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IJLTER.

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International Journal
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Learning, Teaching
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Vol.15 No.10
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VOLUME 15 NUMBER 10 September 2016

Table of Contents
Self-Evident, Excessive or Opposed: Student Teachers Associations with Gender Equality .................................... 1
Maria Hedlin

Impact on Teaching: Consistent Knowledge Development, Reflection and Practice .................................................. 15


Dr. Abha Singh

Designing, Building and using Interactive eTextbooks according to the Organization of Discovery Learning Acts
in Vietnam ............................................................................................................................................................................. 38
Thai-Lai Dao, Ngoc-Giang Nguyen and Trung Tran

School Leadership and English Language Teachers Approaches in Teaching English Language: The Case of
Selected Schools in Sidama Zone, Southern Ethiopia ...................................................................................................... 62
Eshetu Mandefro, Mebratu Mulatu, Tesfaye Abebe and Yohannes Yona

Defining Teacher Effectiveness in Secondary Education: The Perceptions of Greek Students .................................. 73
Konstantina Koutrouba

Teaching and Learning Strategies Adopted to Support Students Who are Blind in Botswana ................................ 92
Joseph Habulezi

On-Demand Lecturers in a Medication Calculation Course in the Bachelors Degree in Nursing Program: A
Quantitative Study .............................................................................................................................................................. 104
Kristin Hjorthaug Urstad, Bjrg Frysland Oftedal and Brynjar Foss

Efficacy of Music Therapy and Bibliotherapy as Interventions in the Treatment of Children With EBD: A
Literature Review ............................................................................................................................................................... 113
Raol J. Taft, Jannah L. Hotchkiss and Daesik Lee

Quality of Academic Resources and Students Satisfaction in Public Universities in Kenya ................................... 130
Augustine M. Kara, Edward K. Tanui and Jeremiah M. Kalai
The Understanding of Contemporary Vocal Pedagogy and the Teaching Methods of Internationally Acclaimed
Vocal Coaches...................................................................................................................................................................... 147
Dr. Trish Rooney

Understanding the Developing Persuasive Writing Practices of an Adolescent Emergent Bilingual through
Systemic Functional Linguistics: A Case Study .............................................................................................................. 163
Dr. Joshua M. Schulze

Relationship between the Principal's Leadership Style and Teacher Motivation ...................................................... 180
Wasserman, Ben-eli, Yehoshua, Gal
1

International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 15, No. 10, pp. 1-14, September 2016

Self-Evident, Excessive or Opposed: Student


Teachers Associations with Gender Equality

Maria Hedlin
Linnaeus University
Kalmar, Sweden

Abstract. This is a qualitative study undertaken in a Swedish teacher


education setting. The aim is to obtain data that can be helpful for
teacher educators planning their teaching about gender equality policy.
The assumptions which the students base their pre-understandings on
are in focus. The empirical material consists of 105 student teachers
descriptions of their associations with the term gender equality
[jmstlldhet]. In the material, three competing discourses are found.
One discourse is the discourse of the fair gender equality. Within this
discourse, gender equality seems to be quite an uncomplicated issue.
Gender equality is, or should be, something natural. A second discourse
is the discourse of the exaggerated gender equality, linking gender equality
to conflicts, aggression and excessive demands. A third discourse is the
discourse of the opposed gender equality. Within this discourse, gender
equality is described as a contested issue met with resistance and
hostility. Being able to identify and examine these competing discourses
may work as a first step in identifying assumptions that students hold
about gender equality and gender issues.

Keywords: gender equality, gender issues, teacher education, student


teachers, discourses

Introduction
In the present paper, I examine a group of student teachers pre-understandings
that can be linked to gender equality. This is done through a discursive analysis
of student teachers associations with the term gender equality. Many countries
have gender equality policies in education. In European Union policy teachers
are given the task of challenging gender stereotypes and traditional gender roles
(Eurodice 2010). This means in turn that student teachers need to be prepared
for this job, something that has not always worked so well. As Frnberg (2010)
points out, it requires a lot of knowledge and skills to challenge established
practices and mindset (cf. Bondestam 2010). Researchers have highlighted
shortcomings in how gender and gender equality issues have been addressed in
teacher education (Hedlin & berg 2012; Lahelma 2014). The right competence
to address the issues has not always been available (Malmgren & Weiner 2001;
Skelton 2007; Younger 2007). Younger and Warrington (2008) talk about a

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2

gender invisible within teacher training in the UK. Also, gender and teacher
education have long been an under researched field (Skelton 2007). This might
be due both to notions concerning gender being unreflected and to a widespread
belief that gender inequality no longer is a problem. Peace (2003), for instance,
describes British students as associating gender inequality with past times. And
Brodie (2008) argues that gender politics of the 20th century have been displaced
and marginalized in contemporary Canadian politics. Instead, we are all equal
now is a stance. In British, Canadian as well as in Australian contexts, the
individual is focused on in a way that implies that gender no longer is an issue
(Walkerdine 2003; Ringrose 2007; Brodie 2008; Romack 2011). This is in line with
a belief that women and men no longer meet gender-specific expectations.
McRobbie (2010) refers to this as the claim of post-feminism. Nevertheless,
student teachers at their placement schools have to deal with gendered
expectations. According to Braun (2011), not being prepared for this may lead to
the decision to drop out of the training. Thus there is reason to give gender
issues more attention in teacher education.

When it comes to gender equality, the Nordic countries are often described as
prominent in the field. Brunila and Edstrm (2013) even call gender equality a
clear Nordic trademark (p. 309). However, the Nordic teacher trainings have
been criticized in a similar manner as in other countries. Regarding the Finnish
teacher education, a reluctance to address gender issues has been reported.
According to Lahelma (2011), this is partly due to the view that gender issues are
no longer relevant. There is a claim that gender patterns virtually no longer exist
in Finnish society; gender equality is already achieved. Parallel with this view is
a widespread belief that the gender patterns that still can be observed depend on
biological differences that neither can nor should be challenged. Studies from
Iceland show similar results. Gudbjrnsdottir (2012; 2014) found shortcomings
concerning Icelandic teacher educators and the student teachers basic
knowledge needed to challenge prevailing gender stereotypes and incorrect
notions of unchangeable gender differences. Sweden was early to formulate a
gender equality policy in the curriculum for its nine-year compulsory schools
[for children aged 7-16]; this was done in the late 1960s. Yet, Swedish teacher
education has, as well, been criticized for flaws when it comes to preparing
prospective teachers in their task. The training has been criticized for not
connecting to the knowledge and research in this area. Issues relating to gender
and gender equality too often have been discussed in an everyday talk
manner (Havung 2006; Erixon Arreman & Weiner 2007).

Pre-understandings based on common sense are often contradictory and may


include many misunderstandings. As Toohey (2002) points out, teachers would
benefit from identifying their students prior knowledge more often before they
plan their teaching. If the teacher is aware of students prior knowledge and the
assumptions it is based on, the opportunity to pursue an education that reaches
the intended target will increase. The task of the teacher should therefore be to
examine the students pre-understandings, so that teaching can be planned
accordingly.

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3

This study
The overall aim of this study is to obtain basic data that can be of help to
educators during teacher education when addressing gender equality issues.

The research questions that guide the study are:


What discourses recur in Swedish student teachers associations with
gender equality?
What assumptions do these discourses hold?

The discourse concept draws on social constructionism, which emphasizes that


we cannot experience and construct knowledge of the world around us in any
other way than through the concepts, categories and languages we already have.
Our knowledge of the world will, therefore, always depend on the time and
culture in which we live. Discourses are socially constructed systems of
meaning that could have been different (Jrgensen & Phillips 2000 p. 28).

Laclau and Mouffe (2001) emphasize the constituting dimension of language.


Language is structured in patterns (discourses) that are both preserved and
changed as we use it. The premise is that our social world is discursively
constructed in a certain way, and that we need some order to orient ourselves in
life; at the same time, however, society and the social world could have been
constructed differently, in other ways. Some descriptions and meanings are
established, while the options are neglected or not even recognized as
alternatives.

