argued that learners in the extensive reading program are often left alone
without receiving any guided activities and being informed of explicit
purposes for their reading, contradicting the principle of interactionist
theory addressing the dynamic process of sharing and discussing
either in small groups or through oral presentations (Green, 2005).
Besides, it is also argued that an extensive reading program also exempts
language teachers from showing commitment to reading in virtue of the
scheme of the program not requiring teachers to give lectures (Green,
2005). Based on these contentions, it is suggested that language teachers
design interactive activities for extensive reading programs so that
students have opportunities to share reading through discussions and
exchange of opinions or perspectives on their reading. What is more, it is
also advised that language teachers familiarize themselves with their
students reading so that they can share the reading with students and
meanwhile present themselves as models of devoted readers as well.

Lastly, extensive reading is also attacked for lack of instruction and

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3

practice of the language features in texts, restraining the development of


students linguistic knowledge of the target language. As Green (2005)
contends, The overriding concern always in reading schemesleading
to the development of a superficial fluency . The principles of analysis
and recycling so vital in consolidating and extending learners knowledge
of and ability to use target language systems do not operate in most
reading schemes (p.309). However, such contention demonstrates
unawareness of the tenets of an extensive reading programreading for
pleasure rather than dissection of texts. It is argued that explaining and
practicing linguistic features of the target language should be done in the
regular reading class or grammar class rather than in the extensive
reading program.

Motivation and Purpose

English reading has long been considered an important language learning


activity for secondary education in Taiwan considering that a
test-oriented educational system still prevails in this context (Tien, 2015).
As a result, a great many students have become unmotivated language
learners and readers since they are required to get immersed in a
compelling bunch of English reading materials to cope with countless
tests and exams, with many of these texts oftentimes unintelligible and
inadequate owning to their improper difficulty levels (Lin, 2004).
Consequently, most of our students ever learn to read only texts beyond
their reading level, the kind of passages they see on language tests
(Waring, 1997).

Besides, to build up students language abilities, reading activities in


schools often end up focusing more on explanations of linguistic features,
practice and memorization of vocabulary and grammatical rules and
sentence translation than appreciation of pieces of reading. As a result,
multitudes of students have completely lost interest in and even
developed negative attitudes toward reading in English after undergoing
such a rigid learning pattern and a barely pleasurable reading experience.
Normally the negative attitudes are carried over to university, where
students have to deal with a lot more English reading texts in their
disciplines, with content even more intricate and obscure. Without
developing positive attitudes toward and forming habits of reading in
English, they might find it even harder to survive their university studies.

A substantial number of studies have recognized the values of extensive


reading on the development of L2; however, there has been far less
research on the affective influence of extensive reading (Yamashita, 2013).
Therefore, the purpose of this study was to fill this gap by exploring the
effects of a home-based extensive reading on L2 learners attitudes toward
English reading. To help the students develop positive attitudes toward
English reading and turn them into motivated readers, they were

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4

requested to do extensive reading at home. A survey was administered to


the students to investigate the extent of the effects of extensive reading on
the subjects attitudes toward English reading one year after the extensive
reading activity terminated. The findings were presented following the
survey and discussed along with provision of certain pedagogical
suggestions.

2. Literature Review

Extensive Reading: Terms and Definitions

The term of extensive reading was originally coined by Palmer (1917)


purporting to differentiate it from intensive reading (Bamford & Day,
1997). The difference between extensive reading and intensive reading
mainly lies in the amount of reading, degree of depth and extent of
comprehension of texts. Intensive reading usually involves learning of
shorter texts with higher degree of depth in content and use of more
difficult language, often requiring learners complete and detailed
understanding of the reading materials; contrarily, extensive reading
refers to reading longer passages with content written with simpler
language and the purpose of reading is to understand overall meaning of
a text rather than study of linguistic components (Bamford & Day, 1997;
Yamashita, 2004). Other terms equivalent to extensive reading are also
used in literature. For instance, Beatrice Mikulecky calls extensive reading
pleasure reading (Bamford & Day, 1997), Bamford and Day (1997) term
it sustained silent reading (SSR) (Grabe, 1991) and Krashen (1993)
denominates it free voluntary reading (Bamford & Day, 1997).

Definitions that serve to anchor and frame extensive reading also vary
among scholars. Palmer defined extensive reading as reading rapidly
(1921/1964, p.111) and book after book (1917/1968, p.137) with
concentration on the meaning rather than the language (as cited in
Day & Bamford, 1998, p.5). According to Richards and Schmidt (2002),
extensive reading is reading for general understanding with intentions
to develop good reading habits, to build up knowledge of vocabulary
and structure, and to encourage a liking for reading (pp.193-194). Day
and Bamford (1998) and Grabe and Stoller (2002) describe extensive
reading as exposing learners to a great number of written texts of their
language proficiency level, which is in the meanwhile pleasurable
(Helgesen, 2005; Pigada, 2006). As whether reading is pleasurable or not
can only be determined by the readers themselves, it would be best that
the reading materials, as suggested by Day and Bamford (1998), are
self-selected.

Extensive reading can be conducted in the classroom generally


accompanied to an English course (Davis, 1995) or as an after-school
activity (Day & Bamford, 1998). As for the goal set for amount of

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5

reading that can be qualified as extensive reading, Susser and Robb (1990)
indicate a range from an hour per night to two books weekly, as agreed
upon by educators. Anderson (1999) considers 200 words every minute a
rational and practical goal for L2 readers. However, Powell (2005)
suggests that flexibility be a necessity considering students substantial
workload imposed upon them at schools.

Theoretical Framework of Extensive Reading

The instructional value ascribed to extensive reading is founded on the


supposition that learners will have a good command of L2 provided that
they are exposed to meaningful and interesting texts over an extended
period of time (Hafiz & Tudor, 1989). In addition, the theoretical motive
underlying the use of extensive reading derives from the thought that
learners need a considerable amount of comprehensible input of the
target language so that acquisition of the whole target language can be
made possible (Krashen, 1982; Renandya, Rajan & Jacobs, 1999).

In fact, extensive reading is mainly founded on Krashens two prominent


reading theories, the Input Hypothesis or Comprehension Hypothesis
and the Pleasure Hypothesis (Hong, 2007; Iwahori, 2008; Maxim, 1999).
The Input Hypothesis claims that learners can acquire language best by
understanding the input somewhat beyond their current language level,
namely the i+1 level, with i being learners current level and i+1 the
subsequent level (Krashen, 1982, 1985). To move from i to i+1, learners
must obtain comprehensible input, and the ideal input must be
interesting and/or relevant, not grammatically sequenced and in
sufficient quantity (Krashen, 1982); moreover, learning also needs to be
undertaken in a low-affective context (Hafiz & Tudor, 1989; Krashen, 1982;
Krashen & Terrell, 1983). The Input Hypothesis is consistent with
Krashens Natural Order Hypothesis, claiming that learners progress
following an inherent sequence when receiving parallel levels of language
input (Krashen, 1982, 2002; Morano, 2004). In brief, the Input Hypothesis
advocates that language knowledge is acquired subconsciously, a process
similar to incidental learning (Krashen, 1989), and as long as learners
have acquired the essential skills of a language, they can acquire the
language by themselves through exposure to a large amount of
comprehensible input.

The Pleasure Hypothesis claims that pleasant language activities can not
only provide comprehensible input but also lower learners affective
filters, a mental block in charge of language acquisition (Lee, 1998). The
affective filters correlate with the anxiety level of learners (Krashen, 1982),
relating to Krashens Affective Filter Hypothesis, suggesting that
language learners with low affective filters are more receptive to input
and confident of learning a language (Richards & Rodgers, 2001). That is,
the comprehensible input cannot be completely used if there is a mental

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block or affective filter obstructing the acquisition process (Krashen, 1985).


Though the affective variables do not influence language acquisition
straightforwardly, they inhibit language acquisition (Krashen, 1992, 2002;
Lee, 1998). In an extensive reading program, learners can choose their
favorite reading materials with intelligible content assured; besides,
acquisition of linguistic knowledge can be guaranteed as learners anxiety
level is lowered being immersed in a less stressful learning condition.

Extensive reading is also closely related to the Bookstrap Hypothesis and


the Flow Theory. The Bookstrap Hypothesis is proposed by Day and
Bamford (1998), who borrowed the idea from bootstrapping in
engineering describing a process in which the results of an action are fed
back to achieve greater results more quickly with less effort (p.30). The
Bookstrap Hypothesis lays special weight on learners initial successful
experiences in extensive reading, which has great impact on learners
attitude and motivation. With experiences of achievement in reading,
learners find that reading is virtually exciting and valuable; in
consequence, their positive learning attitude is increased and motivation
is enhanced. These successful experiences will entice readers to move on
subsequent reading leading to greater achievement in reading in L2 (Day
& Bamford, 1998). The Flow Theory alludes to the condition when
learners are deeply involved in the reading when the reading catches
their attention and at this level learners start to use their background
knowledge to process the text or decode the meaning of the text by
chunks (phrases or ideas) instead of decoding word by word (Waring,
1997). It is argued that extensive readers engage in interesting reading
activities, motivating them to plunge into more reading by entering into a
virtuous circle, and ultimately they deviate from less effective reading
along with development of language or content knowledge, finally
attaining better reading skills and reading comprehension.

Benefits of Extensive Reading

A considerable amount of research conducted over the past decades has


reported the impact of extensive reading on learners at different age
levels and in different contexts (Leung, 2002) and also on the
development of both L1 (e.g., Krashen, 1993; Nagy, Herman, & Anderson,
1985) and L2 (e.g., Elley, 1991; Hafiz & Tudor, 1990; Hayashi, 1999;
Krashen, 1997; Mason & Krashen, 1997; Robb & Susser, 1989; Yang, 2001).
Numerous studies have reported that learners have increased their
language abilities in different aspects from extensive reading (Yamashita,
2004; Yamashita, 2013) with received benefits spreading from receptive
skills to productive skills (Elley & Mangubhai, 1983). The reported gains
include general language competence (Elley & Mangubhai, 1983; Iwahori,
2008), vocabulary knowledge (e.g., Lao & Krashen, 2000; MacQuillan &
Krashen, 2008; Poulshock, 2010; Yamamoto, 2011), listening ability (e.g.,
Elley & Mangubhai, 1983), oral skills (e.g., Cho & Krahen, 1994), reading

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skills (e.g., Day & Bamford, 1998; Manson & Krashen, 1997; Nakanishi,
2014) and writing ability (e.g., Janopoulos, 1986; Saleem, 2010; Tsang,
1996). In addition, studies have also reported beneficial effects of
extensive reading on affective domains such as improvement of learners
motivation and/or attitudes (e.g., Cho & Krashen, 1994; Hayashi, 1999;
Johanson, 2012; Mason & Krashen, 1997; Nishino, 2007; Yamashita, 2013)
and building of learners confidence (e.g., Kembo, 1993; Ro, 2013). This
study mainly examined the effects of extensive reading on L2 learners
attitudes toward English reading.

Extensive Reading and Attitudes

Affective factors are recognized as important elements in a reading course


(Quinn & Jadav, 1987) and more emphasis is beginning to be played on
the importance of affective reading development (Matthewson, 1994).
One important affective element having impact on language learning is
learners attitude (Gardner, 1972). Attitude is often defined as a learned
predisposition to respond in a consistently favorable or unfavorable
manner with respect to a given object (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975,
p.6;Yamashita, 2013, p.249) and are usually considered many-faceted,
specifically involving cognitive, affective and behavioral components
(Bagozzi & Burnkrant, 1979; Eagly & Chaiken, 1993; Hovland &
Bosenberg, 1960; Ley, Schaer & Dismukes, 1994). Alexander and Filler
(1976) define reading attitude as a system of feelings related to reading
which causes the learner to approach or avoid a reading situation (p.1)
or a state of mind, accompanied by feelings and emotions, that makes
reading more or less probable (Smith, 1990, p.215, as cited in Yamashita,
2004, p.3). Therefore, with positive attitude toward L2 reading, it is more
likely that L2 learners will form habits of reading, attach higher values
upon reading, be more intrinsically motivated to read and become active
readers. In short, reading attitude decides whether a learner will read or
have a will to read or not.

Extensive reading has been recognized by several scholars and


researchers as a powerful device for improving learners reading attitude
(e.g., Cho & Krashen, 1994; Johnson, 2012; Robb & Susser, 1989;
Poulshock, 2010). The following section presents related literature on
extensive reading in terms of its potential for promoting positive reading
attitude with these studies involving learners in different contexts and
with different language proficiency levels, covering different study span
and adopting different methods.

Elley (1991) reported a three-year longitudinal study engaging


elementary students in an extensive reading program called REAP where
learners were provided with highly interesting illustrated story books.
The results revealed that children reading extensively seemed to
occasionally acquire the language and developed positive attitude toward

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8

reading as well. Walkers (1997) study involved international


undergraduates and graduate students in the UK, who were preparing
for a test required for tertiary level study in English. A self-access
extensive reading project was set up with graded readers made accessible
to the subjects on their schooldays. The students read an average of 7.5-8
books over a 30-week study period. The results showed a correlation
between extensive reading and the subjects test scores. Moreover, the
interview responses also revealed perceived change of the learners
attitudes toward English reading. Al-Homoud and Schmitt (2009)
engaged beginning level college students in a Saudi college pre-sessional
course that adopted extensive reading approach. The results showed that
the participants doing a daily 20-25 minutes silent reading demonstrated
parallel improvement in reading comprehension, reading speed and
vocabulary knowledge as the counterparts in the control group, who read
100 short articles. Moreover, the participants in the experimental group
also demonstrated more positive attitudes toward English reading, their
reading and their class compared to the students in the extensive reading
group.

A great many extensive reading studies are conducted in Japan. Mason


and Krashens (1997) quasi-experimental study compared reluctant EFL
university students to students in diverse school levels. The reluctant
students cloze test scored much lower than the comparison students
receiving conventional classroom language instruction. After being
administered to an extensive reading class for one semester, the reluctant
students virtually got abreast of the comparison students on the cloze test;
moreover, the reluctant students also improved their learning attitude.
Lao and Krashen (2000) examined the influence of extensive reading
(using popular literature) on university students language proficiency
and reading attitude. The results revealed that the popular literature
group who had completed five assigned books and one self-selected book
during the semester showed significant gains in vocabulary knowledge
and reading rate compared to their counterparts whose learning focused
on development of academic skills. Moreover, they also demonstrated
positive attitude toward the pleasure reading activity. Yamashita (2013)
conducted a study investigating the impact of extensive reading on
reading attitude, which was assumed made up of varied components,
serving as the affective aspect and the cognitive aspect of EFL reading
attitudes respectively. The participants were 61 non-English major
university students enrolled in compulsory EFL classes. They received a
weekly 90 minutes English instruction based on the ER approach. The
students read both inside and outside of class and were required to
submit book reports. The study lasted for 15 weeks. The result showed
that ER generated effects on Comfort and Intellectual Value and Anxiety
Value but not on Practical Value, denoting that ER stimulated intrinsic
motivation of language learners forging a virtuous cycle of reading.

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9

In Taiwan, Nash and Yuan (1992/93) compared university English majors


receiving instruction using quantity reading with those receiving
traditional reading instruction that focused on learning of subskills. After
reading for one academic year, the subjects in quantity reading group
demonstrated more positive attitudes toward reading compared to the
control group. Sheu (2003) reported an ER study involving
beginning-level Taiwanese junior high school students. The study lasted
for two semesters. The results showed that the two treatment groups
improved on reading comprehension scores to a significant extent.
Moreover, the self-assessment also indicated that the subjects in the
treatment groups developed positive attitude toward reading in English.
Tien (2015) conducted a large-scale study for a universitys Teaching
Excellence Project in Taiwan. A two-year extensive reading program was
established for non-English majors with an aim to improve their English
proficiency. The students received two hours of extensive reading
treatment per week. At the end of the first year, the author conducted a
study to evaluate the program by adopting questionnaire and
focus-group interviews. A total of 5,711 students and 36 instructors
participated in this study. The author examined what factors influenced
non-English majors attitudes toward extensive reading and how students
and teachers perceived the extensive reading program. The results
showed that numerous factors exerted effects on learners attitude toward
extensive reading with learners majors and amount of time spent on
reading having direct effect. Moreover, both teachers and students
displayed perceptible attitude change toward extensive reading
recognizing its linguistic benefits after experiencing reading for a period
of two semesters.

Some researchers adopted exploratory qualitative research design to get


deep insight into the effect of extensive reading. Alshamrani (2003)
implemented a qualitative study involving two groups of ESL students
participating in a reading course termed Reading Club. The subjects read
authentic texts during the three-month course. After experiencing the
extensive reading course, the subjects increased several linguistic skills
and adopted positive attitudes toward reading authentic texts and
became enthusiastic readers as well. Another study was conducted by
Fredricks and Sobko (2008) in Tajikistan. The subjects participated in an
ER program where they were provided with reading texts with topics
relevant to their own cultures. The reading activities involved discussions
and debates on the selected reading materials along with teacher-guided
activities. The results showed that the learners demonstrated positive
attitude toward reading in English after experiencing the extensive
reading; moreover, they also formed habits of reading as well. Byun (2010)
also adopted a qualitative research design involving 14 in-service
secondary school EFL teachers in a professional development program in
a Korean university. One purpose of the study was to explore how the
EFL teachers perceived the administered extensive reading approach. A

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10

copious supply of prints, roughly 1000 copies, was made accessible to the
participants. The data were generated within two weeks through multiple
sources including classroom observations, interviews, diaries and surveys.
The results showed that the teachers had changed their perceptions about
extensive reading and turned into enthusiastic extensive readers. They
recognized several benefits of extensive reading including increase in
vocabulary knowledge and improvement in reading attitude and sense of
accomplishment.

ER also demonstrates its effects on different languages besides English.


Hitosugi and Day (2004) conducted a study at the University of Hawaii
engaging beginning learners of Japanese in reading texts written for
children. The subjects had an access to 226 books for the ER class and read
extensively over the 10-week period and also spent 30 minutes weekly
doing numerous activities related to the reading. The subjects read an
average of 31.6 books within the study period. The results showed that
the subjects developed more positive attitudes toward Japanese study
compared to their regular class counterparts. Similarly, McQuillan (1996)
also conducted a 10-week FVR (free voluntary reading) study with native
speakers of English enrolled in a university course, Spanish for Native
Speakers (SNS). The experimental group did FVR outside the classroom
and discussed reading in class by forming literature circles. At the end of
the course, the subjects increased vocabulary knowledge to a significant
level and adopted more positive attitudes toward Spanish literacy.
Arnold (2009) conducted an evaluation study at a university in the
southeastern United States engaging eight advanced German language
learners in a modified extensive reading program. The participants read
online text without instructor preselection and read whatever materials
they liked without restrictions on text length or type. The participants met
twice a week for a period of 75 minutes. After reading, they filled out
reading reports and did follow-up activities including discussions and
reflections. The study lasted for one semester and the results showed that
many students became motivated German learners and took a much more
active attitude toward extensive reading.

3. Methodology

Subjects

The subjects were freshmen students from the department of Information


Management at a university in southern Taiwan. The researcher taught
the subjects Freshman English Reading in academic year 2006. In addition
to the reading class, the subjects were also required to do extensive
reading at home. At the beginning of the class, the researcher investigated
orally the class concerning their perceptions about English learning along
with their attitude toward reading in English. Most of the subjects,
according to the researchers understanding, were mostly unmotivated or

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11

reluctant English readers and had formed negative conception about


English learning after undergoing a rigid way of learning English
reading in high schools and encountering numerous frustrations and
failures in the process of their learning. In addition, most of them
conceived being able to read in English as unimportant and unrelated to
their future careers without knowing that most employment
opportunities require job seekers to be equipped with certain level of
English language skills. Other than that, most of them considered being
able to read in English was not important in their specific field of study
partly because they thought they were non-majors granting that they
were clearly aware of the fact that many disciplines in their fields of study
required a certain level of English skills, particularly reading skills since
most of the textbooks they used were written in English.

Instruments
The attitudes questionnaire was designed based on Lewis and Teales
(1980) tri-attitudes model. Lewis and Teale developed their own reading
attitudes model based on the generally agreed conception that attitudes
consist of cognitive, affective and behavioral components. The three
components correspond to the three attitudes including a) beliefs or
opinions about reading, (b) evaluations or feelings about reading and (c)
intentions to read and actual reading (Ley, Schaer & Dismukes, 1994).

In order to generate more appropriate questions, the first version of the


questionnaire was given to two of the first authors colleagues for
examination, who had offered precious feedback for the items in the
questionnaire. Moreover, the questionnaire had also been reviewed by
other experts from English teaching-related field; therefore, it is equipped
with content validity and face validity. After incorporating their opinions
and making revisions, the second version of the questionnaire (see
Appendix 1) was developed. The reading attitudes questionnaire was a
five-point Liker scale questionnaire with each item requiring the subjects
to answer by selecting a number ordered from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5
(strongly agree). As for the reliability of the questionnaire in this study
(See Table 1), the lowest Cronbachs Alpha coefficient was affective (alpha
= 0.788) with a value larger than 0.7. Therefore, this reading attitudes
questionnaire in this study had internal consistency reliability.

Table 1. Reliability of Reading Attitudes Questionnaire


Reading Attitudes Number of Items Cronbachs
Alpha
a. Cognitive 5 .886
b. Affective 4 .788
c. Behaviour 5 .889

Other than the main section of the questionnaire, a short section


containing items of gender, age, language learning experience, status of

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12

subscription of English reading materials, experience of living in


English-speaking countries and English scores of the scholastic aptitude
test for college admission and indication of English reading material for
extensive reading was also deliberately constructed to acquire students
demographic information.

Procedure

The extensive reading was conducted by the first author, which was
administered at the beginning of the first semester of academic year 2006
and finished at the end of the second semester, lasting for one academic
year. In addition to having weekly two hours of in-class reading in the
university, the subjects were also required to do extensive reading after
school. They were told to freely choose whatever genres of reading if only
they felt interested in them, be they magazines, newspapers, entertaining
or informed texts, fiction or non-fiction short stories, etc. Books such as
American childrens literature and Young Adult Literature (YAL) were
also recommended to the subjects. The young adult literature has recently
become popularly used in the universitys English curriculum in Taiwan
for its multiple values including using natural and authentic language
written from young adults viewpoints, discussing interesting themes
related to young adults real life experiences, and fostering learners
cross-cultural understanding (Bushman & Bushman, 1997; White, 2000;
Wilder & Teasley, 2000). Booklists of Oxford Bookworm Library and
Heinemann Guided Readers covering different levels were also
distributed to the subjects as references for their selection of reading
materials.

To help the subjects choose reading materials, the researcher led the
subjects to the universitys library, where a whole bunch of reading
materials were made accessible to them, who spent a couple of hours
scanning the texts and pick up their favorite ones. As emphasized by Hill
(1997), an ER specialist, it is important to offer multitudinous types of
reading materials to fulfill the needs of students considering their varied
language proficiency levels. The procedure for borrowing books was
explained by the librarian. Apart from borrowing books from the
university library, the subjects were also encouraged to look for L2
reading materials from bookstores and make a collection of their own
favorite reading materials to conduct pleasure reading in their free time.

The purpose of doing extensive reading was explained to the students. In


addition, the subjects were also advised that dictionary consultation for
unfamiliar words be decreased or avoided to refrain from distraction and
interruption of the flow of reading. They were also encouraged to choose
reading materials based on their own proficiency and comfortable levels
and conduct their reading in their free time and at their own pace. There
was no designated number of books for students in light of the inherent

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attribute of the extensive reading intended for pleasure. Nevertheless, the


recommended reading volumes were 4-5 books each semester and
estimated pages were roughly 400 to 500 pages. They were encouraged to
spend at least one hour to do extensive reading per night. There were no
tests administered to students for their extensive reading, nor were they
required to undertake any reading task or do any assignment in virtue of
the varieties and different levels of the reading materials selected by the
students. In addition, the extensive reading does not intend to impose on
learners any additional post-reading tasks, as suggested by Day and
Bamford (1998). The subjects were also told to record their progress in
reading and document what they had read. Nevertheless, the researcher
did not actually monitor their progress by requesting them to present
their progress reports. Each student was requested to present orally in
front of the class on books read and what they had learned from their
extensive reading. The oral presentation ran for a period of two weeks,
arranged at the last two weeks of each semester with each presentation
lasting five minutes only owing to time constraint.

In addition to the home extensive reading, students also did textbook


reading in their weekly two-hour of English reading classes, for which
students used prescribed textbooks (For Your Information 1 & 2 written
by Blanchard and Root). For the in-class reading, the subjects were
requested to memorize lots of lexical elements including root morphemes,
prefixes, suffixes and synonyms, antonyms, words collocation/phrases
and idioms and do exercises in the textbooks. They were also required to
do sentence practices and translation in class and for their homework.
Supplementary reading materials related to the reading/topics in the
textbooks were also distributed to students for extra reading. The subjects
were administered several quizzes and mid-term and final exams
respectively per semester to test their knowledge of lexical and syntactic
structures as well as reading skills and reading comprehension.

A questionnaire designed to understand the impact of the extensive


reading on the subjects in terms of their attitudes toward English reading
was administered to the subjects on 22 May, 2008, one year after the
extensive reading terminated. The questionnaire was written in Chinese.
The subjects were informed that the survey was used to understand the
effect of the extensive reading they were required to do at home for their
English reading class in academic year 2006. They were asked to respond
to each item in the questionnaire honestly. All the subjects took less than 5
minutes to fill out the questionnaire. A total of 40 questionnaires were
distributed to the students. After excluding four invalid questionnaires,
there were 36 left, achieving a return rate of 90% (36/40).

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4. Results and Discussions


Data Analysis
Twenty-three (63.9%) male students and 13 (36.1%) female students
participated in this study. Most of the subjects were at the age range of
18-20 (94.4%) (mean age= 19.31) (see Table 2). All the subjects had
received formal English instruction for at least six years with mostly
having 7 years of English education and some, more than 7 years (see
Table 3). None of these subjects except one had ever lived in
English-speaking countries, which is considered one of the interfering
factors affecting learners attitude toward learning English (Yamashita,
2004). As regards the English grades of the universitys basic scholastic
aptitude test, of which the full mark is 15, a great majority of the subjects
were at grade range 2-8 with a cumulative percentage of 86.6 (see Table 4)
excluding the missing value. The mean of the grades was 5.67 and the
standard deviation was 2.733. The results of the grades indicate that most
of the subjects were low achievers in terms of their English language
proficiency. As for the types of reading materials they chose for their
extensive reading at home, the results showed that the most popular
materials were songs and magazines, with novels coming third and story
books, fourth (see Table 5).

Table 2: Frequency of Age


Frequency Percent Valid
Cumulative
Percent Percent
Valid 18 7 19.4 19.4 19.4
19 17 47.2 47.2 66.7
20 10 27.8 27.8 94.4
22 1 2.8 2.8 97.2
24 1 2.8 2.8 100.0
Total 36 100.0 100.0

Table 3. Frequency of Years of Learning English


Frequency Percent Valid
Cumulative
Percent Percent
Valid 6 5 13.9 15.2 15.2
7 15 41.7 45.5 60.6
8 3 8.3. 9.1 69.7
9 3 8.3 9.1 78.8
10 3 8.3 9.1 87.9
11 3 8.3 9.1 97.0
19 1 2.8 3.0 100.0
Total 33 91.7 100.0
Missing System 3 8.3
Total 36 100.0

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Table 4. Frequency of English Grade


Frequency Percent Valid
Cumulative
Percent Percent
Valid 0 1 2.8 3.3 3.3
2 2 5.6 6.7 10.0
4 6 16.7 20.0 30.0
5 10 27.8 33.3 63.3
6 3 8.3 10.0 73.3
7 1 2.8 3.3 76.7
8 4 11.1 13.3 90.0
10 1 2.8 3.3 93.3
12 1 2.8 3.3 96.7
13 1 2.8 3.3 100.0
Total 30 83.3 100.0
Missing System 6 16.7
Total 36 100.0

Table 5. Frequency of Home Extensive Reading Materials


Genre N Sum
Story books 36 8
Novels 36 12
American Children Literature 36 1
Young Adult Literature 36 0
Oxford Bookworm Library 36 1
Heinemann Guided Readers 36 2
Songs 36 17
Magazines 36 13
Newspapers 36 3
Internet 36 3
Valid N (listwise) 36

Concerning the results of the attitudes test, this study tested the three
dimensions of attitudes (cognitive, affective, and behavioral) to see
whether the means of the three dimensions reached 3. The findings
showed that extensive reading had improved the subjects cognitive
aspect of attitude (p=.000, t=6.148, df=35 ); however, the results also
showed negative effects for affective (p=0.000, t=-5.135, df=35) and
behavioral (p= 0.000, t= -5.041, df=35) aspects of attitudes. As could be
referred to from Table 6, the mean of cognitive aspect of attitude was
3.9000 and the standard deviation was .87831, the mean of affective aspect
of attitude was 2.3403 and the standard deviation was .77033, and the
mean of behavioral aspect of attitude was 2.2167 and the standard
deviation was .93243. The results indicated that after undertaking
extensive reading for one academic year, the subjects had changed their
thought about reading in English, considering it as important, which was
in contrast to an opposing attitude held toward English reading when

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16

they were just matriculated into the university. The subjects used to think
of reading in English as irrelevant and unimportant to their current study
and future careers. However, after undergoing the extensive reading
program, the subjects had changed their perceptions toward reading in
English. They believed reading extensively would improve their reading
ability and benefit them in their current study and future employment
opportunities. Namely, after reading, the subjects had adopted a more
affirmative attitude, at least in their perception, toward reading in
English.

Table 6. One-Sample Statistics of Reading Attitudes


N Mean Std. Std. Error t-value
Deviation Mean
Cognitive 36 3.9000 .87831 .14639 6.148*
Affective 36 2.3403 .77033 .12839 -5.139*
Behavioral 36 2.2167 .93243 .15541 -5.041*
* p<0.001

Nevertheless, the findings demonstrated negative effects of the extensive


reading on the subjects affective and behavioral aspects of attitudes
toward English reading. One possible reason to explain this phenomenon
was that for the home extensive reading, the teacher did not supervise the
subjects reading progress by requesting them to present their progress
reports; therefore, the subjects probably did not actually carry out
extensive reading at home, not reading diligently as advised or expected.
The teacher simply encouraged the students to read as much as they
could but did not monitor their reading progress, for which the intent is
to move the reading forward (Ellis & McRae, 1991). As Waring (1997)
notes, for the out-of-class reading, teachers are advised to keep track of
learners progress by demanding learners to document their reading to
ensure that they have conformed to the goal of page number set for each
semester though the targeted page number is reserved for learners to
determine on their own judging by their own proficiency level, time,
motivation and accessibility of reading materials. Lack of monitoring on
the part of the teacher, the subjects might consider the reading task as
unimportant, not taking a more serious attitude for the home-based
extensive reading. It is understood that the subjects had already taken an
aversion to English reading in light of the fact that they were
low-achieving and passive English readers, who might need a certain
level of supervision on the part of the teacher so that they would be more
engaged in their extensive reading at home. The teacher should have
monitored the subjects reading progress, at least at the first semester and
then let they monitor their own progress until they became familiar with
the techniques of self-monitoring, as advised by Ellis and McTae (1991).

Another conceivable reason to shed light on the negative effects of the


administered extensive reading on the subjects affective and behavioral

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17

aspects of attitudes toward reading in English was possibly the workload


imposed on the subjects for their in-class reading. For the in-class reading,
the selected reading materials were more complex texts containing more
sophisticated lexical words and syntactical structures. As aforementioned,
the subjects were assigned lots of tasks for the in-class reading including
vocabulary learning, sentence practices and translation, supplementary
reading; moreover, several quizzes coupled with mid-term and final
exams were also administered to them each semester. Apparently, the
subjects were already occupied with enormous workload for the in-class
reading; they might feel that the extensive reading, in effect, placed an
additional burden on them instead of bringing them pleasure. Even
though they were aware that extensive reading would help them improve
their English reading ability and benefit them in their current study and
in their future careers, they did not feel like sparing some time doing the
reading emotionally.
Though cognitively the subjects knew that the in-class reading and
extensive reading were different in essence with the latter easier and more
pleasurable, the in-class reading workload might generate stress for them,
which prevented them from any attempt to do extra reading, and the
heavy workload might also lead to hatred to reading in English for the
subjects. If this is the case, it is suggested that when conducting both
conventional classroom reading and extensive reading, teachers should
take learners level into consideration. For the low-achievers or
unmotivated learners, it is important that teachers avoid overburdening
the students with in-class reading work considering their lower language
proficiency. Teachers should know how to weight both types of reading
carefully. In addition, since the purpose of extensive reading is to
motivate students to read and develop reading habits, it is important that
teachers engage students in reading emotionally, so that they will
hopefully become autonomous English readers who can manage and take
initiative for their own learning.

Lastly, since this survey was conducted one year after the administration
of the extensive reading finished, it might be possible that the subjects
had increased positive attitudes toward English reading in terms of their
affective and behavioral aspects of attitudes after experiencing the
extensive reading but the effects did not persist after the extensive
reading terminated. As suggested by Day and Bamford (in Donnes, 1997;
as cited in Powell, 2005), more research is needed to understand to what
extent the students kept on doing L2 reading when the extensive reading
class was over. Moreover, Powell (2005) also indicates that
questionnaire-based research tends to produce general impression rather
than hard evidence (p.33). Therefore, other research instruments such as
interviews (Yamashita, 2004), reflective logs or diaries should also be
utilized to generate more concrete evidences and get in-depth insight into
the real causes leading to the negative effects of extensive reading on the
subjects affective and behavioral aspects of attitudes toward reading in

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18

English.

5. Conclusions

The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of extensive reading
on students attitudes toward reading in English. The findings indicated
that the extensive reading had yielded a moderate improvement in the
subjects cognitive aspect of attitude in terms of reading in English;
however, the results did not demonstrate positive effects on the subjects
affective and behavioral aspects of attitudes. Two conceivable reasons
were suggested for such results. One reason is that the teacher did not
execute monitoring for the subjects progress of the home-based extensive
reading; therefore, the subjects might deem the reading as unimportant. It
might be possible that the subjects were virtually not doing much reading
or performing extensive reading at home. Therefore, teachers are advised
to keep track of students reading progress by requiring them to keep
records of their own reading, executing a certain degree of monitoring to
push them forward so as to effectuate learning. As suggested by Waring
(1997), teachers can require students to write book reports or keep
reading diaries to record and report their reading. Bell (1998) also
suggests holding regular conferences between teachers and students,
which can help teachers execute efficient monitoring of students reading
progress and meanwhile offer teachers the opportunities to direct
students in choosing titles, encourage them to read extensively and to
demonstrate their liking for the selected reading materials. In short, to
implement a successful extensive reading program, effective monitoring
is indispensable so that teachers can make themselves aware of what
students are reading, how much they have read and track students
development of reading habits and interests (Bell, 1998). As only when
students find satisfaction with their learning will they feel motivated to
learn and be more likely to form habits of reading in English.

The negative effects were also possibly ascribed to the fact that the
subjects were burdened with heavy workload for the in-class reading,
which might lead to their reluctance to do the extra reading at home
granting that the home reading was much more easier and interesting
than the in-class reading. As Powell (2005) indicates, Given the subjects
already heavy workload for their in-class reading, it is not always easy to
convince them of the benefits of undertaking extra, voluntarily reading,
no matter how enjoyable we suppose it to be. (p.33) Therefore, it is
important to note that when implementing home extensive reading,
teachers should take the loads of in-class reading into consideration,
assessing students ability and giving consideration to how much work
they can afford, especially for low-achieving and unmotivated students.

Granting that encouraging results were not found from this extensive
reading study in terms of its effects on the increase of the subjects

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19

affective and behavioral aspects of attitudes toward reading in English,


the subjects had changed their perception of reading in English, taking a
more positive attitude toward it. At least the extensive reading program
had made the subjects become more aware of the importance of being
able to read in English. As far as is known, a large number of ESL/EFL
students are required to read for academic purposes; it is necessary for
them to acquire certain skills and strategies to cope with longer texts and
books (Bell, 1998), and the value of extensive reading lies in its
development of learners confidence and capability to deal with those
longer texts (Kembo, 1993). However, engaging in academic English
reading requires developing a certain level of interest and forming
reading habits on the part of students; otherwise, they might find it hard
to survive their university studies.
In short, if learners can be offered opportunities to read extensively and
develop interest in reading, they are more likely to feel desirous to learn
the required reading skills and vocabulary necessary for finding
enjoyment from their reading (Leung, 2002), and only when learners can
find fun in reading in the target language will it be possible that they
become active readers. Therefore, reading teachers should help students
engage in extensive reading and motivate and encourage them to read to
develop a lasting interest in reading so that they will hopefully become
independent L2 readers.

6. Limitations

The study did not administer pretest for the subjects; therefore the
difference between pretest and posttest in terms of their English reading
attitudes could not be compared, which was considered an important
limitation in this research. Moreover, since this was a small-scale study
with a small number of sample examined, which was by no means
representative enough. To acquire more accurate data, further studies
need to be replicated in larger data sets in future investigations.

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Appendix 1

Dear Students

The following is an academic questionnaire used for research


purposes. The questions are designed to help you reflect on your
attitudes toward reading in English. There is no right or wrong answer to
each statement in the questionnaire and your responses will not influence
your university English grades. The information will remain
anonymous and confidential, so please feel at ease to fill out the
questionnaire.
Section 1: Reading Attitudes

Please read carefully the following statements in each category. For each
statement, select a response that best represents your attitudes toward L2
reading. The numerical numbers stand for degree of agreement with 1
indicating strongly disagree, 2 disagree, 3 neither agree nor disagree, 4
agree and 5 strongly agree.
I. Cognitive()
After the extensive reading
1. I think being able to read in English is very important. 1 2 3 4 5
2. I think reading extensively in English will benefit me in 1 2 3 4 5
my future job.
3. I think reading extensively in English will benefit me in 1 2 3 4 5
my future study.
4. I think my reading ability has improved after 1 2 3 4 5
experiencing the extensive reading.
5. I think being able to read in English is not very 1 2 3 4 5
important.
II. Affective()
After the extensive reading
6. I enjoy reading English materials in my free time after 1 2 3 4 5
experiencing extensive reading.

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25

7. I feel that the extensive reading can help my current 1 2 3 4 5


study.
8. I feel tired when I am presented with English reading 1 2 3 4 5
materials.
9. I prefer Chinese reading materials to materials written 1 2 3 4 5
in English.
III. Behavioral()
After the extensive reading
10. I read English materials in my free time. 1 2 3 4 5
11. When I go to the library, I also read English materials 1 2 3 4 5
for fun.
12. I also read English articles on the Internet. 1 2 3 4 5
13. When I go to bookstores, I also look for English 1 2 3 4 5
reading materials for pleasure reading.
14 I try to avoid reading English materials. 1 2 3 4 5

Section 2: Background Information

1 Are you male (M) or female (F)? Male Female


2 What is your age? _________
3. How long have you been learning English? ____________years
4. Have you ever lived in an English-speaking country? Yes No
If yes, for how many years? __________
5. What is your English score of the universitys basic scholastic aptitude
test? ________
6. Please indicate the kind of reading materials you chose for your
extensive reading at home?
story books novels American children literature
young adult literature Oxford Bookworm Library Heinemann
Guided Readers songs magazines newspapers
Internet texts

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26

International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 26-36, September 2015

The Impact of Child Labour on Primary School


Childrens Access to and Participation in Basic Education
in Tanzania

Gilman Jackson Nyamubi, PhD


University of Iringa
Iringa, Tanzania

Abstract. Education for all individuals plays a major role in their


development and of society at large; thus, it is both a basic social need to
strive for and a factor for rapid and sustainable economic development. An
increasing level of education for the population at large plays an important
role in helping society break out of poverty, yet, how far do working
children benefit from the right to basic education? This paper discusses the
impact of child labour on childrens access to basic education in Tanzania. It
examines how education delivery impacts the roles and conditions of
school-going children. The studys population consisted of primary school
children in two districts in the Iringa Region (one urban and one rural), who
were randomly selected, following an examination of their school
attendance registers who showed a 50 percent of absenteeism. This mixed-
methods study used interviews and focus group discussions to collect
information. The main reasons that force children to work to meet their
basic needs such as food and health care were found to be poverty and
orphanhood. Bread-earning activities compel children to regularly miss
attendance at school, and they eventually drop out, so their right to
educational opportunities and future development is denied.

Keywords: Child labour, basic education, access to education, participation


in education, Tanzania.

Introduction

In Tanzania, basic education includes pre-primary and primary education. Children


are enrolled for pre-primary at the age of 4-6; for primary school education, the
required enrolment age is 7 years (URT, 1995). The importance of education is cited
as a crucial factor in the development of individuals as it allows them to learn skills
they need to negotiate an increasingly technical world (Hubbard, 2009).

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27

Generally, access to education and equity are areas of great concern in all aspects of
basic education. Malekela and Ndeki (2001) define access to education as
opportunities available to the target child population to participate in education,
and equity refers to fairness in the distribution and allocation of educational
resources to various segments in society. Important in this definition is that, access
to education is not just physical attendance in class, but the proper acquisition of
what is being taught. Working primary school children indeed miss out real
educational opportunity.

There have been a number of studies on child labour (DFID, 2000, ILO/IPEC, 2001,
Madihi, 2004, Machibya, 2009, Akarro and Mtweve, 2011) from different
perspectives, ranging from discussing the abrogation of childrens basic rights to
childrens engagement in the worst forms of labour in areas such as mines,
plantations, and sexual exploitation. However, Garret and Dachi (2003) note that, in
the process of eliminating the worst child labour conditions, a group of working
children who are still at school has apparently been overlooked. This study
scrutinises this latter group.

Statement of the Problem

Basically, the ILO convention 182 on the elimination of the worst forms of child
labour provides fundamental principles concerning the rights of the child in a way
that concurs with the general objective of offering basic education to all children in
Tanzania because increasing levels of education play an important role in helping
society breaking out of poverty.

This goal is a result of the UN formulation of basic rights (UN, 1949) and the
Jomtien Declaration (UN, 1990) of achieving education for all. The Universal
Declaration of Human Rights Article 26 asserts that all persons shall have the right
to education. This provision is stated in very general terms. There is a need to
consider what the right to education means in terms of learners access to and
participation in basic education in Tanzania. Education is both a basic social need
and a factor in sustainable economic development. How do working schoolchildren
benefit from this right of basic education?

The major research question that guided the study was what the impact of child
labour on childrens access to basic education is. Specifically, the study sought to
answer the following questions:
What conditions compel schoolchildren to engage in working while
learning?
What is the impact of child labour on childrens access to and participation
in education?

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Defining Work, Labour and Working Children

In Tanzania, defining legally who is a child or young person forms a central


problem in the development of an effective system for the protection and promotion
of the rights of a child or young person (Makaramba, 1998).

However, several International agreements define a child as an individual up to the


age of 18 and below (UN, 1990; UNICEF, 2009 and ILO, 2009). In Tanzania, the
Child Development Policy (URT, 1996b) also sets the age of a child 18 and below, as
this age limitation is in keeping with International laws. Again, a number of
International Human Rights Conventions address specifically the human rights of
vulnerable groups, children included. This has led to the establishment of standards
for child protection globally, resulting in the universalisation of childhood and
youth, despite the varying needs and problems of children those considered in
various communities and cultures. The Law of the Child Act (2002) defines a child
as a person the age of 18 years and below. This definition is in accord with the
definition provided by the African Charter of the Rights and Welfare of the child
(Mapaure, 2009).

Garret and Dachi (2003) argue that it is always difficult to define the concept of
working children and what constitutes work, but they note that the measurement of
child work is linked to economic and social significance. The ILO Convention (ILO,
2009) defines child labour as all childrens work undertaken in the labour market or
household that interferes with childrens education. Child labour is defined, not by
the activity per se, but by the effects, such activities have on a child. In most cases,
the definition of what constitutes child labour is culturally bound, meaning that the
social and economic development of a particular society determines the definition
of child labour, so that one can trace changes in the degree of acceptance of working
children.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO, 2001) makes a distinction between


what is called acceptable child labour and what is unacceptable. Children in
Tanzania typically engage in domestic and agricultural labour, since many children
are involved with their families or shop keeping. Nevertheless, such children still
manage to go to school on a fairly regular basis (Dachi, 2000).

Human Rights and Child Rights

The recognition of basic human rights and, more particularly the rights of a child,
are 20th century concepts (Garret and Dachi, 2003). The first International
instrument to recognise the rights of the child was the Geneva Declaration of the
Rights of the Child in 1924, which was embraced in 1959 by the UN General
Assembly of the Rights of the Child through Resolution 1386 (xiv) (Makaramba,

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29

1998). This intended to ensure that each individual child enjoys the benefits of a
good life for the good of society.

Education forms a pivotal role in defining the rights of the child. This right is
recognised under Article 28 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child of 1989
(UN, 1990), which obliges States to provide free and compulsory basic education to
all children. Moreover, States are obliged by the same Convention to direct
education towards the development of the personality and talents of the child for an
active adult life. Indeed, this convention is the most universally embraced human
rights instrument in history as it establishes for the first time in an international
convention that children are citizens with certain definable rights. In addition, the
Millennium Development Goals, particularly goal number two, focus on
achievement of universal primary education among States in the world.

The 1989 UN Convention stresses that the best interests of the child must form the
basis of judgement when considering a childs rights to the full development of his
or her academic potential. Among childrens rights agreed by member States are the
right to both primary and secondary education and the right to be protected from
work that threatens the childs health, education or development. It emphasises that
children should not be permitted to leave primary school until when they have
completed schooling. It further prohibits childrens employment or any kind of
work that is likely to interfere with their education (ILO, 2001).

In Tanzania, the legal basis of the right to education by children is the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights mentioned above especially article 26. At the local
level, the childs right to education is provided in the United Republic of Tanzania
Constitution of 1977, article 11 (2), which provides for the compulsory enrolment
and attendance of pupils in primary schools. The Education Act No 25 of 1978 cap
353 R. E (2002) provides for the right to education, envisaging the provision of
education as compulsory and affirming the right of every individual to get
education up to his or her ability. Thus, every child who is aged 7 to 15 years is
obliged to be enrolled for basic education.

The Education and Training Policy (URT, 1995) insists on the adherence to both
International conventions and the national policy that strive for basic education
provision to school-age children. The goal of basic education being made available
for all was enshrined in the 1990 Jomtien Declaration adopted by the World
Conference on Education for All and was reasserted in the 2000 Dakar World
Education Forum (Mmbaga, 2002).

Quality and relevant education prepares young people to participate meaningfully


in their own development, both in their immediate communities and in the world at
large. In this way, education is a fundamental human right and it plays a dual role
in any societys development. Indeed, without education, life cannot be lived with
dignity (Mmbaga, 2002). The values of education include increased education that

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30

improves learners social benefits gained from schooling, improved agricultural


productivity, improved health, and reductions in both fertility and child mortality
rates (UNICEF, 2009).

Dachi (2000) argues that for a household, education is one of the main factors for
overcoming prevailing poverty. Ironically, however, increased poverty in the
household means that parents cannot afford school expenses. Parents are required
to cover the costs of uniforms, books, stationery and other supplies but increased
poverty makes parents and guardians unable to meet these costs (Machibya, 2009)
especially if their incomes decline. As a result, most poor parents and guardians
prefer to withdraw their children from school in order to involve them in diverse
forms of economic activities (Garret and Dachi, 2003).

Although law prohibits child labour in Tanzania, it manifests itself in terms of


children found doing work, hard and light, in various places, such as garages,
hotels, peoples residences, roadsides or selling small items in the streets. In
whatever category, children are always exposed to physical, psychological and
intellectual hazards as regards their development (Machibya, 2009). In most cases,
their educational progress and general learning at school are interrupted.

Despite the efforts to provide universal free education in Tanzania, children living
in hash conditions are hampered by economic factors and either collusion of parents
on lack of parental control and supervision culminates in first truancy and finally in
their dropping out (URT, 1996). Thus, efforts to educate all children at least at the
basic educational level are impeded, especially among vulnerable groups in society.
This study is an attempt to add knowledge to an understanding of how child labour
is manifested among working children who are still enrolled in primary schools.

Methodology

Area of Study: The study was conducted in the Iringa Region; an area selected
because of is one where the problem of child labour is rampant (Madihi, 2004).
Moreover, the region is highly plagued by both poverty in households and
HIV/AIDS, which has resulted in childrens missing either parental guidance or
parents altogether (Akarro and Mtweve, 2011). The study was carried out in two
districts within the region: Iringa Municipality and Iringa Rural. This study
employed a mixed method research approach under the case study research design.

The target population: The target population consisted of primary school children
who were working while normally still attending school, nominal defined as
absenteeism of more than 50 percent of learning days in the term.

Sample and sampling techniques: As it was not possible to collect data from all
individuals in the target population, the respondent sample was drawn from the

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31

population as follows: students were selected from eight schools, four from each
district. In each school, class attendance registers were used to select students who
had missed many classes in the first term of the 2014 academic year (February to
June). These students were traced in their homes, where interviews were conducted.
A total of 88 primary school children, 42 girls (48 percent) and 46 boys (52 percent),
were identified.

Data collection: The author collected the data through a questionnaire, interviews
and focus group discussions with respondents. The instruments used had
previously been developed and piloted in two primary schools, one in each of the
sampled districts.

As regards validity and reliability of the instruments, the questionnaire, focus group
and interview question guides were written in Kiswahili, the language of
instruction in Tanzania primary schools. The collected data were later translated
into English with assistance of a person fluent in both English and Kiswahili. This
ensured consistency in the content and meaning.

Furthermore, a pilot study was conducted prior administering the questionnaire


and interview questions. This was done to find out whether any of the items were
ambiguous to ascertain applicability, relevance and usefulness of research tools. The
pilot study also served as a means to find out the internal consistency or validity as
well as the reliability of the questionnaire. This was found to be of good quality,
with a reliability coefficient of 0.81.

Data analysis and statistical procedures: Data were entered and analysed using
SPSS for windows (Version 21) following IBM guidelines. Cross tabulation was
performed to obtain frequencies, means and percentages of students responses on
their access and participation in primary education. Qualitative data was
thematically analysed. Ethical issues such as privacy, anonymity, and
confidentiality were given due attention during data collection and in reporting the
findings of the study.

Findings and Discussion

This section presents and discusses the findings in accordance with the research
questions.

Demographic information of schoolchildren respondents

Of respondents, 42 respondents (47.8 percent) indicated that they were attending


school regularly, missing some days of the week or working after school hours; 39.7
percent (n= 35) rarely attended school while the remaining 12.5 percent (n = 11)
confirmed that they had dropped out of school. However, in the last category of
children who had abandoned school, 64 percent (n =7) asserted that they would like
to go back to school if their basic school and family needs could be met, while the

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32

other portion (n = 4) or 36 percent showed reluctance to do so, implying that they


did not like school any more.

Most respondents, (n= 36), or 41 percent explained that they were from child
headed households and were working to earn an income for their families. Other 24
respondents (27 percent) disclosed that they were living with older persons who
were caring for them but these adults were not economically productive in their
households. Some 20 respondents (23 percent) indicated that they were from
households headed by a disabled person; the remaining 9 percent (n = 8) were from
poor families; both parents were alive, but they could not afford to pay for basic
needs.

On the nature of work these schoolchildren were engaged in, most of them
emphasised that they were working in the informal sector, effectively self-employed
in petty trade. Their activities included selling fruit, food, and milk, housework,
farming, casual labour, and fetching water. Inadequate pay and harsh working
conditions forced them to change jobs on a regular basis.

Conditions Compelling School Children to Engage in Working while


Learning

Household economic status was found to be a major factor that compelled children
to engage in bread-earning activities. Thus, children from families whose parents
had died or were very poor were forced to become the breadwinners in their
families regardless of their age. They did not work, their food and health care
would not be met. This level of poverty forced children to leave school or miss a lot
of class, which resulted in an increased primary school dropout rate.

There were also schooling expenses that could not be met if they did not work.
More boys (56 percent) than girls (44 percent) were contributing to schooling costs.
Ironically, to meet school costs, they sacrificed most of their school time and thus
missed the opportunity of further education. This is in line with Machibyas (2009)
observation that poverty in households meant that parents failed to meet pupils
basic school needs, such as uniforms, shoes and stationery items.

Regarding their parents or guardians responsibilities to help them attend school


regularly, most respondents reported that parents were too poor and, if
uneducated, did not regard education as important. The parents preferred their
children to be engaged in economic activities to assist in the familys survival. One
respondent remarked:
I am in the street selling groundnuts, sweets, banana, mangoes, and oranges
because my parents cannot afford to take care of household needs and my
school requirements.

It was also found that children from poor families also did essential household
chores while at the same time engaging in income or resource-generating activities.

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33

Although school fees have been abolished in the Tanzanian public primary school
system, most children, particularly those from poor families, are not able to meet
the other financial requirements at school such as uniforms, books or stationery.
These findings complement what Mapaure (2009) found in Namibia: that children
work because their survival and that of their families depend on the work children
do. Child labour thus persists even when it has been declared illegal. The vicious
cycle: poorly educated adults being too poor to educate their children thus
develops. The World Bank (1998) links poverty and child labour with the level of
development in the community, in that children work less as per capita income
increases.

A complicating factor is the poor education of adults in the household who cannot
get adequate income to take care of the young, particularly school going children.
This impels children to provide for some of their needs themselves, particularly to
both support the household and get money to meet the expenses of attending
school. In this way, schoolchildren are forced to enter the labour market at a
relatively early age.

It was found that the labour of primary school children, particularly girls who were
needed at home was unpaid. If they worked for others, they might be paid, but
indeed, they were also likely to miss school. Commenting on this, one respondent
remarked:
I work as a domestic assistant after school hours and at weekends and
sometimes I miss school most of the week, because of financial constraints at
home. The money I earn helps supplement my familys income and meets
my school needs.

As noted above, engaging children below the age of 18 in employment that hinders
their schooling is illegal in Tanzania. In an attempt to help children enrol in and
attend school, the National Education Act of 1978, as amended in 2002, states
categorically that the school-going child cannot legally be employed. However, this
good intention meets hurdles in implementation as the children themselves are
seeking the said jobs (Machibya, 2009). Respondents admitted that they were
compelled to engage in work by the socio-economic constraints of their families
rather than their reluctance to continue with education.

Asked whether they were ready to return to school and concentrate on their studies,
the majority of schoolchildren expressed an interest in doing so if they could be
helped with meeting both the costs of education basic needs at home. Thus, if
children from poor families were given school requirement like uniforms, books,
exercise books, as well as material support such as lunch at school, they could stay
at school.

The Impact of Child Labour on Childrens Access to and Participation in


Education

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34

Working schoolchildren were compelled to miss school on a regular basis, and


eventually to abandon school completely before finishing standard seven. Thus,
childrens participation in education was hampered. This denied their right and
access to education for their full potential development. One respondent remarked
that
I occasionally go to school but I miss class because of various causal jobs I do
in the farm to earn money for a living to support my young sisters and
brothers at home.

The UN has noted that youth development in the learning process provides
children with experiences that prepare them for a responsible life, which helps
transform learners and unlock their potential (UN, 1990). In general, education sets
its achievers free as it makes it possible to develop their talents, skills and callings so
that the full potential of an individual is realised.

The lack of childrens access to and participation in education hampers the efforts to
liberate them from socio-economic problems, as it deprives them of educational
opportunities, leading to inter-generational poverty. In addition, girls (particularly
those working as domestic servants in households other than their own), are put at
a risk of sexual abuse and exploitation (Madihi, 2004). This leads to the deprivation
of their basic health needs. Long work hours hamper their health as well.

Working school-going children have the same needs as others, including the need
for food, a sense of belonging, skills in problem solving, life planning and access to
appropriate services. Thus, the lack of the assurance of getting these needs means
that the community suffers in terms of continuing cycles: extreme poverty,
HIV/AIDS infections, robbery, abusive sexual relationships, and unintended
pregnancies (Madihi, 2004).

Working children suffer greatly in their struggle for their individual lives in society,
due to their lack of knowledge and skills in the world, where survival is greatly
determined by ones education (Miteshi and Badiwala, 2009). The marginalisation of
working children as regards their access to education condemns them to a future of
poor living standards, which has a direct impact on the economy of society.

Conclusions

Poverty within households was found to be the principal factor that forced
schoolchildren to work in order to earn money to help meet their families basic
needs and to pay for school essentials such as uniforms and books. These income-
generation activities compelled them to miss most of the learning time and
eventually to drop out of school, so they entered the labour arena at quite an early
age, in defiance of the Education Act of 1978, as amended in 2002.

Schoolchildren who miss access to and participation in studies because of work are
denied their right to maximise their future potential, to experience a transformed

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35

responsible adult life, and to be liberated from all sorts of social and economic
constraints, creating problems for individual children, and the community in
general.

Recommendations

In the light of the research findings, the following recommendations are made. In
general, communities should be encouraged to provide for those less fortune in
their midst.
Since very poor children must priotise being fed above education, their
school attendance would improve if they could be fed a nutritious meal at
school each day school is in session. School administrators might seek
donations from the community or NGOs to find a school-lunch
programme.
Similarly, though the government funds compulsory primary education,
other school costs keep very poor children from attending school. The
government or community should subsidise the provision of uniforms and
school supplies for the poorest students so they can stay in school.
Where donations for food, school uniform and supplies are not
forthcoming or not available at the school itself, school administrators
should keep abreast of what NGOs, religious organisations, or other
philanthropies in the area might be willing to meet poor childrens needs
and connect poor families to these outside-the-school services.
Practical child labour laws addressing the real needs of children to access
basic education need to be passed and enforced.

References
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Madihi, M. C. D. (2004). Situational analysis of working children: The case of the mining sector in
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Rena, R. (2009). Child labour in developing countries: A challenge. Industrial Journal of
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UN. (1990). Convention on the rights of the child. Islamabad: UNICEF.
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Salaam: Government Printers.
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URT. (2002). The Law of the Child Act. Dar-es-Salaam: Government Printers.
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New York: UNESCO.
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Bank, Washington D.C.

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37

International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 37-54, September 2015.

Frameworks for Integration of Digital


Technologies at the Roadside: Innovative Models,
Current Trends and Future Perspectives

Rogerio L. Roth
Ca' Foscari University of Venice
Venice, Italy

Abstract. The integration of technologies in the educational processes is


not always an easy task, requiring from professors to study its reality
and, if necessary, to adopt some model of integration. Some professors
seem to know how and why to use technology, but the effective
integration still eludes many of them. The key is that to work certain
content we need to know it well, the technologies and the didactic way
and how to use them. We don't need to follow a certain model of
technology integration to use the technologies, since not all professors
adapt to them and all models give the impression of a prescription that
tries to define what must have more or less importance in the scenario.
Whereas random practice came before the proposed models, they try to
standardize what should not be standardized, that is, produce a cake
recipe to be replicated.

Keywords: frameworks, technology integration, new didactics, e-


resources, strategies

First steps
Technology integration is not a new subject in educational domains, much less at
the universities where several theses, dissertations, and papers are published
often without direct impacts on the daily routine of the institutions. The missing
link seems to be in the absence of a transformational practice, institutionalized,
accepted and adopted by all stakeholders to restore the role of educational space
and social transformation.

This paper is part of the results from the project Building an Immersive
Distance Learning Experience beyond Massive Open Online Courses with Web
Conferencing, Socratic Method, Problem-Based Learning and Social Networks
funded by the CAPES foundation.

The education area is surrounded by related expressions such as education


economics and economics education that represent distinct concepts, and
often cause some confusion.

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38

Education economics, also known as economics of education is the study of


economic issues relating to education focuses on the economics of educational
institutions including the demand, funding and provision of education
(Economics education, 2006).
On the other hand, economics education, also referred to as economic education
is a field within economics that focuses on two main topics: the current state of
the economics curriculum, materials and pedagogical techniques used to teach
economics at all levels; and research into alternative approaches or instructional
techniques, level of economic literacy and the factors that influence the level of
economic literacy (Education economics, 2008).

Educational technology meets these two expressions at the same time, to the
extent that it interferes with the economic aspects and at the same time in
pedagogical techniques.

Educational technology vs. technology education


An analogous situation (involving similar expressions) can be seen with the
educational technology and technology education. Educational technology
is the effective utilization of technological resources in the teaching-learning
process. It refers to a wide array of tools, media, computers and networking
hardware, as well as taking into account underlying theoretical perspectives for
their effective application. This kind of technology is not limited to high
technology. However, current digital educational technology, sometimes
referred to as e-learning, has become an important part of today's society,
comprising an extensive array of approaches, key elements and delivery
methods (Educational technology, 2005).
On the contrary, technology education is the study of technology, where
students learn about the processes and knowledge related to technology. This
field of study covers the human capacity to change and shape the physical world
to meet its own requirements through the techniques, with the handling of
materials and tools (Technology education, 2005).

These concepts also get very close when the educational technologies (tools and
resources with or without ICT) are effectively used to meet the needs and
expectations (of someone or some institution), through handling, adaptation and
suitability of materials with these didactic and technological techniques. But the
integration of these digital technologies popularized as being of information
and communication in the educational processes is not always an easy task,
requiring from professors to study its reality and, if necessary, to adopt some
model of integration.

In the United States, the International Society for Technology in Education


(ISTE) has established standards in technology for administrators, teachers and
students of primary and secondary levels (K-12 classrooms): Effective
integration of technology is achieved when students are able to select technology
tools to help them obtain information in a timely manner, analyze and
synthesize the information, and present it professionally. The technology should

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39

become an integral part of how the classroom functions, as accessible as all other
classroom tools (NCES, 2002).

But all the innovation, originality, change focused on the current or future needs
and even patterns and models that attempt to be established to support the
paradigm shift seem to vanish from sight as soon as we arrived at the college
level. Have you (or anyone) ever read something about amazing and
contemporary universities? Something about institutions that may be considered
pedagogically and technologically sound? Some examples of institutions that are
not just pretentiously modern? The evolutionary or revolutionary educational
practices continue excluded from universities (Roth, 2015b).

Edward Osborne Wilson (Neyfakh, 2011) paraphrased a quotation that he


attributed to Arthur Schopenhauer, which may have been the first person to
suggest stages of truth, in 1818: All new ideas go through three phases.
Theyre first ridiculed or ignored. Then they meet outrage. Then they are said to
have been obvious all along.

Probably, the effective integration of digital technologies by universities is


somewhere between the first two phases

Technology integration models


Jeyaraj, Rottman and Lacity (2006); Santos (2007); Espndola, Struchiner and
Giannella (2010); Struchiner (2011); Foster, McGrier and Sheets (2011); and
Rielley (2015) cite different models and theories of adoption and diffusion of
innovations such as theoretical framework of integration of ICTs in educational
contexts (Hall & Hord, 2006; Moersch, 1995). These works are intended to
describe the main stages of adoption of ICTs and analyze the individual factors
(Tabata & Johnsrud, 2008; West, Waddoups & Graham, 2007) and institutional
(Shuldman, 2004) that influence the process of change (Watson, 2006), from
monitoring different experiences of educational innovation.

- Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA)


The TRA refers to a model of behavioural intention prediction, covering attitude
and behaviour predictions (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980), that is, it is centred on the
persons intention to behave in a certain way. It was developed at the end of the
1960s by Martin Fishbein - later expanded and revised by Fishbein and Ajzen
(1975) - derived from previous research as the theory of attitude, which led to
the study of attitude and behaviour (Theory of reasoned action, 2005). According
to Bobsin (2007), the model presents limitations: risk of possible confusion
between the meaning of attitudes and norms and having an intention does not
mean acting in accordance with, because there are situations such as limited
ability, time, unconscious habits, environmental or organizational variables
that may limit the freedom to act.

- Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB)

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The TPB is a theory that links behaviour and beliefs. This concept was
introduced by Ajzen Icek to refine the predictive power of the TRA (limitations)
by the inclusion of the perceived behavioural control (Ajzen, 1991; Theory of
planned behaviour, 2005).

- Reasoned-Action Approach (RAA)


The RAA is an integration methodology for the prediction and change of human
social behaviour. This theory states that attitudes regards the behaviour,
perceived behavioural control and perceived norms determine people's goals,
while their behaviours are predicted by these intentions (Reasoned action
approach, 2013). This is the latest release of theoretical ideas of Martin Fishbein
and Icek Ajzen, in the wake of the earlier TRA and the TPB (Fishbein & Ajzen,
2010).

- Diffusion of Innovations (DOI)


The DOI model seeks to characterize how innovation is diffused through certain
channels of communication, among members of a given social system, and by
what process these individuals undergo since becoming aware of the innovation
in question until its adoption or rejection (Rogers, 2003; Diffusion of innovations,
2004; Diffusion of Innovations, 2005). The categories of adopters are the
following: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, laggards and
leapfroggers. This theory, developed by Mitchell Everett Rogers in 1962, is one
of the most ancient social science theories.

- Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)


The TPACK is a framework to describe and understand the types of knowledge
needed by a professor for effective pedagogical practice in a learning
environments equipped with technology. The concept of pedagogical content
knowledge (PCK) was initially described by Shulman and TPACK methodology
was developed from these central ideas, through the inclusion of technology.
Punya Mishra and Matthew J. Koehler, professors at Michigan State University
(United States), developed extensive work in building the theoretical framework
TPACK (Koehler & Mishra, 2008; Mishra & Koehler, 2006).

- Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition (SAMR)


Developed by Ruben Puentedura (Puentedura, 2014) the SAMR model is similar
to TPACK model, but made up of different components. Both are used for
technology integration in the classroom, but SAMR helps take direct activities
from the classroom and enhance them by using technology. This model focuses
on the process that a professor goes through in remixing existing pedagogy
content otherwise impossible without technology.

- Technology Integration Matrix (TIM)


TIM demonstrates how professors can use technology to improve students
learning. For that purpose, it incorporates five interdependent characteristics of
significant learning environments: active, constructive, goal directed (that is,
reflective), authentic and collaborative (Jonassen, Howland, Moore & Marra,
2003). Thus, associates five technology integration levels (entry, adoption,

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41

adaptation, infusion, and transformation) with each of the five characteristics of


significant learning environments. The five levels of integration technology and
the five characteristics of significant learning environments create a matrix of 25
cells. It was developed by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology,
University of South Florida (TIM, 2011).

- Levels of Teaching Innovation (LoTi)


LOTI, proposed by Chris Moersch, provides an observable framework to assess
technology use in the classroom and connects to higher-order thinking, engaged
learning, and authentic assessment while using technology (Moersch, 1995;
Rielley, 2015) performing classroom walkthroughs according to the H.E.A.T.
(2015) observation model: Higher-order thinking, Engaged learning,
Authenticity, and Technology use.

- Concerns-based Adoption Model (CBAM)


The CBAM is an analytical tool used to understand the cognitive concerns of
professors and students by providing a framework to anticipate future needs
associated with the adoption of change (Hall & Hord, 2006).

- Learning Adoption Trajectory (LAT)


The LAT is a refinement of CBAM developed by Sherry and Gibson (2002) based
on their research work on change in education.

- Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT)


Project developed in the 80s in five public schools in the United States through a
partnership between universities, public schools and Apple Computer, Inc.
(Ringstaff, Yocam & Marsh, 1997; Sandholtz, Ringstaff & Dwyer, 1997).

- Social Cognitive Theory (SCT)


The SCT started in the 1960s by Albert Bandura as the Social Learning Theory
(SLT). The theory turned into SCT in 1986 and postulates that learning occurs in
a social context with a dynamic and reciprocal interaction of person,
environment and behaviour (Bandura, 1986). It starts from the idea that people
do not learn only through what they do by affective way but also by observing
the action of others (SCT, 2006).

- Technology Acceptance Model (TAM)


The TAM is one of the most influential extensions of the TRA of Martin Fishbein
and Icek Ajzen (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980). Developed by Fred Davis and Richard
Bagozzi (Davis, 1989; Davis, Bagozzi & Warshaw, 1989), this model suggests that
when users are presented with a new technology, many factors influence their
decisions about how and when they will use it. According to Davis (1989),
people tend to use or not to use certain technologies in order to improve their
performance at work - perceived usefulness. However, even if this person
understands that a particular technology is useful, its use could be compromised
if the user finds it difficult to use such technology, so that the effort does not
compensate the use - perceived ease-of-use (Technology acceptance model,
2003). TAM has expanded into two major updates, TAM 2 (Venkatesh, 2000;

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Venkatesh & Davis, 2000) and the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of
Technology (UTAUT), (Venkatesh et al. 2003). In addition, a TAM 3 was
proposed in the context of e-commerce, with the inclusion of the effects of trust
and perceived risk on system use (Venkatesh & Bala, 2008; Venkatesh, V., n.d.).

- Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT)


The UTAUT, formulated by Venkatesh et al. (2003) is a technology acceptance
model. It has as purpose to explain the user intentions to use an information
system and the subsequent use behaviour. This theory is supported by four key
constructs: performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence and
facilitating conditions. The first three are direct determinants of usage intention
and behaviour, and the fourth a direct determinant of usage behaviour (Unified
theory of acceptance and use of technology, 2008).

- Perceived Characteristics of Innovating (PCI)


Aichholzer (2004) states that the five perceived characteristics of innovating
(PCI) of Moore and Benbasat (1991) are based on the theory of diffusion of
innovation (DOI) of Rogers (1995) which is often used in information systems
research to explain the adoption of technological innovations by users - and of
literature on the diffusion of innovation. Larsen and McGuire (1998) refer to
these attributes or characteristics such as universal attributes to innovation
adoption studies. These five perceived attributes (relative advantage,
compatibility, complexity, observability and trialability) formed the basis of the
work by Moore and Benbasat (1991). They developed a general instrument to be
used when you want to assess the various perceptions that an individual can
have about the usage characteristics of an innovation and have introduced three
new attributes: image, voluntary use and income statement. Furthermore, they
adapted the original attributes of complexity and observability that were
denominated, respectively, ease of use and visibility (Perez & Zwicker, 2010).

- Diffusion and Infusion Model


Initially proposed by Kwon and Zmud (1987) the diffusion model was further
modified by Cooper and Zmud (1990) that proposed a six phase model of
information technology (IT) implementation, necessary to achieve the objectives
of diffusion and infusion. These six-stages include: initiation, adoption,
adaptation, acceptance, use and infusion. To really innovate with the use of the
technologies an organization must achieve the level of infusion, which is the
degree of integration of an IT innovation to existing processes and normal
practices of an organization, providing users with the innovative use of
technology.

- Tri-Core Model of Innovation


Swanson (1994) proposed a model of three cores to identify the cores of expertise
that contribute to the development of organizational information systems (IS)
innovations. The tri-core model is composed by an administrative core, a
technical core and an information systems core. This model suggests that a
deficiency in one or more cores can cause failures in different types of IS
innovations.

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43

- Actor-Network Theory (ANT)


The ANT is a stream of research in social theory that originated in the field of
studies of science, technology and society in the 1980s from the studies of Michel
Callon, Bruno Latour, John Law, Madelaine Akrich, and others (Freire, 2006).
Technically it can be described as a material-semiotic method, meaning that it
maps relations that are, at the same time, materials (among things) and semiotic
(between concepts). Thus it assumes that many relations are both material and
semiotic. This theory is also called sociology of translation, which is one of the
important concepts used by the authors. This sociological study aimed to explain
the birth of scientific facts. The ANT is also used to explain the new
communication paradigms that began into existence with contemporary culture.

- Institutional Perspective
With different impacts, the adoption of IT is also influenced by coercive
pressures from both trading partners as their parent companies. The coercive
pressures are considered by Teo Wei and Bensbasat (2003) as a construct made
up of three sub-constructs: perceived dominance of supplier adopters, perceived
dominance of customer adopters and conformity with parent corporations
practices. The last sub-construct was found to have a stronger impact on the
intention to adopt than the pressures from suppliers and customers, probably
because their performance and tenure are subject to evaluation by the parent
corporations executives (Teo, Wei & Bensbasat, 2003, p. 40). The adoption of
technologies is also influenced by competitors. Mimetic pressures are a construct
formed by the extent of adoption by the competitors and their perceived success
of adoption and were found to be significant only when innovation was
perceived as being highly complex.

- Integration Model of ICT into the School Curriculum (MITICA)


The MITICA consists of five main axes that in a concept of Fundacin Gabriel
Piedrahita Uribe (FGPU) must meet any educational institution that wants to
achieve significant changes in the integration of technologies into their
educational processes: institutional direction: refers to the administrative,
pedagogical and technical leadership required from administrators of
educational institutions and the necessary changes in its structure and
organizational culture; ICT infrastructure: meets the proper technological
resources: hardware, software (operating system and other basic applications),
connectivity and technical support; ICT coordination and teaching: deals with
the roles they should play within the institution both the computer science
coordinator and the professors of this subject; professors from other areas: refers
to the skills that they should have to be able to integrate ICTs in teaching their
subjects; digital resources: meets the availability and proper use of software and
Web resources (MITICA, 2011).

- Pedagogical Projects of the Classroom (PPA)


The pedagogical projects of the classroom for the integration of ICTs
possibilities and scenarios for the use of ICTs in education was proposed by
the Universidad del Cauca, taking them as a strategy to build experiences that

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44

leverage the mediation of ICTs both to stimulate the reflection on teaching


practice and to enrich the educational and didactic proposals that surround
them (Chaustre et al. 2010; Pino et al. 2011).

- MICEA Model
The interdisciplinary methodology based on learning teams (MICEA) was
proposed by Velandia (1990), an interdisciplinary construction methodology of
knowledge as a team, and through practice, and can complement each other
with new information and communication technologies and the dynamic
classroom, based on social cybernetics and triadic proportionalism, proposed by
Gregory and Volpato (2002). Velandia C. (1990) proposes that MICEA addresses
the need to streamline the student presentiality in a participatory manner,
critical, committed and operative. It responds to the requirement of teamwork;
the efficient use of technology in constant growth and innovation; to the
progressive transit from face-to-face classroom towards to that develops in
cyberspace, where the student may also find himself with the knowledge (Mora,
2005).

Santos (2007) reports that it is also possible that in environments with strong
institutional symbolism, new technologies will supplant the older ones even
though the latter have not yet been exploited to its full potential. This possibility
is sustained by the theory of fashions and fads (Abrahamson, 1991).

Did I forget something? For sure. The goal was not to compile, sort, or even
compare everything that exists, often only theorized by those who do not
practice or live the day-to-day realities. Regardless of what is proposed and
theorized, the key is that to work with a particular content of educational
manner and through technologies, we need to know the content, the
technologies and the pedagogical way to using them. The rest is just idle talk,
nonsense, individual attempts of standardization that does not get consensus,
much less are adopted as standard by some supralegal body or evolved jointly
by the community nonprofits. In all areas, including the proposition of models
and theories, there is always a competition in search of credits, dividends, a
place in the sun and, perhaps, recognition...

The other side of the coin


Neither the educational technologies (related or not to ICTs), nor the
technological integration models can be considered as a solution to all the
problems of education. The integration of technology is not a panacea and for it
to be successful in the learning process, professors need to demonstrate how and
why it can be used in a meaningful way. It is not a unique approach to all cases
in which professors do the same thing for their students or possess the same
specific skills to be competent technology users (Wepner, Tao & Ziomek, 2006).
Professors need to know how and why to use technology in meaningful ways in
the learning process for technology integration to work. Some professors seem to
know how and why to use technology in the processes, but the effective

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45

technology integration to support and enhance teaching and learning in the


classroom still eludes many of them (Plair, 2008).

We don't need to follow a certain model of technology integration to use the


recent or even archaic technologies, since not all professors adapt to them and all
models give the impression of a prescription that tries to define what must have
more or less importance in the scenario. And this does not work. Whereas
random practice came before the models, they try to standardize what should
not be standardized, that is, produce a cake recipe to be replicated.

The reversal of the traditional paradigm of educational technology (making


teaching first, technology second) the need for an increasingly diverse student
population and geographically dispersed (Penn State College of Education,
2015), but this would be virtually impossible, these days without frustrating
the new generations if the use of technologies (new and not so new) was to be
left to chance in an apparent return to the past...

In the post Push My Thinking: TPACK or SAMR or? from EdTech Coaching
blog by Krista Moroder, she starts the discussion arguing why I dont use
TPACK. What appeared to be a post related to the use (or not) of the
methodologies, evolves (or, should I say, regresses?) to the rhetoric
discussion of education with or without technology (Moroder, 2013):

D! says: I tend to disagree. In my view, the only variable that changes anything
in educational methodology, is advances in technology. For example, the
printing press and the humble pencil changed pedagogy. The internet and
accompanying hardware are simply next in line. Great teaching is always
influenced by available tools. Tech therefore deserves an equal circle if not a
bigger one.

However, some resilients agree with the author...


maa says: Great teaching should not be the case be influenced by available
technological tools. Its with a great teachers common sense of knowing how
they become the right tools for teaching to enhance learning.
And Anne Leftwich @anneleftwich, suggests: Focus on learning. Dont use
technology as a Trojan Horse to change pedagogy.

As William Shakespeare said Life is a stage, and we are the actors (Felter,
2012). According to Galvo (2007), We staged moments, we rehearse our
dreams, and we debut on stage, sometimes successfully, but sometimes with
total shame... In this sense, and adapting to the context, each actor (or author)
seeks to interpret in his own way the effectiveness or the non-viability of a
certain model, theory or even technology successfully or with total shame...

This resistance shows a salutary, a mistaken and a dated side. The salutary
side is not bowing down, not even to established truths, without questioning,
without discussing, not to be seduced. The mistaken side is to try, at this stage of
the game, ignoring the role of new technologies with the argument that good or

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46

great professors do not need them. Good or great professors, it is an


adjectival expression, used in the wrong way, probably referring to those who
still give lectures, although nothing is so didactically incorrect nowadays as the
action of giving a presentation and have the pretence of holding the knowledge,
not committing to a program previously approved, which included content to be
developed, methods and forms of assessment (Roth, 2013). The sages on the
stage ignore the technological possibilities and the current needs for fear of
exposing their own weaknesses. They are overcome with fear of the new and
unknown. For them it is much easier to stay in their comfort zone rather than
learning new lessons.

Moroder (2013) claims that didactics should have more importance. That may be
true. But which didactics is she talking about? An updated didactics or the
traditional that has stopped in time?
A current didactics is not shy of exploring new ways to evolve the standard
focused on the professor, to later ones, focusing respectively centred on the
student and on the relationship between professor-student(s) and among
students.

Many professors considered good or even great do not have any didactics.
They learned from their masters how to give lectures and remained at this
evolutionary stage. They tend to reproduce the kind of teaching that they have
received and never innovate in their didactic practices. They refuse to learn new
lessons or even dream with the hypothesis that they are not knowledge holders.
In fact, they deceive themselves into thinking that they only teach and others just
learn. This modus operandi (method of operation) is not pedagogical, or even
something that can be considered good or great. Everything that exists is the
feeling or even a false tradition of refuse to change the way things should be
done, an evident desire to stay in their comfort zone, the status quo represented
by the current situation that has prevailed in the institutions and that keeps
them tied to the past, entrenched, oblivious to the world that evolves around
them...

Barton and Nettheim (2015) have defined this situation in just one sentence: Im
an analogue man in a digital world... Im redundant.

Finally, the dated side, related to the age or even the lifetime of the resilients (or
should I say resistants, or even redundants). The new professors were born in a
technological world, in which the use of the internet is not a differential, but a
common place. Considering that they are the future and who controls the world
is always a dated issue we all have a life limit this difficulty will soon be
outdated (Roth, 2015a).

When you look through the years and see what you could have been, oh what
might have been if you'd had more time. So when the day comes to settle down,
who's to blame if you're not around? (Davies & Hodgson, 1979/1978, track 6).

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47

Certainly it is possible to do education these days without the latest


technologies. It would also be possible to write this article by hand or using
outdated technologies like a typewriter or even computers of the first
generations. The fact that we use the latest means and methods does not imply
better quality, but responds to the expectations of stakeholders. And this reduces
frustrations (Roth, 2014).

But to truly utilize in an unarmed way the many possibilities offered by the
force of the internet as a support for the contemporary education
(pedagogically and technologically sound) perhaps we should follow the
lessons from Jedi Master Yoda to the young Luke Skywalker: No! Try not. Do...
or do not. There is no try (Kurtz & Kershner, 1980; Quotes for Yoda, n.d.).

There is also the need to venture, get out of the common place and look for
something unexpected, unusual, carrying the practices beyond the small
horizons.

Integration of digital technology in business


The methodologies perceived and described previously are normally related to
the question of professor-school-technologies, that is, focused on the school
setting. They imply that a certain theory or model are needed to assist the
integration of technologies into teaching practices which is not always true,
although there is always a process, even if unconsciously or unplanned. But this
approach is not limited to educational institutions. The companies also use the
technology integration not only in their training courses (internal or external),
but also in their processes of administration, production, sale and post-sale,
which includes institutional or functional websites and presence in social
networking sites (SNSs) that could be used as innovative tools for teaching
(Harris, 2012; Duncan & Baryzck, 2013; OBrien & Glowatz, 2013).

In the European Union (EU) this aspect is perceived through the Digital
Economy and Society Index (DESI), prepared by the European Commission (EC)
through five main dimensions: connectivity, human capital, use of internet,
integration of digital technology and digital public services (DESI, 2015).
Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and Finland are the countries with the
highest performance. They are not only ahead in the EU, but they are the leaders
of the digital world. Outside EU, Norway and Iceland also show performances
that would place them in this high performance group.

Final thoughts
Dockstader (1999) stated that, Technology integration is having the curriculum
drive technology usage, not having technology drive the curriculum. Generally
speaking, the curriculum drives the use of technology and not vice versa
(Edutopia, 2005; Edutopia, 2007; Technology integration, 2005).

2015 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved.


48

At the Ca' Foscari University of Venice (UNIVE) the only reference found related
to a technology integration model, refers to the TPACK in an introductory essay
by Banzato and Baschiera (2012, p. 24) through a quote from Holton (2012):
But faculty can be aided by some training or assistance in course design,
technology, and teaching and learning to develop technological, pedagogical
content knowledge (TPACK). Teaching should be treated as a design science,
more like engineering than just an art or craft that we all think we can intuitively
do well. That is, no text of own authorship of some professor or researcher was
located on the context. The references found are limited to the behavioural
models and are treated theoretically. This does not mean that this institution
does not perform any technology integration, although nothing has been
perceived in this sense. But for sure, this university does not practice and does
not even theorize any of the best know models (TPACK, SAMR, TIM and LoTi).

This process is urgent and can no longer be ignored. By the end of the 20th
century such arguments were still admitted that the use or even integration of
technologies that came to stay, should be something slow and gradual, taking
into account the wishes of the status quo. However, even the big dinosaurs had
their heyday and subsequent extermination, naturally (catastrophic) or even
induced by pseudo-gods (Ancient Aliens, 2008) that here decided to conduct
experiments that came to stay, created in his image and likeness...

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55

International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 55-65, September 2015.

Japans Global 30 Program: The Push and Pull


Factors of International Student Mobility

Jonathan Aleles
Kyushu University
Fukuoka, Japan

Abstract. The Internationalization of Japanese higher education


started in 1982. The original target set back in 1983 of attracting
100,000 international students to Japan was accomplished in 2003
due to Prime Minister Nakasones International Student 100,000
Plan. From that original plan, The Japanese Ministry of Education,
Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) has concentrated
its energy on internationalizing higher education by forming an
educational system called the Global 30 Project (G30). The G30
Project and other programs were instituted to turn Japan into an
international destination for higher education. Data in this paper is
based on surveys directed at prestigious universities in Japan. The
focus of this study is on the pull factors that attract international
students to Japan and the particular G30 participating university,
and the push factors that contributed to participants deciding to
leave their home country. Findings in this report will be used to
identify pull factors of the G30 program. Results will assist in
future recruiting efforts.

Keywords: Global 30 Program; Higher education; International


education; Japan

History of the Internationalization of Japanese Higher Education


The push to move Japanese higher education into a period of
internationalization started in 1982 with the establishment of the Nakasone
cabinet. Japan and other industrialized nations recognized the need to adapt to
the new era of interconnected societies that were undergoing cultural, monetary
and political transformations as world economies were being transformed by
great technological and communication advances (Burgess, Gibson et al., 2010).
Nakasones 1984 policies laid the foundations needed to have Japan integrate
into the international community international country by creating the
National Council on Educational Reform (NCER).

When Prime Minister Nakasone took office in 1982, Kenichi Koyama, a close

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56

advisor to Nakasone, wrote a lengthy article, known as the grand design


(Pyle, 1987) outlining the future direction of Japan. The four dimensions of
Nakasones grand design was a kind of road map for what Nakasones
administration would accomplish. The second dimension called for Japan to be a
more international state. From Nakasones perspective, Japan needed to
harmonize its national policies and institutions to be more flexible, to allow
Japans economic, social and education system to undergo major changes. A
significant aspect of Nakasones drive to internationalize Japan was to overhaul
its educational system by attempting to be more internationalized by creating a
scheme to attract more international students.

The International Student Plan


The most significant educational reform, pioneered by Nakasone, was the plan
to attract 100,000 international students by the beginning of the year 2000
(hereafter called the International Student 100,000 Plan). As the International
Student 100,000 Plan was in its infancy and planning stages, a report published
clarified the close relationship between Japans new internationalized
educational policies to political and financial interests, The Report of the
Advisory Group on Economic Structural Adjustment for International Harmony,
published in April 1984, set in motion several transitional national policies to
propel Japan into the future. The report stated the time has come for Japan to
make a historical transformation in its traditional policies on economic
management and on the nations lifestyle.

A more in-depth, fundamentally important report was published two years later
in 1986, the Second Report on Educational Reform; it delved into more detail on
the essentials of internationalizing the education system of Japan, appealed for
sweeping changes. The comprehensive report sought to change the basic
premise of the Japanese educational philosophy to one that underscored the
importance of freedom, autonomy, and responsibility, principles that differed
from traditional Japanese education. The most important aspect of the Second
Report on Educational Reform called for more international influence through
exposure from a more internationalized curriculum and through intercultural
communication, The International Student 100,000 Plan and future programs
targeting the increase of foreign students in Japan, and, more generally,
internationalization of Japanese education, are rooted in these values found in
the report:

Internationalization in education is not limited to the system but


involves liberalizing Japanese Education and the consciousness
of its educators. To this end, it is important to foster through
every possible educational opportunity, constant interests in and
tolerance of what is different, and establish an educational
system with the capacity for self-renovation that can handle ever-
changing international relations with flexibility and improve
itself on its own (Koyama 1986, p.2).

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57

Features of the G30 Project


According to the Japan Association of Student Services (JASSO) as of 2013, there
were 135,519 foreign students enrolled in Japanese private, public and national
universities (JASSO, 2013). At this rate of foreign student enrollment it would
appear that the goal of 300,000 foreign students by 2020, set by MEXT is not an
attainable goal.

The original policies of the G30 Project were established in 2001 with the
intentions of promoting 30 prestigious universities (Yonezawa, 2010). These
innovative policies included a 15 billion Yen budget to expand 30 institutions
that would be recognized as the internationalized core. The core or key
component of this venture of creating an internationalized core was to recruit
international students to Japan.

The premise of the G30 project is to internationalize higher education in Japan.