According to Laclau and Mouffe, there is an ongoing discursive struggle in which


various social forces, such as political groups, are trying to make an impact on
definitions of certain concepts. They try to spread their discourse, their special
way of describing an issue or a problem. Some discourses may be relatively
fixed at certain historical moments. They are considered self-evident and are
therefore not questioned, even though only temporarily. There is always some
kind of ambiguity or contradiction. Even well-established discourses are
contrary to other discourses, which constitute reality in other ways, and
therefore threaten to undermine them. The concept floating signifier is used for a
concept that various discourses attempt to define in their own specific way
(Laclau & Mouffe 2001; Jrgensen & Phillips 2000). The discursive struggle thus
concerns the associations and meaning to be attributed to a particular floating
signifier. In this study, gender equality is the floating signifier that is in focus.

Not unlike Laclau and Mouffe, Bakhtin (1999) also describes language as a place
where there are ongoing social conflicts. He talks about the dynamic diversity of
voices that language carries. The past, present and future, as well as various
ideological groups, are represented in language. According to Bakhtin, the
statements that are made are filled with dialogic overtones. This means that every
statement, every opinion, is connected with previous statements. The words that
the speaker uses when expressing something, are not just the speakers own
words. They are also the words of others, in the sense that they hold echoes and

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4

reverberations of others utterances. New statements confirm, contradict, take off


from, and require previous statements within the field. Every opinion is thus in
some sense to be seen as a response to other opinions. Those who speak can thus
simultaneously be considered responding. This is because the view expressed
not only presupposes an existing language, but also presupposes previously
stated connected utterances. A given statement can be considered as a link in a
chain of other statements in the area, by building on them, going into polemics
with them and so on. Bakhtin writes: Any utterance is a link in a very complexly
organized chain of other utterances (Bakhtin 1999, p. 124).

In Sweden gender equality was established as a political field in the 1970s, and
by now it is something that all Swedes have to relate to. It also means that
anyone who discusses gender equality issues engages in a discussion that has
been going on for some decades (Florin & Nilsson, 1999; Kjellberg 2013).

In this study, the empirical material consists of a single-question questionnaire.


An invitation to take part in the questionnaire in the spring semester of 2014 was
made to 109 student teachers. It was emphasized that participation was
completely voluntary, and four students declined participation. Thus, there were
105 students who took part in the study. Of these, 73 were women and 27 were
men. The vast majority were born between 1990 and 1994, and thus were 20-24
years of age when the study was carried out. According to other studies, both
Swedish men and women in this age group state that they are in favour of
gender equality (SOU 2014:6). Nevertheless, it may be noted that in this study no
comparison between womens and mens responses is made.

The students were doing their second semester in teacher education, training to
be primary school teachers. They had not had any courses addressing gender
equality in their education. However, as gender equality is an often used
concept as well as a recurring issue in Swedish societal discussions (Kjellberg
2013), the students were expected to be familiar with the concept. In the
questionnaire, the students were given the task of freely writing down the
associations that gender equality raises. It should be emphasized that it is the
discourses that can be interpreted in the students answers that are in focus. The
analysis focusing on the discourses means that the students, their backgrounds
and motives, are not within the focus of this study.

By reading the material repeatedly and searching for both similarities and
differences in the students answers, three discourses were interpreted
(Jrgensen & Phillips 2000). They were the discourse of the fair gender equality, the
discourse of the exaggerated gender equality and the discourse of the opposed gender
equality.

Three gender equality discourses


Below, the three discourses that were interpreted in the material are presented.
Both the discourse of the fair gender equality and the discourse of the

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5

exaggerated gender equality are salient in the material. The discourse of the
opposed gender equality takes a less prominent place in the data.

The discourse of the fair gender equality


When gender equality is studied as a floating signifier, one of the meanings
recurring in the material is that gender equality is about justice and at the same
time it is, or should be, something self-evident. I have called this way of looking
at gender equality the discourse of the fair gender equality. Within this
discourse, gender equality is described as something uncomplicated. Phrase-like
definitions are prominent. Gender equality is a matter of fairness, and a persons
gender should not be of any importance. Or, as one student put it: We shall all
be treated equally. Focus shall be on who you are as a person and not on your
gender. Equally and same are words that recur frequently. Yet another
student who repeats the word same makes the following associations with the
term gender equality: The same conditions regardless of gender. The same
expectations regardless of gender. Another student writes: Gender equality:
that men and women are of equal worth and are treated in the same way. An
additional example is: We are all of equal worth. We all have equal influence
regardless of gender.

The quotes connect to the official Swedish definition formulated in the 1980s:
that gender equality means that women and men have equal rights,
responsibilities and opportunities to have a job that provides economic
independence, to care for their children and their home, and to participate in
political and social activities. A fourth area that was added in the 2000s is about
gender-related violence. The objective is to stop mens violence against women
(Gustafsson & Kolam 2008). Of the four areas, work, family life, social life and
gender-related violence, two areas are found frequently when the arguments are
more concrete. The two areas are work and family life.

Working life in focus


Concerning working life, the salary issue is a frequent theme. Sometimes it is
just stated that pay should be the same for men and women without this being
further developed. For example, an informant writes: Everyone, regardless of
gender, within an occupation is entitled to the same pay. Others suggest that it
is women who fall short and receive lower pay than men. A student writes that
the information about women being subject to salary discrimination comes from
the media. The information seems somewhat uncertain, but the student says that
it has been in the newspaper, which can be interpreted as a way to support an
uncertain statement:

Concerning gender equality, a lot has changed compared with past


times. Women have more of a say now. But salaries? Women still
receive lower salaries than men. This is something I read in the
newspaper about a year ago.

Whether it really is true that women and men have different conditions in the
job market may also be doubted:

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6

Theres often a lot of discussion concerning men having higher


positions than women, as well as higher salaries than women. It need
not always be so, but its often what I hear in discussions anyway. For
it to be gender equal according to me, there must be the same
requirements for men and women, which I believe that it is in most
places.

In the quote above, the student maintains hearing certain things in discussions.
The wording suggests that the student does not participate actively in these
arguments, but even those who do not participate have to relate to significant
discussions. Bakhtin (1999) talks of dialogic overtones, meaning that utterances
are products of dialogues with others. In this case, what is said in the discussions
is doubted; nevertheless, the student mentions it and relates to it.

Family life in focus


When family life is discussed, it is stated that women and men should be equally
responsible for the care of children and for household chores. Gender equality is
understood as cooperation: Gender equality for me is cooperation, for instance
in the home. If I am preparing dinner, my boyfriend takes the laundry or the
kids. The work in the household is evenly shared. A student clarifies that this
means that chores should not be split so that women perform certain chores and
men others: In a family living together, the standard family with woman and
man, all work in the household is shared. Nothing is called womens tasks or
mens work.

If it really were the case that no chores were called womens tasks and mens
work, this remark would be superfluous. This statement may rather be
interpreted as a way of relating to an unwanted division of chores by gender.

The above discourse of the fair gender equality, in which gender equality is
regarded as something that is, or should be, uncontroversial, is contrasted by a
different description, in which gender equality is associated with excesses and
absurdities. This discourse will be discussed below.

The discourse of the exaggerated gender equality


Within this discourse, gender equality is associated with aggression towards
men, excesses and absurdities, and demands for gender neutrality.

Aggression against men


Gender equality is associated with feminists, which in turn are connected to
aggressiveness and conflict. In this context, a student talks of ultra-feminists.
Another respondent refers to militant feminists who claim that women are best.
A third student refers to feminists who try to obtain advantages, women who
have their own gain in focus when trying to get influence in society. The student
writes:

No one should get benefits because they happen to have one gender
or the other. [...] Further, my opinion is that the concept of gender
equality for many is associated with feminists. Many feminists think

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7

that women should improve their situation in society for their own
benefit, instead of achieving gender equality.

The quote above suggests that the word feminist has a particularly negative
charge, which has been discussed by researchers (McRobbie 2010; Kolam 2014).
A student claims that there is a kind of feminism that seeks to offend men. By
highlighting this aggressive feminism and then rejecting it, the students own
attitude appears to be reasonable even though it is not described. The students
own vision is contrasted to ninja feminism, the desire to oppress men. Another
student talks about some who are even more belligerent:

In my opinion, the focus is on the wrong matters; instead of


increasing the status of women, some rather wish to chop off men at
their ankles. For me, gender equality rather is that men and women
have the same opportunities.