In 2009, 13 universities were selected to be part of the G30 project offering
degree programs in a wide range of disciplines ranging from life science,
agriculture, environmental studies, information and communication technology
and social sciences to name a few. All courses are taught entirely in English;
however, G30 students also take Japanese language classes as part of the
curriculum. The G30 project consists of national and private universities; each
university has autonomy over the organization, management, acceptance,
curriculum and other aspects related to the education of international students.
The 13 G30 universities are as follows: Doshisha University, Keio University,
Kyoto University, Kyushu University, Meiji University, Nagoya University,
Osaka University, Ritsumeikan University, Sophia University, Tohoku
University, University of Tokyo, Tsukuba University and Waseda University.

Attracting International Students


The core principle behind the Global 30 Program is to capitalize on the vital
opportunities that are related to a more internationalized higher education
system e.g. intellectual resources and international alliances.

One of the most prominent factors affecting the internationalization of higher


education is the mobility across borders of international students. There have
been numerous significant studies conducted on significant aspects of
international student mobility since the 1980s (e.g. Lee and Tan 1984; McMahon
1992; Marazzarol and Soutar 2001; Altback 2004). Factors and influences have
drastically changed since those informative studies; international student
mobility has increased dramatically. Economic conditions of receiving and
hosting nations have altered the overall supply and demand of international
student programs.

Altbachs historic study investigating international student mobility identified


the push-pull model that identified reasons why some students were pushed
from their home country due to negative social, academic and financial
situations, and, why others were pulled by foreign universities offering
favorable educational conditions such as significant financial scholarships and

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58

better economic opportunities (Altbach 1998, p. 240). The connection between


push and pull factors is often complex that is affected by an intricate set of socio-
economic, political and financial factors. In some cases, the host nation is
uncertain or uneasy about subsidizing programs for foreign students, whereas,
host nations view hosting and subsidizing education for foreign student as an
investment and as a method of improving the overall educational system.
According to Davis (1995) push factors do not provide a precise set of patterns
or reasons why students seek to study overseas. Conversely, pull factors of the
host nation and/or universities in question include modern facilities,
comfortable economic situations and favorable political environment.

In 1984, Cummings conducted research into the complex patterns that


influenced the immigration and migration of secondary education. In 1992,
McMahon published informative research that pinpointed several key features
that impacted the decision making process of an international student to seek an
education overseas. The push and pull model (McMahon, 1992) helped
direct future research by Mazzarol and Soutar (2002) where three distinct stages
were labeled in the pursuit of a university education in a foreign place. First, the
preliminary decision to seek an international education is made. Inevitably, the
decision to not study domestically is ultimately affected by a push factor
previously published by McMahon (1992). The second stage is choosing a host
country, which is affected by the following factors: (1) awareness of host country,
(2) advice from family and friends, (3) issues related to finance, (4) development
in the host country, (5) close proximity to the native country, and (6)
recommendations from family and/or friends who previously lived in the host
country (Mazzarol et al., 1997, cited in Mazzarol and Soutar, 2002). The third and
final stage is when the student chooses which foreign university to attend. In
1985, the Iwao study (cited in Chandler, 1989) carried out in Japan to classify key
reasons why a foreign student chose to study in Japan; it identified an interest in
Japanese language and culture as major factors in the decision to study in Japan.
Another early study by Hicks and Amifuji (1987) showed academics were the
most important factors where students gained the most satisfaction out of
improving their Japanese language abilities, obtaining knowledge that would
benefit their future, and the potential to join work-study programs at a Japanese
company.

Importance Of Research
This study attempts to provide additional scholarly knowledge on the push and
pull dynamics that impact the decision-making process international students
face when choosing Japan as a destination country. Specifically, pull factors of
G30 Japanese universities are identified and analyzed.

Research question
What aspects of higher education of international students in the G30 Program
may be expanded, modified, or improved to enhance Japans international
competitive position in attracting students worldwide?

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59

Method
Data sources and analysis
The data presented in this paper were collected by an online questionnaire
service. Data presented and analyzed in this paper represents 2 survey questions
designed to measure the specific pull factors of the Global 30
Program. Further research is currently being conducted to evaluate challenges of
intercultural communication that exist within the G30 program. The
questionnaire consisted of 28 questions to assess students perspectives in the
following areas: demographics, factors that influenced their decision to choose
Japan as a destination country, issues related to intercultural communication,
perceptions of their educational experience and future aspirations upon
completion of their degree. Apart from questions related to demographical
information, all questions had an option for open-ended responses. The
abovementioned questions consisted of 5-point Likert scale questions, and Radio
Button Grid questions that allowed respondents to rank specific choices. In
addition, a Chi-Square test was used to collect data identified in Table 1.
Participation in this survey was voluntary and participants were required to
answer consent questions before continuing with the questionnaire.

Participants
Data were collected from May 16th, 2014-July 31st, 2014. There were 96 total
respondents with a breakdown of 52 Males (54.2%) and 44 females (45.8%). The
Age range of the respondents was 18-24 years old. Of the 96 respondents, 36%
were first year students; 29% second year students; 20% third year students; 15%
fourth year students. There were no graduate students who took part in this
survey. The original target of this research was to get 200 respondents. It should
be noted that all of the 13 Global 30 Universities in Japan were contacted by
email to outline the goals of the study and to invite each university to participate
in this research project. Of the 13 universities designated as G30 universities, 4
agreed to participate in this study. The remaining 9 universities either did not
respond to the researchers request or refused to participate for various reasons.
The distribution of nationality represented in this study are as follows: China, 26
(27.2%); Indonesia, 13 (13.6%); Japan, 9 (9.4%); Vietnam, 9 (9.4%); South Korea, 6
(6.3%); India, 5 (5.2%); Malaysia, 4 (4.2%); Singapore, 4 (4.2%); Taiwan, 4 (4.2%);
Thailand; 3 (3.1%); Egypt, 3 (3.1%); Hong Kong, 2 (2.1%); Argentina, Brazil
Kenya, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, U.S.A. 1 (1%).

There are several factors that affect the distribution of nationalities in the Global
30 program. Participating Global 30 universities have recruiting offices in Hanoi,
Vietnam; Seoul, South Korea; Beijing and Shanghai, China; Jakarta, Indonesia.
Further research must be conducted to analyze the direct impact recruiting
offices have on the distribution of nationalities. In addition, further research
must be conducted on how each participating Global 30 University actively
works to advertise and promote their degree programs worldwide.

Majors represented of the 96 respondent are as follows: Civil Engineering 39;


Mechanical Engineering 11; Social Sciences 9; Agriculture 8; Applied Chemistry
6; Aerospace Engineering 3; Biological Sciences 3; Japan Studies 2; Policy Science

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60

2; Environmental Science 1; Chemistry-Biology (combined major) 1; Applied


Physics 1; Environmental and Information Sciences 1; Others 9.

Results
In Table 1., the first survey item to be explored, my primary reasons for
choosing to study at my university are related to the following. The data
represented in Table 1 clearly shows that the location of the national and private
universities was of a moderate importance to the 96 respondents. 37.5% listed
this quality as important. Conversely, respondents did select the specific
course of study offered (Major) and positive reputation connected to my
university as Important or 67.7% and 62.5% respectively. These factors
directly relate to a previous study by Mazaarol and Soutar (2002) where specific
factors were characterized as having an impact on international and domestic
students in Australian educational institutions. The six variables identified in
this study were the quality and reputation of the institution, the recognition of
the institutions qualifications in their own country, the international strategic
alliances the institutions had, the quality of the institutions staff, its alumni base
and its existing international student population (Mazzarol and Soutar,
2002:87).

Table 1: Factors Influencing University Choice (n = 96)

Number of Students (%) Male Female

Specific course of study offered (Major)


Not important 5 (5.2%) 1% 4.2%
Somewhat important 26 (27.1%) 15.7% 11.5%
Important 65 (67.7) 37.5% 30.1%
Positive reputation of my university
Not important 9 (9.4%) 5.2% 4.2%
Somewhat important 27 (28.1) 15.7% 12.5%
Important 60 (62.5%) 33.3% 29.1%
Location
Not important 14 (14.6%) 5.2% 9.4%
Somewhat important 46 (47.9%) 29.2% 18.7%
Important 36 (37.5%) 19.8% 17.7%

Table 2. Factors Influencing Choice of Japan as Destination Country identifies


reasons why international students decided to choose Japan as their country of
choice. My primary reason for choosing to study in Japan are related to the
following, This Chi-Square Test item listed eight items that respondents ranked
from not important, somewhat important, and important. Of the 96
respondents, 81.3% stated, not being accepted to my first choice country, as
not important. This is significant in that it shows that for the vast majority of
the students who took part in this survey indicated Japan was their primary
selection for choosing a host country. This data corresponds to (Mazzarol et al.,

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61

1997) recognition of factors discovered to impact how students select a host


country. They acknowledged that the knowledge and awareness of the host
country in the students home country had a direct influence on the availability
of information related to the host country as a possible destination for overseas
study. Also, part of this factor was the destinations reputation for quality
(Mazzarol et al., 1997). This theory also supports the data from Table 1 where
62.5% of respondents listed positive reputation connected to my university as
an important factor when selecting which university to attend. Another key
factor in choosing to study in Japan is the availability of financial aid and/or
scholarships, where 56.2% of respondents chose this variable as important.
This factor is related to cost, another key factor identified by (Mazzarol et al.,
1997). In addition, specific courses offered throughout the G30 universities seem
to be somewhat appealing to international students. 52.1% selected opportunity
to pursue a career in my field of interest as important.

Table 2: Japan as Destination Country

Not Somewhat Important Responses


important important
Ability to study in 6.3% (6) 28.1% (27) 65.6% (63) 96
English while living in M=3.15% M=13.5% M=37.5%
Japan F=3.15% F=14.6% F=28.1%
Availability of financial 19.8% (19) 24% (23) 56.2% (54) 96
aide M=10.4% M=11.4% M=32.3%
F=9.4% F=12.6% F=23.9%
Opportunity to pursue a 6.2% (6) 41.7% (40) 52.1% (50) 96
career in my field of M=2.1% M=23% M=29.2%
interest F=4.2% F=18.7% F=22.9%
Affordability of the 10.4% (10) 43.8% (42) 45.8% (44) 96
Global 30 program M=7.3% M=18.7% M=28.1%
F=3.1% F=25.1% F=17.7%
General interest in Japan 16.7% (16) 37.5% (36) 45.8% (44) 96
and Japanese culture M=7.3% M=18.75% M=28.1%
F=9.4% F=18.75% F=17.7%
Interest in learning the 31.3% (30) 38.5% (37) 30.2% (29) 96
Japan language M=13.5% M=23% M=17.8%
F=17.8% F=15.5% F=12.4%

Close to my home 45.8% (44) 32.3% (31) 21.9% (21) 96


country M=27% M=11.4% M=15.6%
F=18.8% F=20.9% F=6.3%

Not being accepted to my 81.3% (78) 13.5% (13) 5.2% (5) 96


first choice country M=44.8% M=6.3% M=3.1%
F=36.5% F=7.2% F=2.1%
My primary reason for choosing to study in Japan are related as above.
M=Male

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62

F=Female

More recent findings by Macready and Tucker (2011) identified push factors in
international student mobility that are relevant to the push factors found in this
study of international students in the Global 30 Program. Although no statistical
information was found on the most prevalent push factors, the following list is
representative of general push factors found to have attracted international
students to the Global 30 program.

Table 3: Push Factors of International Student Mobility


o High-quality study opportunities
o Specialize study opportunities
o Language
o Affordable cost
o Recognized qualifications
o Prospects of successful graduation within a specified time
o Effective marketing
Note. Adapted from Macready & Tucker, 2011: p. 21-25

Discussion
As outlined by MEXT in the 5-point framework for establishing measures to
successfully implement the 300,0000 International Student Plan, the
underlining reasons behind the G30 program are to internationalize higher
education in Japan or promote the globalization of universities (MEXT, 2009a).
The thirteen universities chosen, as G30 institutions were to increase courses
taught in English. For Japanese universities to attract quality students, raising
the quality of education and research in universities has become the most
important factor in attracting high-caliber foreign students (Kitayama, 2003, p.
72). As the Japanese language is of little commercial use outside of Japan, the
most effective approach to attracting foreign students was to offer full-degree
programs in English. This was a means of attracting advanced international
students who otherwise would not have considered studying in Japan
(Tsuneyoshi, 2005, p. 65). The data represented in Table 2 clearly shows the
importance of offering English degree programs. 65.6% of respondents reported
that the ability to study in English while living in Japan was a major pull
factor in deciding to study in Japan. Only 6.3% of respondents list this reason as
not important. English is considered a global language and is an essential
component in attracting quality international students who by their presence
increase the diversity of student population on campus and contribute to the
internationalization of the domestic student body. The results of this research
project clearly indicate that academic courses offered in English are a very
important pull factor in attracting international students (de Wit, 2005; Wachter,
2005).

In a related study conducted in China, Zhengs (2003, p. 226) identified crucial


factors that influence Chinese students decision to study overseas. Zhengs
study identified the following concerns in order of importance: issues related to
economics (29%), educational aspects (27%), personal issues (15%), social aspects
(13%), issues related to culture (9%), and political factors (7%). In connection

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63

with economic concerns, availability of financial aid and affordability were cited
as the most important factors; educational factors demonstrated that 65.6% of
students surveyed indicated that ability to study in English while living in
Japan was of paramount importance. Zhengs findings in 2003 are comparable
to the findings of this report that identify the most significant pull factors in
attracting international students; quality of education and affordability of that
education are the top considerations. In summary, Table 2 provides comparisons
of fundamental pull factors that affect students when deciding to choose Japan
as a host nation. Main pull factors specific to this program are (1) full degree
programs offered in English, (2) financial aid, (3) career prospects, and (4)
overall affordability.

The results of this analysis are analogous to Mazzarol and Soutar (2001), a study
of international students from many different countries who lived and studied
in Australia. The study ranked student responses as to why they decided to
choose Australia as a destination country. Leading reasons were quality and
reputation of degree program, quality of education, and opportunity for
scholarships. These results mimic this study in that leading pull factors of
international students in Australia appear to be quite similar to international
students in Japan. Reputation, high standard of education, affordability and
financial assistance remain essential pull factors sought by international students
in these two studies.

Conclusion
This study indicates the most important factors students considered in selecting
a host country are: specific majors offered, the excellent reputation of the select
universities and the availability of obtaining a university degree, in specific
course, content in English. Referring to Mazaarol and Soutar (2001) and the
push and pull factors that greatly affect the movement of international
students across global borders, Japanese universities and the administrators who
dictate policy can work toward improving already existing positive pull factors
while working toward enhancing additional pull factors to attract more
international students to Japan.

Japan as a host nation can enhance certain pull factors by maintaining current
tuition levels, facilitating the process of obtaining financial aide, easing
restrictions on obtaining student visas and working with local authorities to help
international students in certain geographical areas to feel more welcome.

Analyzing data from this study show that there are distinct pull factors that are
attracting students to the G30 program and specific G30 universities. On a micro
level, specific courses offered through the 13 G30 universities, and the excellent
reputation shared by those participating universities are major pull factors for
students when deciding which G30 University to select. On a macro level,
academic pull factors are: the potential of pursuing a desired career, and the
opportunity to enroll in a four-year degree program where all course work is
offered in English. Economic pull factors of the G30 program are its
affordability, and readily available financial aide. The differentiating and most

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64

important factor of the G30 program, compared to other international study


programs in Japan, is the availability of all degree course work in English.
Greater recruiting efforts need to be made to increase the total amount of
international students in the G30 program by creating marketing schemes that
highlight its attractive points such as its affordability and excellent reputation of
participating universities. Japan has many attractive points as a destination
nation most of which are widely publicized and well known to youth around
the world. Japanese culture is known worldwide in terms of its food, animation
and sub-culture. By combining target marketing of these appealing
characteristics together with the opportunity of living and studying in a
fascinating country while obtaining a degree in English, Japanese institutions
can be successful in increasing the number applicants to the G30 program.

Limitations
This study identifies pull factors that attract international students to the G30
Program; however, certain limitations remain. There were no graduate students
included in this study. In addition, future research could be further divided by
identifying specific pull factors in each major represented in the study. Lastly, a
larger sample size is needed to more accurately analyze the various pull factors
outlined in this study. Thus, it is essential to obtain access to all G30 students in
the thirteen participation universities in order to attain more detailed and
thorough statistics.

This work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and
Technology-Japan (MEXT)
Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI) (Challenging Exploratory Research) 2014 [No.
26590195]

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66

International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 66-76, September 2015.

The Impact of Self-Monitoring Paired with Positive


Reinforcement on Increasing Task Completion
with a Student Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum
Disorder: A Case Study

Jeremy R. Mills, Ed.D


Wright State University
Dayton, Ohio, USA

Abstract. It is not uncommon for students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum


Disorder to struggle with the ability to self-regulate on-task behavior and
translates into failure within an academic setting. This case study
implemented a single-subject withdraw design with repeated measures to
evaluate the impact of self-monitoring paired with positive reinforcement
on the task completion for a student diagnosed ASD. Results indicated that
self-monitoring paired with positive reinforcement increased the students
homework completion each time the intervention was presented.

Key Words: Self-Monitoring, Self-Regulation, Task Completion, Autism


Spectrum Disorder, Math, Stimulus Preference Assessment

Introduction
The rise in teacher accountability paralleled with the increase in the number of
students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) entering classrooms has
made it critical for teachers to identify evidence-based practices (EBP) that can be
used with consistence. This is particularly challenging in the field of special
education when working with students diagnosed with ASD when it is considered
common knowledge that what is effective for one individual diagnosed with ASD
may not work at the same level of impact for another individual with a diagnosis of
ASD (Lerman, Vorndran, Addison, & Kuhn, 2004). This dichotomy highlights the
importance for special education teachers to have knowledge of many EBP to
implement with various students as well as how to adapt the practices for different
environments and for different students with similar struggles. Students diagnosed
with ASD often have similar struggles in their inability to independently self-
regulate on-task behaviors for non-preferred tasks (Hume, Plavnick, & Odom, 2012;

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67

Rafferty & Raimondi, 2009). Therefore, it comes with no surprise that on-task
behavior is often cited as a primary reason for the already struggling students
failure to complete academic task demands (Falkenberg & Barbetta, 2013; Axelrod,
Zhe, Haugen, & Klein, 2009).

An identified evidence-based intervention that increases on-task completion for


students diagnosed with disabilities is the use of self-monitoring (State & Kern,
2011; Axelrod, Zhe, Haugen, & Klein 2009; OReilly et al., 2002). Self-monitoring is
designed to teach students to maintain control of personal behavior by using a
multi-step process of self-observing, self-evaluating, and then self-reinforcing (State
& Kern, 2011). It is a flexible intervention that can be adapted to meet the specific
academic and behavioral needs based on the individuals developmental and
cognitive level (e.g. using pictures for a child who cannot read). Research has
consistently demonstrated that the use of self-monitoring results in an immediate
increase of on-task behavior for students, thus increasing their level of task
completion (Falkenberg & Barbetta, 2013; Bialas & Boon, 2010; OReilly et al. 2002;
Trammel & Schloss,1994). Students without disabilities and with disabilities have a
higher probability of developing independent self-monitoring skills when
consistently taught how to self-motivate and self-evaluate. This leads to a greater
potential for the functional skill to generalize increasing independency. Yet, because
students diagnosed with ASD often have deficits in the ability to attend to low-
preferred tasks (Hume, Plavnick, & Odom, 2012) the use of self-monitoring may be
dismissed.

It is not uncommon for students diagnosed with ASD to have difficulty attending to
specific tasks as a result of a deficiency in the brains ability to properly utilize their
metacognitive functions (also known as executive-functions) that aid in such areas
as self-regulate behaviors, problem solving, organization, and self-evaluation
(Hume, Plavnick, & Odom, 2012; State & Kern, 2011; Loftin, Gibb, & Skiba, 2005;
Solomon, Goodlin-Jones, & Anders, 2004). However, evidence from research
suggests that the use of self-monitoring is an EBP that has the capability to bridge
the gap between the metacognitive skills and task demands for individuals with
disabilities (Mithaug & Mithaug, 2003; Morrison et al., 2001; Rafferty, & Raimondi,
2009; Solomon, Goodlin-Jones, & Anders, 2004; Trammel & Schloss, 1994).

Despite whether and individual has a disability or not, for greater probability of
self-monitoring behavior to be maintained and eventually generalized the
administration of a reinforcing stimulus must follow the correct self-monitoring
behavior (Mithaug & Mithaug, 2003). The implementation of a highly preferable
reinforcing stimulus following the demonstration of a targeted behavior will
increase the probable frequency rate of the target behavior occurring again in the
future under similar stimulus conditions (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007). For the
reinforcing stimulus to maintain its effectiveness it is best to intermittently
administer back-up reinforcers. This schedule of administrating reinforcement
establishes a greater control over the possibility of satiation (Alberto & Troutman,

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68

2013; Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007). Loftin et al. (2005) express, To ensure
success when first beginning an intervention, frequent reinforcement is
recommended. Offering a choice among preferred reinforcers increases the
likelihood of a successful intervention (p. 12 - 13).

Identifying potential highly preferred reinforcers for individuals diagnosed with


specific disabilities, such as ASD, might prove difficult. Fisher et al. (1992)
developed a stimulus preference assessment (SPA) called paired-choice (also called
forced-choice) to identify potential reinforcing stimuli. The evidence from Fisher et
al. (1992) suggests that the paired-choice SPA is an effective procedure for any
individual (i.e. severe and profound disabilities, mild disabilities, or without a
disability).

The paired-choice SPA pairs various stimuli together and repeatedly present the
paired stimuli to the individual in alternating orders. Data are collected on the
frequency of what is defined as approach behaviors versus non-approach behaviors
to the presented stimuli. After multiple presentations of the paired stimuli, the
stimuli that is approached with greater frequency is identified as the highly
preferred reinforcer while the remaining items that are approached 80% of the time
or more are identified as back-up reinforcers.

When an individual with a disability or without a disability is at the acquisition


stage of learning self-monitoring it is essential to pair the intervention with a highly
reinforcing stimulus. This pairing increases the internal consistency of self-
monitoring and provides the opportunity for individuals to increase personal
responsibility for behavior strengthening the individuals understanding of the
relationship between his or her behavior and the consequences that follow.

Evidence has indicated that individuals with ASD are capable of high achievement
when the proper interventions are implemented (Rafferty, & Raimondi, 2009;
Mithaug & Mithaug, 2003; Morrison et al., 2001). Therefore, the purpose of this
study is to examine the impact of positive reinforcement paired with self-
monitoring on the completion of note-taking and homework with a student
diagnosed with ASD. A single-subject withdrawal design with repeated measures is
used to examine the functional relationship between self-monitoring paired with
reinforcement and task completion.

Methods
A single-subject withdraw design (A1-B1-A2-B2-A3-B3-A4) was used to assess the
impact of self-monitoring, paired with positive reinforcement, to increase
homework (HW) completion and note-taking (NT) completion for an individual
diagnosed with ASD in a pullout secondary math class. A withdraw design with
repeated measures design was selected for its simplistic ability to identify a cause-
effect relationship through its repeated design and periodic removal of the
intervention (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007). The data for the study were

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69

collected for a total of 50 instructional days. During each baseline condition the data
were collected for 5 instructional days. During the intervention conditions data
were collected for 10 instructional days.
Participant
The participant in the study was a 15-year-old male diagnosed with ASD. At the
time of the study, the participants current psycho-educational evaluation indicated
that he received special education services in the pullout classroom for 20% of the
day and services in the inclusive education classroom for 80% of the day. His
evaluation scores indicated that he is capable of retaining 90% to 100% of what he
hears and sees but has deficits in written communication, oral communication, and
task completion.

Two special education teachers collected data for the study. At the time of the study
both teachers combined had a total of 7 years of experience in the field of special
education. The primary special education teacher taught the pullout class while the
second special education teacher collected reliability data.

Setting
The study took place in a rural public high school with a student enrollment of
1,048. Data were collected in a pullout secondary math classroom with 9 other
students who received special education services. The class duration was 70-m and
met 5 days a week. The class began each day with a set of opening problems that
reviewed previously taught mathematical skills, followed by the instruction of new
content with guided notes, guided practice, and then concluded with independent
practice. The class grading procedure stated that all students received full credit for
assignments based on completion and not based on accuracy. Students would
receive a zero on assignments if they did not attempt the work, did not turn in the
work, copied a peers HW, wrote answers that were determined non-mathematical
in nature (e.g. 2+2 = yes), or a combination of the aforementioned.

Dependent Variables
The dependent variables were the students HW and NT completion. At the start of
each class session the student was provided with guided notes with fill-in-the-
blanks that he was expected to complete during the guided lecture. NT was
calculated by adding the number of blanks filled in on the guided notes divided by
the total number of blanks, multiplied by 100. The percentage of HW completion
was calculated by dividing the number of completed problems on all assignments
for the class session (completed meaning all of the work was attempted to be
answered based on the class policy) divided by the total number of problems to be
completed on all assignments for the class session, multiplied by 100.

Prior to the study the student had an average of 60% in the class (according to the
school policy, failing was a score of 64% and below), and had scores of zeros on 10
out of 21 assignments during an 8-week period. Likewise, he had not turned in 48%
of his assignments for the first 2 nine-weeks of the school year. During the same

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70

time period, his peers had an average grade of 81% with an average of 5 out of 21
assignments with scores of zeros.

Procedures
A paired-choice stimulus preference assessment (SPA) was administered prior to
the collection of the data following the procedures used by Fisher et al. (1992). A list
of 5 potential reinforcers for the SPA was identified through a parent interview: (1)
Nintendo Game Boy, (2) Twix, (3) Snickers, (4) 3-Musketeers, and (5) Milky-Way
candy. The two stimuli approached 80% or more during all trials of the SPA were
identified as reinforcers. An approach was scored if the subject made physical
contact with the stimuli using his hands. The SPA was conducted one time prior to
the collection of the first baseline data. The results of the SPA indicated Snickers
candy as the stimulus with the greatest potential to reinforce the targeted behaviors
and the Nintendo Game Boy as the second stimuli (the back-up reinforcer).

The special education teacher and an additional special education teacher, who was
brought into the classroom during the study, collected the data during all sessions.
It was established by the primary special education teacher prior to data collection
that the students completion goal for his HW and NT was 75% based on the
objective goal of WH completion in the students Individual Education Plan (IEP).
Data were collected for 50 instructional school days, graphed, and analyzed within
conditions and across conditions (Figure 1). A frequency count measured the
number of blanks filled in on guided notes and the on number of problems
completed on the homework.

Baseline (A). During each baseline condition data were gathered for 5 instructional
days on the students completion of HW and NT. A training session on how to use
the self-monitoring forms was administered at the conclusion of the fifth day of the
first baseline condition. The student was provided a folder to keep the self-
monitoring data sheets in and directed to keep the folder in an easily accessible
location within the classroom (a filing cabinet behind the teachers desk was used in
the study). The student was allowed to continue to use the self-monitoring form in
the subsequent baseline conditions if he chose to but no reinforcement or verbal
redirection was provided for its use. The student elected to not use the self-
monitoring form during each baseline condition.

Intervention (B). During each intervention condition data were collected for 10
instructional days. Each day during the intervention condition the student obtained
the folder from the designated place within the classroom. At the conclusion of the
class the student self-observed and self-evaluated for that day of the week in the
identified columns labeled, Did I Take Notes Today? and What Assignments Do I
have and did I complete them? If the task was completed for each column, a check
mark was placed in a small box in the bottom corner of that column. If the task was
not completed, an X was placed in the provided box in the column. Both teachers

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71

independently recorded the students task completion behavior and self-monitoring


behavior using the same form that the student was provided.

After all columns were filled in, the student and the two teachers simultaneously
compared data to measure the fidelity of the self-monitoring. The teachers initialed
that day of the weeks column if they agreed that the student self-observed, self-
evaluated, or completed both actions correctly. If they disagreed with the students
documentation or with each other they did not initial the column.

If the student self-observed and self-evaluated correctly a smiley face sticker was
placed on that days column to reinforce the documentation process and the student
was provided the choice between a Snickers candy bar or free time to play with his
Nintendo Game Boy (approximately 15-m of access time). If the student
inaccurately self-evaluated he was still provided the smiley face sticker but given
verbal redirection and denied access to the candy or video game system. If the
student did not complete both the self-evaluating and self-recording accurately
verbal redirection was administered and no sticker, candy, or video game system
were provided.

Reliability. The additional teacher collected data on interobserver reliability and


procedural reliability. Interobserver reliability was calculated using the point-by-
point method by comparing the primary special education teachers data with the
additional teachers data. Procedural reliability data were collected by using a task
analysis checklist. A minimum score of 90% was required to establish interobserver
reliability and a minimum score of 95% was required to establish procedural
reliability. Both the interobserver reliability and the procedural reliability for this
case study was 100%.

Results
Data collected were analyzed within each condition and across conditions. Results
indicate that the students NT and HW completion increased each time self-
monitoring parried with a positive reinforcement was implemented. The students
NT and HW completion scores decreased each time self-monitoring parried with
positive reinforcement was removed (Figure 1).

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72

Figure 1: Homework Completion and Note-Taking Completion Using Self-Monitoring

Data Analysis within Conditions


The data collected were analyzed within each condition through the use of the
calculated mean of HW completion and NT, the data variability, and the use of
split-middle tend analysis. The level of variability was determined based on the
calculated stability range of the data. The data were considered stable if 80% of the
data within the condition fell in a +/- 20% range of the mean score.

Baseline (A1). The calculated mean for the first baseline condition for the students
HW completion was 15.4% (range: 0% - 50%). The calculated mean for the first
baseline condition for NT completion was 15% (range: 0% - 36%). The calculated
stability of the data for HW completion and NT completion had high variability.
The percentage of stability for HW completion was 0% (range: 12.3% - 18.5%) and
for NT completion was 20% (range: 12% - 18%). Using the split-middle trend
analysis, the trend for both HW completion and NT were decelerating.

Intervention (B1). The calculated mean of the students HW completion for the first
intervention condition was 92.1% (range: 81% - 100%). The calculated mean for NT
completion with the intervention condition was 83.4% (range: 71% - 100%). The
calculated stability of the data for both HW and NT completion had low variability.
The percentage of stability for HW completion was 100% (range: 73.7% - 100%) and
for NT completion was 100% (range: 66.7% - 100%). Using the split-middle trend
analysis, the trend for both HW completion and NT were accelerating.

Baseline (A2). The calculated mean for the second baseline condition for the
students HW completion was 16% (range: 0% - 55%). The calculated mean for
baseline condition for NT completion was 8% (range: 0% - 40%). The calculated
stability of the data for HW completion and NT completion had high variability.

@2015 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved.


73

The percentage of stability for HW completion was 0% (range: 12.8% - 18.2%) and
for NT completion was 0% (range: 6.4% - 9.6%). Using the split-middle trend
analysis, the trend for both HW completion and NT completion were decelerating.

Intervention (B2). The calculated mean of the students HW completion for the
second intervention condition was 90.8% (range: 70% - 100%). The calculated mean
for NT completion with the second intervention condition was 83.3% (range: 55% -
100%). The calculated stability of the data for both HW and NT completion had low
variability. The percentage of stability for HW completion was 100% (range: 62.6% -
100%) and for NT completion was 80% (range: 66.7% - 99.9%). Using the split-
middle trend analysis, the trend for both HW completion and NT were accelerating.

Baseline (A3). The calculated mean for the third baseline condition for the students
HW completion was 14.2% (range: 0% - 41%). The calculated mean for the baseline
condition for NT completion was 5% (range: 0% - 15%). The calculated stability of
the data for HW completion and NT completion had high variability. The
percentage of stability for HW completion was 0% (range: 11.4% - 17%) and for NT
completion was 0% (range: 4% - 6%). Using the split-middle trend analysis, the
trend for both HW completion and NT completion were decelerating.

Intervention (B3). The calculated mean of the students HW completion for the
third intervention condition was 92.7% (range: 78% - 100%). The calculated mean for
NT completion with the third intervention condition was 84.5% (range: 70% - 100%).
The calculated stability of the data for both HW and NT completion had low
variability. The percentage of stability for HW completion was 100% (range: 74.2% -
100%) and for NT completion was 100% (range: 67.6% - 100%). Using the split-
middle trend analysis, the trend for both HW completion and NT were accelerating.

Baseline (A4). The calculated mean for the fourth baseline condition for the
students HW completion was 16.4% (range: 0% - 46%). The calculated mean for the
baseline condition for NT completion was 6% (range: 0% - 15%). The calculated
stability of the data for HW completion and NT completion had high variability.
The percentage of stability for HW completion was 20% (range: 13.1% - 19.7%) and
for NT completion was 20% (range: 4.8% - 7.2%). Using the split-middle trend
analysis, the trend for both HW completion and NT completion were decelerating.

Data Analysis across Conditions


Data were collected on the students HW completion and NT completion for 50
instructional days. The trend was calculated for analysis across conditions using
least-squares regression. The mean scores of each condition and the rapidity of
behavior change from one condition to the next were assessed.

The trend across the study was a positive acceleration for HW completion and NT
completion. The students mean HW completion increased from each baseline
condition to intervention condition by 76.4% (HW baseline = 15.5%; HW

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74

intervention = 91.9%). Similarly, the students mean NT completion increased from


each baseline condition to intervention condition by 75.2% (NT baseline = 8.5; NT
intervention = 83.7%).

The immediacy of change from the difference between the ordinate values of each
intervention condition to the last data point of each baseline condition for HW
completion increased by 92% (baseline = 0%; intervention = 92%), 70% (baseline =
0%; intervention = 70%), and 89% (baseline = 0%; intervention = 89%) and for NT it
increased by 57% (baseline = 14%; intervention = 71%), 15% (baseline = 40%;
intervention = 55%), and 78% (baseline = 0%; intervention = 78%). Each time the
intervention was withdrawn, HW completion decreased by 67% (baseline = 25%;
intervention = 92%), 70% (baseline = 0%; intervention = 70%), 90% (baseline = 0%;
intervention = 90%), and 52% (baseline = 46%; intervention = 98%). Likewise, NT
completion decreased by 35% (baseline = 40%; intervention = 85%), 55% (baseline =
0%; intervention = 55%), 63% (baseline = 15%; intervention = 78%), and 75%
(baseline = 15%; intervention = 90%).

Conclusion
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of self-monitoring paired with
positive-reinforcement on increasing HW completion and NT completion for a
student diagnosed with ASD in a pullout math course. Based on the evidence of this
study the goal for HW completion and NT rate increased for the student during
each intervention condition and decreased each time the intervention was removed.
The goal was for the student to achieve a 75% completion rate for both variables
during the intervention conditions. This goal was achieved for 97% of the
intervention condition days for his HW completion and for 87% of the days for NT
completion

The increase in the percentage of completion from the baseline data to the
intervention data and then the decrease in percentage when the intervention was
removed, suggests that a possible functional relationship exists between at least one
of the independent variables of self-monitoring and positive reinforcement and the
dependent variable of task completion. The analysis of the data does not confirm
with confidence that the increase in completion of both HW and NT was because of
the self-monitoring. Rather, it does suggest that the increase may have been because
of the preferred reinforcer used during each intervention condition. This conclusion
is established because during each baseline condition the student was provided
access to the self-monitoring forms but was not reinforced for using them. It was
observed that the student elected to not use the forms and the data collected
indicates that the completion rate decreased during each baseline condition but
increased once the intervention was reintroduced. Yet research suggests that the use
of a reinforcer is necessary for self-monitoring to be effective for students with
disabilities (Koegel, Singh, & Koegel, 2010). Therefore, the evidence of this study
adds further affirmation to previous research that the intervention of self-

@2015 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved.


75

monitoring paired with reinforcement increases the probability of achieving a high


level of independence for individuals with disabilities such as ASD.

Future Studies
This study requires further replication across settings and individuals to establish a
stronger functional relationship as well as an extinction process to fade out the
reinforcement to establish if a functional relationship exists between self-monitoring
and task completion. Similarly, future studies may want to consider using more
than one assignment at a time to potentially increase the stability of the data and
provide more training for students on self-monitor.

The completing of a given task is an expectation for students with disabilities and
without disabilities in the educational classroom. Students who learn the reinforcing
value of self-monitoring can learn to generalize this skill to other academic areas
and eventually adapt it for functional skills. Thus, it is advantageous to the
individual student, teacher, and society to understand potential strategies that may
increase the frequency of an individuals ability to properly complete a given task.

References
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Bialas, J. B., & Boon, R. (2010). Effects of self-monitoring on the classroom preparedness skills of
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completion and accuracy of students with disabilities in an inclusive general education
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Hume, K, Plavnick, J., & Odom, S. L. (2012). Promoting task accuracy and independence in
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skills in young children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1, 11-26.

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Loftin, R. L., Gibb, A. C., and Skiba, R. (2005). Using self-monitoring strategies to address
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Mithaug, D. K., & Mithaug, D. E. (2003). Effects of teacher-directed versus student-directed
instruction on self-management of young children with disabilities. Journal of Applied
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77

International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 13, No.2, pp. 77-87, September 2015

Effects of Hybrid Active Learning Strategy on


Secondary School Students Understanding of
Direct Current Electricity Concepts in Nigeria

Mangut Mankilik
Department of Science and Technology Education, University of Jos
Jos, Nigeria

Uche Connie Ofodile


Federal Education Quality Assurance Service, Federal Ministry of Education
Abuja, Nigeria

Abstract. This study examined the effects of Hybrid Active Learning


Strategy (HALS) on secondary school students understanding of direct
current electricity concepts (DCEC) in Nigeria. The study used a pretest-
posttest control group as the design. Proportionate stratified random
sampling method and table of random numbers were used to select four
co-educational senior secondary schools in Kaduna Educational Zone,
Kaduna State from which 172 physics students were also sampled.
Randomly, the students were assigned to the experimental (n=86) and
control (n=86) groups. Using HALS, the experimental group was taught
DCEC while the conventional lecture approach was used to teach the
same concepts to the control group. The Written Concept Test (WCT) and
the Direct Current Electricity Practical Test (DCEPT) developed by the
researchers with reliability coefficients 0.81 and 0.83 respectively were
used to collect data. The validity of these instruments was established by
experts. Employing SPSS software, data analysis was done using t-test
and effect size based on Cohens d. The findings of this study showed
that the performance levels of both experimental and control groups
before treatments were low with no significant difference in their
understanding of DCEC. The results further showed that students taught
using HALS performed significantly better than their counterparts taught
with conventional lecture approach. Furthermore, the result revealed that
gender and school type had no effect on students performance when
taught using HALS. The researchers concluded that the use of HALS
package promotes students better understanding of concepts translating
to optimal performance in physics examinations.

Keywords: Active Learning Strategy; Concepts; Direct Current


Electricity; Hybrid; Understanding.

2015 The authors and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved.


78

Introduction
Over the years, it has been found that physics is the bedrock of scientific and
technological developments worldwide. The technologies associated with
physics, especially space and nuclear science, determine the economic and
military powers of nations. Thus, at the senior secondary school level in Nigeria,
physics has been identified as one of the core science courses as stated in the
National Policy on Education (FRN, 2004). The Nigerian government in
recognition of the importance of science and technology, especially physics has
taken a number of steps towards its improvement. These steps included the
implementation of the Science and Technology Education Post Basic project with
support from the World Bank which focuses on the production of adequate and
quality science and technology graduates. Furthermore, the inclusion of Physics
in Technology in the recently reviewed Senior Secondary School Physics
Curriculum was a significant step towards the improvement of science and
technology in Nigeria. This curriculum came into effect in September 2011.
Despite the efforts of the Nigerian government, researchers generally observed
students low enrolment and poor performance in physics (Mankilik & Umaru,
2011; Erinosho, 2013; Aina & Olanipekun, 2014). The students low enrolment
and poor performance in physics is indicative of a serious variance between the
expectations of the Nigerian Government as spelt out in the National Policy on
Education (NPE) and the actual situation of physics in our schools and this calls
for a review of the strategies teachers adopt in the teaching and learning of
physics (WAEC, 2008). Generally, the way physics lessons are delivered in
senior secondary schools in Nigeria is by expository method. The expository
teaching method is a teacher-centered, student-peripheral approach where the
teacher with or without the use of instructional materials delivers a pre-planned
lesson to the students (Akinbobola, 2009).

In agreement with the low enrolment of students in physics, the analysis of the
West African Examinations Council (WAEC) results shows that on the average
between 2006 and 2014 in Nigeria, about 35% of the total number of students
that registered for West African Senior School Certificate Examinations
(WASSCE) entered for physics. In terms of performance, the WAEC Chief
Examiners reports (2005-2013) in physics indicated poor performance of
students generally despite the favourable standards of the paper and the
moderate severity of the marking scheme. In line with this, the analysis of the
WAEC and National Examinations Council (NECO) results of candidates
performance in physics for the May/June 2006-2013 SSCE in Nigeria indicated
general poor performance. For WAEC, in 2011 for example, 43% of the 12,123
physics candidates that sat for the examination in Kaduna State had credit
passes and above, out of which about 1% passed with distinction. In the same
year for NECO and in Kaduna State, 16% of the 24,498 candidates that sat for the
examination had credit passes and above, out of which less than 0.1% passed
with distinction. Also, in 2013, for WAEC, the case is even worse as 0.05% of the
38,738 candidates that sat for physics in the State had distinction. It is to be noted
that a performance level of less than 1% pass with distinction is grossly
inadequate for Nigerias quest for rapid scientific and technological
development.

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79

In Kaduna State, students low enrolment and poor performance in physics has
been attributed to inadequate human and material resources as well as
inappropriate presentation of materials as recorded in the analysis of the
education sector conducted by Kaduna State Ministry of Education (KSMOE,
2008). The situation is further compounded as the teaching of physics (direct
current electricity) in senior secondary schools, is adversely affected by
problems such as perceived abstract and difficult nature of direct current
electricity concepts (DCEC), lack of modern equipment and poor teaching
strategies. In realization of Vision 20-2020, Nigeria must strive for optimum
performance in physics not just average performance. The realization of this
vision entails rapid production of the workforce that is versatile in the
development of modern technologies which are based on the principles of direct
current electricity.

Direct current electricity concepts (DCEC) are the underlying concepts of one of
the branches of study in physics dealing with the steady flow of electrons
around a circuit. The concepts include those of current, voltage, potential
difference and resistance in an electric circuit. Direct current electricity is an area
of physics that teachers find difficult to teach due to its abstract nature and
students make a lot of mistakes in answering questions on it (Baser & Durmus,
2010). Furthermore, they stated that instructional materials should be developed
to promote the development of basic scientific reasoning skills. To this end, in
any teaching method, all efforts should be directed at the students better
understanding of concepts being taught (Akinbobola & Afolabi, 2010). When a
concept is well understood, it is retained much longer, it can be built upon to
acquire further understanding and facilitates creativity (Reigeluth, 2009). In this
light, visualization of phenomena through computer simulations can contribute
to students better understanding of physics concepts (Zacharia & Olympiou,
2010). In the same vein, cooperative learning as an active learning strategy which
involves students interactively working in groups to accomplish a common goal
brings about deeper understanding of learned task that is relevant to life after
school (Bello, 2011).

In addition, several studies on gender issues in physics education noted


differing views. Gender has been identified as having significant effect on
students performance in physics at the secondary school level (Onah & Ugwu,
2010). Another study indicated that gender is not a strong determinant of
students academic achievement in physics rather the teaching approaches
adopted which should not discriminate between the sexes (Akinbobola &
Afolabi, 2010). Consequently, the active learning strategies for instruction could
be structured to eliminate any undue effect of gender on students performance.
Furthermore, some researches in school type (public and private) showed
conflicting views. For example, in a study, students from public schools lagged
behind in their performance in the sciences when they were compared with
those in private schools (Olatoye & Agbatogun, 2009). On the contrary, in
another study, students in regular public schools performed as well as students
in private schools when presented with equal learning opportunities (Lubianski

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80

& Lubianski, 2006). It is therefore of importance that the effect of school type be
properly investigated and addressed.