Yet another student maintains that women in a calculating way may refer to
discrimination in order to get advantages: Gender equality issues may lead to
misuse and fighting; women may take the opportunity to claim that there is
some gender inequality just because they were discriminated against in the
past. Here gender discrimination is described as a historical phenomenon,
something that is no longer relevant. An image of Swedish society as gender
equal is thus put forward (cf. McRobbie 2010). Women who improperly refer to
gender discrimination are met, however, by resistance as described in the quote.
Their behaviour leads to disputes.

Excesses and absurdities


Further, within this discourse there is a talk of the torment for the same for
everyone, which is regarded as exaggerated. Those who associated gender
equality with exaggerations, however, themselves use some ample
exaggerations in their arguments. Everyone is made out as talking about
gender equality everywhere. One student writes:

Everyone says that everything should be gender equal everywhere.


But its impossible to get everything gender equal when everyone has
different makings. Why does everyone want to be gender equal?

It is not only the talk and the wish for gender equality that is described as
something that has gone too far; gender equality itself has gone too far. In one
answer, it is suggested that those who are in favour of gender equality maintain
that everyone should think the same. That those approving of gender equality
have unreasonable expectations is thus expressed. In addition, it is argued that
everything is about gender equality: The word itself has become tedious;
everything is supposed to be about gender equality, but it cannot be. People in
our world are too different to think the same.

Demands for gender neutrality


Gender equality is also associated with women and men not being allowed to do
as they wish. According to the reasoning of one student, gender equality is

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8

associated with gender disappearing, that gender should be wiped away,


everyone becomes hen. The word hen refers to a new Swedish word that has
been actively discussed in the media. Hen is a pronoun that can be used
generically, rather than saying he or she, she/he or the formal-sounding the
person concerned. Hen may also be used for someone whose gender one does
not know or if gender is irrelevant. In 2012, both books and magazines where the
pronoun hen was used were published. Many of those who advocated the use of
hen wanted to challenge the gender norms that language holds. This questioning
led in turn others to raise their voices and protest against the launched hen-
word, which was called ridiculous. The advocates were seen as excessive
gender-equality zealots. The debate was very polarized (Milles 2013).

A student expresses a wording that clearly shows that the hen-word symbolizes
an unwelcome attempt to challenge the gender patterns that the schools gender
equality policy in fact targets. The student seems to fear that the hen-word will
lead to women and men being abolished as categories, that they will be replaced
by a single gender, the hen-gender. The student writes: There should be two
different sexes. Women are women; men are men. There is no such thing as hen.
In an answer from a student, it is stated that our differences should be
accepted; this in turn is associated with girls not being allowed to wear dresses.
According to the student behind the wording, there is a demand for gender
neutrality, which means that girls dresses are not accepted:

People can look askance if a girl always wears pink dresses.


Everything should be so neutral nowadays! There is no limit
anymore. Of course girls must be allowed to wear green/blue pants,
but girls with dresses must also be accepted!!

As the quote above shows, a resistance against a maintained widespread


demand for gender neutrality is expressed. This opposition is also emotional;
both single and double exclamation points are used.

Even within this discourse, work and family are recurring areas of commentary,
as presented below.

Working life in focus


Many students mention gender quotas in employment, something to which they
are opposed. A student writes: For me gender equality is associated with
gender quotas at workplaces. But I think it is a bit strange. The most qualified
should get the job; their gender should not be either advantage or disadvantage.
Others associate gender quotas with nagging, and with this choice of words
their negative associations are accentuated. Someone writes: That nagging
about quotas for women and men in different positions/situations and
professions only for it to look good on paper helps no one. Put more focus on the
individual. In this case, quotas are associated with both women and men
getting precedence. One respondent expresses, however, that it is women who
get priority. The association with gender equality is formulated as follows:

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9

When women are the subject of gender quotas at various workplaces [it is]
because there is a majority of men.

One student associates womens work with part-time work, a matter that has
been much discussed in Sweden in recent years. For Swedish mothers, it is
common to work part-time (Nyberg, 2013). The major disadvantages part-time
work brings in the form of low sickness benefits, low pensions and so on, have
been given considerable media attention. In the debate, part-time work has been
described as a trap for women (Lomberg 2012). The students associations may
be interpreted as a reaction and a response to this discussion (cf. Bakhtin 1999).
The student writes that gender equality is associated with: Women who choose
to work less are getting attacked because they do not work, and use their new
freedom to the maximum.

Family life in focus


Another student gives voice to the resistance against the proposition to
individualize Swedish parental leave. In the current design, the days that
provide financial compensation are divided equally between the father and the
mother, but with the possibility for one parent to transfer most of their days on
to the partner. In practice, most fathers transfer a large part of their parental
leave to the mothers (Haas & Hwang, 2008). For a long time it has been
suggested that the parental leave should be individualized, and thus organized
in the same way as the general social security system. The alternative for fathers
to transfer their days to the mothers would thus cease, which is assumed to lead
to the fathers staying home with their children to a much greater extent (Klinth
2013). The student suggests that it is desirable that both parents take parental
leave, but how the division and distribution of days is to be undertaken should
be up to parents to decide. The associations with gender equality are connected
to the proposed individualization of the parental insurance, something that the
student sees negatively. The association with gender equality is formulated as
follows: For parental leave to be shared and that there was an issue about it
being equally divided. (Thus a bill saying it must be split. Of course it should be
shared in some way, but you ought to be allowed to choose for yourself how this
will be done).

An example of how gender equality is associated with household chores is given


when a student advocates that women and men share the chores, but
nevertheless points out that women do not have to change half of the car tyres.
The student writes:

Gender equality in a traditional couple (man-woman) works when


both of them have the opportunity to do both female and male
chores. But that does not mean that because changing tyres is a male
task and the man likes to do it, the woman has to change two of the
tyres for the situation to be gender equal.

When bringing up a woman having to change two car tyres, the student
describes a division of tasks that seems rather caricatured, even ridiculous, and

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10

then rejects it. In that way ones own posture appears as reasonable even though
it is not very specifically expressed.

A third discourse, which has a marginal space but can be seen in the material, is
the discourse of the opposed gender equality. This discourse will be discussed
below.

The discourse of the opposed gender equality


Within this discourse gender equality is not seen as something self-evident and
uncomplicated. Neither is gender equality associated with excessive demands.
Instead gender equality is described by some students as an issue they
themselves are engaged in, and they have experienced a strong resistance
towards it. One student says that gender equality is associated with something
extreme even though it is a matter of human equality. In this way, it becomes
clear that the reasoning expressed within this discourse relates to, and can be
considered in response to, the discourse of the exaggerated gender equality. The
student writes: It has become negatively charged to be pro gender equality; they
say feminists carry it too far. But this is not the case. Being a feminist and
fighting for gender equality is fighting for human equality regardless of gender.

In a similar vein, another student describes how feminists are met with
negativity: I work at a womens shelter and I am a feminist. I am often told that
feminists just want power, when in fact it is gender equality we strive for. [...] As
a feminist, I often get unfair criticism, which I think is due to ignorance and
fear.

According to yet another student, discussing gender equality issues is


demanding. Gender equality ought to be a fairly uncontroversial matter, but
instead it is very emotionally charged. The student writes:

Asking for a gender-equal society is not really asking too much, but
if you are a woman and you say such things, automatically you need
to have a wide supply of arguments to defend yourself and your
opinions. I believe that gender equality issues are the largest and
most emotionally charged issues we have today, and that is why it is
so demanding to discuss them.

Conclusion
Three different discourses have been interpreted based on a study of gender
equality as a floating signifier. The three discourses can be understood as
competing ways of describing the surrounding world. Laclau and Mouffe (2001)
speak of discursive struggles where different ways of describing the world are in
conflict. The discursive struggles in this material are both about the degree of
equality in society and whether gender equality should be associated with
consensus or conflict. By highlighting the discourses and their different
assumptions, they may be subject to critical examination.

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11

It is clear that the three discourses are based on completely different


assumptions regarding whether Swedish women and men live under equal
conditions. The Swedish gender equality policy is directed towards the areas of
working life, family, influence in society, and gender-based violence. Within
these areas there are plenty of statistics and research that can be used to bring
clarity as to whether Swedish society is gender unequal, gender equal or if it
even has gone so far that men should feel physically threatened by women.
Since 2012, the Statistics Sweden website has had gender statistics that are linked
to the gender equality objectives. The statistics are extensive and updated twice
annually (SCB 2014; See also the Nordic Council of Ministers 2015). The students
in this study present many opinions, opinions which deserve to be highlighted
and compared with the knowledge available.

The second assumption which is in the centre of the discursive struggle, whether
the issue of gender equality should be associated with consensus or conflict,
cannot as easily be examined with the help of statistics. It can, however, be
discussed and related to research in the area. Within the discourse of the fair
gender equality, gender equality appears as a relatively uncomplicated objective.
To a large extent, gender equality seems a conflict-free issue. A conflict
dimension is, however, clear in both the discourse about the exaggerated gender
equality and the discourse of the opposed gender equality. Within the discourse
of the exaggerated gender equality, feminism is connected to women with
excessive demands and aggression towards men (cf. Wahl et al. 2008; Kolam
2014; Kimmel 2010). This may be surprising given that feminism in Sweden can
be associated with political measures and policies for which there is a broad
consensus among the political parties. Since a number of party leaders in 2004
declared that they were feminists, the parties feminist claims are recurringly
highlighted in the political debate. Leading politicians, both men and women,
call themselves feminists, and most of the parties in the Swedish parliament
represent themselves as feminists (Asker, 2004; Alnevall 2009). In addition,
almost half the population (47%) in Sweden state that they are feminists (TT
2014). Despite this broad backing for feminism, paradoxically negative
associations recur among the students. In this way, the discourse is obviously
also in conflict with the discourse of the fair gender equality (cf. Bakhtin 1999).

Within the discourse of the exaggerated gender equality, feminists are described
as women who do not represent the right kind of femininity norms. Feminists
are described as extremists, aggressive and selfish, with their own benefits in
focus. Based on Bakhtins (1999) discussion of how contemporary debates hold
ideas and notions from the past, this discourse may be interpreted as being
based on traditional femininity norms saying that women should stand back for
the benefit of others. Historically, women and femininity have been connected to
a self-sacrificing ideal; women would primarily put others needs first (Johnson
et al. 2005). Women who differ from this ideal too clearly can still expect to be
punished socially; they risk being seen as unfeminine and self-centred (Skeggs
1997; Jackson & Tinkler 2007).

Quite strong exaggerations are being used in the discourse on the exaggerated
gender equality. Everything is about gender equality, as one student maintains.

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12

Gender equality is associated with excessive and also ridiculous claims. A


caricatured picture of gender equality in a relationship is presented; the woman
and the man seem to be forced to change two tyres on the car each to be
regarded as gender equal. Even in this way, a situation where gender equality
has gone too far is depicted; the situation has become absurd. In a study by
Kjellberg (2013), similar situations are described. In that study informants say
that you should not have to wash every other plate or tick how many times
you change your childrens diapers. In that way, it is conveyed that the speakers
themselves have a reasonable attitude. The couple does some sharing of
household tasks and it seems good enough, even if the division of tasks might be
uneven in terms of time and content. Also, in a study by Magnusson (2006), the
informants highlight extreme cases and distance themselves in a similar way. By
highlighting negative examples of excessive accuracy concerning the division of
household chores (so-called millimetre justice), the one who strives for a more
just division of chores is depicted in a negative light and presented as silly.

The discourse of the opposed gender equality can be interpreted as a direct


response to the discourse of the exaggerated gender equality. Within this
discourse it is described how feminism is associated with excesses and egoism,
which is said to be completely untrue. With this, Bakhtins (1999) discussion of
dialogic overtones is illustrated. Users of the discourse of the opposed gender
equality are forced to relate to the discourse of the exaggerated gender equality.
As much as its claims are said to be untrue, it cannot be ignored. Further, the
hostility directed at feminists may be interpreted as an illustration of Sara
Ahmeds (2010) feminist killjoy. Ahmed uses the concept to describe how
feminists disrupt others good feelings of contentment by pointing out sexism
that others do not want to see.

In this study, the aim was to obtain data that could be helpful for teacher
educators planning their teaching about gender equality policy. To be able to
challenge our students everyday assumptions and beliefs the importance of
making formative assessments in education has been emphasized (Evans 2013).
This study can be considered as a formative assessment of the knowledge
concerning gender equality and gender issues within a group of Swedish
student teachers. To discuss the different understandings and discourses with
the students may be one way to show them the complexity of the issue.

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15

International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 15, No. 10, pp. 15-37, September 2016

Impact on Teaching: Consistent Knowledge


Development, Reflection and Practice

Dr. Abha Singh


Western Illinois University
Illinois, USA

Abstract. Application of professional knowledge is developed and


practiced through teacher experiences and reflection. If we want to
understand the practices of teachers teaching gifted students, it is
essential to understand the development of practices with gifted
students and their professional knowledge development as active
practitioners. It is imperative to know what diverse factors lead to their
own professional knowledge in their unique situations. The teacher is
one of the most important factors in providing high quality of
education. Gifted education is no exception. Teachers of gifted students
should know how to implement interventions with diverse learners and
learners with unique needs. This research is a case study of two earlier
career teachers in gifted education participating in professional
development. We focused on how teachers needs combine with
practicum experience result in individual unique professional
knowledge. The results are as follows. The first, even though they are
both beginning teachers of the gifted, their development phases as
teachers of the gifted were different depending on their previous
experience. The second, there different previous experience and
practicum experience determined the direction and degree of the
development of professional knowledge. The third, unique contexts are
different from regular teacher, especially, isolation was a big barrier for
their development. The last, their development was different due to
their passion about teaching gifted students and continuous reflection
on their practice and students reaction were strong motives for the
development of their professional knowledge.

Keywords: Knowledge; Practical knowledge; Experience; Interest;


Reflection; Application

Introduction
The teacher is one of the most important catalysts in providing high quality of
education. Much research has verified that student achievement is strongly
influenced by teachers background in content areas and by classroom practices,
both of which are related to teachers professional development (Missett,

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Brunner, Callahan, Moon, Azano, 2014 & Hair, Black, Babin, Anderson, 2010 &
Field, 2013). Gifted education is no exception. Teachers of gifted students must
know how to provide enriched and/or advanced academic content to a diverse
population of students possessed of unique academic and socio-affective needs.

Most researchers in gifted education acknowledge that teachers are an


important catalyst in the talent development process (Rubie-Davies, 2010 &
Gagn, 2003). Little research is available, however, to develop a comprehensive
understanding of teachers of the gifted. The research that is available primarily
focuses on characteristics of effective teachers from the perspective of process-
product research. It is important, however, to better understand the teachers as
active practitioners whose beliefs and practical knowledge play a critical role in
classroom practices (Rubie-Davies, 2010 & Jarvis & Henderson, 2015 & Johnsen
et at, 2002).

Professional area specific expertise content knowledge is the content applicable


knowledge of teachers implemented as an outcome of their experiences as
teachers and their reflective practices on these experiences (Baudson, Preckel,
2013). Therefore, the role of both teacher education and professional
development should be to support teachers learning, not only about theory, but
also about theory-into-practice, or teachers internalization of theory and
developing practical knowledge. Most programs in teacher education have
adopted the practicum as an early experience in the coursework required of
future educators; as well, professional development in gifted education
recommends a practicum experience to prepare educators to work in the field.