However, a number of lapses have been observed in the application of active


learning strategies. The lapses include lack of use of a combination of active
learning strategies which are recommended in order to have a better student
engagement and interest (Afolabi & Akinbobola, 2009; Adeyemo, 2010).
Therefore, it is necessary to critically study ways of applying a combination of
active learning strategies to enhance students understanding of physics
concepts especially direct current electricity concepts at the secondary school
level. In line with this, a typical computer simulation package developed and
named Hybrid Active Learning Strategy (HALS) was used in teaching senior
secondary two (SS2) physics students for better understanding of DCEC. This
simulation package was a combination of strategies of computer simulation,
cooperative learning, questioning, class discussion, manipulation, exploration
and experimentation (Ofodile & Mankilik, 2015). These strategies encouraged
scaffolding which refers to a learning situation where the teacher guides the
students appropriately. HALS structured to be highly interactive and engaging
was used to study its effects on the understanding of direct current electricity
concepts by students.

Statement of the Problem


The inappropriate utilization of relevant teaching strategies and lack of
application of innovative technology in teaching physics, especially, DCEC have
been major concerns of physics educators. Specifically the defective
methodology employed by the teachers, as well as the non-use of modern
equipment during instruction generally leads to students low enrolment and
poor performance in physics (Adegoke, 2011). This implies that the way learning
materials are presented to the students manifests in their non-active
participation in learning, lack of interest and proper understanding of DCEC.
Therefore, the broad question to be answered in this study is: What could be the
effects of HALS on senior secondary school students understanding of DCEC in
Kaduna Educational Zone?

Purpose of the Study


The objectives of the study were to:
1. find out the performance levels of SS2 students in DCEC before exposure
to HALS and the conventional lecture approach.
2. determine the performance levels of SS2 students in DCEC after
exposure to HALS and the conventional lecture approach.
3. determine the effects of gender on the performance scores of students in
DCEC after being exposed to HALS.
4. determine the effects of school type (public and private) on the
performance scores of students in DCEC after being exposed to HALS.

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81

Hypotheses
1. There is no significant difference between the pre-test performance mean
scores of experimental group exposed to HALS and those of the control
group not exposed to HALS.
2. There is no significant difference between the post-test performance
mean scores of experimental group exposed to HALS and those of the
control group not exposed to HALS.
3. There is no significant difference between the post-test performance
mean scores of male and female students who are exposed to HALS.
4. There is no significant difference between the post-test performance
mean scores of students from public and private schools exposed to
HALS.

Research Methodology
This study adopted the true experimental design. It used the pretest - posttest
control group design with randomization. The population for the study
comprised 16 co-educational senior secondary schools in Kaduna Educational
Zone that have at least 40 SS2 physics students. This presented a total population
size of 1,034 students. The samples of 4 schools (2 public and 2 private) and 172
students (89 males and 83 females) were selected using proportionate stratified
random sampling method and table of random numbers. The instruments,
Written Concept Test (WCT) and the Direct Current Electricity Practical Test
(DCEPT) developed by the researchers were used for data collection. The
content validity of the instruments was established using four experts, one test
and measurement expert and three physics educationists. Their comments and
independent observations, corrections and suggestions were incorporated into
the final form of the instruments. The instruments were trial-tested using 40 SS2
physics students that were similar in all respect to the students for the study but
were not part of the study sample. The reliability coefficients for WCT and
DCEPT using Cronbach Alpha were 0.81 and 0.83 respectively.

The selected students were assigned randomly to the experimental (n=86) and
control (n=86) groups using table of random numbers. WCT was administered
as pre-test to the students and used to measure the degree of the dependent
variable before treatment. The treatment was administered to both groups for six
weeks. The experimental group was exposed to HALS for DCEC while the
conventional lecture approach was used to teach the same concepts to the
control group. The experimental group students in smaller groups of 2 or 3 were
provided with either a desktop or laptop on which the HALS package was
installed. At the end of the treatment, WCT and DCEPT were administered to
both groups as post-test. After scoring, the data were collated and subjected to
statistical analysis using SPSS software. Using t-test at 0.05 level of significance,
the four hypotheses were tested.

Results
Hypothesis One
There is no significant difference between the pre-test performance mean scores
of the experimental group exposed to HALS and those of the control group not

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82

exposed to HALS. Result of the t-test analysis for independent samples is


presented in Table 1.

Table 1: Pre-test Analysis Results of Scores of Students in the Experimental and


Control Groups

Group Number Mean Standard Degree t-Cal


Deviation of
Freedom
n SD df p value
Experimental 86 33.38 8.37
170 0.08 0.936
Control 86 33.49 8.72

Not significant at p> 0.05


The result in Table 1 showed that the t-test failed to reveal a statistical significant
difference between the pre-test performance mean scores of the experimental
group exposed to HALS ( =33.38; SD=8.37) and the control group not exposed
to HALS ( = 33.49; SD=8.72); t(170) = 0.080, p >0.05. The null hypothesis was
retained. Therefore, prior to treatment, there was no significant difference in the
performance mean scores of students from both experimental and control
groups. As a result, the groups were considered the same as far as their
understanding of DCEC is concerned.

Hypothesis Two
There is no significant difference between the post-test performance mean scores
of the experimental group exposed to HALS and those of the control group not
exposed to HALS. The result of the t-test analysis for independent samples is
presented in Table 2.

Table 2: Post-test Analysis Results of Scores of Students in the Experimental and


Control Groups

Group Number Mean Standard Degree of t-Cal


Deviation Freedom

n SD df p value
Experimental 86 70.02 16.57
170 12.24 0.000
Control 86 45.31 8.73
Significant at p<0.05
The result in Table 2 showed that the t-test revealed a statistical significant
difference between the post-test performance means score of the experimental
group ( = 70.02; SD = 16.57) and the control group ( = 45.31; SD = 8.73); t(170) =
12.24; p < 0.05. The null hypothesis was therefore not accepted. This implies that
a significant difference exists between the post-test performance mean scores of
experimental group exposed to HALS and those of the control group not
exposed to HALS. An effect size of 1.88 was also recorded, which according to

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83

the range recorded by Becker (2000) indicated a large effect as a result of the
intervention.

Hypothesis Three
There is no significant difference between the post-test performance mean scores
of male and female students who are exposed to HALS. The result of the t-test
analysis for independent samples is presented in Table 3.

Table 3: Post-test Analysis Results of Scores of Male and Female Students Exposed
to HALS

Gender Number Mean Standard Degree of t-Cal


Deviation Freedom

n SD df p value
Male 44 70.36 17.03
84 0.194 0.847
Female 42 69.67 16.26

Not significant at p> 0.05


The result in Table 3 showed that the t-test failed to reveal a statistical significant
difference between the post-test mean scores of male ( =70.36; SD=17.03) and
female students exposed to HALS ( = 69.67; SD=16.26); t(84) = 0.194, p > 0.05.
The decision was to retain the null hypothesis. Therefore, there is no significant
difference between the post-test performance mean scores of male and female
students exposed to HALS.

Hypothesis Four
There is no significant difference between the post-test performance mean scores
of students from public and private schools exposed to HALS. The result of the
t-test analysis for independent samples is presented in Table 4.

Table 4: Post-test Analysis Results of Scores of Students from Public and Private
Schools Exposed to HALS

School Number Mean Standard Degree of t-Cal


Type Deviation Freedom

n SD df p value
Public 44 69.91 15.75
84 0.065 0.948
Private 42 70.14 17.57

Not significant at p> 0.05


The result in Table 4 showed that the t-test failed to reveal a statistical significant
difference between the post-test mean scores of students from public ( = 69.91;

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84

SD=15.75) and private schools exposed to HALS ( = 70.14; SD=17.57); t(84) =


0.065, p > 0.05. The decision was to retain the null hypothesis as there is no
sufficient ground to reject the hypothesis. Therefore, there is no significant
difference between the post-test performance mean scores of students from
public and private schools exposed to HALS.

Discussion
The study examined the effect of Hybrid Active Learning Strategy (HALS) and
conventional lecture approach on students understanding of Direct Current
Electricity Concepts (DCEC). The analysed results disclosed that there was no
significant difference between the pre-test performance mean scores of
experimental and control groups in their understanding of DCEC. This outcome
collaborates the research finding of Agbatogun, Ajelabi, Oyewusi and Inegbedon
(2011) which indicated that the entry performance of both intervention and
control groups were at par. Determining if there are any pre-existing differences
between the two groups was a good starting point for the treatments. This
agrees with the findings of Akinbobola and Afolabi (2010), Bello (2011) and
Tebabal and Kahssay (2011) that indicated same background knowledge in pre-
test for experimental and control groups in their studies. Furthermore, the
analysed data showed that the performance level of the two groups before
exposure to treatment was low. This confirmed WAEC Chief Examiners reports
(2005-2013) in physics that indicated poor performance of students generally.
Mankilik and Umaru (2011), Udoh (2012) and Erinosho (2013) also reported poor
performance of students in physics. One major factor that might have
contributed to this research outcome was the fact that equivalence was
maintained between the two groups of students prior to treatment using random
assignment.

The experimental group students post-test mean scores were higher than that of
the control groups. This implies that in the performance of students taught using
HALS and those taught with the conventional lecture approach, there was a
significant difference. This showed that HALS was effective in improving
students understanding of DCEC. It was observed during the treatment that the
experimental group students were actively participatory than the control group.
This is in line with the findings of Tebabal and Kahssay (2011) and Bello (2011)
which pointed out that a well-structured activity oriented, cooperative learning
environment in physics enhanced students performance thereby enabling them
to outscore their counterparts in the other group. The findings were also in
agreement with the positions of Baser and Durmus (2010), Kiboss (2011) and
Gambari and Yusuf (2014) that computer simulation improves students
understanding of physics concepts through focusing on the dynamic
characteristics of the simulated circuits, as well as strengthening students
domain knowledge by retrieving and explaining problem solving steps. In
addition, the recorded effect sizes imply that the intervention on the
experimental group resulted in the large effect on their performances as
compared to the control group. Generally, this means that there is sufficient
evidence to claim that the HALS instruction improved students understanding
of DCEC.

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85

Also, this research revealed that gender had no effect on the performance of
students in DCEC when taught using HALS. Hence, there was no statistically
significant effect of gender on students performance in DCEC. This is in line
with the findings of Afolabi and Akinbobola (2009) and Ogunleye and Babajide
(2011) that there is no significant effect of gender on students performance in
physics. The finding also is not in agreement with the findings of Onah and
Ugwu (2010) where they concluded that gender differences do exist in students
achievements in physics. Researchers differing views on gender effect on
students performance in physics suggests that if care is taken to make the
classroom environment conducive for learning through the use of appropriate
teaching strategy, both male and female students will perform equally well in
any given task (Baser & Durmus, 2010). This suggests that HALS has been
structured in such a way that it does not give one group an edge over the other.
To give credence to this, Akinbobola and Afolabi (2010) observed that any good
teaching approach used in teaching physics should not discriminate between
sexes. It was also found that there was no statistically significant difference
between the performance of students in the public and private schools taught
using HALS. This means that there is no statistically significant difference
between students performance in DCEC in both school types. This finding
agrees with the findings of Lubianski and Lubianski (2006) who reported that
students in regular public schools do as well as students in private schools when
presented with equal learning opportunities. This shows that HALS which the
students were exposed to in both the public and private schools, is an effective
instructional strategy that presents equal learning opportunities to the students
resulting in no significant differences in their performances.

Conclusion
This study provides evidence that the use of HALS through computer
simulation, cooperative learning, questioning, class discussion, manipulation,
exploration and experimentation promotes students understanding of physics
concepts in the classrooms. The result of this study showed that the performance
level of both the experimental and control group students before treatments
were low with no significant difference in their understanding of DCEC. The
result further showed that students taught using HALS performed significantly
better than their counterparts taught with conventional lecture approach.
Furthermore, the result revealed that gender and school type had no effect on
the performance of students taught using HALS indicating that HALS presents
equal learning opportunities to the students. The implication of the findings of
this work is that using HALS package, students can be taught abstract concepts
in physics in a way that would promote their better understanding and make
learning an enjoyable experience for them. This translates to optimal
performance in physics examinations which can lead to the rapid production of
a better workforce for the countrys technological advancement.

Recommendations
The findings of this study, gave rise to the following recommendations:

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86

1. Hybrid Active Learning Strategy (HALS) should be used in secondary


schools for the teaching of direct current electricity concepts (DCEC) in
physics to promote students understanding of concepts.
2. Physics teachers should endeavor to use activity oriented mode of
instructions like HALS in order to enable students participate actively in
learning for better understanding.
3. Nigerian secondary schools should be equipped with technologies like
computers in conjunction with relevant computer assisted instructional
packages such as HALS that will be fully accessible to the students to
enhance learning and improve performance.
4. Re-training of physics teachers through series of workshops and
seminars on how to incorporate effectively small-size interactions using
computer simulation such as HALS during physics lessons.
5. Subject inspectors should impress it on teachers to effectively use hands-
on and minds-on mode of instructions as contained in HALS that will
yield positive results.
6. Curriculum developers for senior secondary school physics should
incorporate modern, adequate and appropriate strategies as incorporated
in HALS in the teaching of physics.

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International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 13, No.2, pp. 88-96, September 2015

Problem-Based Learning: Mandatory Personal


Qualities of Effective Facilitators

Nor Junainah Mohd Isa, Ahmad Jazimin Jusoh and


Mohd Muzafar Shah Mohd Razali
Department of Psychology and Counselling,
Faculty of Education and Human Development,
Sultan Idris Education University,
35900 Tanjong Malim, Perak, Malaysia.

Abstract. In any teaching context, shifting traditional methods of


learning to problem-based learning often invites many questions and
views from various parties. For more than thirty years, there have been
ongoing debates as to issues such as the proper method of execution,
appropriate curriculum, and learning environment for problem-based
learning, as well as the cognitive skills and personal qualities of the
facilitator (lecturer). Because the facilitator is a crucial component to this
form of learning, this article focuses on investigating two personal
qualities that are the main prerequisites to producing an effective
facilitator. The importance of these qualities, as well as the proposed
measures to implement problem-based learning, are also discussed.

Keywords : problem-based learning, knowledge, competence, effective


facilitator

Introduction

Problem-based learning is an approach that began in the mid-1960s (Dolmans et


al., 2002; Major, 1999) at Canadas McMaster University. The method was born
in the field of medical education (Nesargikar, 2010), and soon expanded further
into other countries by the year 1970 (Rhem, 1998; Savin-Baden, 2000), where the
method was soon adopted in higher education (Wood, 2004) for business
(Peterson, 2004; Whelan-Berry & Marshall, 2000), nursing (Dehkordi &
Heydarnejad, 2008), statistics (Bude et al., 2009), and engineering education
(Shahrom et al., 2005). Today, teaching and learning methods that use problems
as a motive and main focus (Hillman, 2003) to generate knowledge are also
being applied to students in secondary schools all around the world (Belland et
al., 2009; Ramlee & Zaharatul Laili, 2008).

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89

This increasing push for problem-based learning is due to its effectiveness


in shaping students flexibly, so that they may be able to apply their knowledge
and skills more readily in the real world. As Savin-Baden (2000:2) notes:

Problem based learning is an approach to learning through which many


students have been enabled to understand their own situations and
frameworks so that they are able to perceive how they learn, and how they
see themselves as future professionals.

Perhaps because it is being incorporated into more and varying fields of study,
problem-based learning is often at the center of many debates. Some issues
include tackling the early challenges of adapting the paradigm of traditional
learning to problem-based learning (Ertmer & Simons., 2005; Nesargikar, 2010);
defeating misconceptions about the practice (Savin-Baden, 2000); understanding
the benefits and negative implications of problem-based learning in specific
curriculum or courses (Banta et al., 2000; Neville, 1999); and comparing views on
the roles of an effective facilitator (Dahlgren et al., 1998; Dolmans et al., 2002;
Van Berkel & Dolmans, 2006), as well as said individuals skills and
competencies needed to lead groups (Azer, 2005; Sadaf et al., 2009; Jung et al.,
2005).

These issues remain heavily debated and studied, particularly in regards to the
roles, responsibilities, and qualifications of effetive facilitators. This matter
deserves attention, considering the importance of a strong authority figure in
ensuring the success of problem-based learning; thus, the discussion in this
article will focus on two personal qualities that are the main prerequisites for
proficient faciliators. The requirement of these personal qualities not only help to
clarify the nature and role of the facilitator, but also alleviate other relevant
issues such as the finding the proper method of execution, curriculum, and
educational environment for problem-based learning. Finally, with more
faciliators posessing the required qualities, we can challenge existing
misconceptions about this form of teaching and learning.

Personal Quality Effective Facilitator

Problem-based learning is an alternative method that produces individual that


can meet the demands of the job market (Savin-Baden, 2000), which are often
complex, unstructured, and cannot be obtained through reading and studying
alone (Peterson, 2004). By practicing their curriculum, students are exposed to
activities that enhance problem-solving skills (Belland et al., 2009), comfort in
interacting and socializing (Wood, 2003), self-sufficiency, and life-long learning
(Low Chin Han & Ng Hui Teng, 2005; Wood, 2004). Students abilities to build
knowledge and hone these skills are heavily dependant on their lecturers
abilities to efficiently control active methods of learning (Bude et al., 2009;
Hillman, 2003; Van Berkel & Dolmans, 2006; Woods, 1996). Based on the review
of literature, it appears that there are two important personal features that
enable a faciliator to effectivly implement problem-based learning: 1) content

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90

knowledge and competence, and 2) skillfulness in handling groups. The


following is a description of both features:

Content Knowledge and Competence

Effective facilitators are those who have proficient knowledge and expertise in
the courses they are teaching (Dolmans et al., 2002). Furthermore, they must
understand what discipline entails in their respective fields, the underlying
philosophy of that work, and the learning outcomes that can be achieved by
students. However, as confirmed by Neville (1999) and Peterson (2004),
problem-based learning should not encompass the whole of any curriculum or
course, since this method has its limitations. In fact, its implementation must
first be in line with existing knowledge of students and must be introduced by
the facilitator at appropriate stages so that optimal results can be obtained.
Therefore, each lecturer must have an accurate understanding of the curriculum
and courses, so that he or she may select and plan out the most appropriate
operation of teaching for his or her line of study.

In addition, the facilitator should also understand the differences and


similarities of various teaching methods (philosophy, procedures, outcomes,
etc.), as to avoid misunderstanding or confusion when implementing a
particular practice. According to Savin-Baden (2000), unclear understandings
and interpretations may cause some people to believe that they are carrying out
a certain methods, when, in reality, they are being ineffective or negligent.
Amongst common confusions, Savin-Baden (2000) notes that many faciliators
have trouble identifying differences in problem-based learning with simply
learning to solve specific problems. He cautioned that, although both provide
scenarios to resolve problems, the focus of learning outcomes, scope of solutions,
and context are all different. This is because the scope of the discussion when
learning to solve problems depends on the content of the studied topics; in
contrast, problem-based learning offers methods of understanding and thinking
that can cross all courses and curriculum, and be applied to most contexts.
Without recognizing these differences, facilitators may carry out problem-
based learning because it sound attractive (Ertmer & Simons, 2005), even
though they do not truly know the purpose and benefits of this specific method.

In problem-based learning, the facilitator's role is to design a quality problem


(Van Berkel & Dolmans, 2006)-unstructured, complex (Peterson, 2004), practical,
realistic, and across disciplines (ESCalate, 2007)-in line with the prescribed
learning outcomes. The next task of the facilitator is to guide students in solving
the problem (Ramlee & Zaharul Laili, 2008) through cognitive activities
(Dolmans et al., 2002), such as asking open-ended questions (Peterson, 2004),
motivating students to learn (Pederson & Liu, 2003), constructing and evaluating
hypotheses to help students focus on their inquiries (Hmelo-Silver & Barrows,
2006), challenging students critical thinking skills (Woods, 1996), and creating
relationships and formulas to obtain information (Ertmer & Simons, 2005). After
these procedures, counseling can be reduced little by little, depending on the

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91

capabilities of and exposure given to the students, as well as their abilities to


carry out independent learning (Hmelo-Silver & Barrows, 2006).

Facilitators must have knowledge of the educations content and understanding


of how problem-based learning should be implemented. Proficiency in both
these areas will not only help facilitators adapt their leadership styles to various
types of students, but also address issues such as the role and involvement of
facilitators, the application of problem-based learning to larger groups of
students, and the resources required to support student activities. The facilitator
must also determine which courses are applicable and appropriate for problem-
based learning, thereby planning problems that give meaning to students. Once
faciliators perform these steps in the learning process and determine the
appropriate valuation of the learning outcomes defined, they can encourage
students to be independent in acquiring knowledge.

2. Skillfullness in Handling Groups

It is well known that the problem-based learning involves the construction of


small, active groups of students (ESCalate, 2007; Wood, 2004), who collaborate
with each other to solve problems (Ertmer & Simons, 2005). However, the
success of this group depends on the dynamism that allows members to play a
role in the learning and teaching (Jacob et al., 2009). Dynamism (Azer, 2005),
according to Jacob et al. (2009), can be observed through the interaction between
the facilitator and the group members, and between members themselves.
Moreover, Corey et al. (2010) and Ohlsen (1970) also associates dynamism with
therapeutic and anti-therapeutic energies, which both operate in a group.
Researchers such as Gambhir (2007), Jung et al. (2005), Nesargikar (2010), and
Van Berkel & Dolmans (2006 agree that group dynamics are key to group
learning activities and need to be addressed by the facilitators when
implementing problem-based learning. The group dynamic, as noted by Wood
(2003), is key to establishing the skills and attitudes necessary for use in the real
world.

A dynamic group can be formed if the facilitator has the competence and
skills of handling groups. Discussions amongst facilitators, as oberserved by
Azer (2005), Chen & Rybak (2004), Corey et al. (2010), Ertmer & Simons (2005),
Jacob et al. (2009), Liwen (2007), Nesargikar (2010), Ohlsen (1970), Wood (2004),
and Yalom (1975), revealed that there are several abilities that a facilitators must
have full grasp of in order to provide optimum guidance to the group. These
features help facilitators play their roles effectively, solving issues that arise
while implementing problem-based learning, such as conflicts among members
or difficulties in reaching conducive answers to a given problem. In their
discussion, facilitators summarized necessary characteristics, competencies, and
skills for handling groups:

1. Facilitators must understand the nature, goals, limitations, and


advantages of the controlled group. A clear understanding can help
facilitators devise a plan beforehand, choose the appropriate members

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92

for the group, and have a degree of leadership within the framework of
the relevant groups.
2. Facilitator must clearly understand the different levels of understanding
that exist in a particular group to ensure that learning and development
occurs smoothly for everyone. This knowledge allows the facilitator to
prepare and implement appropriate interventions, such restructuring the
group so that members can be more productive.
3. Facilitators must be trained and practice leadership skills such as
providing feedback, drawing out, cutting off, spinning off, linking,
modelling, and using eyes and tone of voice to encourage all members to
participate in discussion. Guidance, support, and appreciation can also
increase the motivation of each member to work in tandem to solve a
problem
4. Facilitators must understand and pay attention to verbal or nonverbal
elements that may influence the group dynamic. The size of the group,
the facilitators attitude, meeting settings, and the attitude exhibited by
all members of the group can all determine whether the groups are
therapeutic, neutral, or anti-therapeutic.
5. Facilitators must be comfortable in their roles and have knowledge about
the topic of discussion, all the while being patient, flexible, friendly, and
open-minded. These feature allow the facilitator to effectively guide the
group through both the understanding of the problem and the process of
solving it.
6. Facilitators must realize the challenges that come with leading a group.
Some concerns to keep in mind are the attitudes of members who try to
dominate discussion, empty conversations, storytelling that deviates
from the original point, fights and conflicts between members. In
addition, faciliators must also be constantly aware of their own feelings
of disappointment or anger towards the members. Awareness of the
possible problems can help facilitators build trust and ties between
members of the group.

In short, facilitators must 1) wisely and efficiently execute the lesson


content, and 2) adeptly handle the group process. However, as confirmed by
Wood (2004), listening, speaking, and arguing are not only responsibilities of the
facilitator, but also the students. Cooperation and interaction in group activities
will also increase the students' skills to work as a team, build trust, and nourish
positive attitudes towards altruism and self-compassion.

Implications And Recommendations

With the understanding that facilitators must possess both personal qualities to
effectively implement problem-based learning, appropriate changes must be
taken to ensure that individual can provide the best guidance. The following
recommendations could be considered to help identify and develop effective
personal qualities:

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93

1. Courses or workshops on philosophy, curriculum, and learning


outcomes

An expert facilitator is one who understands the teaching curriculum (Wood,


2003) and is able to plan and implement appropriate learning methods.
Appropriate resources and help should be provided to every lecturer in any
department so that he or she may understand the curriculum fully and develop
learning outcomes consistent with the program or universitys goals. As of now,
not all lecturers are clearly informed about the disciplines that are taught, either
because they do not understand the philosophy behind the curriculum or how to
achieve a specific learning outcome. Ambiguity and lack in these areas hinder
the teaching process, since the facilitator will not know when or if to problem-
based learning, or any other learning methods for that matter. Therefore, all
lecturers must be required to attend courses that detail the curriculum and
learning outcomes, so that they do not deviate from the intended path.

2. Facilitator Training: Problem-Based Learning

The shift from traditional teaching methods to problem-based learning causes


confusion in its definition and execution, as well as how the facilitator advances
the change (Dolmans et al., 2002; Ertmer & Simons, 2005; Savin-Baden, 2000).
Difficulties and obstacles are often encountered in the early stages of
implementation (Jung et al. 2005), coupled with the lack of support and
resources to fully go through with it (Ertmer & Simons, 2005). These problems
arise from facilitators misunderstanding of and reluctance towards modfying
their teaching to more student-centered learning methods. Without the proper
educationa and practice, facilitators will feel neither confident nor prepared in
their work. Thus, in order for lecturers to fully accept and feel comfortable with
this method, their training in lectures, workshops, and discussions must cover
implementation, advantages, limitations, suitability, and the importance of
problem-based learning. In addition to this core training, tips, materials, and
resources must be made available to them at all times.

3. Facilitator Training: Handling Small Groups

Facilitators must be able to guide small groups effectively to have a strong


dynamic, all the while preventing them from running off course; however, such
skills cannot be learned through books alone and require hands-on practice. As
explained by Chen & Rybak (2004), Corey et al. (2010), and Jacob et al. (2009),
before an individual is eligible to operate the group, he or she must first
experience small group settings as a member of co-facilitators, who then receive
guidance from expert facilitators. In addition to gaining exposure to different
ways of implementation and leadership styles, the facilitators-in-training will
also gain an accurate understanding of the theoretical framework behind
problem-based learning, since they themselves will experience the group setting
and see their performance. By practicing therapeutic techniques on themselves,
facilitators will have insight on the most effective ways to reach out to the
groups they will lead in the future.

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94

4. Feedback and Continuous Assessment

The faculty and university are advised to conduct activities that will continue to
improve faciliators professionalism in implementing problem-based learning.
Through feedback and ongoing assessments, facilitators can share their
experiences, identify barriers, and make improvements. As also recommended
by the Dolmans et al. (2002) and Jung et al (2005), facilitators must be given
space and supportive environment to reflect on their practice. Therefore, it is
proposed that facilitators be kept up to date with periodical skill training. These
sessions will give facilitators the opportunity to practice new skills in different
settings through role-playing activities, and their performance will be given
immediate feedback. Through dialogue, narration, session "mini-pbl," and
constructive feedback, facilitators will continuously have solid foundations on
which to carry out their teaching methods effectively.

Conclusion

In order to introduce problem-based learning into the educational space, an


effective facilitator must possess knowledge and competence of the content they
are teaching, as well the skills to control groups. These personal qualities not
only reflect the professionalism and character of the facilitator, but also address
many questions that arise when considering the implementation of problem-
based learning. These qualities are not necessarily inherent, but require
continuous training in order to be fully established and then properly utilized by
the facilitator. In order to promote effective implementation problem-based
learning, appropriate actions should be taken so that every lecturer can be
supplied with enough knowledge and resources to feel confidence in their work.

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International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 13, No.2, pp. 97-115, September 2015

Scenario-Based Design Methods for Developing


a Breast Cancer Health Care Information Website

Dr. Chih-Lin Tseng


Department of Multimedia and Game Design,
Overseas Chinese University
Taichung, Taiwan

Abstract. This study uses scenario-based design (SBD) method to


develop support tools that can facilitate brainstorming ideas for breast
cancer health care (BCHC) information website. It engaged in
experiment with nine designers using support tools to develop 42
concept sketches and divided 5 types of solution scenarios into;
Guideline, Menu, GUI, Scenario and Game. SBD method is converted
into the cyclical process of information analysis to concept synthesis to
design evaluation using a post-experiment interview. Although SBD
can integrate pre-design work, support tools can effectively stimulate
the speed for brainstorming design concept and consider multifaceted
user needs. Furthermore, support tools can empower designers quickly
develop feasible BCHC information design solutions to the problems
encountered by Taiwanese women.

Keywords: Scenario-based Design, Breast Cancer Health Care


Information, Website Design, Concept Design.

Introduction
Patients medical consumption and health information environment have
changed dramatically since the rise of internet (Caron, Berton, & Beydon, 2007).
Robinson, Patrick, Eng & Gustafson (1998) have defined "interactive health
communication" as "the interaction of an individual-consumer, patient, caregiver
as well as professional-with or through and electronic device or communication
technology to access or transmit health information or to receive guidance and
support on a health-related issue". The advantage of health information website
is providing integrated information during comprehensive health education
process, to detail description of treatment information at each period that easy to
update knowledge and provide clinical cases (Clayman, Boberg, & Makoul,
2008). Thus, designers must understand users how to seek BCHC information, to
utilize information providing and support tools from BCHC website when a
user-centered health information website is designed. Hence, how to offer
correct, easy understanding information to affect users medical seeking
behavior then decision making on their medical choice.

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98

Literature Review
Online breast cancer health care information
Breast cancer is a common disease among women (Sutton & Patkar, 2009;
Schmidt et al., 2015) and is the most frequent cancer of women in both
developed and developing worlds (World Health Organization [WHO], 2012).
However, more women are surviving this cancer due to the improved treatment
and detection of symptoms at an early stage (Burgess et al., 2005). According to
the Health Information National Trends Survey, online health information
resources offer prevention and treatment options and decision making for
patients (Hesse et al., 2005). The traditional face-to-face communication method
is insufficiencies such as dept and breadth information needs, comprehension of
professional language, controlling over consultation times, promotional content
and responses questions to public etc. Internet information of breast cancer has
become an important source and assist patients to enquiry doctors appropriate
questions while in consultation (Shaw et al., 2007). Research by the Pew
Research Centers Internet & American Life Project and the California
HealthCare Foundation (2009) indicated that 61% of adults had searched for
health information online. Ghaddar, Valerio, Garcia and Mlis (2012) expressed
that 81% of adolescent had accessed health information online and 59% had
sought health information related to a family members health online. Sabee,
Bylund, Weber and Sonet (2012) also pointed out that patients had various goals
for discussing internet research with their health care provider as follows;
seeking opinion or advice, verifying information, managing impression, learning
and testing. The health information had been reported and provided by internet
and media thereby breaking down the barriers of time and space, but it had also
immersed people in complicated health information. Readers must often
consider information source while seeking information online, such as the
author who writes behind the text (Rouet & Puustinen, 2009).
WHO (2004) emphasized that a majority (69%) of all breast cancer deaths
occur in developing countries. This study considers Taiwanese women as the
Breast Cancer Health Care (BCHC) end-users. The provision of trustworthy
information, easy browsing and website interaction process of Taiwanese
women were filtered principles for medical websites (Lin, Tseng, & Lee, 2010).
Hence, effective BCHC information websites could facilitate promoting BCHC
information, thus achieving easy of use. Usability has been shown to be a key
factor when the services organization using internet (Flavian, Guinaliu, &
Gurrea, 2006) and poor interface functionality has been seen as a potential cause
for web usability breakdown (Nielsen, 1999). Zhang and Dran (2000) indicated
to achieve satisfaction, users may spend more time at website, revisit website
and recommend website to others. Javenpaa and Todd (1997) indicated users
situation would be considered and gave more service then to offer perfect
experience except technology promotion when website in designing.
In fact, advantages and disadvantages of online health information exist.
For example, the availability of online information may aid in making decisions
that are more definitive and increase the participation of patients in their
treatment; thus, patients can make more comprehensive preparations in advance
of professional care and consultation (Berland et al., 2001). However, because

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99

internet cannot be regulated, information provided is of uneven quality (John,


2005). Consequently, the content of health information websites should conform
to the standards for evaluating good health information websites (Eysenbach,
Yihune, Lampe, Cross, & Brickey, 2000) by embracing guidelines for health
information and usability considerations (Winker et al., 2000). The constitute
elements of communication online health information included; to satisfy
patients questions, to display respectfully patients interesting information and
patients ability (Bastian, 2008). Breast cancer has three periods of measurement
indicators; prevention, treatment and follow-up and currently has different
health information for each periods (Lin, Tseng, & Lee, 2011), therefore, the
design of BCHC information websites should consider and satisfy different
periods of users needs to acquire correct information for using and
understanding easily.

The design process of website


Website design analysis, design, construction and evaluation have received
considerable attention from researchers and designers. Newman and Landay
(2000) studied actual website design practices and observed that during design
process and designers use multiple websites for reference which could help
them focus on different aspects of design, furthermore graphic design, web
development, presentation, word-processing software, pen and paper are all
important tools used in design process. Sketch is seen as an important and
indispensable part in conceptual of design phase (Lawson, 1994). Paper sketches
are especially important during exploration phase of website design and
designers attempt to explore different design possibilities without concerning
themselves with lower level details (Newman & Landay, 2000).
Tseng, Moss, Cagan and Kotovsky (2008) noted that professional designers
usually took a break when they encountered difficulties during
conceptualization process to read magazines or webpage, seemingly without
specific objectives, only returned to conceptualization process that new concepts
tend to originate frequently. Laseau (1989) suggested that design involved the
endless cycling process of brain-hand-media-eyes. Schn and Wiggins (1992)
proposed design process that follows theoretical model of see-move-see, it
was conformed a cyclical, interactive process between designer and using tools.
This cycle working was likely one self-dialogue that discovered on the visual of
sketch-check-revision when designers investigated their own conceptual
sketches. Herbert (1993) indicated that design was the result of continuous
drawing-response-drawing between sketches and media. Many studies focus
on the domain of design thinking when they seek to clarify conceptualization
process of design.

The role of Scenario-based design


The basic concept of scenario-based design (SBD) seeks to understand user
task and user interaction which leads designer to consider the important issues
and user needs to enable design (Carroll, 1995). In design, scenario design
methods or situation-description methods primarily focus on future usage
contexts for product to satisfy consumers emotional needs at beginning of
design process (Mcllroy, 2003). Alexander and Beus-Dukic (2009) defined a

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100

scenario as communicating a situation, usually as it evolves through time in a


series of steps. This design process of contexts was used to determine a users
behavior model through analyzing and interpreting behavior and using problem
scenarios to construct procedures that are utilized to guide users to background
theme. This method uses abstract and latent knowledge such as usage context,
interactive models and key issues, such as the function base module for writing
and scenario experiences, to resolve the important points of user design problem.
User experience should include; user sees, hears and comes into contact with
anything, their experience include factors; the product being easy to buy, easy to
set up, easy to learn, easy to use, intuitive, engaging and useful (Vredenburg,
Isensee, & Righi, 2002). Any experience is important for users (Shedroff, 2001).
Although not all users experiences can be applied to design, designers have to
understand experiential elements that can be designed. The creation and sharing
of scenario method is used to return to a context that has happened or to present
future virtual experiences (Battarbee, 2001). First, designers using SBD methods
for problem scenarios must actively search for new ideas to use in transforming
problem scenarios into design scenarios (Rosson & Carroll, 2002). SBD using for
information technology addresses five technical challenges that could help
designers; coordinating design action and reflection, managing the fluidity of
design situations, managing consequences that result from any given design
move, recognizing, capturing and reusing technical knowledge that often lags
behind needs of technical design and making design activities more accessible
for better communication to stakeholders (Carroll, 2000).
A scenario-based design and an ethnographic study have previously been
used as methods for user-centered design (UCD) as an analytic method (Park,
2011; Vincent, & Blandford, 2015). UCD has been popularized to improve the
usability of websites, systems and many products (Vredenburg, Mao, Smith, &
Carey, 2002). This study explores user-centered considerations of issues on
preliminary design of BCHC information websites. In design conceptual
development, the designer often uses various methods to originate a concept.
Therefore, design method operations also emphasize the need for assistance in
brainstorming design concepts. This study focuses on giving sufficient design
information to designers in conceptual of design phase to explore whether this
information can help with brainstorming ideas for BCHC information website
concept. Furthermore, three questions of research hereunder;
RQ1: How is the feasibility of supporting tools based on a SBD method in
creating BCHC information website design concept?
RQ2: Do the differences reveal between support tools based on a SBD method
and traditional creative brainstorming methods during the concept developing
process?
RQ3: Can this study discover any effects on BCHC information website due to
using support tools as design methods?

Methods
Analysis user needs through interviews
Because the nature of SBD involves predictive descriptions, this study used
interviews and observation to engage in user analysis to avert subjective
production. The analysis of user needs was summarized from interviews with

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three medical practitioners; a health hospital consultant, a doctor and a


registered nurse were invited to determine that current promotional materials of
health information in Taiwan hospitals focused on regular breast examinations,
the communication of health information and instructions for breast self-
examinations (BSE). The information focused on nurses, case managers and
volunteers demonstrating BSE and preventative content of breast cancer DVDs
in hospitals. Most users received professional BCHC information directly from
hospitals. Environmental factors were considerably influential also (McCoy &
Evans, 2002); thus, this study used treatment environment and procedures of
Taiwan public hospitals to record the promoting ways of BCHC information -
provided by consultation, promotion, broadsheets and promotional films. These
findings were applied to the context configurations of problem scenario.
This study also interviewed twelve Taiwanese women (A1-A12) to
represent prevention, treatment and follow-up periods. Prevention period; they
are healthy without breast cancer (A1-A8). Treatment period; they have breast
cancer and are accepting medical treatment (A9-A10). Follow-up period; they
had breast cancer before (A11-A12). Interviewees all had experience in searching
for health information online. The interview content included four topics such as
family history of cancer, living habit, using what channel for BCHC information
and knowledge of BCHC information. The average age of interviewees was 37.6
years; Nine of the twelve interviewees have someone in their family who
currently has or had cancer (75%) and five of them have someone in their family
who has or had breast cancer (41.7%). Therefore, the age distribution of
interviewees and presence of cancer in their family histories generally
conformed to conditions for crucial groups; their lifestyles and user
characteristics had referential value for future studies. This study organized the
lifestyles of users from above mentioned three periods and its results were;
1. Users in these three periods not only showed differences in terms of their
needs and their urgency for BCHC information but also in their knowledge
of BCHC. Women during prevention period generally didnt have the habit
of regularly checking for BCHC information (A1-A7). These women only
sought information if they themselves or their friends had similar diseases in
which case they felt panic and increased their frequency of seeking medical
help or online information (A3-A6, A8).
2. A summary based on the lifestyle experiences of interviewees had shown
that women living at regular lifestyle and stress were important factors
affected health under treatment and follow-up periods (A9-A12).
3. Women of three periods all had searching experience of BCHC information
online. Among them, women during treatment period had the greatest
urgency and time-sensitivity for seeking BCHC information. The frequency
of these women searching BCHC information online was one to three times
per week, their searches content focused on health information such as
check-up schedules and post-operative diet recommendations.
4. Women of three periods all emphasized the reliability of BCHC information
and primarily used hospital, television and internet.
5. Women above 50 tend to accept help from their children in searching for
BCHC information online (A10-A12). They noted that they were difficult to
read information on screen due to small font size and also unfamiliar with

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102

interface operations.
6. Women in prevention period had more diverse using information access
mediums of BCHC information than women in treatment and follow-up
periods through media of computers, cell phones and iPod touch. Thus, they
were relatively familiar with internet, WiFi and mobile internet, but didnt
have strong impressions regarding the content of BCHC information (A1-
A8). Women in treatment period had the greatest and most urgent needs for
BCHC information and participated in regular meetings at the Kaihuai
Association. These women regularly received BCHC information, citing
attentive care on a psychological level as another important need (A9, A10).
Women in follow-up period had ample experience with their own cancer
treatment and could consult with their friends or acted as volunteers (A11,
A12).

The construction of supplementary tools


This study used the BCHC information websites blueprint of the needs
framework (Figure 1) and the problem scenario (Figure 2) as experimental
support tools were configured hereunder;
1. First, the outcome of analysis user needs based on interview with twelve
Taiwanese women to summarize a blueprint regarding the framework of
needs for BCHC information website. The problem scenario further
developed by survey results, the aim was utilizing users background
environment, the user s needs and lifestyles obtained from interviews and
observation to adjust the orientation of BCHC information website.
2. The BCHC information websites blueprint of needs framework showed that
three periods of users demand certain features from online BCHC
information; a fast speed of learning, ease in operation, an increase of new
knowledge, a review of BCHC information, personalized BCHC information
and BCHC information consultation. Women in follow-up period who had
participated in volunteering and medical nursing needed the functions of
BCHC instruction and promotion. Not only computers but also smart
phones and digital devices such as iPads with WiFi connectivity which could
effectively resolve urgent user needs for browsing health information.
3. The problem scenario needed to add contextual factors presenting user
needs and problems. The contextual factors included specific tasks,
information needs and user knowledge (Wang, Hawk, & Tenopir, 2000). This
problem scenario used interviewing results to determine online BCHC needs
of users in three periods to develop 14 context storyboards (Figure 2). The
content included scene of user reception of BCHC information, the
opportunity and problems were encountered while searching online BCHC
information.

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Figure 1: BCHC information websites blueprint of the needs framework.

Figure 2: Construction of the Problem Scenario.

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To develop conceptual sketch by using SBD and data analysis


As regards nine designers participating in experiment, they had exceeded
five years of design experience and all had college education background. Nine
designers had website design expertise and thus were permitted to participate in
experiment. The experimental process included a conceptual sketch design and a
post-experiment interview;
With BCHC information website concern the conceptual sketches would be
developed after designers read support tools. The experimental instructions
required that all designers propose at least three conceptual sketches for
homepage, without any limitation on the number of subpages. After experiment,
semi-structured interview included four questions on design concept, traditional
methods, usage experiences and differences in designers experience (Table 1)
which could further understand their design concept and assist concept
developing methods by themselves. The samples were taken as support tools
efficiency of BCHC information website conceptual sketches development, to
measure the differences between traditional design and using these support
tools for brainstorming. Verbal Protocols was used to allow designers engaging
on more detailed description of design concept after experiment had ended. This
technique originated in the field of cognitive psychology and cognitive science
(Cross, 1999); by designers described their thinking, researcher could
understand their process of thinking at short-term memory (Ericsson & Simon,
1993). Two encoders collected data from experiment and interview transcripts to
extract important concepts for encoding. The encoded content was subjected to a
reliability test before further analysis.

Table 1. The content of semi-structured interviews


Items Categories Contents
1 Conceptual design Please explain your conceptual sketches for BCHC information website.
2 Traditional methods Do you use any stimulated methods to assist you while you are implementing a design?
3 Experienced usage Do the support tools increase your inspiration while creating a design?
Experienced Are your design experiences different when you use the supplemental tools to carry out a
4
differences design?