Facilitating an effective practicum experience in gifted education, however, is an


exercise in complexity. Teachers earning an endorsement in gifted education are
typically certified as general education teachers. This means that they have
internalized individual beliefs and practical knowledge not only about their
specializations in general education, but also about gifted students and their
needs. Their beliefs and practical knowledge have developed most often
through exposure to gifted students in their classrooms and through casual
conversations with other educators, but without systematic exploration of the
research in the field of gifted education. The practicum experience must facilitate
widely varying experiences, respectfully exploring the pre-existing beliefs and
practical knowledge held by professionals with established attitudes,
dispositions, and previous informal and formal educational experiences. The
experience must also honour the different professional needs that educators
bring to practicum, depending on their prescribed roles in gifted education,
school contexts, and the developmental levels in their careers. In essence, the
direction and the degree of development of practical knowledge during the
practicum experience must be different for each professional seeking to better
understand and implement interventions that will address the needs of gifted
students (Davis, Rimm & Siegle, 2011 & Jung, Barnett, Gross, McCormick ,2011)

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17

Professional knowledge
Professional content knowledge has been investigated and evaluated as both
comprehension and interpretation of contextualized and complex teaching
(Berman, Schultz, & Weber, 2012 & Bianco, Harris, Garrison-Wade, Leech, 2011
& Loughran, 2002). The conceptualization of application of content knowledge is
addressed in research to focus on a specific kind of knowledge. It describes
teachers application of content knowledge of specific situations and the
functional quandaries they face in carrying out purposeful action in those
settings. Professional content functional knowledge guides a teachers actions in
application (Jones, Miron, Kelaher-Young, 2012). This knowledge is gradually
built from personal and practical experience; is not readily articulated by the
teacher; and is used in complex ways during the processes of planning for and
executing teaching activities in addition to understanding the decisions that
were made earlier. It consists of factual or declarative knowledge, as well as
strategic or procedural knowledge and beliefs, including norms and values.
Specific school context plays an important role in developing functional and
realistic knowledge. (Castro, 2010 & Lynn, 2002)

Teachers professional knowledge is not formal knowledge for teachers that is


primarily produced and disseminated by researchers but rather, teachers
knowledge that is generated by teachers themselves as an outcome of their
occurrences while teaching as their introspection on these experiences (Davis,
Rimm, Siegle, 2011). The understanding of professional knowledge includes
three important implications. The first is that a teachers role as an active
practitioner is of primary importance for generating personal practical
knowledge. The second implication is that teachers reflections about the nature
of their professional experiences determine the development of their practical
knowledge. The third is that every teacher has a different level of professional
knowledge and has different beliefs because of their individual reflections on
varying experiences in their lives, both personal and professional. Even
experienced teachers can articulate professional skills that they want to
strengthen, depending on their roles, their school contexts, and the
developmental levels in their careers.

Research on the development of professional knowledge has explored both pre-


service teachers and beginning in-service teachers (Jones, Miron & Kelaher-
Young, 2012 & Kagan, 1992). Most pre-service teachers initial content
knowledge about practice is theoretical and not intuitive because it is learned
outside the context of personal experience and has not yet been experimented
with through praxis. Such content understanding is intellectual and will not
impact practical application until it is experimented with and modified through
reflective practical applications Rubie-Davies, (2010). A traditional practicum
and/or the practice teaching experience can give pre-service teachers authentic
practice to test their conceptual knowledge and develop their own professional
knowledge through teacher education.

Professional development in gifted education is different. The education of in-


service teachers of the gifted most often relies on professional development

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18

experiences; those who have experience in the classroom will have different
needs from pre-service teachers, who have conceptual knowledge but not
experiential practical knowledge. Most of those participating in professional
development experiences in gifted education are classroom teachers, although a
lesser number of in-service educators with some experience teaching the gifted
are also involved in professional development experiences in gifted education.
Regardless of background, in-service teachers already have already internalized
individual beliefs and some practical knowledge about gifted education; even
those teachers in the general education classroom likely have experience
working with gifted students.

Another challenge in the development of professional knowledge among


teachers of the gifted is their situational context as staff members within their
school districts. Teachers of the gifted frequently are disconnected from
classroom teachers, without a circumscribed role in either a specific grade level
or a particular field of study. Siegle, et al, (2014) reported that many teachers of
the gifted who participated in professional development experiences felt
isolated. There are some teachers that have less understanding about gifted
education and it made it challenging for them to collaborate with colleagues and
administrators about giftedness. This absence of peers with whom they can
reflect on their unique experiences with gifted students likely plays a negative
role in developing professional knowledge among teachers of the gifted.

Finally, the beliefs and professional knowledge among teachers of the gifted will
vary widely, depending on their level of experience in the general education
classroom, or their absence of any teaching experience before an assignment in
gifted education. Their conceptualization of teaching will differ based both on
their disciplinary preparation and the grade levels for which they are licensed.
Importantly, educators assigned to work with gifted students often must adapt
to variable professional assignments, from coordinator for gifted programs to
teacher of the gifted in programmatic settings that can change from year to year;
these flexible professional assignments require an equally flexible approach to
internalizing practical knowledge. The development of professional knowledge
among teachers of the gifted will require divergent paths. In order to better
understand teachers of the gifted, it is critical to gain greater understanding of
the efforts made by individual teachers as they pursue their development of
practical knowledge in their unique situations.

This case study elaborates on the practicum experiences of two teachers assigned
to positions in gifted education in their respective districts. Both teachers were
new to their assignments to gifted education, and although both participated in
similar professional development experiences, each demonstrated a unique path
in the development of professional knowledge. Through an examination of the
teachers experiences, this study explores the factors affecting the development
of professional knowledge in gifted education.

Methodology and Participants


The research study design chosen for this study can be categorized as
descriptive study (Yin, 2014 & Miriam, 1998). This qualitative approach, as

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19

described by Mirriam (1998), states that it is useful, though, in presenting basic


information about areas of education where little research has been conducted
(p. 38).
Merriam reiterates: case study is appropriate when the objective of a program
is to develop a better understanding of the dynamics of a program. When it is
important to be responsive, to convey a holistic and dynamically rich account of
an educational program, case study is a tailor made approach (p. 39). The
research design below demonstrates how the research was conducted.

Table 1: Research Design

Phase I
A.Readings : A. 1.Reading
Gifted child Reflections: For each
educator/parent of a reading.
gifted child/gifted child
advocate A. 2.Development of
Practicum Goal/s
10 hours of Reading

B. Readings: B. 1. Reading
Selected readings on Reflections: On Selected
Practicum Goals/s based readings provided for
on individual learning practicum goal/s based
Input to need. on individual learning Output
Teachers need. of
of Gifted 5 hours of Goal based Teachers
Learners selected readings of Gifted
C. Observing: C.1. Maintaining a Learners
In a class where gifted journal log documenting
students are being taught 15 hours of observing in
in a content area the a gifted students class.
teacher is not licensed to
teach. C.2. A final project is
developed which
15 hours of observing addresses the practicum
goal/s

15 hours of project
development
Phase II

This research study is a case study of two teachers new to gifted education. Both
participated in a 16-week practicum experience; the practicum was the capstone
of a 12-semester-hour endorsement program in gifted education, completed after
both teachers had been assigned to work with gifted students. The research
focuses on the ways in which the teachers needs combine with their practicum

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20

experiences and result in individual and unique practical knowledge developed


by each teacher to help each achieve greater success in their personal settings. By
exploring each case, the research will suggest the factors that most affect the
direction of the development of personal practical knowledge.
The research participants were teachers who teach gifted learners in a
Midwestern state in USA. The research begins with the participants receiving
the practicum readings and reading reflection forms by mail with an
introductory letter. The introductory letter describes the requirements for this
project. A meeting is conducted by the Principal Investigator soon after the
introductory letter and the readings have been received by the participants. All
the readings and reading reflection are also posted in an online site for
participants to obtain the information they need. The Principal Investigator calls
or emails the participants to address any questions/s. The need to develop
practicum goal/s based on a need the participants sees in an area of choice as a
gifted educator, parent of a gifted child or a gifted child advocate is
communicated with the participants. As soon as the Principal Investigator is
informed of goal/s "other" readings for the project which support the practicum
goal are located. The required readings make up 10 hours of reading and they
need 5 hours of more reading to make the 15 hour need. As well, the
participants need to demonstrate a log for 15 hours of observing in an area they
are not licensed to teach. Also, they have 15 hours of working towards a final
project which supports their practicum goal.