Encoding Reliability
Nine designers (B1- B9) participated in experiment to propose 42
conceptual sketches. The experiment summarizes designers sketch concepts for
improving health information browsing and interface operations which were
used to propose design solutions for BCHC information website. Then, two
encoders used the data collected in experiment, as well as the interview
transcripts, to extract concepts from the solutions proposed by designers. A
consistency percentage formula was used to measure the reliability of encoders
(Holsti, 1969) and to test for consistency between items extracted by two
encoders. The data analysis derived 112 items, with a calculated encoding
reliability of 0.93; the reliability (r0.8) is clearly acceptable and conforms to the
Krippendorfs rule standard (Krippendorf, 2004).

Reliability = (2average mutual agreement)[1+(2-1) average mutual agreement]


Mutual agreement = (2the number of complete agreements between the two
encoders)(2the number upon which the two encoders should agree)

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105

The number of complete agreement between the two encoders=112-13=99


Average mutual agreement = (299)(2112)=0.883
Reliability = (20.883)[1+(2-1)0.883]=0.93

Additionally, this study used further Cohens kappa quadratic


weighting to test inter-rater reliability; an explanation of the kappa value is
provided by Landis and Koch (1977). The result of k=0.819 is evaluated as
Almost perfect, coinciding with two encoders. The proportion of agreement
observed is greater than the proportion of agreement expected due to chance,
thus indicating data reaches a level of consistency.

Solution Concept
The encoded results (Table 2) show that designers proposed 5 solutions
which are classed as Guideline, Menu, Graphics User Interface (GUI), Scenario
and Game solutions. By ranking the 42 research samples (Table 3) for both
homepage and subpage forms that GUI solution is clearly preferred first,
followed by Scenario and Menu solutions.

Table 2. Encoding of Designers concept


Items Coding B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8 B9 Total
Solution Scenario(SS)
Guideline SS-1 1 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 5
Menu SS-2 0 2 1 1 0 0 1 1 2 8
GUI SS-3 3 2 0 0 0 2 1 1 1 10
Scenario SS-4 2 2 0 0 3 1 0 1 0 9
Game SS-5 2 1 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 6
Work-Based Design (W)
Observation & inspection W-1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2
Referring to website information W-2 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 3
Correcting graphics & text W-3 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 4
Interviewing key users W-4 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 4
Users own experience W-5 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 3
Group discussion W-6 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
Design methods W-7 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 5
Scenario-Based Design (S)
Context S-1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 3
Scenario creation S-2 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2
Design details S-3 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Pre-information integration S-4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Multifaceted S-5 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 5
Users demands S-6 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2
Speeding of stimulating development S-7 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 6
Comparing with WBD & SBD (C)
Different pre-works C-1 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 3
Creates more scenario C-2 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 5
More multifaceted C-3 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 0 5
Cost effect C-4 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2
Addition of objectivity design C-5 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 3
Total 18 17 9 9 11 10 8 10 7 99

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1. Guideline
As regards the solutions on using functional concept of guidance and
explanation, four designers proposed 5 conceptual sketches of map guidance as
presentation form for homepage, proposing solutions including map-style
browsing,when menu is selected, one moves to target location (B6) and the use of
virtual clinic map blocks to classify BCHC information, classifying the path-seeking
system of users in three periods, so they can select information based on their needs
(B1) to present the concept of individual BCHC path-seeking. Among the
conceptual samples, designers didnt utilize map guidance method to develop
subpages.
2. Menu
Focusing on operational flow as a means of presenting the solutions for BCHC
information concept, three designers proposed 5 conceptual sketches in which
menus were used to present simple BCHC information. These designers
proposed, basic horizontal menusthe menus link to sub-menus and the right side
presents the latest information (B3) and that website should present one type of
information on one page to simplify operational flow (B4).
3. GUI
Six designers proposed 9 conceptual sketches in which GUI was used to present
homepage, such as personal diagnostic sheet forms,can be used to fill in personal
information and system filters information needed by users (B9). GUI is most
appropriate presentation form to subpages which can display personal BCHC
examination data procedures. For instance, one of designers indicated that
using graphic interface design for brainstorming to select data folders or selecting
health information personnel to serve as a menu or button design, to go into subpage
interface similar to diagnostic sheets (B1).
4. Scenario
Four designers proposed 8 conceptual sketches of scenario interface that dealt
with typical situations encountered by users, one of designers pointed out
expressing the spatial concept of virtual clinic such as users can click based on
their usual feelings upon entering clinic (B2). Moreover, using the concept of
virtual nurse roles to guide users into context, such as using virtual nurses as a
character and after they click on icons, the nurse will start explaining (B5, B6).
5. Games
Focusing on interactive games for solutions, 4 conceptual sketches of game-
based sketches had been proposed as homepage by three designers. On
homepage, three female roles represent as three different age groups are used as
menu for selecting and classify information. the entry homepage uses different
age groups for classification, providing information needed by different age groups (B8)
or with role-based and contextual simulations as fundamental concept behind
the websites design, such as the homepage have buttons that represent the roles of
women in prevention, treatment and follow-up periods, clicking on them allows one to
read information needed by women in different periods (B1).

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Table 3. Conceptual sketches of BCHC website interface


Forms Categories Development on BCHC Website Interface Designers

Guideline Home Page B1, B2, B4, B6

Home Page B3, B4, B7


Menu
Sub Pages B2, B8

Home Page B1, B2, B6, B7, B8, B9


GUI

Sub Pages B1, B2, B5

Home Page B1, B2, B5, B6


Scenario

Sub Pages B2, B8

Home Page B1, B3, B8


Game

Sub Pages B1

Discussion
A semi-structured interview was conducted to further understand
differences between traditional design brainstorming and using support tools
for concept development, a Verbal Protocol was used for encoding the results of
interview hereunder;
1. Work-Based Design (WBD) is the conceptual brainstorming method
traditionally used by designers.
Designers expressed their brainstorming experience on executing website
design concept was primarily multilateral data collection; existing observation at
related venue, to refer websites information and to search for relevant books,
documentary data (B1, B2, B5, B7). The in-dept design information obtained
discussion such as design needs of entrepreneurs (B3, B4, B6), experience
discussion of related key users (B2, B8), discussion of design groups (B6). The
preliminary data analyzing then constructed basic framework of website
through various design methods to stimulate creative brainstorming and

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classification during conceptual development such as Manddala method (B1),


Brainstorming (B1, B8) and Directed Association (B9) were used for divergent
conceptual brainstorming and KJ method (B8) of classification, filtering concept
were used by designers to evaluate conceptual design (B1, B2, B8, B9). Interview
results can be summarized hereunder; traditionally, designers carry out
conceptual design by using work content planning for an implementation
sequence, primarily relying on preliminary information collection and
discussion as the source of data for conceptual brainstorming to further
implement information analysis, framework establishment, conceptual
synthesis, design evaluation and design completion. The overall conceptual
brainstorming process primarily follows linear steps and procedures.
2. SBD can improve the speed of designers conceptual brainstorming.
Designers used support tools after integrating information to utilize in
situation-based conceptual brainstorming which primarily included 7 items of
textual context, context creation, detail design, preliminary data integration,
multifaceted brainstorming, user needs and increasing the speed of
brainstorming. Most designers believed that the main feature of using SBD for
concept design was to increase brainstorming speed. These support tools can
effectively increase the speed and integration of designers conceptual brainstorming (B8,
B9). The benefits for designers in observing details and multifaceted user
problems; using support tools can improve designers attention to details. Some
detailed parts that I havent normally paid attention to were shown in support tools and
it helps with design of details (B5). Support tools can further aid in observing
multifaceted users problems, Designer can directly and multilaterally associate
related problems and user needs (B3). It shows that when using objective
preliminary research, support tools could inspire designers to consider different
aspects of user needs and increase breadth and conceptual fitness of the
association. There can be more multifaceted key points for extended brainstorming and
collected data from different aspects to complete more comprehensive conformity to user
needs at the same time (B2). Support tools improve particularly conceptual
brainstorming, because they have integrated preliminary data collection and
content such as surveys and interviews. Because it reflects problem points and
points for improvement, these support tools essentially summarizes related design
information and conditions to designers (B1, B2). SBD can be effectively used for
design association and conceptual synthesis; scenario-based models integrate
designers design thinking into the cycle of information analysis to conceptual
synthesis to design evaluation which means that support tools also have
positive influence on conceptual design process. Designers emphasized that
support tools, using scenario guidance and development, can create an
imaginative space within the narrative of story text which effectively allows for
design association and conceptual synthesis, allowing for faster creation of a
situation in the mind based on the images and script which can help designer carry out
design association of topic (B1, B7, B6)there are more rooms for imagination, support
tools make designers feel likely they present at location and can make more helpful
designs (B5)different ideas can be created when implementing designs (B7).
3. SBD increases bilateral conceptual brainstorming more than WBD
The comparison of diversity between WBD and SBD that designers
believed both difference in preliminary work, SBD could better encourage
context creation, multifaceted brainstorming, cost-effectiveness and objective

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design than WBD. Different of preliminary work exist; designers expressed that
support tools not only helped with brainstorming but also decreased the amount
of time needed. In past design experience, the preliminary work takes more time and
period from reviewing data to implementing design usually takes longer. The advantage
of support tools is that it takes less time to get to work and enhances the efficiency of
implementation (B5). Designers using support tools differs from past experiences
designing website concept; for example, unless dealing with designs relating to
animation or images, without preliminary design of script design, so using support tools
for website design brainstorming differs from past design experience (B1). Support
tools have improved contextual creation; except differences in information
presentation, support tools made it easier for designers to understand design
problems. It has a context that can help me associate ideas. With descriptions of
images and texts, it is easier to understand information than with just images or just
text (B9) and Compared with my design experience in the past, support tools had
more concrete presentation of data, user and backgrounds (B4). SBD is better than
WBD for systematic multifaceted brainstorming; Designers indicated that design
methods were difference between support tools and WBD. The value of SBD
could be developed into concrete and systematic scenario after integration of
preliminary data, leading designers to design based on users crucial questions.
support tools have more systematically guides designers ideas, let designers avert
their creating images from too broad, aimless or too abstract (B6). SBD has better cost
benefits than WBD; As regards practical view, using support tools is one of
advantage on effective time saving then reflects on lower design costs, after all,
design projects have time and cost limitations, so the collection of images and text data
for integration and meetings is the same as the cost devoted to most projects (B3, B4).
Designers mentioned that Support tools can avoid subjective design biases;
Support tools can invigorate content and depth of design thinking and can improve
upon previous problems of using our own design and usage experiences as basis in
subjective design (B8).

The diversity of WBD & SBD web concept design process


This study used coded data from the experiment and Verbal Protocols to
clarify important points of design concepts and solutions to construct design
experiment context for designers using SBD to develop BCHC website
conceptual sketches. Norman (1986) proposed that activity cycle framework of
system design is goals, execution, interpretation and evaluation. It has been
suggested in literature that design process consists of repeated iterations of three
sequential activities; analysis, synthesis and evaluation (Alexander, 1964).
During evaluation of support tools, it was discovered that website design
activities are primarily divided into design problems, information input, design
thinking and final output. Using support tools for integrating design
information and framework change how designers receive information and
time required for data processing in information input stage, thus changing
design process from traditional WBD to SBD (Figure 3).

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110

Figure 3: The Work-Based Web Concept Design Process.


Design is frequently seen as a problem-solving method and conceptual
sketches are methods that manifest creative concepts. In the field of design
education, scholars propose using the CPS (Creative Problem-Solving) model
(Parnes, 1976) as a thought strategy, the use of systematic design methods
(Archer, 1984) to resolve problems and developing the Think-maps thought
process for design students (Oxman, 2004). The designers mention that during
the process of WBD website design, different design methods are seen as
important methods for inspiring creativity. The information presented by
support tools for experimentation is seen as an example of using SBD method
which is different from past methods of website design experience. Most
designers respond that SBD design method can effectively stimulate the speed
of conceptual brainstorming and that support tools can effectively inspire
wider association and more suitable concept, thus helping designer to conform
multifaceted brainstorming to user needs. The results agree with
conclusions of Tseng et al. (2008) who demonstrated that giving information
high similarity information to designers before they consider solutions could
stimulate creativity. Kokotovich (2008) mentioned that during an early phase of
design process, thinking tools using might assist with problem analysis. This
effect is known as information integration and aiding design thinking method
can encourage designers to develop deliberate thinking methods, such as using
SBD methods to create support tools.
As regards the differences between WBD and SBD design methods, SBD
use support tools to integrate design thinking into the cycle of information
analysis to conceptual synthesis to design evaluation (see Figure 4). This
finding of similar results found by Liikkanen and Perttula (2009), with process
of concept creation during problem deconstruction was the same as process of
repeated synthesis and analysis cycles. The results also showed that user-
centered SBD differs from WBD in five ways; a difference in preliminary
design, more situation creation, more multifaceted brainstorming, cost-
benefit effects and subjective design conditions. Most designers stated that
more situation creation and multifaceted brainstorming were the greatest
benefits of SBD which means that using UCD methods to provide greater depth
of information could guide designers in increasing speed and breadth of design
concept brainstorming.

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111

Figure 4: The Scenario-Based Web Concept Design Process.

Conclusion
This study explores user-centered considerations while using SBD to
develop conceptual sketches for BCHC information website. Research interviews
were used to obtain information about lifestyles of users during the analysis of
needs which led to understand their behavioral models. Users expressed
demand attitudes for BCHC information in each of three periods that reflected
their understanding of health information, time-sensitivity and urgency. In
prevention period, women use more diverse search channels of BCHC
information; hence, many researchers expresses (Sillence, Briggs, Harris, &
Fishwick, 2007; Winker et al., 2000) reliability online as one of important factors.
With conceptual sketch design, nine designers used support tools for
experimentation, producing 42 valid design samples that were grouped into 5
types of design solutions; Guideline, Menu, GUI, Scenario and Game. The
consequence of study further indicated both homepage and subpages, GUI was
the first choice for design solution then followed by Scenario. This expressed
using a graphic interface, using interactive presentation forms for virtual roles
can be displayed the best content of BCHC information website. Therefore, SBD
can guide designers to discover users needs, problems and to propose solutions
subsequently.

Diversity of taking SBD proceeds conceptual brainstorming process


and using traditional brainstorming process
The study also found that designers used traditional WBD for conceptual
brainstorming during website design in a linear manner. Use of these support
tools can help designers to integrate design thinking into conceptual
brainstorming using the cycle information analysis to conceptual synthesis to
design evaluation. The consequence of research appearance in designers rely
on different design methods in WBD to stimulate conceptual brainstorming
such as Mandala method and KJ method, whereas SBD integrates preliminary
design work that effectively use support tools to increase the speed of
conceptual design brainstorming.

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The support tools based on the SBD can be a design method for BCHC
information website design
The SBD method was applied for brainstorming a website design concept
when integrating result was shown, two effects had appeared; First, time of
design costs could be reduced. Second, support tools created context and could
effectively encourage designers to consider multifaceted user needs. Therefore,
support tools were used to develop conceptual sketches of website so that
potential problems could be discovered during pre-production of prototype
design and provided more useful demands of creating design for users to avoid
effectively the waste of subsequent development time. Clearly, SBD method can
be used to construct BCHC information website effectively.

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International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 13, No.2, pp. 116-129, September 2015

Effects of Reflective Learning on the Listening


Behaviors of EFL College Students

Yi-Chun Pan
Department of International Trade
National Pingtung University
Pingtung 900, Taiwan

Abstract. Even though listening can be quite a challenge for EFL


learners, they are rarely taught how to listen effectively. This study
explored the degree to which reflective learning, one method of teaching
students how to listen, affected the listening behaviors of EFL college
students on the TOEIC (Test of English for International
Communication), a high-stakes test in Asia. A total of 31 Taiwanese
first-year college students participated in this study. Reflection sheets
and interviews show that the participating students activated the use of
effective listening behaviors (bottom-up and top-down alike) from
reflective learning. However, counterproductive behaviors were
identified during this process, suggesting that students should receive
additional support when this occurs. Pedagogical implications and
suggestions for further research were discussed at the end of this paper.

Keywords: Reflective learning; listening behaviors; lexical intervention;


Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC)

1. Introduction
Listening comprehension is an important language skill to develop. In regard to
the acquisition of a second or a foreign language (L2), listening allows the
learner to internalize language rules and brings about the development of other
language skills (Feyten, 1991; Mendelsohn, 1995; Rost, 2002). Beyond the crucial
role that listening skills play in facilitating language learning, they are also a
vital vehicle for gaining access to the globalized world, where the lingua franca
is English (Jenkins, Cogo, & Dewey, 2011). Language learners, as an example,
have a desire to comprehend L2 speakers so that they will be able to learn more
about their various cultures. They also wish to have the ability to engage with
the tremendous wealth of audio and visual L2 texts now available online,
including podcasts, YouTube, and blogs.

Furthermore, even setting aside the critical contributions listening


comprehension makes to the learning of L2 and the access it grants learners to
the world, it has also become an indispensable skill that students must foster for

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117

testing purposes. Many Asian nations have always implemented tests while
attempting to enhance language learning (Chen, Warden, & Chang, 2005; Chu,
2009). Taiwan, one of the countries of Asia, also has an exam-oriented tradition
in its culture and education (Chen, Warden, & Chang, 2005; Chu, 2009). To
improve its students English proficiency in its institutions of tertiary education,
Taiwans Ministry of Education (MOE) went so far as to mandate an English
proficiency benchmark policy for college undergraduates in its 2003-2008
Administration Guidelines (Chu, 2009). The guidelines require each university
and college to establish its own English benchmark for graduation that uses
standardized tests such as the TOEIC (Test of English for International
Communication) and the GEPT (General English Proficiency Test). These
standardized tests each have a section that assesses the test takers
comprehension of aural text, once again calling attention to the importance of
developing listening comprehension.

One test frequently taken by Taiwanese college students to meet this English
benchmark graduation policy is the TOEIC. Many college students choose this
test because, in addition to taking it as an exit exam, an increasing number of
companies use it as a criterion for screening potential employees and for
promoting workers. The TOEIC is a reality for not only students in Taiwan but
also in many other non-English speaking countries in Asia, Europe, and South
America (Gilfert, 1996; Lai, 2008; Miller, 2007; Phillips, 2006), and this reality is
growing in intensity and dimension. According to a TOEIC newsletter (2011),
the number of people around the world who have taken the TOEIC has boomed
from 3.5 million in the year 2004 to around 6 million in 2010. This sharp increase
is also reflected in Taiwan, where the number of TOEIC test takers has grown
significantly, from 40,000 in 2004 to around 200,000 in 2010. The implication of
the popularity and widespread use of the TOEIC, therefore, is that EFL teachers
should feel obligated to respond to their students need to improve their TOEIC
scores.

Clearly, the development of L2 listening competence is important, yet in spite of


this, teachers rarely teach L2 learners how to listen effectively (Berne, 2004;
LeLoup & Ponterio, 2007). This study is an attempt to address this concern
through an exploration of the effects of listening support on EFL students aural
performance. Because L2 learners generally consider listening to be a difficult
task, providing them with some form of support before or during the listening
process may be of great benefit to their comprehension of aural input (Chang &
Read, 2007; Vandergrift, 1999).

The listening support employed in this study was reflective learning, an idea
derived from Wilsons (2003) concept of discovery listening. Does this form of
listening support have different effects on TOEIC listening? Given the fact that
extant research has only provided limited evidence in response to this question,
it is critical that this present study be undertaken.

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118

2. Literature Review
In this study, reflective learning, an idea derived from Wilsons (2003) concept of
discovery listening, is expected to help students gain insights into their
shortcomings and develop solutions to the problems they encounter. Following
in the footsteps of Wilsons concept of discovery listening, reflective learning
focuses on student discovery and the subsequent resolution of problems they
have with listening. The rationale behind the discovery and resolution
components of reflective learning is similar to that of metacognitive listening
the objective is to give learners a more comprehensive understanding of both
themselves as L2 listeners and of the demands and process of L2 listening.
Another one of metacognitive listenings goals is to assist learners with the
management of their comprehension and learning (Goh, 2008; Vandergrift,
2002).

Empirical support for metacognitive instruction may also reinforce the use of
reflective learning due to the fact that the two share many characteristics. For
example, Pressley and Gaskins (2006) showed that metacognitive instruction in
reading was beneficial, particularly for first language readers with lower
proficiency levels. Goh and Yusnita (2006) observed that metacognitive listening
enhanced the listening comprehension of lower-proficiency second language
listeners as well. Vandergrift and Tafaghodtari (2010) recently conducted an
assessment of the listening comprehension of 106 tertiary-level learners of
French as a second language after a 13-week course. Based upon scores from
pre- and post-tests, learners who had been exposed to metacognitive listening
experienced significant performance improvements. A small-scale study
conducted by Cross (2011) also offers evidence of the ability of metacognitive
listening to facilitate positive outcomes. Twenty adult Japanese EFL learners
participated in metacognitive listening wherein they completed the steps of
predicting, monitoring, problem identification, and evaluating. A comparison of
pre- and post-test scores determined that 75 percent of listeners who possessed
lower proficiency achieved significant improvements during the course of the
five lessons.

Similarly, Nathan (2008) discovered a positive effect on young language


learners development of metacognitive knowledge about listening. Zhang and
Goh (2006) explained why metacognitive knowledge helped aural
understanding. First, learners who have appropriate metacognitive knowledge
about listening may plan, monitor, and evaluate what they do, thus being more
likely to lead to improvement in listening performance (Goh, 2008). Another
reason metacognitive knowledge assisted aural comprehension was that learners
who are conscious of their own listening problems may also be motivated to find
ways to address them. The resolution of their problems will likely result in
effective listening.

This study explored the listening behaviors the students exhibited and whether
their behaviors changed in response to the TOEIC test items, a field for which
very little research has been conducted. It is hoped that the present study will

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119

shed light on the effectiveness of reflective learning and point out possible
problems, constraints, and pedagogical implications for classroom application.
3. Methodology
3.1 Participants
Thirty-one first-year college students in southern Taiwan were recruited to be
participants in this research. The participants had studied English for at least six
years, but they had been initially exposed to English learning much earlier. On
average, they had 8.7 years of English learning experience. While they had
almost nine years experience learning English within an academic context, they
had little exposure to English outside of class. In fact, 96.7% of the students were
exposed to less than two hours of extracurricular English every week.

3.2 Procedure
Throughout the 18-week term in a required General English course, the 31
participating students did reflective learning and completed reflection sheets as
homework. During the last week of the course, group interviews were
conducted with fourteen students.

3.3 Reflective Learning and Reflection Sheets


Students turned in six sets of reflection sheets to record their reflective learning,
three before and three after the midterm. To do reflective learning, the students
would follow seven steps that had been adapted from (Hulstijn, 2003). They
would: (1) study lexical items prior to listening, (2) listen to the recording several
times, (3) determine reasons why they have difficulty comprehending aural text,
(4) read the aural text and highlight the parts with which they have trouble, (5)
read the text while listening, (6) read the aural text aloud, and (7) replay the
recording as often as necessary to understand all of the oral text without written
support.

While doing reflective learning, students were expected to identify their


weaknesses by marking the options listed on the reflection sheet (for instance,
hearing unfamiliar words while listening or concentrating on the beginning of
utterances and then failing to follow the latter part) or writing down their own
shortcomings if they were not specifically listed on the sheet. In addition, they
had to record how they solved the problems they faced (such as by reading the
troubled part aloud, comparing how they said the sentence with the recording,
or practicing lexical items more times), and they also received feedback from
their teacher. Finally, they were required to jot down what they had learned
from this reflective learning assignment, things such as linguistic knowledge
(e.g., new words, syntax) and strategic knowledge (paying attention to
interrogative terms and not translating every single word).

4. Results and Discussion


In this study, eleven effective and three counterproductive behaviors were
identified (see Table 1). Effective behaviors referred to those that facilitated
TOEIC comprehension, whereas counterproductive behaviors were a hindrance
to understanding the TOEIC. The definitions and categorizations of these

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120

identified behaviors were based upon those utilized in previous studies (Goh,
2002; OMalley & Chamot, 1990; Toekshi, 2003; Vandergrift, 1999).

Table 1
Effective and Counter-productive Listening Behaviors
Awareness of factors that
interfere with listening
Monitoring attention and
avoiding distractions
Metacognitive Noticing specific aspects of input
Checking understanding while
listening
Checking understanding after
listening
Effective
Making educated guesses
Behaviors
Finding related information on
Cognitive hearing key words
Using key words to recreate
meaning
Reducing anxiety and increasing
Socio-Affective
confidence
Overcoming problems perceiving
Bottom-up words and phrases
Decoding text more rapidly
Counter- Translating what was heard
productive Focusing on linguistic cues and ignoring main points
Behaviors Focusing all attention on a small part of the message

4.1 Effective Listening Behaviors


During the course of the current study, eleven effective listening behaviors were
identified and categorized into metacognitive, cognitive, socio-affective, or
bottom-up classifications based upon designations employed in previous
research (Goh, 2002; OMalley & Chamot, 1990; Toekshi, 2003; Vandergrift,
1999). Metacognitive behaviors demonstrate how listeners manage complex
listening processes before, during, and after the processing of aural input,
whereas cognitive behaviors illustrate how listeners complete the task. Socio-
affective behaviors are associated with the affective and social aspects of
listeners. Finally, bottom-up behaviors depict how listeners construct meaning
from information drawn from the text.

4.1.1 Metacognitive Behaviors


Awareness of Factors That Interfere with Listening
During the first week of the course, the student participants were given a TOEIC
listening test. After the test, the researcher asked the students how they felt
about it. One of the students said it was a very difficult test for her. The
researcher asked her what caused her difficulties, but she couldnt provide any
specific reasons; she simply said that because of her low language levels she

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possessed knowledge of only a few words and grammar rules. Several other
students shared similar responses, saying that they felt the TOEIC listening test
was difficult because of the simple fact that their English was terrible. Generally
speaking, before this course, the students knew that their English was bad but
could not clearly state why, so they could not determine any solutions for the
obstacles they were facing.

However, things changed with the participants who were given reflective
learning during the course of the study. The participants were more aware of
their specific listening problems and they tried to ascertain solutions to those
problems. For example, in her reflection sheet, Student (4) wrote that she knew
that her main problem was vocabulary: I dont know too many words. This
makes it difficult for me to understand what Im hearing. As soon as
incomprehension occurs, I immediately get distracted and finally totally mess
up.

Knowing the specific problem that prevented her from comprehension, this low-
level student noted on her reflection sheet how she managed to solve the
problem. I have to preview related vocabulary items before listening, not only
the meanings of the words should I know, but also their pronunciations. I feel
that after reading the vocabulary items aloud several times, I can effectively deal
with the speed of the speaker, and my comprehension improves a little bit.

Another student (1) was also able to clearly identify the major obstacle he faced
while listening and the solution to this problem. He reported in his reflection
sheet that insufficient vocabulary knowledge made it difficult for me to
understand the conversation. Although I know the printed forms of words, I
have difficulty recognizing them in their aural forms when I hear them. This is a
big problem for me. I have to read those words out loud and familiarize myself
with their pronunciations. Practice, practice, practice will help me be a better
listener.

The ability to identify their listening problems is significant to these students,


just as it is important for doctors to first determine the cause of a patients illness
and then prescribe a treatment. Not being able to provide the right medication
for the disease would be pointless.

Monitoring Attention and Avoiding Distractions


Reflection sheets from the students showed that they learned self-management
in order to make a better learning environment. For instance, Student (20)
reported that there used to be light music on while she was studying, but after
realizing that even low-volume music would affect her concentration on
listening, she turned off the music, which she felt was helpful because the voice
on CD was much clearer. Another student (26) reported how she managed to
continue to listen in spite of a particularly bothersome situation: My roommate
always talked on the phone, which bothered me a lot, but even after I asked her
to stop, she kept talking. Instead of stopping my practice, I tried an alternative
methodI used the time when my roommate wasnt talking on the phone to do
listening assignments. She said that the reduced noise made the listening tasks
much easier compared to listening while having to contend with her roommate.

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Although she still felt that she didnt understand the text as well as she expected
to, her situation was improving.

Noticing Specific Aspects of Input


Prior to the administration of this course, many students were overwhelmed by
the swift speed of the speakers and easily gave up after struggling for a short
time. However, after their training in reflective listening, some students
exhibited a metacognitive ability to redirect their attention to the listening task
by noticing specific aspects of input, such as listening for familiar content words.
As one student (3) explained, The speed was very fast. The linking
pronunciations in particular made me misunderstand. I told myself not to think
about it. I tried my best to focus on content words that I knew. I caught
Triumph Airlines and then immediately directed my attention to the flight
times after Triumph Airlines. So I circled the correct answer. Before this, I only
focused on words I didnt know, which made me miss the subsequent.

In the interview, Student (8) said that he felt that his comprehension had
improved because he realized that effective listening didnt require paying
attention to everything. Instead, selectively listening for necessary information
could point him in the direction, unlike swimming in the open ocean with no
idea which way to go.

Checking Understanding While Listening


Another metacognitive behavior, checking understanding while listening, was
found in the reflection sheet of a student (22). She wrote that this Question and
Response is easy. I learned the multiword unit subscribe to the magazine
before listening. When I heard the answer item We will get the first issue next
item, I was pretty sure that this was the correct option. Subscribe and issue
are usually related.

One student (12) also agreed in the interview that studying vocabulary prior to
listening helped him to check if comprehension had occurred. He claimed that
he had previously relied heavily upon words that were perceptually salient
(which he considered key words or key phrases) even if they were not
important for the meaning of the text. However, after engaging in practice on
pronouncing lexical items before listening, he improved his ability to identify
the real key words or ideas of the text, which allowed him to choose the
correct answer.

Checking Interpretation After Listening


One common metacognitive behavior exhibited by the participants was that they
checked the interpretation after listening. This behavior occurred more often
when participants listened to a long text, such as Part III: Short Conversations or
Part IV: Short Talks. One possible reason for this was that some students still
failed to construct a mental model of the text after studying related vocabulary
items prior to engaging in the listening task.

Although checking the interpretation of the text after completing a listening task
through reading transcripts is impractical in a test situation, it is certainly
beneficial to students in terms of augmenting their abilities and reducing the

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123

anxiety they experience. One student (21) expressed this viewpoint in her
reflection sheet: I usually conduct word-by-word translation while listening to
short conversations. This tends to result in me falling far behind the speaker and
missing quite a bit of information as well. However, I find myself not doing
word-by-word translation if I understand the contents of the conversation.
Moreover, I found that it makes the listening process much easier and smoother.

4.1.2 Cognitive Behaviors


Making Educated Guesses
The analysis of reflection sheets demonstrated that the participants made
educated guesses, a particularly effective cognitive behavior. One student (25)
reported in her reflection sheet that studying phrases like non-stop flight,
leave for the airport, and book an earlier flight made it easy for me to predict
the topic of conversation. With this in mind, I prepared myself for the airport
scenario and focused on the specific information that the questions asked for.
This conversation wasnt difficult for me at all. It is really important to study
words before listening.

One student (4) claimed in the interview that making predictions is not
difficult, but learning how to make sensible predictions is a big problem for me. I
feel like if I have trouble recognizing words and decoding text that my
predictions are just complete nonsense. Therefore, expanding my vocabulary
bank is a high priority for me.
The experiences of these two participants clearly show that while making
guesses can be a useful strategy to facilitate comprehension, L2 listeners must
build up sufficient linguistic levels (e.g., sufficient vocabulary knowledge) before
they will be able to use it effectively. If they do not do so, they quite often end up
making wild guesses.

Finding Information on Hearing Key Words


One student (12) noted in his reflection sheet that before taking the course, I
used to just listen to the words I understood, that is, I based my interpretation
simply upon any word that I could understand. As a matter of fact, I already
knew about using key words and phrases to construct main ideas, but because
of my limited vocabulary knowledge, I could only rely on words that I was able
to understand instead of extracting meaning from the key semantic cues denoted
by stressed words such as nouns and verbs. The result was that I constructed a
picture that was different from the intended meaning of the speaker.

However, after practicing the vocabulary provided before doing listening tasks,
he mentioned in the reflection sheet that I was able to identify which key words
to listen to, and I used them to consider the content. For example, knowing the
Sonic Flights frequent flyer club prompted me to correctly choose the flight
time. This transition from the use of any random word to generate an
understanding of the passage to the more systematic utilization of key words is
a clear indication that an effective cognitive behavior occurred in this instance.

Using Key Words to Recreate Meaning

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The utilization of key words and sometimes background knowledge to recreate


meaning is known as reconstruction (OMalley & Chamot, 1990). As was
evident from the reflection sheet, Student (56) illustrated this behavior thus:
Initially, I didnt understand the concept of not impressed when the woman
said Im not impressed with the receptionist. I kept listening and heard make
mistakes all the time and having such a hard time, at which point I understood
the meaning of being not impressed to be when one does not have a favorable
impression of someone or somethingin this case, the receptionist. The
behavior of reconstruction seldom occurred in this study; in fact, only one high-
level student exhibited this complex behavior, probably due to the fact that it
requires the involvement of both top-down and bottom-up processing (Omally
& Chamot, 1990).

4.1.3 Socio-affective Behavior


Reducing Anxiety and Increasing Confidence
It was determined from the data collected from reflection sheets and interviews
that reflective learning helped some students decrease their anxiety levels and
increase their confidence. As far as lowering anxiety is concerned, one student
(6) with lower listening proficiency mentioned in the interview that the first
time I took the TOEIC, I was really frustrated. I knew everything I was hearing
was English, but beyond that I couldnt figure out any of the specific meanings. I
really had no idea. Now, I am not so nervous. The teacher gives us word lists to
study and also tells us the steps to follow when listening. I finally have
directions to follow. Its much better now. Im no longer as afraid as I was.

4.1.4 Bottom-up Behaviors


Overcoming Problems Perceiving Words and Phrases
Quite a few students experienced difficulty recognizing words aurally that they
would immediately know in written form; they also had trouble identifying the
start and end points of phrases. In order to solve these problems, students in this
study were asked to use visualization strategies in which they anticipated what
the words in question would sound like before they heard them. They also
listened to the words while looking at their written form and then listened to the
words again without the written aid, this time trying to visualize them.

Student (17) practiced each of these three steps while performing her assigned
listening tasks and responded in her reflection sheet that This question is quite
easy. I have no problem understanding what is being said because I can clearly
hear every word in the utterance and quickly figure out its meaning. In addition,
the lexical items provided by the teacher really help me to be able to effectively
break the speech down into manageable chunks. I feel that before doing
listening assignments, I have to practice lexical items to the point that I can
immediately say its meaning and pronunciation without any hesitation. In this
way, I will reduce the chance that I will get stuck due to an inability to recognize
words.

Decoding Texts More Rapidly


During the bottom-up listening process, listeners decode texts primarily from
the words themselves. Provided lexical practice prior to their listening tasks,

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some participants reported that the speed at which they decoded texts was
improving. For example, one student (15) noted in his reflection sheet that In
Conversation 59-61, I could understand the overall meaning because I
memorized related words before doing the task. Pronunciation is important. I
used Google to determine how to say those words and also asked my Applied
English major roommate about their pronunciations. Sometimes if the way I
pronounce a word isnt like the way it is pronounced on the CD, I get stuck.
This reflection highlights the fact that lexical support facilitates the decoding of a
message, and more importantly, lexical support refers to familiarity with not
only the meanings but also the pronunciations of words.

4.2 Counterproductive Listening Behaviors


In addition to the effective behaviors observed among the participants, some
counterproductive behaviors that hindered TOEIC comprehension were found
in some learners as well. The following sections will discuss each of those
counterproductive behaviors, which have been determined to be cognitively-
oriented (Goh, 2002).

4.2.1 Translating What Was Heard


According to Goh (2002), the process of translation usually slows down
processing time and often diverts listeners attention away from clues that may
have assisted their comprehension. In light of the ephemeral nature of listening,
translation is therefore counterproductive. Unfortunately, this behavior was
often identified in some of the participants.

In the reflection sheet of one participant (10), it was found that I cannot
understand this conversation because I am still translating the previous sentence.
I should have concentrated on what I was hearing so I could clearly hear the
subsequent utterances. Although realizing that translation would interfere with
the interpretation of the new input, the student couldnt help but to do so.

Likewise, Student (7) pointed out in the interview that When I hear some parts
that I dont understand, I have a habit of stopping to find their equivalent in L1.
This usually leads to horrible results. I totally mess up and want to give up
immediately. This student participant was also aware that in TOEIC, where
the rate of speech of the speakers is quite fast, there was no time for translation,
which prevented her from processing new input.

4.2.2 Focusing on Linguistic Cues and Ignoring Main Points


Aside from the translation problem, some participants only listened for the
lexical items given in the word list and test questions and ignored the
construction of a general overview of the text. This is the so-called lexical
overlap phenomenonthat is, when the words used in test items match the
words spoken in the listening passages (Buck, 2001).

For instance, one student (10) disappointedly mentioned in the interview that
In fact, I try to familiarize myself with the wordsboth their meanings and
pronunciationsthat my teacher offers to us before we do our assignments. I do

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126

hear words I previewed earlier in both word lists and test questions, but I still
dont understand what is being said.
Chang (2008) contends that the use of lexical overlap is both an ineffective
strategy and quite risky to employ in a listening test because it relies heavily on
linguistic cues while at the same time distracting attention from continuous
textual interpretation, so listeners will not get the gist of the discourse and their
comprehension will suffer as a result.

4.2.3 Focusing All Attention on a Small Part of the Message


Similar to the issue of lexical overlap, some participants focused all of their
attention on one small part of the message and therefore could not keep up with
the speaker for the rest of the message. This behavior is termed as fixation by
Goh (2002), and it is clearly illustrated in the reflection sheet of one student (11).
The student noted that I stopped listening to think about the meaning of the
previous phrase in the hope that I could match it with something I already knew,
but I failed and missed the next part.
In a comparable manner, another student reported that I heard familiar sounds
but was unable to relate those sounds to their meanings. I repeated the sounds
of those words several times hoping that I could figure out their meanings, but
spending too much time on this impeded my subsequent listening.

5. Pedagogical Implications
5.1 Supplying reinforced lexical support and allocating ample
preparation time
This study clearly illustrates that lexical intervention had a facilitating effect on
students TOEIC performance. In addition, a considerable percentage of the
students endorsed the idea that lexical intervention was helpful to their
comprehension. Hence, language teachers may offer lexical items that appear in
the text to aid their understanding. These lexical items should include
multiword units in addition to single words to help students to process the aural
text more efficiently. Beyond that, students must receive multiple exposures
(such as sentence or mini-conversation verbal practice) to and sufficient time
with these lexical items to help them internalize them and prepare them for
utilization. Reinforced lexical support in conjunction with sufficient preparation
time may help lessen the problem of students limited vocabulary, which usually
results in the breakdown of their comprehension. As Chujo and Oghigian (2009)
claim, in order to understand TOEIC, a learner requires a minimum vocabulary
size of 4000 words or 3000 word families. However, very few Taiwanese college
students possess a vocabulary of that size (Huang, 2004). Therefore, providing
reinforced lexical support and sufficient preparation time might reduce the
vocabulary deficit of most Taiwanese EFL college students, and this in turn will
improve their TOEIC comprehension.

5.2 Having students perform reflective learning to improve deficiencies


and develop listening abilities
This study demonstrated that reflective learning helped the students to
understand more of their listening problems and thus find ways to resolve them.
As claimed by Goh (2008), listener anxiety may increase if they do not know

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127

where to start other than to listen harder when they face challenges. In contrast,
if listeners are given guidance in regard to the process of listening and then
reflect upon that process to fortify the components that they do not know, it is
much more likely that they will listen better and will have higher levels of
motivation (Vandergrift, 2004).

TOEIC is a difficult exam, so students must know what problems they have at
each stage in order for better performance to occur. For example, a lack of
vocabulary knowledge might be a problem at the first stage; students then
should reinforce their word repertoire. Moving on to the next stage, how to
effectively construct a mental model of text is one challenge to overcome. At this
stage, they might incorporate their knowledge of the world with their
vocabulary knowledge in order to achieve comprehension. In other words,
knowing the cause of the problem and being able to resolve it can sustain
students on the long and difficult journey toward performing well on the TOEIC.

6. Suggestions for Further Research


This study focused on the comprehension phase of listening, investigating the
success reflective learning had in enhancing TOEIC comprehension. Further
research should be conducted to address the acquisition phase of listening,
which along with the comprehension phase are the goals of a listening course
(Richards, 2005). Can the acquisition phase of listening contribute to its
comprehension phase, as Richards (2005) claimed? This is an issue that certainly
deserves further investigation. In the present study, it was determined that a
lack of linguistic knowledge (vocabulary in particular) was a primary cause of
listening incomprehension of long and difficult text. In such a situation, students
relied on the scripts to understand the text and then went back to listening.
According to student perceptions, the after-listening exercise (e.g. reading the
scripts and reading aloud) did in fact made it easier for them to follow fast
speakers when they listened to the text they had engaged in earlier again.
However, can they apply the knowledge they learned from this instance of
listening to another new instance? To put it another way, do they learn or
consolidate knowledge from the acquisition phase of listening strong enough to
facilitate their future listening? If they can, to what extent does the acquisition
phase of listening contribute to the comprehension phase of listening? Answers
to these questions are valuable in EFL classrooms where listening instruction
focuses largely on the product of listening: the correct answer (Vandergrift,
2007).

Acknowledgements
Y.C. Pan acknowledges the financial support from the Ministry of Science and
Technology of Taiwan under Contract No. MOST104-2410-H-153-006.

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International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 13, No.2, pp. 130-141, September 2015

An Evaluation of Pharmacy Pre-Registration


Trainees Perception of Their Placement Tutors
in the United Kingdom (UK)

Andrew Makori
Kisii University, Kenya

Abstract. This paper is about a study that investigates the views of


pharmacy preregistration trainees regarding their placement tutors. The
study employed a quantitative survey approach and questionnaire
survey was used to collect data. The questionnaires structure contained
both open-ended and closed-ended items to diversify and enrich
responses. The participants were purposefully selected, resulting in 14
of them. The resulting data was analyzed using paper, pencil and
calculator, due to the sample size. The result shows that while a majority
of trainees were positive about their placement tutors, a minority raised
very important concerns that are the focus of this article. The concerns
include insufficient support from the tutors; lack of clear direction of
their placement; tutor lacks necessary skills to support trainees; lack of
clearly agreed plan or structure for their placement. Furthermore one
trainee felt that her tutor treated her like a small child that makes her
feel uneasy. Based on the result, it is concluded that despite of a small
sample size respondents, serious and relevant concerns have been raised
that need serious attention. Otherwise preregistration trainees may go
through the placement without a clear demonstration of requisite
competencies.