The salient characteristic of this graduate-level practicum study is the


personalized nature of each teachers experience. Teachers determine their own
goals, based on their perceptions of personal, student, school, and/or district
needs. Their goals and subsequent products address these perceived
professional needs; as well, they impact on the development of their practical
knowledge. Practicum participants react to assigned readings, as well as to
individualized readings selected to help them achieve personal goals; the
readings and reading reactions, including summaries and evaluations of major
themes and applications of content to students and schools, also contribute to
the development of practical knowledge. Finally, focused observations of
classes of gifted students or hands-on work with gifted students are required.
The observations enhance the participants understanding of gifted students, of
curriculum that other professionals believe to be appropriate, and of teaching
practices that peers utilize. During practicum, teachers synthesize new
understandings in gifted education from the readings, reflections, goals, and
observations, reframing their own practices with gifted learners.

Teachers are required to observe gifted students or work directly with gifted
students at the level for which they are not licensed (certified) to teach. In other
words, elementary teachers need to observe or work in secondary settings and
secondary teachers need to focus on the elementary school. This requirement
was established by a Midwestern State, since the endorsement in gifted
education is a K-12 endorsement, allowing teachers who are likely certified at
one level or the other to work with gifted children of any age. The requirement
is productive, as well, because it serves to broaden the educational experience

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21

and deepen the overall understanding of gifted education. Practicum


participants could explore their districts K-12 gifted programming
opportunities, or at least become more familiar with the curriculum options at
levels before or after the levels with which theyre most familiar. They could
gain greater awareness of the different learning needs of gifted students of
varying ages, and they could develop expertise in requisite teaching strategies.

Nicole is a full-time teacher of the gifted in an Extended Learning Program


(ELP) in two elementary buildings. She is in her third year of teaching at the
elementary level, with assignments to work with gifted and talented students
and no prior experience teaching general education students.

Camie has been a full-time classroom teacher for 17 years. When she began her
practicum experience, she was teaching speech, debate, contemporary literature,
drama, and sophomore literature. She had the opportunity to teach the Talented
and Gifted (TAG) 10th-grade English class, serve as the TAG sponsor for various
activities, and coordinate two classes allowing TAG students to complete
independent projects. Through that experience, she became interested in earning
her endorsement in gifted education. She had an opportunity to teach Letters
about Literature TAG elementary students in two different elementary schools
as a practicum experience.

Work with or observations of gifted students are essential to facilitate


participants self-evaluation in terms of both knowledge and beliefs about gifted
education and gifted students. Time focused on conscious observation provides
the lens to reframe existing beliefs. Teachers who have substantial teaching
experience in the general education classroom, for example, have internalized an
extensive inventory of effective practical knowledge. Because they might be
complacent about the feasibility of translating successful general education
practice to the gifted classroom, they need to envision effective practice in a
novel setting and reframe their understanding and practice.

Maintaining a journal related to the practicum experience also is required. Every


week, practicum participants are provided different prompts; they respond
utilizing an online platform that allows asynchronous response and discussion.
The prompts encompass four categories, including reflection on and evaluation
of personal practice during the practicum semester; individual learning from the
practicum experience; emerging understanding of best practices to support
gifted learners; and perceptions of barriers to improving practice. The sharing of
experiences, challenges, and unfolding understandings in gifted education
facilitates teachers reflections and reframing of practical knowledge, as well as
providing both a learning community and a sense of collegiality.

Independent projects culminate the practicum experience as participants


synthesize information from readings, reflections, online discussions, and
observations of / hands-on work with gifted learners, and fulfil their goals for
the course. These independent projects encapsulate the goals that teachers
envisioned for their gifted students, for parents, for their colleagues, or school

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districts. They range from new plans for units of study to well-articulated gifted
programs for districts; from letters to parents detailing a programs
identification policy to PowerPoint presentations for staff in-services; from
bibliographies for a new bibliotherapy curriculum to the framework to help
gifted learners imagine and enact service learning in their communities; from
articles articulating the concerns about gifted boys and their choices to withdraw
from gifted programs to plans for panels of successful women to interact with
adolescent gifted girls about dreams for the future.

The most research on gifted students teachers functional content knowledge is


existent in narrative and descriptive examination illuminating teachers stories,
including the ways teachers discover usefulness of experiences and events they
come across in their own teaching practice experiences (Siegle, Moore, Mann,
Wilson, 2010). Teachers written reflections about their teaching are one of the
instruments facilitating greater understanding of teachers evolving thinking
and practice in the classroom; as well, the act of writing reflections serves as a
catalyst to activate teachers prior understandings and help them internalize
new ways of thinking (Wentzel, Battle, Russell, Looney, 2010). Staiger, Rockoff,
(2010) emphasized that experience alone does not lead to learning, but rather
reflection on experience is essential. Reflection about teaching experience is
effective when it leads the teacher to make meaning from practice in ways that
enhance understanding, enabling the teacher to assess settings and events from a
variety of viewpoints. Effective reflective practice enables the teacher to frame
and reframe professional activity and to comprehend his or her own wisdom-
in-action. In essence, effective reflective practice encourages the explicit
articulation of professional knowledge (Szymanski, Thomas, 2013).

Just as teachers need opportunities to reflect on their experiences in order to


develop a repertoire of practical knowledge, an analysis of the teachers
experiences can help researchers better understand the ways in which teachers
internalize implicit theory and subsequently articulate practice. This research
explored the ways in-service teachers reflected on their experiences during a
practicum experience required for endorsement in gifted education. During the
practicum, the teachers considered their practice from various points of view in
gifted education.

In summary, teachers are required to examine, evaluate, and reframe their


beliefs, knowledge, and practice continuously through the practicum experience.
Participants unpack implicit understandings and explore them through
journaling. They determine their personal interests for further research in the
field of gifted education, and they react to and apply new knowledge. They
dedicate time to conduct focused observations of or work with gifted students,
and they have an opportunity to explore the familiar in unfamiliar ways.
Finally, they establish goals for themselves, and they create professional
independent projects to share with practicum colleagues, as well as with
authentic audiences. Time for and encouragement of reflection is the major
theme throughout practicum that serves as the catalyst for the development of

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practical knowledge and the reconstruction of personal understanding to


develop new ways of thinking about gifted education.

Data collection and analysis


In this study, all components of the practicum experience were used to
investigate teachers evolving professional knowledge. Analysing teachers
reflections in response to journal prompts was the primary strategy utilized to
trace the development of teachers professional knowledge. Journaling was
especially critical in terms of understanding teachers perceptions of professional
growth through the practicum experience and their evolving thinking about
gifted education. Reactions to readings were used to determine beliefs and
knowledge about gifted education. Reflections from the observations of classes
of gifted students, work with gifted students, and the strategies used to facilitate
student interaction and learning, were useful in reflecting new understandings,
as well as changes in beliefs and knowledge about gifted education.
Independent practicum projects were essential for understanding how
practicum experiences resulted in participants development of practical
knowledge. Personal interviews and e-mail were used to answer additional
questions.

Through analysis of data, we inferred four themes:


The themes were developed based on the teachers responses in reading
reflections, observations, and development of project.
1. Teachers beliefs about gifted education including, for example,
justifications about the need for gifted education, beliefs about appropriate
teaching strategies, and perspectives about gifted programs within their
districts;
2. Issues in the field that interested or concerned them (including
perceived needs for improving their own pedagogical practice, concerns about
their roles within their schools, and their passion for supporting gifted students);
3. Perceptions about their own learning through the practicum experience
(for example, greater understanding about gifted students learning styles,
insights into effective gifted education curriculum and programs, and awareness
of the development of practices in their classrooms); and
4. Barriers in working in the most effective ways with gifted students (often
centered around frustrations with their roles and the pervasive lack of time, lack
of support from parents and school personnel, and concerns about their own
content knowledge and teaching strategies).

This study investigated the ways in which these four themes evolved during the
practicum experience by focusing on two practicum participants. Both of the
educators are new to the field of gifted education, and both expressed great
enthusiasm about their new roles in education. As well, both were dedicated to
their professional development through practicum, but they illustrated very
different paths in the development of practical knowledge. Their responses to
practicum components have permitted an exploration of the relationships
among their unique interests or concerns in gifted education, their unfolding

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practicum experience itself, their perceptions about their learning, and


importantly, how they developed practical knowledge in distinct ways

Results
Nicole is a full-time teacher of the gifted in an Extended Learning Program
(ELP) in two elementary buildings.

She describes her role as:


1. Teaching fourth- and fifth-grade cluster groups for reading/math
extensions once per week;
2. Initiating first-through-third-grade whole-class activities to begin to
identify high-ability students with advanced academic needs;
3. Providing curriculum resources and ideas to classroom teachers; and
4. Serving as a mentor to address the individual social/emotional needs of
students identified for ELP.

Nicoles characteristics of development of practical knowledge


Nicole illustrated the survival stage in terms of practical knowledge, and she
demonstrated the prototype of beginning teachers. She expressed sincere
concern about her teaching practice, especially differentiation strategies. She had
to spend a great deal of time planning lessons. Nicole commented that her
biggest difficulties involve time and planning. In order to know what effective
lessons involve you also need previous knowledge and
understanding/application of differentiation strategies Trying to plan with
several [essential] criteria [in mind] becomes very difficult. Nicole continued:
For the most part, it was sink or swim in this job. There can only be so much
guidance provided and then you need to jump in and start learning on your
own it was tough for me.

Nicole needed to articulate new an appropriate lesson plans in order to meet the
needs of her gifted students. She believed it was essential for her to understand
the scope and sequence of the general education curriculum for first through
fifth grades in order to prepare relevant enrichment and extensions. In addition,
she tried to incorporate into her lessons the criteria for differentiation strategies
described in the professional literature. All of this was challenging for Nicole.
With no prior experience in the general education classroom, she felt a lack of
confidence both in knowledge and practice.

Nicole wanted to apply differentiation strategies to her class, but her


understanding about differentiation was at the theoretical level; she had not
internalized practical knowledge about differentiation. She implicitly
understood the difference, reflecting, I went to work with third-grade whole
class; we were working on logic puzzles/deductive thinking I felt more
confident with this particular lesson, because I had some background
experiences with logic and resources to pull from. I think this helps when
planning and developing lessons. (Nicole had no opportunities to observe
classroom differentiation, and she had to develop and implement differentiation
strategies in her class by herself. Her concerns about her teaching practice did

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25

not diminish completely during the practicum experience, and her interests or
concerns in gifted education emphasized her specific role. An insightful
educator, Nicole understood that As I continue to reflect, I realize this job is
challenging for me because there is no set structure. I thrive off clear set goals
and structure. Its not gifted education. Its not about the right answer its
about pushing through the frustration and doing your best. In essence, Nicole
was slowly but successfully developing practical knowledge through trial and
error and reflection. Her greatest difficulty with differentiation strategies was
determining how to adjust lessons to meet everyones needs. Noting, I am still
very uneasy about identifying/integrating the strategies... I feel like its all
product differentiation, no content or process. At times, she felt that her lessons
were too fragmented, and she recognized the difficulty she had in incorporating
differentiation strategies into content. Enacting differentiation was at a level of
superficial rather than practical knowledge to her. Nicole expressed satisfaction,
though, with an experience that exemplified her evolving understanding. She
recognized that her practice was no longer superficial, but knowledge
successfully utilized in the classroom.

In a small cluster group, I presented a challenge math problem. Each of the


children started solving it in their own wayone child used a table, another
used a diagram, and another used basic equation/computation. After reflecting
on this lesson, I realized this was a way of differentiating based on process.
Part of my job is to realize how they were approaching [the problem] and guide
them using their strategy. It was amazing to see how these students were
putting the pieces together. I was pretty excited. Maybe I am offering more
differentiation than I originally thought.

As Nicole reflected on her efforts to meet the needs of her gifted learners, she
became increasingly able to recognize what differentiation looks like in the
classroom, and she was able to articulate what had been only conceptual
understanding about differentiation, making it practical. She internalized
differentiation as a component of her repertoire of practical knowledge. Through
trial-and-error and reflection, she was gaining confidence in her knowledge and
in her practice. The increasing confidence served as a catalyst to develop new
practical knowledge: My depth of thinking about delivery has increased.
Throughout the past two years, I have picked up on different pieces, so I feel
confident in my overall knowledge of talented and giftedbut now I am ready
to take it to the next level-to keep questioning/modifying ideas to fit the needs
of my students.

Because Nicole was certified as an elementary school teacher, she was required
to complete at least one credit hour of practicum at the secondary level.
Although the requirement is a logical one, since the Talented and Gifted
Endorsement permits the recipient to work with children from kindergarten
through the senior year, in this case, Nicole was required to focus much of her
time and attention on issues at the secondary level, even while she was
preoccupied with classroom differentiation for her elementary students.
Reading recommended articles about differentiation allowed Andrea to reflect

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on her personal practice, as well as better understand strategies about higher-


level questioning, problem solving, and problem-based learning. The learning
was theoretical, however, and noting I would like to learn more about effective
units/samples being used at the elementary level I would like to see
differentiation strategies being applied in the classroom along with those
mentioned in the required readings. Nicole perceived that reading alone
limited her development of practical knowledge.

Through her experiences at the secondary level, Nicole learned a great deal
about programming provided for gifted students in her districts high school, as
well as the characteristics of secondary gifted students. She participated in high
school counsellors meetings, and she learned about the high school online
Advanced Placement (AP) and honours classes available in her district; she
checked the progress of AP students as they independently worked online,
providing support for their efforts. She served as a mentor for AP students,
counselling them about time management issues, and she commented that its
amazing how different kids can be one-on-one as opposed to with their peers.
Some students discussed concerns or problems they would like to work on.
Finally, Nicole supervised a secondary class dedicated to inviting guest speakers
to make presentations to the students. Her secondary practicum experience did
not directly address her most pressing concerns and interests in gifted
education, nor did it develop her teaching practice. Her experience, however,
did make it possible for her to work directly with the high school gifted
coordinator and assist with secondary gifted programming.

Nicoles practicum goal focused on looking for ways to create mentorships


between gifted high school students and gifted elementary students, allowing
the secondary students to share their areas of academic passion with the
younger students. Nicole encouraged shared learning opportunities across the
grades for high-ability learners with similar interests. In other words, although
Nicole emphasized her need to enhance her own practice in terms of
successfully implementing differentiation with elementary learners, in this case,
her practicum experiences and goals had limited impact on her most pressing
concerns/ interests in gifted education. The professional practical knowledge
she internalized had more to do with understanding and coordinating
administrative program components than with academic process.

Factors affecting the development of practical knowledge:


Nicole keenly perceived that she had too many roles to play in gifted education
and limited time to plan lessons and work with directly with gifted students;
both problems were barriers to the development of practical knowledge. Her
assigned responsibilities included providing resource ideas to classroom
teachers; modelling differentiation strategies in general education classrooms for
grades one through three; creating small cluster groups of fourth- and fifth-
grade gifted students; and working with the cluster groups in two different
buildings in order to extend their curriculum. For her practicum experience, she
endeavoured to help a secondary mentor meet the social/emotional needs of
high school students identified as gifted and to assist in acceleration requests. As

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27

a result, she had limited time to prepare for her instructional role with gifted
students, especially since she was still mastering content knowledge as well as
differentiated teaching strategies.

Nicole was assigned to work with her gifted students for only one hour each
week. She knew that understanding academic and social- emotional needs were
critical in terms of providing the best opportunities for gifted students;
understanding individual needs as well as evaluating students learning,
however, requires time. Nicole questioned, Is meeting with these students for
about one hour per week truly affecting them and enhancing their education?
Where and when does the true learning occur? What is a realistic expectation for
this job?

Through her practicum experience, Nicole assisted with high school


programming and worked with a secondary gifted coordinator. She participated
in a counsellors meeting and developed greater understanding about her
districts AP/honours classes, serving as a mentor for students enrolled in online
AP classes. She met with secondary students and interviewed them,
substantially augmenting her understanding of what gifted education
encompassed at the secondary level. As well, she learned that harnessing the
academic passions of students was a powerful educational tool, regardless of the
age of the student. Nicoles practicum goal to facilitate a high school mentoring
program, encouraging secondary students to volunteer to share their academic
passions/interests with elementary students, was successful. With the help of
the secondary gifted-program coordinator, she discovered a high school student
who was interested in teaching an after school Web-design class for her
elementary students. That success confirmed her belief that making connections
between older and younger students, enabling them to share their love of
learning, would be a positive and productive experience for all of the students.