Keywords: Placement tutors; United Kingdom; pre-registration


trainees; pharmacy trainees; workplace-based learning

Introduction
Work-based learning at higher education level in the UK has a long history
(Little and Harvey, 2006:1):
in the 1950s the National Council for Technology Awards (NCTA) advocated
that undergraduate program vmmes in engineering and technology should
incorporate planned periods of industrial placements. Since that time,
undergraduate programmes incorporating such work-based placements have
been introduced across a wide range of subject area. In some programmes the
placement is a year-long activity sandwich between significant periods of on-
campus learning and the sandwich placement may be optional. In other
programmes, often those seen as meeting both academic and professional

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131

development objectives shorter blocks, of placements are interspersed


throughout the undergraduate programme (and the blocks are compulsory).
More recently there have also been growths in undergraduate programmes that
allow students to opt to take a work-based unit which involves a short 6-10
weeks, placement as part of their overall programmes.
Workplace learning contributes to the development of the learners attitudes,
behavior and skills, thus leading to professional growth (Lee, Schafheutle and
Noyce, n.d.). Jee et al. (n.d.) regards it as a means of socializing learners into the
profession. Further, Spencer, Blackmore, Heerd, MCCrorie, Mchaffie,
Scherpbier, Gupta, Singh and Southgate, (2008) observe that workplace learning
introduces learners to the practice environment and therefore integrates theory
and practice. Elvey, Lewis, Schafheutle, Willis, Harrison and Hussell, (2011)
regards it as a means of bridging the gap between education and professional
practice. Elvey et al. (2011) also comments that it introduces trainees to the world
of work. However, Schafhuetle, Hassell, Ashcroft, Hall and Harrison, (2010) note
that differences exist regarding the stage at which trainees or learners are
socialised into the work- based learning environment. For instance, medical
undergraduate students or trainees are introduced to clinical environment much
earlier in their course or career, while Pharmacy students who are introduced
much later in their course or programme i.e. after four years of masters of
pharmacy (Mpharm) degree. This suggests minimum exposure to practice
within the four years of training period. This may further suggest limited
workplace learning during the course prior to pre-registration placement
(Schafheutle et al., 2000). Similar concerns have been reported by McAteer et al.
(2004).
The importance of pre-registration has been underscored by Hammer (2000), in
terms of enabling the trainees to acquire the necessary competencies required in
professional practice reflected in knowledge, attitude and behavior. Little and
Harvey (2006), identifies other benefits associated with pre-registration training
and include: communication, problem solving, creativity, personal and social
skills, interpersonal skill and organizational skills. Elvey et al. (2011) also note
that the one year (52 weeks) pre-registration, in terms of introducing trainees to
the world of work. Elvey et al. (2011), further observe that pre-registration serves
two purposes, namely, socializing trainees professionally and developing their
professional skills e.g. effective communication. Elvey et al. (2011), also argue
that a majority of the pre-registration trainees undertake their placement or
training either in a single community pharmacy or hospital which have
significant differences between them. However, they further observe that
training at one hospital or single community pharmacy may also suggest limited
exposure (Elvey, et al., 2011). And according to General Pharmaceutical
Council, 2012) during pre-registration trainees are assigned a tutor whose
responsibility is to supervise and assessment trainees. The tutors role can easily
be placed into two broad categories but still within the assessment realm i.e.
signing of three 13 weekly appraisals and confirming that the trainee is ready for
the final examination, which will qualifies him or her for registration (General
Pharmaceutical Council, 2012). The current study investigates the views of pre-
registration trainees regarding their placement tutors.

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Literature review
Understanding Pre-registration training placement
According to Jee, et al. (n.d) pharmacy education and training in the UK is a five
year training period, consisting of four years university training and one year
work environment training (otherwise known as pre-registration). Jee et al.
(n.d.) note that placement offers trainees a unique learning opportunity prior to
registration. Similarly, Spencers, et al. (2000) argue that work-based placement
or learning exposes and/or introduces trainees or learners to the real work
environment, thereby integrating theory and practice (Spencers, et al., 2000).
Placement therefore offers trainees an opportunity to work and interact with
qualified professionals in the sector or field. Elvey, et al., (2011) report that pre-
registration in the UK is a 52 weeks placement period during which time
trainees are placed at either a hospital or community pharmacy to undertaking
workplace- based training. However, Elvey and his colleagues note that, in some
minority or rare cases trainees are placed in a non-patient environment such as
industry or academia (Elvey, et al., 2011). Besides, Elvey et al. (2011) report that
a significant proportion of trainees take their placement either a community
pharmacy or hospital. Important benefits associated with pre-registration
placement or training have been reported by Elvey, et al (2011) and Hammer, et
al. (2000) and include offering a link between education and the world of work,
being socialized professionally and acquiring the necessary professional skills.
Besides, acquiring the professional practice- related behavior, skills and
knowledge.
The current pre-registration training is situated at the end of the four years (full
time) master of pharmacy (Mpharm) degree. It actually commences immediately
after the four years of training and consists of 12 months or 52 weeks of practice-
based placement (Schafhuetle et al., 2010). In a majority of the cases trainees only
limited option their placement thats a hospital or community pharmacy and as
noted earlier in the introduction the two exposes the trainees to different work-
based environment orientations, which may raise concerns regarding the career
progression of the trainees. Does this seem to suggest that those who undertake
their placement in a hospital ends up working in hospitals and those who
undertake their placement in community pharmacy ends up working in
community pharmacies due to the nature of workplace-based socialization? Jee,
et al., (n.d., Para. 6) report that community pharmacies are independently
owned, part of national chains or supermarket and operate with a single
pharmacist assisted by different support staff (pharmacist, pharmacy
technicians, and counter assistants). Further, Jee and his colleagues report that
in hospital, pharmacists work in the actual pharmacy as well as wards, and
thus work with a large team of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and other
support staff, as well as other healthcare professionals including doctors and
nurses(Jee et al., n.d., Para. 6). Besides, trainees in community pharmacy
would work in a smaller team, while in hospital they would work with larger

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133

and more multi-professional team with a wider variety of role models (Jee et
al., n.d., Para. 7). This indicates two distinctively different placement or
workplace-based learning environments as mentioned elsewhere in this article.
The two are not just generic placements but fashioned according to the work
environment and interactions.
The placement in pharmacy is significantly different from the undergraduate
medical degree one, in that medical students are exposed to the practice
environment earlier in their career and the integration between theory and
practice occurs through a range of clinical placements during undergraduate
education, which is reflected in the curriculum (Grant, 2010; Spencers et al.,
2000; Jee, et al., n.d., Para. 3). The importance of integration of theory and
practice is underscored by the General Medical Council, thus the integration of
practice-based learning in the clinical environment for medical students is an
important part of the medical degree (Jee et al., n.d., Para. 3.). Helmich et al
(2001) and Diemers, Van De Wiel, Scherphies, Heinemann and Dolmans (2011)
note that the exposure or contact with patients early in education has significant
advantages, namely, development of communication skills and empathy,
biomedical and clinical knowledge and clinical reasoning.
In the UK General Pharmaceutical Council (GphC) and General Medical Council
(GMC) are two regulating bodies that are responsible for setting standards for
pharmacy and medicine respectively (General Pharmaceutical Council, 2009;
2012; 2013). It is the expectation of GphC that trainee gain practical experience
of working within the healthcare environment during their Master of Pharmacy
Degree programme Schafheutle et al. (2010). However Schafheutle and his
colleagues note that in some situations the practical experiences are achieved
through simulations, which may not offer adequate workplace learning and
experience prior to pre-registration placement (Schafheutle et al., 2010).
Interestingly, according to Lee and his colleagues pharmacy education and
training in the UK does not have formal arrangements for continued support or
mentorship for learning beyond registration (Jee, et al. n.d., Para. 7). Therefore,
they argue that it is important for pharmacists to finish pre-registration training
with the full range of competencies required to practice (Lee et al., n.d., Para, 7).
According to the Pre-registration Trainee Handbook (2014), at the end of pre-
registration training students are expected to demonstrate that they have
acquired the necessary competencies against performance standards. The
handbook further states that once the students have met the performance
standards, they can then sit for registration examination which will qualify them
as pharmacists (Pre-registration Trainee Pharmacist Handbook, 2014).

Understanding the role of the placement tutor


According to Jee, et al (n.d. Para. 7):
During pre-registration training, each trainee is allocated a pre-registration tutor
who is responsible for their supervision and assessment which involve carrying

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134

out and signing off three 13 weekly appraisals and one final declaration
confirming the trainee is declared fit to join the register.
Tutors are expected to reflect on their performance continually so as to make any
necessary adjustment so as to provide or offer training in accordance with GphC
guidelines (Al-Ahmad Liu, 2014). The GphC guidance consists of three parts,
namely: Part one describes the initial education and training of pharmacists and
pharmacy technicians; Part two identifies the five GphC standards of conduct,
ethical and performance, that are particularly relevant to the role of a tutor (Al-
Ahmad, and Liu, 2014) and Part three serves to provide help to tutors in their
delivery preregistration training particularly in the area of induction, assessment
and providing feedback and support to trainees (Al- Ahmad and Liu, 2014).
The guidance provides guidelines on what the tutor should do to achieve the
following (Al- Ahmad and Liu, 2014):

Being a professional role model;

Delivering the training programme;


Assessing your trainee performance;

Giving feedback to your trainees;

Supporting your trainees.


Based on the above guidelines, the tutor is expected to demonstrate high level of
professionalism and competence, and to support trainees appropriately.
Mills, Blenkinsopp and Black (2013) identify three important criteria for
becoming a pre-registration tutor: to have practiced in the relevant sector for
three or more years; to be a registered pharmacist and not currently under
investigation by GphC. The three are in line with the pharmacy pre-registration
scheme which lies within the General Pharmaceutical Council (GphC).
However, there is no requirement for tutors to attend training or demonstrate
expertise in workplace assessment (Mills et al., 2013). In other words training is
not mandatory. The main barrier to making training mandatory is that the role
of the pre-registration tutor does not attract additional remuneration and is often
see as an addition on top of all the other roles that the pharmacist must
undertake (Mills et al., 2013). However, tutors are required to sign a self-
declaration that they meet the criteria (Mills, et al., 2013). Having said that, it is
important to note that tutors have the final decision as to whether the trainee has
achieved the required standards relating to performance standards (Mills, et al.,
2013: 82).

Understanding pre-registration perception on university-based training


and placement
Review of literature reveals varying students views regarding the university-
based training and the work-based training in general. Regarding university-
based training some trainees were very positive citing sufficient pharmacy
practice with experience as an important means of facilitating transition from
training to work (Jee et al, n.d.). Students found knowledge and use of pharmacy

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135

law to be relevant to the practice, medical chemistry as being less important to


the practice (Jee, et al., n.d.). Trainees also noted a tremendous discrepancy
between university learning experience and workplace experience (Jee et al.,
n.d.). Some students mentions difficulties associated with adjusting to their
roles, which they link to limited work-place based learning during the four years
at university (Jee et al., n.d.).
A study conducted by Willis, Seston and Hassell (2008: 2-3), regarding students
choice of placement reveal the following:

Students chose posts that offered them good preparation for the registration of
examination (91.5%);

Students chose a post that contributes to professional development;


Other findings on students placement based on a study conducted by Willis and
his colleagues include (Willis, et al., 2008: 2-3):

Trainees described their workplace training as enjoyable (80.9%) and contribute


to their professional knowledge and their clinical skills (72.7%);

About a quarter (26%) felt that they not receive significant feedback at work;

Just over a third (36.5%) felt that they were overloaded with work.
Besides, Jee, and his colleagues report that some trainees lacked confidence at
the initial stage of their pre-registration training, associated with difficulties in
applying their clinical knowledge in practice (Jee, et al., n.d).

Method
This study was conducted to offer insights on pharmacy pre-registration
students perception of their placement tutors in the United Kingdom (UK). The
study employed a quantitative research approach and questionnaire survey was
used to collect data. The questionnaire format consisted of open-ended, closed-
ended and rating scale for the purpose of increasing response diversity. The
open-ended items allowed the respondents opportunity to make comments on
their thought in relation to closed- ended items. This is necessary to enable the
readers and researchers gain some understanding of students perspective
regarding their perception of placement tutors. The study respondents consisted
of pharmacy students on their pre-registration placement who were
purposefully selected for the study. Students were recruited for the study at a
workshop conducted in Reading in Berkshire in the UK. This initial recruitment
formed the basis for subsequent recruitment using snowball sampling technique
(see Makori et al., 2015). Respondents were made aware of various ethical
considerations such as confidentiality and anonymity, consequently they offered
verbal consent. Some survey questionnaires were issued during the workshop in
Reading while others were sent to the respondents through their personal email
contacts. Data collection exercise lasted for 5- 6 months. The response rate was
sixty per cent. Due to the size of the sample (14) closed-ended items were

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136

analyzed using pen, paper and calculator resulting in descriptive data, whereas
open-ended data or comments were analyzed into themes or categories.

Results
Table 1: Showing trainees perception of their placement tutors

Trainees perception Strongly Disagree Agree (%, Strongly No Total


Disagree (%, n=14) n=14) Agree response %
(%, n=14) (%, n=14) (%,n=14)

I feel that I am not getting 7% 43% 36% 7% 7% 100%


enough support for my
placement
I feel my tutor looks down upon 29% 64% 7% 0% 0% 100%
me and treats me like a small
child
I expect my tutor to be positive 14% 7% 21% 57% 0% 100%
and supportive
I dont think I have a clear 36% 43% 14% 7% 0% 100%
direction where my placement is
going
I have a clearly agreed plan or 29% 7% 36% 14% 14% 100%
structure for my placement
I feel my tutor has no clue on 14% 71% 0% 14% 0% 99%
what is happening with my
placement
I feel that my tutor has not been 43% 29% 29% 0% 0% 101%
well trained to support students
during placement
I feel my tutor lacks the skills 36% 50% 7% 7% 0% 100%
required to support students
effectively during their placement
Based on what I gather from my 0% 7% 29% 57% 7% 100%
colleagues in placements in other
companies or stores it appears
that every tutor support students
differently
I expect tutors to be well trained 21% 0% 21% 57% 0% 99%
and be able to support students in
a consistent way across the board.

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137

Characteristics of respondents
Four of the trainees were male and ten were female
The respondents were mainly from three ethnic backgrounds: Asian (7); African
(4) and British (3).

They all attended nine different Universities in the UK. .


They were based in five counties: Oxfordshire (4), Berkshire (5), Hampshire (3);
Buckinghamshire (1) and Northampshire (1) for their preregistration workplace-
based placement.
They worked at three community chemist or pharmacies: Rowland (1), Lloyds
(1) and Boots (12).

Student perception of their placement tutors


The following analysis is based on Table 1:
Just over 2/5 of the trainees felt that they were not getting enough support for
their placement. Further analysis reveals that four of the students who felt so
were female, while two were male. The six students were all working with boots
community chemist or pharmacy at the time of the study. Three of them were
based in three different counties. The six students were of different ethnic
background: three female British, one female Asian, one male white and one
male African.

Just fewer than 80% (n=14) of the trainees expected their tutors to be positive
and supportive. Further analysis; reveal that ten of the trainees were working at
Boots community chemist or pharmacy and one at Llovyds community chemist
or pharmacy at the time of the study. The trainees were based in five different
counties. Of the eleven students, eight were female and three male. The students
were from three main ethnic backgrounds: Africans (3), Asian (5) and British (3).

21 %( n=14) of the trainees felt that they was no clear direction for their
placement. All the three students were female who worked in Boots, two British
and one Asian and were based in three different counties.
14% (n=14) of the trainees felt that their tutor lacks the necessary skills to
support students during placements. The two trainees were both female, one
Asian and the other British, both worked at Boots community chemist or
pharmacy. They were based in different counties.

14% (n=14) of the trainees felt that their tutors have no clue of what is happening
with their placement. The two trainees were African male and White female.
They both worked in Boots community pharmacy or chemist and were based in
two different counties in the UK.
36% (n=14) of the trainees indicated that they did not have a clearly agreed plan
or structure for their placement. Four of the trainees indicated strongly
disagree, suggesting that their placement did not have any agreed plan or
structure. Further analysis reveal that all the five trainees were all female, one

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138

African, two Asian and two British. They were based at various counties in the
country.
One student felt that her tutor looks down upon her and treats her like a small
child. The student is an African and worked in Boots.

57% (n=8) and 29 %( n=14) indicates strongly agree and agree respectively that
tutors support trainees differently. This may further suggest that just over 80%
of the trainees felt that tutors support was varied. That may raise further
concerns of lack of uniformity of support offered to trainees. Five of the trainees
who indicate strongly agree were female and three male. Three of the trainees
who indicate agree were female and one male. Of the female trainees who
indicate strongly agree three were Asians and two British. Of the male who
indicate strongly agree two were Asians and one African. Three of those who
indicate agree were female and one male. Three were British, one African and
one Asian. Seven of those who indicate strongly agree worked with Boots
community chemist or pharmacy and one worked with Roland community
chemist or pharmacy. They were based at various counties in the country.

57% (n=14) and 21 %( n=14) indicates strongly agree and agree respectively, that
they expected tutors to be well trained and being able to support trainees in a
consistent way cross the board. This may further suggest that just fewer than
80% of the trainees were not happy with the training of the tutors and the
support they offered them. Six of the trainees who indicate strongly agree were
female and two male. Two of the trainees who indicate agree were female and
one was male. Of the female trainees who indicates strongly agree two were
Africans, three were Asians and one was British. Six of the trainees who indicate
strongly agree worked with boots community chemist or pharmacy, one other
trainee worked with Rowland community chemist or pharmacy, the other
worked with Lloyds. The three trainees who indicate agree worked with boots.
They were based at various counties in the country.

Discussion
Workplace- based training or learning has been recognized in the literature
reviewed as a means of facilitating transition from training institutions to work
or practice environment. It plays a crucial role in the development of learners
attitudes, behaviors and skills that are important for the practice profession. It
is also a means of socializing students professionally in the workplace
environment (Jee, et al., n.d., Para. 1)
Preregistration is a form of workplace-based training specifically designed for
pharmacy students. It has been recognized for enabling students to acquire
important skills such as communication skills, interpersonal skills, clinical
knowledge and skills, clinical reasoning, among others which are necessary in
the workplace environment ( Helmich et al., 2011; Diemars, et al. 2011; Lee et al.,
n.d.). However, the success of preregistration programed is dependent on an
effective and competent tutor. But how can competency among tutors being
fostered when training and ascertaining their expertise is not mandatory

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139

(Preregistration Trainee Pharmacist Handbook, 2014). Effective training ensures


that workers are consistently competent to perform their tasks effectively. One
wonders how individuals who are not trained can be entrusted with the
responsibility of assessing and signing off the work of pre-registration trainees.
How possible is it that people who are not trained are charged with the
responsibility of determining who should join the pharmacist register? If people
are not trained then variations in assessment would be anticipated. If people are
not trained then disparity in training and support would be anticipated. In this
study the respondents raised very pertinent concerns (summarized in Table 1);
they are pertinent because they all suggest something about training:

Trainees were not getting enough support for their placement (42%);

Trainees expected trainees their tutors to be positive and supportive (80%);

Trainees had no clear direction for their placement (21%);

Trainees felt that tutors had no clue of what was happening with their placement
(14% )

Trainees had no clearly agreed plan or structure for their placement (50%)

Trainees received varied support (80%)

Trainees expected tutors to be well trained and being able to support them
effectively (78% )

Trainees felt that their tutors have not been trained to support student during
placement (29%).
According to the guidance for tutors (Al- Ahmad and Liu, 2014), they are
expected to be supportive, role model, deliver training and assess training
performance. This is expected to occur uniformly across the pharmacy
preregistration programme in the UK. This can or may only occur if all the tutors
were uniformly trained so that all sang from the same hymn sheet. Otherwise,
pharmacy preregistration would continue to be offered variously resulting in
serious disparity.

Conclusion and Recommendations


This study has demonstrated that workplace-based training is an important
activity in terms of facilitating transition from training institutions to work
environment. A number of benefits have been cited in relation to workplace-
based training, for instance, trainees gain confidence, communication improves
and trainees also acquire skills such as clinical knowledge and skills, clinical
reasoning, interpersonal skills and empathy. All these benefits are very crucial in
a working environment, and especially when somebody is crossing over from a
university or training institution to the practice environment However, the
study finding raises serious concerns regarding placement tutors. Some of the
concerns include, lack of clearly agreed structure or plan; various tutors support
(lack uniformity); lack of training; lack of direction and lack of support.

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140

The study therefore recommends that tutors, be well trained (mentorship) in


order to enhance uniformity in the preregistration training and support systems.
The mentorship course can last 3- 6 months and tutors can attend one day a
week. Also tutors to be offered some allowances for tutoring preregistration
trainees. This may motivate them to participate in various training in
relationship to their role as preregistration tutors.

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International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 13, No.2, pp. 168-178, September 2015

The Role of Teaching Experience and Prior Education


in Teachers Self-Efficacy and General Pedagogical
Knowledge at the Onset of Teacher Education

Cynthia Vaudroz, Jean-Louis Berger & Cline Girardet


Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training
Lausanne, Switzerland1

Abstract. This study explored how teachers general pedagogical


knowledge (GPK) and teachers self-efficacy (TSE) at the beginning of
teacher education differ in terms of student teachers individual
characteristics. The study participants were 240 teachers in their first
year of education who completed a questionnaire that assessed their
GPK, three types of TSE, years of teaching experience, level of prior
education and sex. The results indicate that prior education, sex and, to
a lesser extent, teaching experience explain a significant portion of the
GPK. Prior education, teaching experience and, to some extent, sex
explain a significant portion of the three types of TSE. These results
emphasize the importance of individual characteristics, particularly
teaching experience and prior education, in understanding
heterogeneity at the onset of teacher education in GPK and TSE, two
central constructs that affect teachers and students outcomes.

Keywords: General Pedagogical Knowledge; Self-Efficacy; Teaching


Experience; Prior Education.

Introduction
Teachers knowledge has been shown to be associated with higher quality
instructionwhich, in turn, has a positive effect on student learning (Hill, Ball,
Blunk, Goffney, & Rowan, 2007; Wayne & Youngs, 2003). Teachers knowledge
is usually divided into three types: content knowledge (CK), which is knowledge
about facts, concepts, subject terminology and the organization of subject-
specific concepts; pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), which is knowledge of
various ways of representing and formulating a subject to make it
comprehensible to others; and general pedagogical knowledge (GPK) (Shulman,
1986), which is defined as the knowledge needed to create and optimize
teaching-learning situations across subjects, including declarative and

1 Please direct correspondence to jean-louis.berger@sfivet-switzerland.ch. The data were drawn


from the research project The evolution of teachers conceptions during teacher education,
founded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (Grant N100019_146351; Primary investigator:
Jean-Louis Berger, Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training; Co-investigators:
Marcel Crahay, University of Geneva, and Carmela Aprea, Friedrich-Schiller-Universitt Jena).

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169

procedural knowledge (Voss, Kunter, & Baumert, 2011, p. 209). Researchers


(Knig & Blmeke, 2010; Voss et al., 2011) have identified four generic
dimensions of GPK: a) instructional planning, which includes knowledge about
determining course goals and content, structuring the lesson process, and
developing teaching methods and tools, among other aspects; b) classroom
management, which concerns discipline issues (e.g., strategies to prevent and
counteract disturbances), student motivation, and so on; c) learners heterogeneity
and teachers adaptivity, which refers to the management of heterogeneous
learning groups in the classroom, the use of a wide range of teaching methods
and strategies of differentiation, and knowledge of learners differences and
learning processes; and d) assessment, which relates to student assessment and
evaluation criteria. The present study is part of a project investigating the impact
of teacher education on teachers knowledge, beliefs, and practices in
instructional planning and classroom management. Accordingly, the study
considers only the knowledge related to these two teaching tasks.

GPK is typically acquired during teacher education. However, many individuals


entering teacher education have already developed a certain level of
pedagogical, psychological or general educational knowledge. This knowledge
may be acquired during practical experience, such as teaching internships,
substitute teaching experiences and/or the practice of teaching without
certification. According to Jones and Vesilind (1996), experiences with students
are a major source of change in teacher knowledge. For instance, unexpected
student behavior may significantly influence changes in student teachers
knowledge and beliefs during teacher education. In addition, Voss et al. (2011)
found that student teachers with teaching experience had higher means on all
sub-dimensions of their GPK tests than those with no teaching experience. This
difference was most striking in the area of knowledge of classroom
management. Another likely factor contributing to GPK development is prior
education: That is, student teachers may have higher levels of GPK due to
general knowledge and other educational inputs. For example, Voss et al. (2011)
found a significant correlation between GPK and general cognitive ability. Since
general cognitive ability is linked to educational background, prior education
may relate to GPK. Although a number of beginning teachers start their teacher
education with some teaching experience and an educational background, the
importance of this background for GPK has rarely been investigated.

Another central concept in teacher educationand, more generally, in


teachingis teachers self-efficacy (TSE), which is defined as teachers
judgment of [their] capabilities to bring about desired outcomes of student
engagement and learning, even among those students who may be difficult or
unmotivated (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001, p. 783). TSE is a
meaningful construct because it is related to both student outcomes, such as
student engagement and academic achievement, and teacher outcomes, such as
the provision of support to students, burnout, and job satisfaction (Siwatu &
Chesnut, 2015).

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In a study conducted by Huberman (1992), teachers were asked to indicate the


extent to which they had mastered different facets of teaching, such as Feeling
at the same level as more experienced colleagues and Feeling generally
confident as an experienced teacher. Huberman (1992) found that the more
years of teaching experience teachers had, the higher their feelings of
instructional mastery were. This concept is very close to TSE, since it relates to
teachers perceived instructional effectiveness. Tschannen-Moran and Woolfolk
Hoy (2007) found similar results: Career teachers (four or more years of
experience) rated themselves significantly higher on overall self-efficacy than
novice teachers (three or fewer years of experience). Klassen and Chiu (2010)
observed a curvilinear relationship between TSE and teaching experience: TSE
increased from 0 year of experience to approximately 23 years of experience and
then dropped afterwards. According to a study by Wolters and Daugherty
(2007), the relationship between TSE and teaching experience varies depending
on the type of TSE considered. For example, the impact of teaching experience
on TSE is stronger for classroom management (maintaining order, discipline,
keeping students quiet) and instructional strategies (using various instructional
and assessment strategies to meet all students needs) than for student
engagement (motivating uninterested students, helping students understand the
value of learning). In sum, prior research suggests that TSE is related to years of
experience. However, to the best of our knowledge, no research has yet explored
the relationship between TSE and teachers prior education; thus, there is no
basis from which to draw hypotheses or assumptions.

In conclusion, there is only limited and unclear knowledge of the factors


explaining differences in GPK and TSE at the onset of teacher education.
However, this information is relevant for tailoring teacher education and for
fostering the development of teachers knowledge and beliefs. Accordingly, the
purpose of this study was to investigate how teaching experience and prior
education may explain individual differences in GPK and TSE.

Method
Participants
Participants consisted of 248 teachers in their first year of teacher education in
the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Among these, 8 reported more than 20
years of teaching experience; they were removed from the sample for being
outliers. Thus, the final sample consisted of 240 teachers. Among these, 128 were
preservice general secondary education teachers, and 112 were in-service
vocational teachers (47.1% women, 51.2% men, 1.7% unknown; mean
age = 36 yrs. 1 mo., SD = 9 yrs. 1 mo.). During their first weeks of teacher
education, the participants filled out a survey that included the following
measures.

Measures
General pedagogical knowledge
GPK was measured using a French adaptation/translation of the short version
of the Pdagogisches Wissen [Pedagogical knowledge] test (Knig & Blmeke,
2010). One section was dedicated to classroom management and included four

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171

closed-ended questions (causal attributions, 4 items; classroom discipline, 8 items;


learning motivation, 5 items; empathy, 6 items) and two open-ended questions
(How to motivate a student; How to prevent disturbances in the classroom). The other
section addressed instructional planning with one closed-ended question
(Blooms taxonomy of learning objectives; 8 items) and two open-ended questions
(How to analyze a lesson (after it takes place); How to structure a lesson plan). The
questions about discipline and empathy were developed by the authors, while the
others were translated directly from the German test. The items were scored
according to the test coding rubrics developed by Knig and Blmeke (2010).
The scores for the closed-ended questions were calculated as the sums of the
correct items. For example, the question on learning motivation was: Which
situations involve intrinsic motivation, and which involve extrinsic motivation?
One point was given for each instance in which the respondent correctly chose
intrinsic motivation or extrinsic motivation after each item (e.g., extrinsic
motivation for the item A student studies before a math test because he/she is
expecting a reward if he/she gets a good grade). Scores for the open-ended
questions were higher if the respondent provided a greater variety of answers.
For example, the question for lesson analysis was: Imagine that you help a
novice teacher who has just given his first lesson. He evaluates this first lesson
with you. Which questions would you ask him in order to provide an evaluation
that will enable him to better prepare his future lessons? Formulate ten
questions. One point was given for each written question if it addressed one of
twelve criteria (prior knowledge, structure, time management, and so on). Two (or
more) questions assessing the same criterion were rewarded with one point.
Inter-rater reliability was calculated for the four open-ended questions via two
independent coders. Cohens Kappa showed a relatively good consensus (How to
analyze a lesson: number of units coded = 1263, k = .79, percentage of agreement =
81.7%; How to structure a lesson plan: number of units coded = 1456, k = .69,
percentage of agreement = 80.1%; How to motivate a student: number of units
coded = 456, k = 75, percentage of agreement = 80.4%; How to prevent disturbances
in the classroom: number of units coded = 509, k = .67, percentage of agreement =
72%).

Teachers self-efficacy beliefs


A French adaptation/translation (Dumay & Galand, 2012) of the 12-item Ohio
State Teacher Efficacy Scale (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001) was used.
The scale assessed three types of TSE, each with four items: classroom
management, student engagement, and instructional planning (developed for
this study; e.g., Considering my recent realizations, resources and
opportunities as a teacher, I feel able to select content whose difficulty is adapted
to the learners level). Participants rated each item on a six-point Likert scale
(1 = completely disagree; 6 = completely agree).

Teaching experience
The number of years of teaching at the time of the survey was reported (ranged
from 0 to 18 years; M = 2 yrs. 2 months; SD = 3 yrs. 5 months).

Prior level of education

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Participants highest diploma achieved was reported and coded into a 14-level
scale from 1 (initial vocational education) to 14 (PhD) (M = 10.45, SD = 2.91),
following the Swiss Federal Statistical Office classification.

Data analysis

To investigate the effects of experience and prior level of education on GPK and
TSE, structural equation modeling (SEM)2 was used. Three models were tested:
one for each form of GPK question (closed-ended and open-ended) and one for
TSE. The predictors were teaching experience, prior education, and sex. No
assumptions were made about the effect of sex; instead, it was included as a
control variable. Since only 143 of the 240 participants provided answers to the
open-ended questions, GPK questions were split into two models in order to use
all of the available data. Note that the distinction between preservice general
secondary education teachers and in-service vocational teachers was not
included as a variable in the model because the differences between these two
types of teachers are strongly reflected through teaching experience and prior
education. For each model, zero-order correlations are presented first; then, the
model itself is presented.

Results
Preliminary analyses indicated that there is no significant correlation between
GPK and TSE or between closed-ended and open-ended GPK questions.

General pedagogical knowledge: closed-ended questions


Table 1 shows the zero-order Pearson correlations between the individual
characteristics variables and the closed-ended questions on GPK.

2The maximum likelihood robust estimator was used to include deviations from multivariate
normality.

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Table 1: Zero-order correlations between individual characteristics variables and


closed-ended questions on GPK
Measure 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Closed-ended Questions on GPK
1. Teacher's empathy
2. Causal attributions -.16
3. Learning motivation .37 .28
4. Discipline issues -.17 .16 .12
5. Bloom's taxonomy .05 .22 .27 .24
Individual Characteristics
6. Teaching experience .19 -.41 .05 -.06 .07
7. Prior education .05 .61 .28 -.01 .18 -.19
8. Sex -.09 .16 .00 -.19 .07 .11 -.23
Note: N = 240. Sex is coded: 1 = female; 2 = male. Correlations with values between .13
and .17 are statistically significant at p < .05; correlations with values between .17 and .21
are statistically significant at p < .01; correlations with values of .21 and greater are
statistically significant at p < .001.

The results of the SEM model are illustrated in Figure 1. The chi-square test of
the model fit is not significant ((4) = 5.493 , p = .24), indicating a good fit. Only
three of the closed-ended questions are related to individual characteristics.
Issues of discipline and definition of empathy are not; thus, they are not shown
in Figure 1.

Figure 1: SEM results relating individual characteristics to closed-ended


questions on GPK.
Note: N = 240. GPK factors indicators are the mean scores of the corresponding items.
The reliability of GPK scores are integrated into the model using the formula
(1-)*variance (Bollen, 1989). Sex is coded: 1 = female; 2 = male. GPKCA = causal
attributions item; GPKBT = Blooms taxonomy item; GPKLM = learning motivation item.
p < .10 ; * p < .05 ; ** p < .01 ; *** p < .001.

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General pedagogical knowledge: open-ended questions


Table 2 shows the zero-order Pearson correlations between the individual
characteristics and the open-ended questions on GPK.

Table 2: Zero-order correlations between individual characteristics variables and


open-ended questions on GPK
Measure 1 2 3 4 5 6
Open-ended Questions on GPK
1. Lesson plan
2. Lesson analysis .21
3. Methods to motivate a student .06 .24
4. Measures against disturbances .29 .14 .18
Individual Characteristics
5. Teaching experience .02 -.01 -.04 -.02
6. Prior education .03 .23 .21 .25 -.13
7. Sex -.03 -.03 -.02 -.22 -.02 -.19
Note: N = 143. Sex is coded: 1 = female; 2 = male. Correlations with values between .16
and .21 are statistically significant at p < .05; correlations with values between .21 and .27
are statistically significant at p < .01; correlations with values of .27 and greater are
statistically significant at p < .001.

The SEM model is illustrated in Figure 2. The chi-square test of the model fit is
not significant ((2) = .075, p = .963), indicating a good fit. Neither teaching
experience nor lesson plans is related to any open-ended question; thus, neither
is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. SEM results relating individual characteristics to open-ended


questions on GPK.
Note: N = 143. Sex is coded: 1 = female; 2 = male. p < .10 ; * p < .05 ; ** p < .01 ;
*** p < 001. The model did not converge at the estimation of the correlation between
prior education and sex.

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175

Teachers Self-Efficacy
Table 3 shows the zero-order Pearson correlations between individual
characteristics and TSE beliefs.

Table 3: Zero-order correlations between individual characteristics variables


and TSE beliefs
Measure 1 2 3 4 5
TSE Beliefs
1. TSE for classroom management
2. TSE for student engagement .59
3. TSE for instructional planning .47 .71
Individual Characteristics
4. Teaching experience .25 .08 .19
5. Prior education -.17 .04 .10 -.19
6. Sex .05 -.15 -.11 .10 -.23
Note: N = 240. Sex is coded: 1 = female; 2 = male. Correlations with values between .13
and .17 are statistically significant at p < .05; correlations with values between .17 and .21
are statistically significant at p < .01; correlations with values of .21 and greater are
statistically significant at p < .001.

The SEM model is illustrated in Figure 3. The chi-square test of the model fit is
significant ((82) = 201.75, p < .001). The fit indices are acceptable (CFI = .90,
RMSEA = .08, SRMR = .06) following Schermelleh-Engel, Moosbrugger, and
Mller (2003) guidelines.

Figure 3. SEM results relating individual characteristics to TSE beliefs.


Note: N = 240. Sex is coded: 1 = female; 2 = male. TSE = teachers self-efficacy; TSESE =
teachers self-efficacy for student engagement; TSECM = teachers self-efficacy for
classroom management; TSEIP = teachers self-efficacy for instructional planning.
p < .10 ; * p < .05 ; ** p < .01 ; *** p < .001.

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176

Discussion
Overall, individual characteristics were significantly linked to GPK and TSE,
confirming that, combined, these characteristics explain individual differences
among teachers as they enter teacher education.

According to our results, GPK depends mostly on prior education. This


predictor significantly explains variance in all GPK questions except knowledge of
classroom discipline, knowledge of the definition of empathy and knowledge of lesson
plan. There are three possible reasons for this effect: First, GPK is partly acquired
when studying other subjects. Second, respondents can rely on their reasoning
abilities to answer the items assessing GPK. These first two explanations imply
that GPK might not be fully specific to teaching. Moreover, in support of the
second explanation, Voss et al. (2011) found a latent correlation of = .58
between general reasoning abilities and a GPK test. In the present study, the
level of prior education can be considered a proxy for general reasoning abilities.
The third explanation is that people with higher levels of education are more
used to providing written answers to open-ended questions, since they have
often been requested to do so during their education.

The absence of a positive relationship between teaching experience and GPK is


surprising, since this finding is not in line with prior research (Voss et al, 2011).
In our study, teaching experience is only relatednegativelyto knowledge of
causal attributions. One could argue that causal attributions are associated to
beliefs rather than knowledge. Teachers with greater teaching experience are
more likely to have encountered situations that have strengthened their beliefs
about causal attributions over time. The absence of a link between teaching
experience and the other GPK questions might be explained by the difficulty to
acquire formal knowledge about teaching and learning when one is only having
classroom experience and limited opportunity for reflective thinking as offered
during teacher education. In another finding that is difficult to interpret, we
found that two GPK questions were explained by sex: Specifically, male teachers
had higher scores on causal attribution, while female teachers had higher scores
related to knowledge of measures against disturbances.

Individual characteristics did explain individual differences in TSE, but only to a


certain extent (i.e., up to 7% of explained variance). Prior education was found to
be negatively related to TSE for classroom management. A possible explanation
is that those with the highest education feel confident in their content
knowledge, but worry about managing students behavior. Moreover, prior
education was found to be positively related to TSE for instructional planning;
our interpretation is that teachers with higher levels of education are likely to
have learned to plan and structure their work as students.

Women reported higher TSE for student engagement and instructional planning
than men. This finding contrasts with prior studies indicating that men have
higher TSE (Klassen & Chiu, 2010). Finally, the results reveal that two types of
TSE depend on teaching experience: TSE for classroom management and TSE for
instructional planning. This could mean that teachers can develop self-
confidence in managing classroom discipline and preparing lessons by

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177

experiencing teaching without certification. However, teaching experience was


not found to be related to TSE for student engagement, indicating that teachers
need formal education in order to know how to engage students in learning and
to feel confident in doing so.

These results suffer from several limits. First, the range of GPK considered is
restricted (i.e., it does not include information on learners heterogeneity,
teachers adaptivity, and knowledge of assessment; Knig & Blmeke, 2010;
Voss et al., 2011). Second, for the open-ended GPK questions, the coding rubrics
use the variety of answers as a criterion for providing a knowledge score. This
approach offers a limited perspective on teacher knowledge by neglecting other
aspects of knowledge, such as its adequacy for a given situation. Finally, the
sample size is limited for the model related to open-ended GPK questions and
might not be fully comparable to the full sample. Thus, the results of this study
should be replicated in other samples and using other GPK and TSE measures.

In conclusion, the study results emphasize the importance of considering


individual characteristics, particularly teaching experience and prior education,
in order to understand heterogeneity at the onset of teacher education in GPK
and TSE, two central constructs affecting teachers and students outcomes.
Moreover, individual differences among teachers must be considered when
developing GPK during teacher education. While some teachers might think that
they already acquired GPK in practicing teaching, our results indicated that this
is not the case. Thus, it seems important to explain them the relevance of courses
about learning and teaching. Teachers with a high level of education might more
easily acquire and apply GPK; further research is however needed to examine
this assumption. It is also essential to consider individual differences when
fostering TSE during teacher education: Male and women teachers are not
equals in terms of feeling confident about teaching tasks, and teachers with a
high level of education worry more about their ability to manage classrooms.
The take-away message from this article is that individual differences have to be
taken into account in teacher education.

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International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 179-194, August 2015

Technology Blended Learning Approaches and the


Level of Student Engagement with Subject Content

Zeina Nehme
Department of Mathematics
Australian College of Kuwait, Kuwait

Arthur Seakhoa-King and Shameem Ali


School of Business
Australian College of Kuwait, Kuwait

Abstract. This paper evaluates the implementation of technology


blended teaching and learning in the Foundation Mathematics Program
at a private college of higher education in Kuwait with a view to
identifying improvements in student performance. The traditional
classroom teaching was blended with a significant component of online
learning with MML (MyMathLab), involving in-class tutorials and
outside of class online activities. The aim of introducing this approach
was largely to achieve a greater level of engagement with the course
content and to increase the amount of practice time students devoted to
doing problem solving exercises. The study used data generated by the
MML tools as well as data on success rates from previous semesters
when only the traditional approaches were used for teaching and
learning in the Foundation Program. The study found that there was an
increase of between 12% and 35% in the normal expected time required
for problem-solving practice with the MML system. The greatest
advantage was the student activity monitoring data available from the
system could be used for identifying students at risk of failure and
developing tailored and targeted support programs and strategies. In
addition, comparison of results from previous traditional approach and
the newly introduced blended approach revealed that grade inflation
can be avoided and a greater degree of fairness can result in online
grading.

Keywords: Education technology, Learning styles, Online learning.

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Introduction

The traditional delivery of coursework which comprises lecture-based


instructions where students take notes and do in-class practice at problem
solving and undertake assessment of learned skills and techniques is rapidly
been replaced by hybrid approaches. With the introduction of technology in the
classroom, the approaches to teaching and learning is rapidly changing (Hayfa
& Othaman, 2014; Ziphorah, 2014). Technology has transformed teaching and
learning curriculum and a range of terminology has entered the field of
education, and in some academic institutions, eLearning is now the only mode
of teaching and learning, while in others it has been partially incorporated into
curriculums. Terms such as blended learning or hybrid learning are
frequently used to describe this development which partially incorporates
technology in teaching and learning curriculums1. Scida & Saury, (2006) define
hybrid learning as classes in which instruction takes place in a traditional
classroom setting augmented by computer-based or online activities which can
replace classroom seat time (p. 518). An often cited advantage of adopting
technology in teaching and learning curriculum relates to accessibility. Lectures
delivered online can be accessed anytime and replayed as frequent as the user
wishes (Speckler, 2012). This is particularly important for Foundation
Mathematics course, where frequent practice is considered critical for one to
acquire the necessary skills to grasp key concepts and principles.

One web-based tool which is widely used in the teaching of mathematics is


MyMathLab (MML) designed by Pearson Publisher Company (Hayfa &
Othaman, 2014). When properly employed, the MML tool can enhance students
learning especially by providing them with an alternative platform for practicing
mathematics (Hayfa & Othaman, 2014). As new ways of teaching are
implemented, they need to be examined for effectiveness so that improvements
can be made to the development and delivery of course material, as well as to
understand the impact of blended approaches on teaches and students alike.

The successful implementation of technology blended approaches may require


training and some modification of students and instructor perceptions (Lin,
2012). In evaluating technology based approaches, the dimensions to be
investigated should be interaction, staff support, institutional quality assurance
mechanisms, institutional credibility, learner support, information, as well as
publicity and learning tasks (Jung, 2011). There is also the view that educational
outcomes and learning approaches are not necessarily enhanced by using
technology, concluding that evaluation of such programs is important for a
better understanding impacts and experiences (Kirkwood, 2009). However, the

1
The terms blended learning and hybrid learning are synonymous which means they can be used
interchangeably

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introduction of a well-integrated technology based learning platform has the


potential for improving the quality of education (Basham, Smeltzer & Pianfetti,
2013), especially with regard to increased and more convenient access (Fisher &
Sadera, 2011; Keengwe, Schnellert, & Mills, 2012).

This study reports on the first evaluation of the blended approach introduced in
the teaching of Foundation Mathematics and identifies the impact of the new
approaches on student engagement and outcomes. Technology facilitated
learning was first introduced in the Spring semester of 2014, at a private college
in Kuwait. Foundation Mathematics is a pre-University unit which students
take as a pre-requisite, enabling more advanced mathematics courses for
students continuing to diploma and degree programs in Business and
Engineering. The technology blended learning was introduced to attain a greater
level of student engagement in the mathematics learning process, as traditional
methods have failed to achieve the practice level required for concept
application and problem solving. The initial aim was to achieve deeper learning
and greater engagement with the course content.

Foundation Mathematics course consisted of 4-credit hours, comprising three


hours of lecture-based classes and one hour computer laboratory session per
week. During the 3-hour of lectures, instructions were delivered using the
traditional way of teaching, but resources from the interface website were used,
like power point presentations, eBook, videos, animations, and worksheets. The
one hour computer laboratory session was used to administer online quizzes
and for students to carry out some assigned task on MML tool.

The evaluation of the program was to explore the effectiveness of the MML tool
in the teaching of Foundation Mathematics and to introduce a strategy for
continuous improvement in the blended approach. The objective of the study
was to investigate if greater student engagement was being achieved. In
particular the aims were as follows:

1. Ascertain whether or not there is relationship between the average time


the students spent using the MML tool and the Letter Grade they
obtain for the unit.
2. Find out whether or not there is a relationship between the average time
the students spent using the MML tool and the grades students achieved
in the various assessments, namely, Quiz test, Homework, mid and final
examination and overall grade for the unit.
3. Establish the effect, if any, the MML tool had on the students overall
grades for Foundation Mathematics unit.

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4. Establish whether or not there were any differences between female and
male students Foundation Mathematics grades that could be attributed
to the MML tool.
5. Establish in which major, whether Engineering or Business, the use of the
MML tool was more effective.

Literature review

The advancement of computer technologies and its classroom applications has


brought a paradigm shift in the way instructors teach (Glass & Sue, 2008),
especially in response to the generation of students who are digital natives
(Windisch & Medman, 2008; Puyaraud & Hahn, 2012) and well accustomed to
being in constant contact with the world around them. While their lifestyles are
similar to previous generations, they interact differently with technology and are
able to collaborate more effectively with one another wherever they are, at any
time. These students do not respond well to traditional approaches used for past
generations. However, the student learning outcomes resulting from the
incorporation of technologies in teaching and learning relate to how the
technology is used and if the students approach to study is in any way modified
because of the technology (Mkomange, 2012).

Implementing technology in the curriculum has proved to be beneficial to


teaching and learning. It has been shown to be transformational, as it enhances
communication, efficiency, problem solving, research, and decision-making
(Niess, 2005, Veletsianos, 2011).Technology provides students with new forms of
communication to enable them to take control of their own learning (Reba &
Biggers, 2008). Moreover, students in eLearning develop technology skills and
knowledge that they can incorporate in their daily and working lives (Hayfa &
Othaman, 2014). Educational technologists argue that technology accommodates
the diversity of learning styles of learners and offers flexibility for access (Peck &
Jobe, 2008). It appears that increased access to online resources in a blended
environment may enrich the learning experiences of students and more
conveniently engage with the course material delivered and facilitated by new
technologies.

Previous studies have shown that student engagement can be improved by


incorporating interactive approaches to teaching. Borman & Sleigh, (2011) found
that, when online teaching and assessment tools are used as an integral part of
the course, an increased level of student engagement can be achieved. Once
technologies are effectively incorporated into the classroom, it provides an
opportunity for studying student engagement and positive learning outcomes.

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Bulger et al., (2008) found that technology aided learning in a classroom


increases the level of student engagement with the content.

There have been a number of studies which report on the application of


technology blended approaches. For example, Speckler (2012) analyzed 77 data-
driven case studies in which MML was implemented and found that, in all cases,
it has greatly supported student achievement. The case studies presented were
collected from within the United States and abroad and included community
colleges and two- and four-year colleges. Other studies (Kidder, 2015) support
the view that student success rates improve with technology aided teaching.
One of the key benefits of using the MML is that it helps in improving student
retention and success, as well as increases the completion and pass rates
(Speckler, 2012).

Hayfa & Othaman, (2014) identified seven principles for effectively leveraging
technology for more productive educational outcomes, namely contact between
students and staff, student collaboration and teamwork, active rather than
passive approach to learning, prompt feedback to students, effective use of time,
higher expectations, and greater respect for different learning styles and
backgrounds.

MML allows student to get instant feedback when completing homework


through a series of links to resources, similar problems and their step-by-step
problem solving approach, video lectures that reiterate the concept as well as
links to the textbook (Westover & Westover, 2014). Students need to be assessed
on their competence and knowledge, and receiving instant feedback can help
them reflect on their learning, access additional information and examine
procedures and examples of problem solving. Having the immediate feedback
on correct and incorrect answers to problems increase the students performance
and motivation to get answers right (Speckler, 2012). In addition, this feature
individualizes instruction, which is similar to an instructor providing feedback
to a student during office hours (Reba & Biggers, 2008). The Pearson report
(Speckler, 2012) shows that the immediate feedback feature in the tool reinforces
the learning process and increase student success. According to Wells, (2014),
computer based instruction which has the facility to provide instant feedback
has the potential to reduce math anxiety, which can have serious impact on
learning.

The MML provides powerful facility for making studying more efficient because
it provides access to a number of information sources and tools. An additional
advantage is that learning material can be accessed from mobile devices,
enabling students to utilize time more effectively. The effective use and
management of time provides scope for more teacher-students and student-
students interactions. Speckler, (2012) confirms that one of the benefits of the

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MML interface is that it saves time in the classroom and increase time spent on
the learning tasks. Further, the use of the MML tool provides benefits by
diversifying ways of learning.

Hayfa & Hiba, (2014) confirm the fact that MML provides an opportunity for
students to work at their own pace and in a learning environment that best suits
their different learning styles and needs. Speckler, (2012) affirms that the use of
MML provides a new form of communication that promotes active learning and
encourages students to take control of their learning.

However, there are drawbacks to using web-based educational system (Niess,


2005). The MML interface requires more time initially for the instructor to design
it and use it (Law et al., 2012). In addition, Law et al., (2012) stated that students
as well as teachers may encounter technical difficulties in accessing some
features of the interface. They may not be able to install the plug-ins and players
required to use those features. In addition, students may lack the time
management skills that make them successful in the eLearning environment
(Law et al., 2012). It is worth noting that ineffective use of technology is not
necessarily associated with the technology but to inappropriate strategies in its
use (Kidder, 2015).

Methodology

In this study, we are using the tool of MyMathLab. It is an online educational


system developed by Pearson Education to assist in the teaching and learning of
a number of subjects, including mathematics. It is tightly integrated with the
published textbooks. It offers an eBook, a range of practice exercises that can be
assigned as homework, quizzes, or tests, an adaptive Study Plan, a Gradebook,
Discussion Forums, and Instructor Resources (worksheets, solution and resource
manuals, test bank, etc.). In addition, for each section, a multimedia Library is
available and offers learners a range of features such as animations, videos, and
power points, among others.

Research over the years has shown that the MML tool has potential to enhance
students learning of mathematics. However, the outcomes may vary depending
on a range of issues such as student academic levels, implementation strategies
used, and the cultural settings within which they are implemented. Therefore,
findings from various studies may not have universal application and each must
be evaluated within its own surroundings.

In this section, we present the methodology used to explore the effectiveness of


MyMathLab (MML) tool at private college in Kuwait. This was an exploratory
study (Creswell, 2014) designed to investigate if greater student engagement
was achieved and to evaluate the outcomes from the migration from traditional

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to blended approach to the teaching of mathematics. An exploratory design is


adopted where little is known about the phenomena of interest to the researcher
(Miles & Huberman, 2014). In this, an exploratory design can help a researcher
gain useful insights about a phenomena of interest, particularly in the early
phases of a research, as was the case. Exploratory designs can take either a
qualitative or quantitative approach or a combination of approaches; however,
in this case a quantitative approach was taken to achieve a broad overview of
effectiveness and shortcomings of the implemented blended learning
environment.

There were 200 students registered for Foundation Mathematics at the college.
Data for this study were collected from two different sources. The first set of
data was obtained from the Gradebook housed within the MML tool. It
comprised weekly online data from quizzes, homework results and the time
each student spent using the MML tool. The Gradebook function in MML tool
contains information about the total time spent on MML for each of the
assignments, grades of homework and quizzes, the number of attempts to get
right results, the features used by each student (videos, help, and eBook), the
progress of each student, the skills acquired, and descriptive statistics on each
assignment. The second set of data was made up of results from paper based
mid and final semester examinations, provided by the instructors of the different
sections of the course.

We exported the quizzes, homework results, and the time each student spent
using the MML tool data sets from Gradebook into Microsoft Excel program
using a procedure in the MML tool. We then manually entered data from the
paper based mid and final semester examinations. After screening and checking
the data for errors, we used various statistical techniques (e.g. mean, standard
deviation, correlation) in Excel program to analyze the data.

Results and discussion

The data provided by the online Gradebook revealed important information


about the students activities and progress on MML throughout the semester
which can be used to answer the research objective mentioned earlier. In this
section, we present our findings for each of the research objective.

Data for the study was collected over one academic semester, comprising 14
weeks, at a private college in Kuwait. We sampled all 200 undergraduate
students who registered for Foundation Mathematics in the Spring semester of
2014.

Attrition: The tracking of weekly usage data indicated that the initial attrition
was 9.5%, which comprised students who had not used MML at all, and

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186

consequently had not completed the course work nor taken the final
examination for the unit. These were excluded from any further analysis of the
effectiveness of the program approaches. In addition, 6.5% of students who
were to some degree engaged in the MML tutorials did not attend the final
paper based examination. Consequently, only data from 168 (84%) of the 200
students who enrolled for the unit was used (Table 1).

Student Profile: In terms of sample composition, the gender distribution of the


respondents was quite even; 57% male and 43% female (Table 1). However, the
majority of respondents were from Engineering (77%) and the remainder (23%)
from Business School (Table 1).

Table 1: Respondents Profile (N =168)


Respondent Profile Number Percentage
Gender Male 96 57%
Female 43 43%
Total 168 100%
Major Engineering 130 77%
Business 38 23%
Total 168 100%

Engagement measured by time spent on MML: Firstly the relationship between


the average time the students spent using the MML tool and the Letter Grade
they obtain for the unit were investigated. The Letter Grade is derived from
combining students grades for the various assessments which make up the unit.
For example, Letter Grade H for Honor represents a grade of 90% above, P for
Pass denotes a grade of 65% and above and lastly F means Fail which denotes a
grade of 64% and below. This is presented in Table 2 below.

As Table 2 indicates, 19 (11%) students achieved the overall Letter grade Honor
(H) for the unit. Students who achieved the H grade on average spent a
minimum of 18 hours using the MML tool. This represents on average the most
time students spent using the MML tool (Table 2). Based on the various tasks that
were assigned throughout the semester, the planned expectation was that
students would spend on average 14 hours using the MML tool.

Table 2: Average time spent on MML and resulting grade


Letter Grade Average Total Time Spent onMML tool Number (%)
(hours)
H* 18.96 19 (11%)
P** 15.69 133 (79%)
F# 9.93 16 (10%)
H*= Honor (90% and above), P**= Pass (65%), F# = Fail (65% and below)

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In the case of those who achieved a Pass (P) grade for the unit (79%) the average
time spent using the MML tool was 15.69 hour. Those who achieved a Fail (F)
grade for the unit (10%) spent on average 9.93 hours using the MML. There was
a positive correlation between the time students spent using the MML tool and
the overall Letter Grade they achieved for the unit. This implies that the more
time a student spent using the MML tool, the more likely they are to receive a
higher grade for the unit.

The data from the MML enabled the monitoring of time devoted to doing
exercises and problem solving, which was not possible when teaching using
traditional means. This information enabled effort to provide additional
encouragement and support to students who were likely to be at risk of failure
and was clear advantage of technology blended learning.

Assessment: The second objective was to ascertain whether or not there was a
relationship between the average time the students spent using the MML tool
and the grades the students achieved in the various assessments, namely,
quizzes, homework, mid and final examination and overall grade for the unit.
The results of the correlation analysis we conducted to achieve the second
objective are presented in Table 3 below.

Table 3: Correlations Between Total Time Students Spent on MML tool and Assessment Grades
Quiz Scores Homework Mid Final Overall
Grades Grades
Pearson Correlation 0.25* 0.33* 0.04* 0.27 0.23*
N 168 168 168 168
*r is significant at p<0.01

Table 3 indicates a positive correlation between the total hours students spent
using the MML tool and Quiz scores r = 0.25, n = 168, p<0.01. Based on Cohens
(1988) interpretation r = 0.25 indicates a modest positive correlation between the
total time students spent using the MML tool and their Quiz Scores. Similarly
the correlation between the two variables can be considered as modest for mid-
term tests scores r = 0.04, n = 168, p<0.01, final exam scores r = 0.27, n = 168,
p<0.01 and overall unit grade scores r = 0.23, n = 168, p<0.01.
The correlation between the total hours students spent using the MML tool and
Homework grades r = 0.33, n = 168, p<0.01., is within the moderate range, albeit,
very low end (See Cohen, 1988). As indicated in the above section, we expected
higher correlations between the variables than was obtained. Similar results
were reported by Law, et al., (2012) in their study on the use of MML tool by
students in Malaysia. They argue that the modest correlation could be a result of
the fact that students spent lengthy time on the interface getting familiar with it

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188

since it was their first experience using the system. Another reason might be that
students would leave their account open while doing the homework outside the
campus, hence this would add time spent on the interface without actual work
on it (Law, et al., 2012). Further research is necessary to explain the modest
correlations between the variables we obtained in our study.

Effect on final grades: The third objective was to establish the effect, if any, the
MML tool had on students overall grades of the Foundation Mathematics unit.
Students Letter Grades were compared with those from the previous semester
in which the MML tool was not used. Table 4 presents the results of analysis of
means conducted to achieve objective three.

Table 4: Comparison of Letter Grades before and after MML implementation


Letter Grade % of Without MML % With MML
H* 30 11
P** 52 79
F# 18 10
H*= Honor (90% and above), P**= Pass (65%), F# = Fail (65% and below)

The sample size for the Without MML tool results was 254 students while in our
With MML tool was 168 students. We observed mixed results for this objective.
First, the percentage of students who achieved an H grade for the Without MML
tool (30%) was almost treble the number of those who achieved the same grade
in the With MML tool. However, the percentage of students who achieved P
grade was higher for With MML tool group (79%) than for Without MML tool
(52%). More importantly the percentage of students who passed the unit is
higher for the With MML tool (90%) group than for Without MML tool (82%)
group. In addition, fewer students from the With MML tool (9%) group failed
the unit than compared to the for Without MML tool (18%) group.

Consequently, the results appear to suggest that the MML tool had a positive
effect in increasing the number of students passing the unit and to some extent
reducing the number of students achieving the highest grade H. This indicates
that there may be considerable grade inflation in the traditional approach and
teaching and assessment may be inconsistent across different teacher and
classes. Grade inflation is a serious issue and difficult to monitor under
traditional approaches, especially with large number of students and multiple
classes. There are a number of important choices and decisions made on the
basis of grades. For example, students make choices about courses, majors, and
careers on the basis of their grades in various courses, and, graduate schools
make choices about whom to admit and employers make choices about whom to
hire (Butcher et al., 2014). A serious problem of grade inflation is that it tends to

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189

diminish motivation. If high grades become relatively easy to obtain, students


will not be motivated to realize their full potential. Therefore, the clear
advantage of technology blended approach is that it provides greater uniformity
in assessment, a greater degree of fairness in awarding grades and more
consistency across various classes and instructors.

Gender Difference: The fourth objective was to establish whether or not there
were any differences between female and male students grades that could be
attributed to the MML tool. Male and female scores in a number of assessments
and also the times each gender group spent using the MML tool, are presented
in Table 5 below.

Table 5: Mean Differences Between Gender Assessments and Time using MML tool

Assessment Type Female (n=72)Mean Male (n=96) Mean


MML Homework % score 62 79
MML Quiz % score 79 78
Total Time Spent (in hours) 18.28 13.44
Midterm % score 79 77
Final % score 73 72
Overall Average Grade (%) 78 76

The result in Table 5 indicates that female and male scores were mostly similar in
the various assessments. Thus, suggesting that MML tool had a similar effect on
both female and male students. However, there appears to be some gender
difference in the means for the Homework grades. Male students with an
average grade (79%) for Homework appears to have significantly done better
than their female (62%) counterparts. On the other hand, the results appear to
suggest that female students (18.28 hours) spent significantly more time using
the MML tool than their male (13.44 hours) counterparts (Table 5). However, in
the absence of results from appropriate statistical tests, it is not possible at this
stage to conclude whether or not these gender differences in Homework and
Time spent using MML tool are statistically significant.

Differences in student majors: The aim was to establish in which major,


whether Engineering or Business, was the use of the MML tool more effective.
To achieve this, various assessment scores and the time student spent using the
MML tool were compared for the two majors. This is presented in Table 6.

Table 6: Mean Differences Between Students from Different Majors


Assessment Type Engineering (n=130) Mean Business (n=38)Mean

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190

MML Homework (%) 73 67

MML Quiz (%) 75 72


Total Time (in hours) 12.87 14.89
Midterm (%) 80 70
Final (%) 74 67
Average Grade (%) 78 72

Engineering students scores for all assessments were marginally higher than
those for Business students (Table 6). To some extent we expected this result
given that at the college where we conducted our study, proven prior
mathematics background is an entry requirement for Engineering students and
not for students in the Business programs. However, the study found that
Business students grades were similar to those of engineering students. The
Business students on average spent (14.89 hour) more time using the MML tool
than did the Engineering students (12.87hours), which may account for their
improved grades.

Conclusion

When changes in normal practice are implemented, the evaluation stage is


critical for accessing impacts and implications for the future as a part of the
continuous improvement process. This evaluation identified a number of issues
for improvement and further investigation. The main aim of the study was
centered around the issue of student engagement; however a number of
pertinent issues were identified. For example, previous studies report that a
greater level of student engagement is achieved with technology blended
approaches (Borman & Sleigh, 2011; Bulger, et al, 2008). This study found that
blended approach introduced in the teaching of Foundation Mathematics led to
greater level of student engagement with the course, revealing that the course
expected minimum hours of online activities were exceeded by between 12%
and 35% in the case of those students who achieved a pass grade in the unit. An
important element of the technology blended approach is that it enables
continuous monitoring of student online activities. With a follow-up policy, staff
are able to identify those students likely to be under performing in scheduled
activities and likely to be at risk of failure because they are less engaged with the
course. This opportunity did not exist in the traditional approach. The system
provided data on the areas in which students appeared to be having difficulty.
With this new information, appropriate efforts were made to provide targeted
additional support for specific students. In the next phase of the program efforts

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191

will be required to develop a strategy for implementing an integrated student


support program to run parallel to the online and classroom activities.

Comparison of the results from traditional and blended approaches revealed


that grade inflation could be overcome by greater reliance on online
assessments. While the failure rate from one semester to the next relate to
different groups of students, the study found that the overall failure rate was
reduced from 18% to 10% under the blended approach. However, the
proportion of students achieving Honor grade decreased from 30% to 11% while
the Pass grade increased from 52% to 79% (Table 4). One would have expected
that with the blended approach and greater student engagement, there will be
grade improvement, which was not achieved. It should be noted that a
comparison between two different cohorts can show differences for various
reasons which may be independent of the teaching approach.

This may be explained by issues relating to grade inflation. The compression of


grades near the top can be a means of misinformation both for students and the
institution. Grade inflation in the Foundation Programs disadvantage STEM
fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) were completion rates
tend to be lower because students tend to select courses that are more leniently
graded. The reasons for grade inflation where 30% of students are scoring 90%
or more, may be caused by the pressure to pass students, staff worry about their
job security and the fear of poor student evaluation of staff. When grade are
largely based on online assessments a greater degree of fairness can be achieved.

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International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 195-207, August 2015

Communication Skills Training Through an Inter


Professional Education Initiative for Undergraduate
Multi-Professions Students

Ismat Mohamed Mutwali and Naglaa Abd Al Raheem


Faculty of Medicine,
Alzaeim Alazhari University,
Khartoum Bahri, Sudan

Awad Alkarim M Elhassan, Sara S Ibrahim and Aida Abdulhamid


Faculty of Medical Technical Sciences,
Alzaeim Alazhari University,
Department of Nursing
Khartoum Bahri, Sudan

Enas Fadulalbary
Faculty of Medical Technical Sciences,
Alzaeim Alazhari University,
Department of Anaesthesia
Khartoum Bahri, Sudan

Aisha Aglan
Faculty of Medical Technical Sciences,
Alzaeim Alazhari University,
Department of Midwifery
Khartoum Bahri, Sudan

Abstract. Our aims were to teach multi-professions students, from


Alzaeim Alazhari University, Sudan, to learn together and gain the
knowledge, skills and attitude to work together. And to train them
together to acquire the specific communication skill associated with
breaking bad news. Methods: A session of training of trainer was first
organized. Senior students from the medicine, nursing, aenesthesia and
midwifery colleges were invited to join voluntary in the IPE initiative. 36
multi professions students were selected and divided into 6 multi
professions groups. Selected students attended one lecture and four
sessions on the IPE and the roles and responsibility of the different
professions. The participants learned and practiced six different
scenarios of breaking bad news. The IPE was evaluated by
administration of a pre and post questionnaires to determine the
attitude of the participants to the IPE and towards the training of

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196

communication skills within multi professions teams. Results: 30 multi


professions students responded to the questionnaires (83.3%). The
participants` responses showed that, they have gained knowledge, and
become more oriented with their roles and responsibilities. The IPE
training course on breaking bad news was accepted by all the multi
professions students. The participants` overall change of attitude was
significant. Discussion: The results showed that the implemented IPE
initiative had positive effects on the attitude and perception of the
undergraduate multi professions students; and that
Breaking bad news training is possible and practicable within multi
professions teams.

Keywords: Inter Professional Education; breaking bad news;


undergraduate students; Sudan.

Introduction
Inter professional education (IPE) is a teaching and learning process that fosters
collaborative work between two or more health care professionals. The IPE can
be implemented when students from different professions learn with, from and
about one another. (Freeth et al 2002) IPE is evoked by the WHO since
1988When different professionals work together during training, it will be easier
for them to practice together to improve the standard of health care. (Freeth et
al, 2002,Jill et al2014 )The WHO defined IPE as a process by which a group of
students (or workers) from the health related occupations with different
educational backgrounds learn together during certain periods of their
education , with interaction as an important goal, to collaborate in providing
promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative care and other health related
services (Freeth et al.2005) . The importance of IPE to medical education is that
it offers an opportunity for the different health care students to learn how to
work inter-professionally enabling them to develop the knowledge, skills and
ability to practice collaboratively in the work place to enhance service delivery.
The values of IPE include: improvement in communication, efficiency, cost
effectiveness and patient centeredness of health care team. (Freeth et al 2002)
The relationship between different health professionals during practice shows
some misunderstandings. These misunderstandings affect the quality of patient
care. Many studies revealed that there is communication failure, poor
coordination and collaboration and fragmented care; all these failures will have
serious impact on patient`s care and safety. ( Carpenter 1995, Jain et al
2012, Hammick et al 2007, Barr 1998, 2002, ) As the relationship between the
different health professionals plays an important role for delivering a high
quality health care, an IPE programme is needed to improve communication and
collaboration.

Students of different health professions hold the view that they are experts in
their own fields. This notion would mean that the different health professions do
not overlap. However, in the modern health care systems the professional
boundaries become unclear and blurred. (Barr1998) These blurred boundaries
and the unclear hierarchies and roles may lead to uncertainties and even to
competitions. Early and ongoing IPE programme for health care students,
during the undergraduate period is therefore necessary to improve

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197

communication and help prevent uncertainties and competitions between health


professionals during practice. (Carpenter 1995, Jain et al 2012, Hammick et al 2007,
Barr 1998, 2002,Morison et al 2004)

Many initiatives and curricula were described and designed for implementing
IPE for undergraduate health care students. A didactic programme, where
students can learn team building skills, knowledge of profession and patient`s
centered care; nurse shadowing; training within simulated environment and
community-based programme are examples.( Jain et al 2012, Barr 1998, Aston et al
2012, Luctkar et al 2010, Alinier et al 2008,Olenick et al 2011 )
Students of different health professions have few opportunities to learn and
practice together. Simulation offers an ideal environment for learning and
practicing together in a safe environment and under controlled supervision. (
Alinier et al 2008, Ker et al 2003 )

Communication skills is a program required by all health care students and it


can be learned in inter professional teams within a simulated environment.( Barr
1998, Jill et al 2014 ) Breaking bad news is a skill which is required by all health
care professionals. Breaking bad news is one of the most difficult tasks that a
member of a health care team has to do. It is associated with strong emotions,
fear of bearing the responsibility and negative evaluations. (World Health
Organization 2010) The way a health care professional, delivers bad news may
have a serious impact on the relation between the health care professional and
the patient. (Walter et al 2000) Teaching and training of the technique of
breaking bad news improves this communication skill. The 6- point protocol
(Garg et al 1997, Walter et al 2000) can be used for teaching the undergraduate
health care students how to deliver bad news to patients and their families.

Aims and Objectives


The aims of our study were to teach different health care students to learn
together and gain the knowledge, skills and attitude that can help them to work
together. Another aim was to encourage the undergraduate students from these
different health professions to learn and practice together the communication
skill of breaking bad news.

Specifically the study aims to:1- provide the students coming from different
professional background with the knowledge and the skills to know their roles
and responsibilities and the roles and responsibilities of other health professions
and practice these roles collaboratively. 2-Break the barriers and misconceptions
that prevent collaborative work of a team composed of different health
professionals. 3- Encourage the different health care students to work in teams to
gain the team-work and leadership skills. 4- Enable the participants from
different undergraduate health care students to deal with difficult situations and
share their skills and knowledge of breaking bad news to patients and 5- to
evaluate the outcome of the IPE initiative.

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Methods
This is a descriptive, cross sectional, university based study; conducted at
Alzaiem Alazhari University (AAU) Khartoum Sudan, during Feb 2014June
2014.

Ethical approval was obtained from the ethical committee of AAU.

At the beginning of the project a group of interested and motivated faculty


members from the health sciences colleges of AAU, formed an Inter-professional
education group (IPEG).The IPEG included members from the medical, nursing,
anaesthesia and midwifery and public health colleges. The group discussed the
feasibility of conducting an IPE initiative for the undergraduate students from
the different health sciences colleges at AAU.
The first step was to organize training of trainer (TOT) workshops to train the
faculty on how they can facilitate an IPE sessions. Four educational sessions
(each of 2hours) were organized. 11 faculties participated in the TOT sessions.

The TOT sessions discussed:


1-IPE; its definition, requirements, benefits, skills and competencies gained and
how to facilitate an IPE session. 2- Communications skills in relation to IPE. 3-
Conflict management within IPE. 4- How to teach the skill of breaking bad news
for a multi profession group of students. Each session of TOT was followed by
active discussion, feed- back and reflections.
The second step included the means of inviting learners, establishing content,
learning resources, teaching methods and selection of tools of evaluation of the
IPE initiative.

Senior students from the medical, nursing, anaesthesia and midwifery were
invited to join the IPEG to learn the communication skills of breaking bad news
within an IPE initiative. Our theme for the IPE course was: Working to learn
together, Learning to work together.

12 medical students, 18 nursing students, 9 midwifery students and 6


anaesthesia students accept the invitation. The participation was voluntary, and
all sessions were in the afternoons, to allow participants to attend their
scheduled activities. A preliminary meeting was organized for all faculty and
students of the IPEG. The aim of the meeting was to orient the participants with
the aims and the objectives of the IPE initiative.

Thirty six multi professional students were selected, and divided in 6 multi-
profession groups. Each group was formed of 2 medical students, 2 nursing
students, one midwifery student and one anaesthesia student. Participants
attended one interactive lecture about the IPE and four sessions discussing the
roles of the nurse, the midwife, the anesthetist and the doctor, as well as two
hours of discussion about breaking bad news within a multi-profession team.
The leaders of the multi-profession student groups were 2 from the medical
college 2 from the nurses and one from each of midwifery and anaesthesia. The

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199

activities and practice of the multi-profession groups were supervised by the


faculty.

Six different scenarios of breaking bad news were selected by the trained faculty
and students. The students were instructed to learn and practice their scenarios
under supervision of the faculty. Each multi-profession students group selected
a simulator and trained him/her to participate during practice and at
presentation. The scenarios were:
Scenario 1: - A 26- year old female, single, is discovered during examination to
have diabetes mellitus (DM). She has a bad family history of DM, with relatives
having mishaps. The IPE team has to inform the patient.
Scenario 2: - A 35- year old female, married with three children, is discovered on
laboratory tests to be positive for HIV. The IPE team has to inform the patient.
Scenario 3: - A 38 -year old male has to do a surgical operation. Unfortunately he
did not recover from anaesthesia. The IPE team has to inform his wife.
Scenario 4: - A 26- year old primigravida comes to the clinic. On examination is
diagnosed Intra uterine fetal death. The IPE team has to inform the patient.
Scenario 5: - A 30- year old male comes to the clinic. Diagnosis is carcinoma of
the colon. The IPE team has to inform the patient.
Scenario 6: - A 50- year old female comes to the clinic complaining of a breast
lump. Diagnosis was carcinoma of the breast. The IPE team has to inform the
patient.

The scenarios of breaking bad news were presented during 3 sessions. All
faculty and students were present during scenarios presentation. Active
discussions and feedback followed each presentation.

A reflection session was organized at the end of the IPE course where each one
of the students and faculty reflected his/her experience, what was good and
what were the strengths and weaknesses of the educational experience.
The attitude of the multi-profession students to the IPE initiative was assessed
by Arabic translation of the Readiness for Inter Professional Learning Scale
(RIPLS) which was administered pre and post course. Another questionnaire
was also administered at the end of the course to evaluate the learners` attitude
towards the content using a 5-point scale (1=strongly disagree5= strongly
agree), the teaching methods and whether they benefited from the IPE course.
Certificates were distributed to all participants and simulators were offered
financial incentives. Data from the RIPLS and the questionnaire for evaluation of
the course was analysed for the descriptive statistics using SPSS as software.

Results
Out of the 36 multi professional students, 30 responded to the RIPLS (83.3%);
93.3% of them were females. The participants were 10 medical students, 10
nursing students and 5 students from each of anaesthesia and midwifery
departments. The responses of the multi professional students to the first part
(Team work & collaboration) of RIPLS are shown in table 1. Table 2, illustrates
the responses to the second and third parts of RIPLS. There were an increasing
percentage of participants who believe that shared IPE helped them to become

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200

good team workers, and that shared IPE is helpful in clarifying patients`
problems and in understanding owns limitations. A good number of the multi
professional students gained knowledge and more awareness about their roles
and responsibilities and the roles and responsibilities of the other professions.
The participants also became more oriented with their roles and responsibilities
within the multi professional teams. Almost all the participants were aware of
the importance of the teamwork. More students became convinced that
communication skills learned within a multi professional group is acceptable
and useful.

Table 1: The pre and post course participants responses to the first part of
RIPLS (Team work & collaboration)

No Questions Pre course (no=30) Post course(no=30)


(%) mean sd (%) mean sd
1 Learning with other students 97.3 4.64 0.53 100 4.70 0.46
helped me become a more
effective member of a health
care team
2 Patients would ultimately 94.7 4.56 0.86 96.7 4.80 0.76
benefit if health care students
work together to solve patient
problem
3 Shared learning with other 40.5 4.32 0.62 93.3 4.65 0.62
health care students will
increase my ability to
understand clinical problems.
4 Learning with healthcare 83.7 4.13 0.91 83.4 4.26 0.82
students before qualification
would improve relationships
after qualification.
5 Communication skills should 86.5 4.18 0.73 96.7 4.53 0.57
be learned with other health
care students.
6 Shared learning will help me 94.6 4.37 0.59 96.7 4.50 0.82
to think positively about other
professionals
7 For small-group learning to 100 4.75 0.43 100 4.83 0.37
work, students need to trust
and respect each other.
8 Team-working skills are 94.6 4.56 0.60 99.6 4.70 0.53
essential for all healthcare
students to learn.
9 Shared learning will help me 75.6 3.97 0.98 90 4.46 0.68
to understand my own
limitations.
Note: The % and mean represent the agreement of the students to the
statements

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201

Table 2: participants` responses to the second &third part of RIPLS (Negative


professional identity and Roles and Responsibilities)

No Questions Pre course(no=30) Post course(no=30)


% mean sd % mean sd
10 I do not want to waste my 94.5 1.95 0.68 92.7 1.86 1.76
time learning with other
healthcare students.
11 It is not necessary for 91.9 1.51 0.90 90 1.87 1.85
undergraduate healthcare
students to learn together.
12 Clinical problem-solving skills 56.7* 2.45 1.19 33* 2.41 2.01
can only be learned with 21.6 96.6
students from my own
department.
13 Shared learning with other 91.9 4.24 0.68 96.6 4.74 0.67
healthcare students will help
me to communicate better with
patients and other
professionals.
14 I would welcome the 97.3 4.37 0.54 93.3 4.74 1.82
opportunity to work on small-
group projects with other
healthcare students.
15 Shared learning will help to 83.7 4.16 0.76 90 4.74 2.04
clarify the nature of patient
problems.
16 Shared learning before 67.5 4.51 0.86 96.6 4.70 0.52
qualification will help me
become a better team worker.
17 The function of nurses and 37.8 2.75 1.34 36 3.45 2.89
Anesthetist is mainly to provide 54* 40*
support for doctors.
18 I am not sure what my 72.6* 2.13 1.15 80* 2.41 3.10
professional role will be. 18.9 10
19 I have to acquire much more 83.8 4.00 0.94 80 4.51 2.81
knowledge and skills than
other healthcare students.

Note: * =disagree; =agree.

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202

Table 3: shows the comparison of the responses of the multi professional


students to the RIPLS, and their significance.

Parts of RIPLS Comparing groups mean sd t value P Sig


value
Team & work Pre course (no=30) 5.53 1.94 0.49 0.62 Not
collaboration Post course(no=30) 5.26 2.25 sig
Negative Pre course (no=30) 17.13 2.22 1.60 0.11 Not
professional Post course 18.00 1.94 sig
identity (no=30)
Roles & Pre course (no=30 ) 8.93 2.06 0.92 0.10 Not
responsibilities Post course 8.92 2.01 sig
(no=30)
sd = standard deviation; sig= significance

Table 4: The overall comparison of the multi professional students` attitude


toward inter professional learning
RIPLS Comparing mean sd t value P value Sig
groups
Pre course 39.56 3.96 2.02 0.04 Significant
(no=30) difference
Post course 41.36 2.48
(no=30)

The questionnaire for evaluation of the IPE communication skills of breaking


bad news was answered by 30 multi professional students 93.1% were females.
The questionnaire was administered after completion of the course. Eighteen
students (60%) rated the lectures as good, 20% as very good and 20% as
excellent. The scenarios and their practices were rated by 53.3% of the students
as very good and 23.3 as excellent. Groups` work was rated as excellent or very
good by 43.3% for each and by 13.3% as good.

The evaluation of the IPE communication skills of breaking bad news shows that
there is a strong level of agreement to 80% of the questions except, questions 2
and 3 in which the answers are still above the level of 3(neutral answer)( see
index 1).

Discussion
Health care professionals have few opportunities to practice within multi
professional teams. Inter professional simulation training is not a common
educational opportunity at the undergraduate level especially in the developing
countries. One aim of organizing inter professional simulation sessions for multi
professions students is to give them the opportunity to observe each other and
interact with all members of the multi professions team during practicing the
scenarios.(Alinier et al 2008) The way we organized our simulated sessions
allowed each multi professional student to take a different role during scenarios
practice. He has the opportunity to be the leader of the team or a helper or an
observer when other teams were practicing or presenting the scenario. This way

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203

of implementing the IPE initiative leads to improving inter professional


collaboration.

Our results demonstrated that the multi professions students became aware of
the roles and responsibilities of their profession and the roles and
responsibilities of other professions. They also gained the skills of working
together in collaboration with other professions and the skill of leadership. The
multi professions students gained knowledge and skills because they have
opportunity to work together in a multi professional team and they observed
and helped each other. The results showed that the implemented IPE initiative
had positive effects on the multi professions students` perception and attitude to
inter professional team work.

Breaking bad news is commonly associated with strong emotions, burden of


responsibility and fear of negative evaluation. This stress may lead to reluctance
to deliver the bad news. (Walter et al 2000, Amiel GE et al 2006) Bearing these in
mind healthcare professionals may collaborate and support each other to break
the bad news working together in a mutual respect and each within his/her role.
The 6-point protocol can be used for teaching and training multi professional
undergraduate students the technique of breaking bad news.
One objective of our study was to show that its possible and practicable to offer
a training course, in the technique of breaking bad news for the undergraduate
multi professions students. Our results showed that such a course can be
implemented within the available limited resources; as far as the administration
and faculty are committed.

Assessment of our participants` attitude towards an IPE was conducted using an


Arabic version of the validated scale (RIPLS). We used the scale because it is
easy to administer and its three parts can investigate all the aspect of the
learners attitude toward IPE.( Desiree AL et al 2013, Page RL et al 2015)
Although RIPLS has been validated in many studies, but recently Desiree
reported it has a low discriminating ability for detecting the attitude of the
multi-professions learners. They attributed this low discriminating ability of
RIPLS to the mode of constructing the scale. (Desiree AL et al 2013) Another
study showed that two of the three of RIPLS parts, namely profession identity
and role and responsibilities, are less reliable for establishing the attitude of the
multi profession learners toward IPE.( Lauffs M et al 2008)
The fact that more than 90% of our multi profession learners were females may
has had impact on the result, because some studies reported that female
students and nursing students are more positive to team work than
males.(Wilhelmsson et al 2011)

During the reflection sessions the discussion highlighted that the multi
professional training is important and feasible. However, there were some
challenges: the voluntary participation, timetabling, that force the organizers to
hold session in the afternoons and the commitments of the students. The
difficulties which might be encountered during implementing an IPE initiative
can be avoided by an online IPE course or more realistic and recommended by

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204

integrating IPE in the curriculum of the undergraduate healthcare students.


Further studies are warranted to investigate other modalities of IPE
(community-based IPE or simulation-based training for our multi-profession
undergraduate students)

Conclusion
Our study explored the individual teamwork competencies as it is perceived by
inter-professional students to contribute to effective teamwork in breaking bad
news. The findings of our study encourage and support the necessity for greater
focus on inter-professional education within the healthcare sector, with special
focusing on teamwork development approach. The breaking bad news teams
competencies suggested that team success is assured when the team members
display a strong interest in implementing the team work by active discussions,
regular presence and effective interpersonal and teamwork relationships. The
findings of this study will encourage faculty to initiate focused teamwork
training initiatives for undergraduate multi professions students.

Acknowledgement

This study is a part of a research project funded by the Administration of


scientific research of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research,
Sudan; 2013 - 2014.
We are very grateful to the staff and students of the different colleges who
participated in the study.

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Index 1 : Illustrates the students` answers to the post course evaluation


questionnaire on a 5- point scale (1= strongly disagree; 5= strongly agree)

No Questions Options 5-point % Mean


scale
1 Breaking bad news is important topic and has to be 0 1 0 4.9
learnt. 0 2 0
0 3 0
3 4 10
27 5 90
2 IPE with other health care students helps me to 0 0 3.96
acquire communication skills in breaking bad news. 0 0
5 16.7
6 20
19 63.3
3 Breaking bad news should be learnt or taught as an 0 0 3.86
inter professional course. 0 0
5 16.7
9 30
16 53.3
4 Working as a group made me more competent in 0 0 4.00
breaking bad news. 0 0
5 16.7
5 16.7
20 66.6
5 Breaking bad news should be conveyed by the group 0 1 0 4.20
that is treating the patient. 1 2 3.3
1 3 3.3
14 4 46.7
14 5 46.7
6 The team leader who breaks the bad news should be 0 0 4.80
experienced unperturbed and have self restraint. 0 0
0 0
6 20
24 80
7 I gained useful knowledge in breaking bad news by 0 0 4.56
taking part in an IPE course 0 0
1 3.3
8 26.7
21 70
8 I gained the skills of breaking bad news by taking part 0 0 4.20
in an IPE. 0 0
2 6.6
14 46. 7
14 46.7
9 Breaking bad news to the patient or his family will be 0 0 4.70
easier if it is conveyed by a homogenous health care 0 0
team. 0 0
9 30
21 70

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207

10 IPE is a good method for gaining skills in leadership 0 0 4.10


and group work. 0 0
4 13.3
7 23.3
19 63.3

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208

International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 13, No. 3, pp. 208-230, September 2015

Teachers Intentions for Outdoor Learning: A


Characterisation of Teachers Objectives and Actions

Christina Ottander1, Birgitta Wilhelmsson1 & Gun Lidestav2

1Department of science and mathematics education,


Ume University
S- 901 87 UME
Sweden
2Department of Forest Resource Management

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences


Skogsmarksgrnd, SE-901 83 UME

Abstract. Building on authors previous study of teachers intentions and


educational objectives for outdoor learning, this paper examine the alignment
between teachers predefined objectives and the kinds of knowledge and
cognitive processes reflected in the outdoor activities. The Halldns theory
of intentional analysis and Blooms revised taxonomy were combined when
analysing observations of performed outdoor activities and subsequent semi-
structured interviews with nine teachers. Four teaching orientations were
reveled: one that values affective and social objectives and promotes activities
to understand factual knowledge, another orientation focuses on activities
intended to gain procedural knowledge and emphasizes application of
practical tasks. The other two teaching orientations primarily focus on
cognitive objectives, partly to reinforce conceptual knowledge, partly to
deepen understanding or improve strategies to enhance meta-cognitive
knowledge. The degree of alignment between intended objectives and
performed activity is higher among teachers promoting affective and social
goals as well as meta-cognitive and analytical understanding, than teachers
who use outdoor activities to mainly reinforce conceptual knowledge. The
study shows that there is a range of possible learning goals in outdoor
education and that teachers are guided by what they value and how they
perceive learning.

Key words: Outdoor learning; Teachers intentions; Blooms taxonomy

Introduction
Outdoor teaching and learning as part of the school curriculum have long been of
interest for teachers as well as researchers in many countries (Bentsen, 2010; Jordet,
2007; Nundy, 2001). The educational values ascribed to outdoor learning by its
proponents are based upon beliefs about the potential for outdoor environments to
reinforce learning, since the meeting with nature becomes more holistic and involve

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209

all senses in the knowledge-building (Wilhelmsson et al 2012; OBrian & Murray,


2007; Sandell & hman, 2010). A review of international research of outdoor learning
show that depending on the setting it can be understood both as a concept and a
practice which is varied and complex with extensive field activities (Rickinson et al.,
2004). It encompasses many different activities, for example field-work within school
subjects and projects in school grounds run by regular teachers, visits to field study
centres or out-of-school learning and adventure education run by leaders other than
teachers, all with a body of its own literature. Outdoor learning occurs in many
different parts of the world, and even though the context varies, the experiences
gained seem similar (Rickinson et al., 2004; Rea & Waite, 2009; Lai, 1999). In this study
we focus on outdoor learning that is taking place outside the classroom with regular
teachers following the Swedish syllabus.

Many teachers in Sweden show an interest in locating learning outdoors. Personal


encounters with nature (Sandell &hman, 2010) and teachers autonomy are likely
motives for why Scandinavian teachers are readily inclined to locate learning outdoors
(Rea & Waite, 2009). This is in accordance with current Swedish school curricula, in
which providing outdoor learning opportunities is desirable but is non-statutory, a
position similar to that in many countries. Relevant objectives in science curricula
include, for example, stimulating interest and curiosity and creating a desire among
students to explore and understand nature. Furthermore, human relations with nature
and environmental issues are highlighted in biology, social sciences, and geography
curricula (The National Agency for Education, 2011). Swedish teachers value
arranging teaching outdoors since it creates an alternative learning arena
(Wilhelmsson et al., 2012) where theoretical knowledge can be combined with
experience-based learning. Outdoors can provide opportunities in terms of unique
activities, which simply do not exist inside the classroom. Thereby, students cognitive
development as well as improvements in affective, social and physical learning
domains can be gained (Wilhelmsson et al., 2012).

In the review by Rickinson et al. (2004) benefits and impacts of outdoor learning was
investigated. The authors made a distinction between four learning domains;
cognitive, affective, interpersonal /social and physical/ behavioural, and their meta-
analysis indicated that well-taught fieldwork can lead to reinforcement between the
cognitive and the affective domain with each influencing the other and providing a bridge to
higher order learning (Rickinson et al., 2004, p 24). The four domains were used as an
analytical framework. In an evaluation study of an out-of-school programme
involving schools from London, UK, with data from 2700 students reported that
students gained self-confidence, a greater sense of independence, and improved
relationships both between students and students as well as students and teachers
(Amos & Reiss, 2012). A positive impact in the affective and social domains seems to
be a prerequisite to gains in the cognitive domain. Learning objectives within the
cognitive, affective, social and physical domains also became apparent through an
analysis of teachers intentions with outdoor teaching in Sweden (Wilhelmsson et al.,
2012).

A positive development of the students social relationships, experience of teaching


and self-perceived physical activity level is reported by Mygind (2009). The
importance of the combination of classroom and outdoor teaching is also described in
Norwegian research into schools which locate learning outdoors on a regular basis

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210

(Jordet, 2007). The interaction between theoretical knowledge and hands-on


experience is crucial for successful learning and can make the distinction between
success and failure for many students. The teachers opinions were that physical and
practical learning activities may contribute to improving students cognitive, affective
and social development.

Teachers have expressed a range of reasons for using outdoor as an alternative arena
for learning including reinforcement of theoretical knowledge through experience-
based learning, to explore real objects using multiple senses, to stimulate positive
feelings towards nature and to promote collaboration (Wilhelmsson et al. , 2012;
Braund & Reiss, 2006; Jordet, 2007). The results correspond with previous
international research concerning students' benefitting from positive influences in the
affective and social domain in order to succeed in acquiring knowledge (Amos &
Reiss, 2012) and confirm the importance of interaction between classroom-based and
outdoor experiences to achieve deeper understanding and renewed motivation
towards learning (Braund & Reiss, 2006; Fryland 2010). Specifically inquir-based
learning, which is believed to increase interest in science (EU, 2007), can be pursued in
outdoor contexts. Outdoor activities can take the forms of inquiry, i.e., as a systematic
and principled process of pursuing and refining explanations for phenomena in the
natural or material world (Linn, Davis and Bell, 2004) Many of the mentioned
advantages with outdoor learning are similar to the advantages linked to non-formal
or informal learning e.g., to nurture curiosity and engage in socially interactive
settings for learning through experience (Eshach, 2007). Outdoor teaching and
learning within a school context is somewhat comparable to non-formal learning. This
type of learning is described as 5structured and guided, or teacher -led, but more
flexible than formal learning (Eshach, 2007). Flexible learning afforded by the outdoor
arena seems to suggest important opportunities to many teachers, yet often its
potential is not fully utilized, according to Eshach (2007). From an educational
perspective, there is a strong case for the need for further research from different
perspectives including pedagogical outcomes, effective teaching approaches and
initiatives that improve as well as provide evidence of effective practice (Rickinson et
al., 2004). Initiatives in the outdoor arena with young people as creators and active
participants may promote scientific literacy and increase motivation to learn (Braund
& Reiss, 2006). These actions do not have to form a major part of the teaching and
learning, but in order to be effective they have to be carefully and purposefully
organized (Wilhelmsson et al, 2012; Fryland, 2010; Magntorn, 2007; Rickinson et al.,
2004). This includes the importance of being accurate in instructions in order to
promote students' understanding of, for example, making connections between
theoretical concepts and practical context. According to sterlind and Halldn (2007)
students construe different meanings for instructions in practical contexts with respect
to theoretical concepts, which means that teachers should pay close attention to given
instructions and explanations, in order to actually facilitate students' learning process
outdoors.

Teachers have expressed a range of reasons for using outdoor as an alternative arena
for learning including reinforcement of theoretical knowledge through experience-
based learning, to explore real objects using multiple senses, to stimulate positive
feelings towards nature and to promote collaboration (Wilhelmsson et al., 2012;
Braund & Reiss, 2006; Jordet, 2007). The results correspond with previous
international research concerning students' benefitting from positive influences in the

@2015 The authors and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved.


211

affective and social domain in order to succeed in acquiring knowledge (Amos &
Reiss, 2012) and confirm the importance of interaction between classroom-based and
outdoor experiences to achieve deeper understanding and renewed motivation
towards learning (Braund & Reiss, 2006; Fryland 2010). Specifically inquiry based
learning, which is believed to increase interest in science (EU, 2007), can be pursued in
outdoor contexts. Outdoor activities can take the forms of inquiry, i.e., as a systematic
and principled process of pursuing and refining explanations for phenomena in the
natural or material world (Linn et al., 2004). Inquiry in outdoor activities can be used
as a dynamic approach to learning that involves exploring the world, asking
questions, making discoveries, rigorously testing those discoveries in the search for
new understanding, communicating findings, and considering solutions in terms of
their societal impacts.

Many of the mentioned advantages with outdoor learning are similar to the
advantages linked to non-formal or informal learning e.g., to nurture curiosity and
engage in socially interactive settings for learning through experience (Eshach, 2007).
Outdoor teaching and learning within a school context is somewhat comparable to
non-formal learning. This type of learning is described as structured and guided, or
teacher-led, but more flexible than formal learning (Eshach, 2007). Flexible learning
afforded by the outdoor arena seems to suggest important opportunities to many
teachers, yet often its potential is not fully utilized, according to Eshach (2007). From
an educational perspective, there is a strong case for the need for further research from
different perspectives including pedagogical outcomes, effective teaching approaches
and initiatives that improve as well as provide evidence of effective practice
(Rickinson et al., 2004).

Initiatives in the outdoor arena with young people as creators and active participants
may promote scientific literacy and increase motivation to learn (Braund & Reiss,
2006). These actions do not have to form a major part of the teaching and learning, but
in order to be effective they have to be carefully and purposefully organized
(Wilhelmsson et al., 2012; Fryland, 2010; Magntorn, 2007; Rickinson et al., 2004). This
includes the importance of being accurate in instructions in order to promote students'
understanding of, for example, making connections between theoretical concepts and
practical context. According to sterlind and Halldn (2007) students construe
different meanings for instructions in practical contexts with respect to theoretical
concepts, which means that teachers should pay close attention to given instructions
and explanations, in order to actually facilitate students' learning process outdoors.
Poorly organized outdoor activities can lead to reduced learning (Openshaw
&Whittle, 1993) and there are studies showing that objectives for outdoor learning are
not always translated into practice, indicating gaps between intention and reality in
this orientation of teaching (Bentsen, 2010). In a similar way, Jordet (2007, p. 16)
emphasizes that progressive ideas seem more like intentions than realities in today's schools
(our translation from Norwegian). Furthermore, teachers may set differing
educational objectives even when they often perform similar activities outdoors
(Wilhelmsson et al., 2012). This inconsistency raises questions about how clear such
intended educational objectives are for students and, in reality, about the exact nature
of learning outcomes in the different domains. Thus, teachers educational objectives
and the knowledge teachers require their students to develop by undertaking
activities outdoors merits closer examination.

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212

Aim and research questions


The overall aim of this study is to examine the knowledge and skills teachers want
their students to develop through engaging in outdoor activities. By analyzing
teachers educational objectives, we wanted to understand which cognitive processes
and knowledge perspectives the teaching is aimed at. In addition, we investigated the
activities and teachers dialogue with the students during activity implementation to
establish insights into how the intended objectives were promoted and realized by the
teacher. Hence, we are able to examine the alignment between teachers' intended
objectives and the knowledge focus in performed activities outdoors. To do so, we use
theories developed by von Wright (1971, 1979) explaining actions as a result of an
individual's interpretation of the motives and prerequisites of the situation at hand.
Further Blooms revised taxonomy (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001) was applied as an
analytical tool to categorize educational objectives of teaching in a knowledge
dimension and a cognitive process dimension.

We explore teachers educational objectives and the knowledge and cognitive


processes reflected in the activities and the alignment between these, by addressing
the following questions:
1. What are teachers objectives for outdoor learning, and specifically what kinds of
knowledge do teachers want to promote during outdoor activities?
2. What kinds of knowledge and cognitive processes are dealt with in outdoor
activities?
3. How do teachers make use of the outdoor environment to align intended objectives
and activities?

In order to inform practice, this paper will also discuss how the alignment between
teachers predefined objectives and the kinds of knowledge and cognitive processes
reflected in students actual performance can be improved. We aim to provide teachers
who work outdoors with insight into the importance of careful consideration of how
to use the outdoor environment to align objectives and activities to make use of the
full potential of the outdoor arena.

Methods

Participants
Teachers with extensive outdoor teaching practice were identified through a database
of Forest in school (www.skogeniskolan.se) and recommendations of directors of
educational offices in three Swedish municipalities. Nine of those teachers volunteered
to participate in the project meaning that nine semi-structured interviews were
conducted and twenty-six different outdoor sessions were observed (Table 1).

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213

Table 1. The participants with pseudonyms, educational backgrounds, teaching grades,


experience and the number of observed activities for each teacher.

Teacher Educational School Ages of School Years of Number of


background year students teaching observed
experience sessions
Alice Teacher education,
specialization in 3 8/9 A 12 7
Swedish/ Social
Science
Ina Leisure (non-teacher
educator) 3 8/9 A 12 7
Anna Teacher education,
specialization in 4 9/10 A 6.5 7
Mathematics / Science
Johan Teacher education,
specialization in 4 9/10 B 9 Not
Mathematics / Science observed
Annie Teacher education,
specialization in 5 10/11 A 6 7
Mathematics / Science
Sverker Teacher education,
primary school 5-6 10/12 C 37 Not
programme observed
Maria Teacher education,
specialization in 6 11/12 D 42 Not
Mathematics / Science observed
Margareta Teacher education,
specialization in 6 11/12 A 7 7
Mathematics / Science
Roger Teacher education,
specialization in 6 11/12 E 5 12
Mathematics / Science

All teachers but one (Ina) have a teacher certificate. The reason for including Ina in the
study, with a certificate from a leisure-time center training, was because of her many
years of experience in teaching outdoors and her responsibility for implementing
outdoor activities in school year 3 (children aged 9). Alice, Ina, Anna, Annie and
Margareta come from the same school whereas the others from different schools. All
the schools are situated in small cities and have about 200 pupils (in school years 1-6,
children aged 7-12). The study pays strict attention to the Swedish ethical principals in
research (Vetenskapsrdet, 2006).

Data collection
This paper builds upon a previous research study in which results from the interviews
with four of the nine teachers are presented (Wilhelmsson et al., 2012). The study
design is presented in Figure 1 and a description of how the data collection relates to
the research questions is shown in Table 2. In spring and early autumn 2010, data were
gathered by semi-structured interviews with the nine teachers. The interview schedule
used in all interviews consisted of three parts: 1) a general discussion about why and
@2015 The authors and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved.
214

how outdoor teaching is used, 2) a focused discussion about successful outdoor


activities, and 3) teachers reflections on different metaphors concerning teaching and
learning outdoors. The complete interview schedule is presented in Wilhelmsson et al.
(2012). By late autumn 2010, three of the nine teachers had changed duties so empirical
data comprising non-participant observations were collected from the remaining six
teachers. These observations took place in an outdoor environment near the respective
schools. Each observation of an outdoor session lasted 1.5 - 2 hours. Teacher-student
dialogue was audio-recorded during observations, with a microphone attached to the
teachers collar. Before each outdoor session, the teacher described how their plan for
activities had been constructed alongside their intended objectives, with a focus on
knowledge and cognitive processes. These conversations took place in school without
students present. Throughout the observations field notes were also made. The five
teachers from the same school (school A) conducted their outdoor activities in the
same location.

Alice, Ina and Anna conducted outdoor activities at the same location due to safety
reasons and so did Annie and Margareta. Therefore, two, and sometimes three,
teachers were observed at the same time. In these cases, one of the teachers was
carefully observed for continuous intervals of ten minutes each, at a short distance,
while the other teacher/s was observed every four minutes in order to note, e.g., mode
of acting, dialogue with students. Ina and Anna wore microphones with grades 3 and
4, as did Annie and Margareta with grades 5 and 6. The audio recorder helped to
capture the conversations between teacher and students which were often not possible
to follow at a distance. After the observation, a discussion followed with each teacher
to elicit and summarize the activities and their intended objectives. The total number
of observed activities amounted to twenty-six (twelve with Roger, seven with Ina,
Alice and Anna and sevenwith Margareta and Annie). In this paper a selection of
examples is described to illustrate typical results. All interviews and observations
were recorded and transcribed verbatim. All interviews and observations were carried
out in Swedish and the citations presented are translated from Swedish to English.

Interview transcripts from nine Observations transcripts and field notes


teachers with substantial experience from six of the teachers, in all 26 observed
of outdoor teaching outdoor sessions

Reasons for outdoor teaching


Teachers' intended objectives and the knowledge and cognitive
processes focus in the performed activities outdoors
Alignment

Figure 1. Study design used to obtain information on reasons for outdoor teaching, the kinds
of knowledge and cognitive processes teachers intend to develop and the knowledge and
cognitive processes focused in outdoor teaching and the alignment.

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215

Table 2. Description of research design used to obtain information on reasons for outdoor
teaching, identification of objectives and knowledge focused in outdoor teaching within the
interviews and in the observations.

Research question Dataset Data analysed by Information obtained


Explicit and implicit
Interview transcripts from reasons for outdoor
RQ 1: - General questions learning
Intentional analysis
Teacher intentions - Successful activities Identification of
objectives within
different domains
Objectives in the cognitive
Identification of
RQ 1: domain achieved by
knowledge dimension
Skills and intentional analysis Blooms revised
and cognitive processes
knowledge to Interview transcripts from taxonomy
to develop by outdoor
develop - Successful activities
learning
- Metaphors
Objectives in the cognitive Identification of
RQ 2:
domain achieved by Blooms knowledge dimension
Skills and Blooms revised
revised taxonomy and cognitive processes
knowledge taxonomy
Observation transcripts and dealt with in outdoor
dealt with outdoors
field notes learning
Identification of
alignment between
RQ 3: Results from dataset in RQ 1 intended objectives,
Blooms revised
Use of the outdoor and dataset in RQ 2 knowledge focus in
taxonomy
environment activities and teachers
use of the outdoor
environment

Data Analysis
The interview transcripts were first analysed by intentional analysis theory (Halldn,
2001; von Wright, 1971, 1979), using a modified version of Lager-Nyqvists model
(2003) to identify explicit and implicit reasons/intentions to locate learning outdoors
(Figure 2). The internal determinants enable or limit what the teachers consider a
possible performance action, while external determinants determine the teachers
interpretation of all the potential actions likely to be performed in the defined situation
(Halldn, 2001; Lager-Nyqvist, 2003). An individuals intentions can be explicitly
stated to a greater or lesser extent, and implicit intentions might be interpreted by the
researcher from what is stated by the individual. Hence, each transcript from the
teacher interviews was read through several times and all statements of intention
noted. Interpretations of the teachers implicit and explicit responses to all questions in
the interview were used to understand teachers intentions for outdoor teaching. The
interpretation of the intentions is not validated by the individual interviewed but by

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216

the degree of rationality, found by the researcher, within the analysis of the different
parts of the interviews (cf. Halldn, 2001).

Internal determinants External determinants

Wants, objectives Steering , influence


Aims for the teaching and understanding of Understanding of the performance of
learning teaching in relation to the
Wishes concerning learning process, interpretation of norms, demands,
students progress and achievement in restrictions and expectations which
cognitive, affective, social and physical can be both formal and informal, e.g.,
domain syllabus, principals and parents

Intention to locate the teaching outdoors to the school forest

Abilities Opportunities, barriers


Understanding of personal Appreciation of the possibilities or
competence to perform intended limitations to perform the actual
teaching teaching in relation to wants and
objectives and goals

Figure 2. The model for intentional analysis used to identify teachers intentions to locate
teaching outdoors (modified from Lager-Nyqvist, 2003) which shows the examined teachers'
internal and external determinants.

The analysis of transcripts from interviews and observations revealed teaching


objectives in four different domains, cognitive, affective, social and physical, similar to
the categories made by Rickinson et al. (2004) and also seen in Wilhelmsson et al.
(2012). All of the teachers had teaching objectives in more than one domain, and each
teacher described many activities expressing a similar orientation with regard to the
teaching objectives. Different teachers placed an emphasis on different objectives and
so this required further analysis to reveal in what way they varied. An analysis of the
learning objectives in the cognitive domain was undertaken and then the results from
the different analyses were cross examined (see below).

The interview transcripts regarding the teachers objectives for outdoor learning in the
cognitive domain were further analysed by Blooms revised taxonomy, a framework
for categorizing educational objectives (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001) to interpret
which knowledge perspectives and cognitive processes the teachers were striving for
(Wilhelmsson et al., 2012). The knowledge dimension and the cognitive process
dimension represent a coherent continuum from basic elements to more abstract and
complex categories of knowledge or cognitive processes. The knowledge dimension in
the taxonomy (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001) proceeds from detailed, factual
knowledge, to more complicated conceptual knowledge about categories, principles,
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217

theories and structures. Further dimensions are procedural knowledge based on how
to do something, and finally the meta-cognitive knowledge which is more abstract and
strategic. In the cognitive process dimension, to remember is considered to be the
lowest level of underlying cognitive complexity and to create, the most complex
level. The aim of analyzing the objectives within the framework is to describe which
skills and knowledge the teachers intend to develop through activities outdoors.
Concerning the analysis of the observations of the teaching activities, Bloom's revised
taxonomy was also used (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001). First, the objectives of the
proposed activities in the cognitive domain, as expressed by the teacher in the
conversation before the lesson, were analysed, coded with capital letters (A) and
placed in a particular cell in the taxonomy table (table 6). Second, the activities
promoted during the actual lesson were analysed, coded with lower-case letters (a)
and placed into the taxonomy table. Third, the consistency between objectives and
activities was analysed. If (A) and (a) were placed in the same cell, there is an
alignment and the teacher has provided opportunities for the students to acquire the
intended knowledge and cognitive processes as exemplified in Table 6. The
interpretations have been validated through a process by which each author
interpreted the statements independently and then compared the analysis such that
agreement was reached by the research team.

By cross examining, i.e. comparing the similarities and differences between the
different analyses of teachers intentions, learning goals in different domains and the
analysis of teaching objectives in the cognitive domain, we were able to define four
different teaching orientations: to inspire, to do, to reinforce and to inquire. The
characterization of the different teaching orientations is described in table 3 and
examples of different activities within the orientation is described in the results.

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218

Table 3. Characteristics of the teaching orientations found among the nine teachers, based
on interviews of teachers intentions and learning goals for outdoor teaching and
categorization of educational objectives of observed activities.
Teaching orientation Description of characteristics within the orientation
To inspire Emphasizes objectives in affective, social and physical
domains, and factual knowledge within the cognitive
domain
To do is to learn Emphasizes objectives in affective and social domains,
and procedural knowledge in cognitive domain
To reinforce Emphasizes cognitive objectives to understand and
apply conceptual knowledge
To inquiry Emphasizes cognitive objectives mainly conceptual
and procedural knowledge. Uses an approach to
learning that involves exploring the world, asking
questions, making discoveries.

Results
For all teachers, the main intention for arranging outdoor learning was to create an
alternative learning arena, as an important complement to classroom learning,
contributing value to students learning processes. It gives students the chance to
experience with all the senses and combines academic skills with experience-based
learning. The teachers stress that outdoor learning draws on the actual world but their
objectives within these authentic activities are diverse. The intentional analysis reveals
similarities in the teachers intentions for outdoor learning, primarily in the external
determinants but also in the internal determinant: in the abilities category (Figure 2).
The differences between the teachers are mainly apparent in the internal determinant:
in the wants and objectives category. The objectives were described in cognitive,
affective, social and physical domains. Some teachers included objectives in all
domains but the different teachers put more or less emphasis on each domain (Table
4). The similarities and differences revealed provide the basis for four different
teaching orientations: to inspire, to do, to reinforce and to inquire. Within each
teaching orientation there is concurrence between teachers intentions, objectives and
ways of using the outdoor arena to achieve educational objectives. To illustrate this
further, each teaching orientation is presented separately. First, the objectives favoured
by each teaching orientation are given, followed by the kinds of knowledge and
cognitive processes they want to promote by learning outdoors. A summary of the
teachers main reasons for staging outdoor learning is presented in Table 4.
Furthermore, a summary of the knowledge and cognitive processes the different
teaching orientations aim to promote, analyzed using Blooms revised taxonomy, is
presented in Table 5.
In the second part, results from the observations of the six teachers outdoor activities,
the kinds of knowledge they focused on, and how the teachers made use of the
outdoor environment, are presented. Descriptions are included in order to discuss the
alignment between teachers' intended cognitive objectives and the knowledge focus in
the performed activities outdoors.

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219

Table 4. Distribution of the teachers expressed objectives into cognitive, affective, social
and physical domain sorted into four different teaching orientations. Numbers refer to how
many different types of objectives in each domain. The distribution within the domains and
the main reasons for locating learning outdoors is a result of the intentional analysis.

Teaching Main reasons for locating learning outdoors Distribution of teachers


orientation objectives in cognitive (C),
affective (A), social (S) and
physical (P) domains
To inspire Stimulate writing and reading (Alice) 2C, 2A, 1S, 1P
Stimulate interest in nature (Ina) 2C, 3A, 1S, 1P
To do is to learn Generate feeling of achievement Maria: 2C, 4A, 2S, 2P
(Maria, Sverker, Anna) Sverker: 2C, 3A, 1S
Anna: 3C, 2A, 2S, 1P
To reinforce Confirm learning through various aesthetic 4C, 2A, 1S, 1P
expressions (Margareta)
To inquire Reflect upon and reconsider responsibility for 6C, 1A, 1S
own learning (Johan)
Reflect upon and reconsider own learning 5C, 2A, 1S
(Annie)
Reflect upon and reconsider their own 7C, 2A, 1S
perspectives (Roger)

Table 5. The teaching orientations with identification of knowledge and cognitive processes
they want to promote through learning outdoors, analysed by Blooms revised taxonomy.

Teaching Identification of knowledge and cognitive processes


orientation
To inspire Focus on understanding of factual knowledge (Alice, Ina)
To do is to learn Focus on applying procedural knowledge ( Maria, Anna, Sverker)
To reinforce Focus on understanding and applying conceptual knowledge
(Margareta)
Focus on understanding conceptual knowledge, aiming at analysing
To inquire conceptual knowledge (Johan)
Focus on applying procedural knowledge, aiming at analysing
procedural knowledge (Annie, Roger)
Elements for understanding meta-cognitive knowledge (Johan, Annie,
Roger)

Reasons for outdoor learning and the knowledge teachers want to promote
The four defined different teaching orientations highlight the following main reasons
for outdoor learning: to inspire, to do, to reinforce and to inquire.

Teaching orientation: To inspire - focus on affective, physical and social dimensions


This teaching orientation emphasizes mainly objectives within affective, physical and
social domains. Concerning affective objectives, the aim with outdoor activities is to
stimulate students interest in nature and to evoke positive feelings about being
outdoors (see Table 4). Opportunities for play and physical activities are essential and
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220

it is important that students consider the outdoor environment in a positive manner,


associated with both inspiring and playful activities. Group work is used to promote
cooperation in various tasks. When referring to the cognitive domain, activities
promoting understanding factual knowledge is emphasized (Table 5). On the one
hand, objectives aimed at understanding science facts with a focus on explaining
causes and effects are expressed. For instance, one activity was designed to
problematize littering by telling stories about injured animals to illustrate examples
of human impact on nature and to awaken empathetic feelings for nature as being
worth taking care of from a life-long perspective. On the other hand, factual
knowledge to support inspiration which facilitates theoretical tasks in the classroom
is stressed. Here, linking writing or reading tasks to experiences in nature, e.g. in
writing fairytales or explaining facts about implemented activities outdoors, is
thought to stimulate students learning processes indoors. For Alice, for example,
there is a dichotomy between outdoor learning which provides practical knowledge
combined with physical activity, and learning inside which provides theoretical
knowledge.
After we have been out the entire morning, then it is very quiet in the classroom ... then
you know, we have done something practical ... then we can, in good conscience, work on
something theoretical in the classroom. (Alice)

Teaching orientation: To do is to learn - focus on applying procedural knowledge


Within this teaching orientation, affective and social objectives are primarily
emphasised. In their affective objectives, all three teachers draw attention to the
importance of generating feelings of achievement, particularly for students with
learning difficulties (Table 4). The significance of strengthening students abilities and
self confidence in order to potentially transfer feelings of achievement into theoretical
subjects in the classroom is stressed here. Regarding social objectives, Maria and Anna
focus attention upon the value of the group to generate well-being, while Sverker
stresses student peer interactions as an important motivator for unmotivated students.
When referring to cognitive objectives, the ability to apply procedural knowledge is in
focus (Table 5). All three teachers view concrete outcomes as vital and emphasise
activities to improve basic factual understanding, e.g. categorising certain herbs and
other plant species in order to build factual knowledge, as well as exercises to attain
procedural knowledge. Maria describes how she uses the forests growth cycle: to
explain the carbon cycle, planting trees, maintaining the forest and thinning out the
saplings. Anna works with camp fires to demonstrate energy flow by building a
reflector oven, which shows how such flow can be affected by the use of different
materials. Similarly, most of the activities Sverker mentioned have objectives related to
gaining procedural knowledge, e.g., how to make charcoal and constructing water
wheels. The objectives were often discussed in terms of applying knowledge with a
focus on practical issues.

Teaching orientation: To reinforce - focus on understanding and applying conceptual


knowledge
This teaching orientation stresses mainly cognitive objectives in order to understand
and apply conceptual knowledge (Table 5). Outdoors, students are provided with
opportunities to demonstrate learning through various forms of aesthetic expression
considered valuable for improving understanding of, for example, ecological
relationships or processes (Table 4).
Being outdoors is fantastic...there is more space to use, to be able to understand... to
process what you have done in the classroom (Margareta)
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221

This teaching orientation is characterised by the conviction that the interaction


between the in- and outdoor arenas helps the students with their learning processes,
making them longer-lasting and more comprehensible. Group work is used to
promote social interaction to motivate students in different tasks. In these activities
students with learning difficulties have the opportunity to demonstrate practical skills
that are significant for strengthening their self-esteem. By using a variety of ways of
demonstrating and reinforcing learning, the students can relate to positive experiences
when back in the classroom.

Teaching orientation: To inquire - focus on understanding conceptual knowledge and


applying procedural knowledge
This orientation particularly emphasizes understanding or applying cognitive
objectives, aiming at analyzing conceptual or procedural knowledge. An intention to
gain knowledge in the meta-cognitive dimension is explicitly expressed (Table 5). This
teaching orientation reflects a belief that the outdoor setting offers students potential
to undertake the learning process differently, not merely with reference to textbooks
and the teacher. Teachers assert that outdoor learning can add value to students
learning processes only if preparatory work has been properly done, together with
accurate follow up. Moreover, students not only benefit from learning both in- and
outdoors in order to become skilled and knowledgeable human beings, they also need
interaction with others to develop learning processes. Thus, outdoor lessons are
mostly carried out in groups with a focus on inquiry-based learning. During activities,
the students are encouraged to take responsibility for both personal learning and
transferring different skills and knowledge to each other in order to improve their
group work. The teachers provide the students with hands-on experiences, for
example, how things are related to larger physical systems in order to create a deeper
understanding of nature. They also stress the importance of students' understanding
of human impact on nature and our personal responsibility for that. All three teachers
showing this orientation promote activities concerning conceptual knowledge, and the
use of ideas from textbooks to solve problems outdoors. For example, Annie and
Roger describe how they use blueberries to make indicators to discuss pH values and
ask students to perform systematic observations using measuring instruments in order
to gain procedural knowledge. This teaching orientation would lead to activities
intended to create awareness amongst students of their responsibility for, and
strategies for, learning (meta-cognition). Encouraging students to reflect upon and
consider their own perspectives provides possibilities a higher level in the cognitive
process dimension, moving from applying knowledge to analysing knowledge
(Table 4 and 8).

The kind of knowledge gain promoted in learning outdoors and the alignment between teachers
intended objectives and actual activity outcomes
This section reveals six teachers' objectives from interviews and descriptions of
selected sequences from observations of outdoor learning episodes, exemplifying the
kinds of knowledge and cognitive processes the teachers aim for and promote in
enacted activities. Capital letters are used to code for expressed objectives before the
activity and lower-case letters for performed activities, as shown in the taxonomy
framework. This is to illustrate the alignment between teacher's predefined intended
objectives and the knowledge focused on during activity implementation.

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222

Teaching orientation: To inspire - focus on affective, physical and social dimensions


In one activity the two teachers used a combined walk and quiz and the results are
presented in table 6. By answering multiple-choice questions about appropriate
clothes to wear, what food to bring along and which appropriate outdoor equipment
to use, students were encouraged to draw conclusions about ways of being outdoors
from a health perspective (A). Students were divided into pairs, instructed to follow a
forest trail, and to discuss and agree on their answers. The questions gradually became
more difficult and at the end, some students seemed to guess their answers. As
students reached the meeting place where Alice was waiting, she encouraged them to
play and to be physically active until all had completed the walk. When everyone was
gathered the students took a break and had something to eat.
To bring along something to eat and drink is important...you stimulate social
relationships, also significant for being outdoors (Ina)

A follow-up continued where Ina and the students discussed each question and the
correct answers were shared. Focus was on students understanding of factual
knowledge (a). This case shows alignment and consistency between Ina's intentions (to
understand factual knowledge) and the objectives promoted and achieved in the
outdoor activities.

Table 6. Blooms revised taxonomy, the framework used for categorizing the teachers
intended objectives with actions outdoors in the cognitive domain (Anderson & Krathwohl,
2001), showing an alignment between Inas expressed objective before activities (A), and the
promoted outcomes during activities (a). Annas predefined cognitive objectives to achieve
actions B, C, D, E in alignment with the outcomes achieved in outdoor activities (b, c, d, e).

Ina & The Cognitive Process Dimension


Anna
Remember Understand Apply Analyse Evaluate Create
The Knowledge dimension

Factual A
Knowledge a
Conceptual
Knowledge
Procedural B,C,D,E
Knowledge b,c,d,e
Meta-
Cognitive
Knowledge

Teaching orientation: To do is to learn - focus on applying procedural knowledge


Sometimes Anna uses role play, aiming at providing students with opportunities to
apply different techniques, in order to achieve procedural knowledge. This time
students tasks are to manage incidents in the forest like stabilizing a broken leg (B),
moving an injured friend to a safe place (C), stopping excessive bleeding (D) and
building a wind shield (E), by using objects found in nature (table 6).

Students were asked to bring scarves and ropes to use in outdoor activities but no
further preparation had been done. Anna told a story combining various different
challenging situations for the students to handle and solve, in predetermined groups.
Each group selected a suitable site in the forest and began their role play. Meanwhile
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223

Anna circulated, supported ideas and drew attention to techniques for handling a
broken leg (b) and how to lift and carry ergonomically (c). She encouraged the
students to use their scarves as a compression bandage (d) and pointed out the
importance of holding the wounded body part high to reduce bleeding (table 6). To
promote feelings of achievement, she praised successful solutions.

The aim of applying procedural knowledge was enthusiastically promoted in all


exercises. Follow-up was done inside, where all groups presented their solutions and
assessed learning from the outdoor activities. Anna was satisfied with the outcomes
and emphasized the importance of the activities for strengthening students' self-
confidence and creating a feeling of success. The description indicates that the
intended objectives and actual outcomes, as a result of the outdoor activities, are in
alignment.

Teaching orientation: To reinforce - focus on understanding and applying conceptual


knowledge
Margaretas aim is to reinforce conceptual knowledge building upon theoretical work
done in the classroom. In the outdoor activity, students were expected to perform a
role play to show understanding of conceptual knowledge about biodegradation. In
preparation for this task, whilst still inside, the students used written material
supported by questions about photosynthesis, cell respiration and decomposition of
various materials. They used text books to help them to write definitions for difficult
words connected to each process and Margareta performed a demonstration in the
classroom to show decomposition of different materials.

Outdoors, students were required to take part in an investigation applying what they
had understood about biodegradation. They were asked to first discuss, agree and set
up a hypothesis (A), then, based on their agreed hypothesis, to collect objects from
nature to illustrate both rapid and slow biodegradation processes (B, C). They were
then to explain their hypothesis (D) and devise a role-play using the collected objects
to show rapid and slow biodegradation (E, F) (table 7). Students were divided into
groups and, before the investigation began, Margareta asked them to explain
biodegradation, and to give examples of objects in nature representing rapid and slow
biodegradation. The students actually gave short, ambiguous answers, which revealed
an inadequate understanding of the concepts and processes. Consequently, Margareta
gave a brief summary about biodegradation (a) and made links to the work done in
the classroom. She also posed questions to assess students' understanding. Despite
incomplete responses, indicating a vague understanding, she pursued the tasks.

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224

Table 7. Predefined intended cognitive objectives (A-F) and actual outcomes enacted in
outdoor activities (a-f), Margareta.

The Cognitive Process Dimension


Remem- Under- Apply Analyse Evaluate Create
ber stand
Factual E, F
The Knowledge dimension

Knowledge a,e,f b,c,d


Conceptual A, B, C,
Knowledge D
a
Procedural
Knowledge
Meta-
Cognitive
Knowledge

The students worked with differing commitment and soon some of them lost interest
in the work. Margareta encouraged them to discuss, reflect and perform a role play.
Finally, all groups presented their work. Collected objects and descriptions of the
processes of biodegradation were explained briefly in terms of factual knowledge but
most students had difficulty in explaining the processes involved. In addition, none of
the groups produced a hypothesis or a role play. The first group presented a leaf and a
piece of glass as examples of rapid and slow biodegradation:
Student: Grass ... fast biodegradation, it takes about ... six months... to break down.
Margareta: ...What happened to the grass?
Student: It starts to wither
Margareta: What is it like in the spring then? Is it visible?
Student: No...
Margareta: But what has happened?
Student: It grows again
Margareta: NoIt decays and becomes ... soil

The second group showed water for rapid and a plastic bag for slow degradation,
while the third group chose grass leaves, then branches and trunks of trees, as
examples of rapid and slow cycles. Margareta tried to maintain students attention by
asking questions of the reporting group but received fragmentary and often inaccurate
responses during which both everyday language and scientific concepts were used,
indicating perhaps unclear comprehension. Afterwards Margareta was unhappy with
students work and stressed that additional tasks were now needed to achieve the
objectives.

The data from the observation show misalignment between predefined intended
objectives and the actual outcomes achieved during activities resulting in a less
complex cognitive process than the intended (table 7). Due to students' lack of secure
prior understanding of photosynthesis, the water cycle and biodegradation, the tasks
concerning explanations of conceptual knowledge and role play were too challenging.
Inadequate instruction by the teacher also made it difficult for the students to
understand what to do. Hence, the students focused on describing factual knowledge.
Questions were posed by the teacher, but students remained silent, perhaps so as to
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225

not reveal their own misconceptions or lack of knowledge. The word hypothesis is
used by the teacher, expecting students to make a prediction and show its relevance
by using objects in nature. These tasks were neither performed by the students nor
followed up by the teacher.

Teaching orientation: To inquire - focus on understanding conceptual knowledge and


applying procedural knowledge
Annie often links theory to practice in everyday life and tries to find solutions to
enhance students learning processes. In one of the activities, Annies aim was to
improve students self-confidence by providing opportunities to communicate in small
groups to enhance factual and procedural knowledge. To overcome some students
lack of confidence with speaking when the whole class is listening, she located the
activities outdoors. She asked the students to practice and perform a play, the fairytale
Cinderella, first in Swedish and then in English. Each group chose a place in the forest,
different roles were distributed and students started supporting each other with
pronunciation and grammar. Annie supported them when needed but did not
intervene unnecessarily. All students supported each other, acted and spoke English
very well.

At Roger's school, a yearly event known as "Maths Masters" occurs, where older
students work with younger ones on mathematical problems. The aim is to encourage
students of different ages to solve various mathematical problems outdoors. The
pedagogical idea is to apply mathematical concepts in concrete situations. The older
students are expected to be group leaders and teachers for younger students and the
challenge lies in choosing the right strategy for specific situations, to promote the
development of meta-cognitive knowledge (A) (table 8). To prepare the older students,
Roger provided opportunities to take on leadership roles with the aim of achieving
procedural knowledge. In the forest, the students were divided into groups and in
hands-on activities they practiced different techniques (B). Each student conducted an
exercise while the others supported and gave feedback (a, b). Roger observed and
gave hints when needed. Occasionally, Roger challenged the students with questions
to encourage them to reflect upon their own views, in order to appraise solutions (C).
During the follow-up, Roger was keen to evaluate how activities were implemented
and whether the students felt confident to convey instructions to the younger
students. Each student reflected upon their own work and got feedback from other
group members (c). According to Roger, this type of exercise strengthens self-reliance,
thus constructing a frame of reference to relate to in continued work in the classroom.
This description shows that there was an alignment between the planned objectives
and actual outcomes achieved during the outdoor activities. The same holds for Annie
concerning alignment between intended objectives and enacted activities.

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226

Table 8. Rogers predefined intended cognitive objectives to achieve (A, B, C) in alignment


with the actual outcomes achieved in outdoor activities (a, b, c), Roger.

The Cognitive Process Dimension


Remember Understand Apply Analyse Evaluate Create
Factual
The Knowledge dimension

Knowledge
Conceptual
Knowledge
Procedural B C
Knowledge b c
Meta- A
Cognitive a
Knowledge

Discussion and Implications


Teaching and learning outdoors within a school context is multifaceted. Teachers
reasons for using this alternative arena, often implicit, are diverse and linked to a
belief about the outdoor environment reinforcing positive effects on learning, where
experiences interact with all senses (Wilhelmsson et al., 2012). Our results show that,
to succeed in reaching intended objectives, awareness of ones own ability to choose
appropriate tools and/or modes of work is essential. Otherwise, there is substantial
risk of inconsistency between intended objectives and the actual outcomes of outdoor
activities. In our study the teachers reflect surprisingly little on the effect of the work
forms chosen.

Blooms revised taxonomy (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001) functioned as a valuable


analytical tool for interpreting teachers educational objectives and for examining the
alignment between objectives and activity outcomes. In addition, we stress the
usefulness of the typology as a way of highlighting commonalities and differences
between teachers intentions and objectives, to examine the significance of awareness
about vital pedagogical tools, such as inquiry based science teaching (Braund & Reiss,
2006) and to stimulate collaborative learning (Nundy, 2001), in order to achieve
intended objectives within different learning domains.

The study shows a range of expressed intentions for organizing outdoor teaching
among our teaching orientations. The main ones are to achieve knowledge gain
through experience-based learning, to explore real objects with multiple senses, to
stimulate positive feelings towards nature and to promote collaboration. Thus, the
outdoor arena was chosen as a result of its potential contribution to improving
students cognitive, affective, social and physical development both by the teachers in
this study and in Wilhelmsson et al. (2012), and in a review of research on outdoor
learning (Rickinson et al., 2004). Essential for gains in the affective domain are
objectives about creating positive feelings for both nature, students' achievement and
to improve self-confidence, in common with earlier research (Amos & Reiss, 2012;
Eshach, 2007; Nundy, 2001). Further, group work promoting collaboration is common
in development within the social and cognitive domain.

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227

However, teachers focus on, and promotion of, diverse objectives are both due to
teachers' varying degrees of awareness of the range of possible outcomes and their
personal values concerning them. These form the basis for the choice of outdoor
activities. Based on teachers intentions, an objective is chosen and enacted by means
of an activity that can use different ways of working or with diverse pedagogical tools.
This includes recognizing personal teaching ability, pedagogical content knowledge,
knowledge about students prior understanding, educational methods, time for
planning, accurate implementation and follow-up (Fryland, 2010; Magntorn, 2007;
Rickinson et al., 2004; Wilhelmsson et al., 2012). When the teachers' intended objectives
are consistent with the ability to choose appropriate tools/modes of working, those
objectives can be achieved through outdoor activities. In these cases, there is alignment
between objectives and activity outcomes. On the other hand shortcomings in
recognizing which tools/modes of working to use, may lead to misalignment.

For the teaching orientation, to inspire, the affective and social objectives are highly
valued and considered as a prerequisite to achieve cognitive development (cf. Amos &
Reiss, 2012). The teachers adopting this orientation are aware of the potential range of
objectives, but choose those mentioned above as a result of students' prior knowledge
and selected objectives in the curriculum. For example, developing knowledge of what
promotes healthy living means understanding factual knowledge is promoted in all
exercises, evidently in alignment with intended objectives. The same holds true for the
orientation, to do, where activities intended to gain procedural knowledge in order to
promote students feelings of contentment connected with something they managed to
create are stressed. For this teaching orientation, the visible learning outcome is a
measure of a successful student. Thus, the application of practical tasks is strongly
emphasized during all outdoor activities, in alignment with predefined intended
objectives.

The other two teaching orientations primarily focus on cognitive objectives to


reinforce knowledge, deepen understanding or apply knowledge, thereby
encouraging students to reflect upon and consider different strategies for reaching a
goal. This latter teaching orientation often challenges students with activities to create
awareness among the students of their personal responsibility for learning and skills
needed to improve group work, demonstrating alignment between objectives and
activity outcomes. Here, learning is based on students' understanding of reflection,
comparing and evaluating their own views with others and improving strategies to
reach a higher level, moving from apply knowledge to analyse knowledge.
Encouraging students to take responsibility for their own learning and supporting
others seems to be a successful way of handling outdoor activities, in accordance with
Nundys findings (1999). This teaching orientation also make more use of the
interaction between outdoor and indoor settings (cf. Braund & Reiss, 2006; Eshach
2007).

In the case of teaching orientation, to reinforce, students are expected to show


conceptual knowledge in practical and aesthetical exercises. In our study, as a result of
insufficient instruction from the teacher and inadequate exercises both in- and
outdoors, the students had difficulty in transferring ideas about the carbon cycle to
what happens in nature, without doing further investigation. The teachers limited
experience in choosing an appropriate way of learning and setting exercises at an

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228

unsuitable level for the students resulted in misalignment between the intended
objectives and activity outcomes.

In this study we have used Blooms revised taxonomy to examine the degree of
alignment between intended objectives, awareness of personal teaching ability in the
outdoor arena and activity outcomes. We find higher alignment among teachers who
primarily promoted affective and social goals, or meta-cognitive and analytical
understanding than the teachers who mainly promoted confirmation of conceptual
knowledge. To reinforce understanding of different theoretical concepts or processes
by using objects from nature seems to be significantly more difficult than previously
thought (cf. sterlind & Halldn, 2007). The strong belief about the outdoor arena
reinforcing positive impacts on learning intended objectives seems to override a well-
considered choice of instruction and modes of work to achieve the intended
knowledge. Thus, the potential for learning outdoors is not fully utilized, indicating a
need to improve teachers' skills in using the necessary tools (Eshach, 2007). We
suggest, as do others (for example, Bentsen, 2010), that this may be a common
problem. It should also be noted that the teachers in our study reflect surprisingly
little on the correlation between the modes of work and kinds of knowledge possible
to achieve.

On this basis, one may wonder whether it is possible to perform outdoor activities
which are potentially able to achieve objectives addressing every aspect of Blooms
revised taxonomy, and also if that is actually desirable? It would be interesting to
investigate whether the pursuit of more complex cognitive processes or knowledge
dimensions results in a loss of affective and social goals, which would not be desirable
especially for our defined teaching orientations "to inspire" and "to do".
In this study, the typologies have been useful in illuminating different teaching
orientations with diverse intentions and achieved results, which are likely to be found
amongst teachers in general. Teachers need to reflect more upon how diverse
pedagogical tools can be suited to attaining different goals in the outdoor arena. This
might be something to stress more in teacher education and during in-service teacher
education.

This study has highlighted the educational intentions and objectives of nine Swedish
teachers for outdoor learning. Nevertheless it is a contribution to greater insights
generally into teachers objectives and their awareness of the educational tools needed
in order to achieve alignment between objectives and activity outcomes.

The framework of Blooms revised taxonomy analyses primarily cognitive objectives


and that may be a limitation in a practical context since some objectives are in other
domains. This study shows the importance of discussion, in schools and in teacher
education, centered on educational intentions, objectives, tools and the alignment
between objectives and outdoor activities to achieve intended knowledge outcomes.

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