Her practicum experiences, however, also limited her development of practical


knowledge at the elementary level in important ways. Her first practicum
experience was a passive one, as an observer at the secondary counsellors
meeting, taking notes on high school gifted programming. Although she
broadened her understanding about the characteristics and needs of gifted high
school students, and she had opportunities to learn more about beginning to
meet those needs through several counselling sessions with individual students,
her primary concerns about her teaching practice at the elementary level were
not diminished. She had no opportunity to observe gifted classes at the high
school level, since students were working independently, online, or at the
elementary level because she provided all programming in her small district.
Her development of professional practical knowledge, traditionally understood
to emphasize classroom practice, was limited, with few opportunities to
strengthen the practices in which she was most interested.

Nicole felt isolated in her role and in her school. It had taken two years for her
to feel comfortable with the general education teachers in her district. When she
visited colleagues classrooms to demonstrate whole-group differentiation, she

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28

believed that the general education teachers would be enthusiastic to learn about
ideas or resources available to meet the needs of students requiring more
challenge. For the most part, however, the classroom teachers remained aloof
from Nicoles lessons, using the time to complete their own work. Actually she
wanted more team approach and to talk about strategies with regular teachers.
While Nicole hoped to plan lessons with the teachers whose classrooms she
would be visiting, it was difficult to find either the time or colleagues invested in
the process. Nicole planned the lessons, alone, especially after her mentor in the
field of gifted education moved away after Nicoles first year in the district.
Even her mentor had not been able to bring the concept of differentiation to life
for her; Nicole wanted to go beyond theory to observe what differentiation
looked like in the elementary classroom. She believed that observations of best
practices would appreciably enhance her practical knowledge of differentiation.
Without these options, though, and with an expectation that she would provide
general education teachers with ideas for classroom differentiation, Nicole had
to rely on trial and error, as well as reflection on her own practice, to develop her
understanding.

During practicum, Nicole did find that talking to others about my learning and
experience is the best strategy for me. In summary, Nicole was developing her
practical knowledge about differentiation largely by herself, without guidance
or support from other general education teachers or a mentor in the field of
gifted education. The sense of isolation made her feel that authentic professional
development was difficult.

d) Making efforts and passion to development of her own practical knowledge:


Continue new trial and reflection

In spite of the barriers to the development of practical knowledge, Nicole was


dedicated to improving her professional practice, and she made conscious
efforts to implement innovative strategies with new content that her students
needed. Nicole wrote As far as my teaching practice, I have been really
evaluating my materials. Are they beneficial? Is the level of thinking
appropriate? Am I doing right? Is this the most effective way? Am I
accomplishing what I should be? Every time she prepared new lesson plans,
she considered ways to facilitate student choice to enrich the general education
content, encouraging learners to expand both in depth and breadth. She
reflected that:

I believe one of the most powerful practices in gifted is student choice. This
semester I have found myself reflecting on the following questions Does this
connect to their personal experiences and interests? Are they excited about the
topic? How can I make connections?...I am re-evaluating how to make the
groups more flexible and directed toward different needs that arise-not just
academically but affectively as well.

She recognized that reflection was critical, noting Part of my job is continually
reflecting on my teaching and trying to find ways of improving. I think Ive

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learned the important lesson of reflecting constantly on my work/efforts/ideas.


This is one way of ensuring that I am growing as a learner. Clearly, this
demonstrated that Nicole was growing as a professional.

Camie
She had the opportunity to teach the Talented and Gifted (TAG) 10th-grade
English class, serve as the TAG sponsor for various activities, and coordinate
two classes allowing TAG students to complete independent projects. Through
that experience, she became interested in earning her endorsement in gifted
education. She had an opportunity to teach Letters about Literature TAG
elementary students in two different elementary schools as a practicum
experience.

Camies characteristics of development of practical knowledge

a) Earlier career in gifted education, but enthusiasm and growth stage over survival

She was a beginning teacher in gifted education, but she was in a growth stage
over survival. According to Lynn opinion about career cycle of teachers (2002),
Teachers who are in growth stage have reached a high level of competence in
their jobs but continue to progress as professionals. They love their jobs, look
forward to going to school and to interacting with their students, and are
constantly seeking new ways to enrich their teaching. July became teaching
Letters about Literature for the first time, but she did not feel much difficulty in
lesson plan and teaching TAG elementary students. And she enjoyed this
challenge.

I loved this lesson plan [corresponding comment or a compliment]. It went so


well. I used examples from the website and also I created some examples.
Students had to decide if each example was either a corresponding comment or
a compliment. It became a debate at first then it finally starting to sink in. The
students are catching on to the purpose of this program

She believed she was doing differentiation in her high school class and her
confidence in teaching strategies can be showed from following comment.

I noticed that in my high school courses I was using differentiation more.


Students all read the same book, but were given different opportunities to
present literary devices from it. I had re-enactments, oral presentations, visual
art, original video productions, acting, and movie posters, it just allowed the
kids to shine in their talented area. Plus it reinforced the concepts much more
to each student. It makes the learning for the students better.

In summary, she was teaching new subject (Letters about Literature) different
students (elementary students). But she could find resource and modify them for
her lesson and apply her differentiation strategy to new subject easily.

b) View of gifted education was widening over her own teaching practice. Deepen and
widen understanding gifted education in reality.

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Even if she has confidence in her teaching practices, she had some difficulties in
understanding TAG students learning style in elementary school. Through
teaching elementary students, she realized that learning style and knowledge
background between elementary students and high school students were
different and she needed to organize her lesson more and pre-assessment.

The kids at the elementary school want to learn. They want to be heard. They
want to try new things. Ive learned that elementary students need more time
to have experiences. I need to remind myself that the prior knowledge may not
be there.

Another problem to her was the relationship among parents. She realized some
elementary students parents intervened in their childrens work and gave TAG
teachers pressure to working with students. Before then she just teaching and
coaching high school students. This opportunity gave her a chance to consider
about the identity and role of teacher of the gifted. She started to think about
many issues in gifted education, the relationship of Teacher and TAG parent, the
problem of Underachiever and unmotivated TAG students in high school
students. System problem, for example, supporting TAG teacher, Justification of
gifted education, and time allowed for TAG teacher to teach gifted students.

I think some parents have the wrong impression about TAG teachers. I think
some think we sit around all day and just wait for work to come our way.
Parents seem to be more involved. Shortage of money, ELP teachers are
always asking for donations such as pencils, books, etc. ELP teacher seem to
spend quite a bit of money out of their won packets at conferences to use things
in their classroom It amazes me how some have a pull-out program where
they only meet with the child once a week Justification of their job

As a result, this experience gave her an opportunity to reflect on her practice and
students in high school, to broaden understanding about gifted education and
catalyst to develop her practice.

I am more aware of learning style in my classroom. I am more aware of articles


in educational journals on the topic. It has made me want to be a better teacher. I
dont want any student to not be challenged on a daily basis in my classroom.

c) Practicum experiences resulted in extending to leading TAG teacher and providing


resources in elementary school.

Julys practicum experience teaching elementary TAG students did not resulted
in just broadening understanding gifted education and developing her practical
knowledge of new subject. It was a catalyst to reframe her practice in high
school and a motive to develop practical knowledge from different views.

I really had fun with letters of literature. It was new to me and I just wanted to
find out everything associated with it. I think, as teachers, sometimes we can get

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stale in teaching the same course after a while. This made me spice up some of
my other classes

Her practicum independent project was to complete a Letters about Literature


Handbook. She made that goal for two reasons. One is for the ELP teachers,
who wanted copies of her lesson plan format that she used that semester so that
they could emulate them next year. Second is for herself. She wanted to
incorporate that program in her own English classes. That means that her role in
practicum experience resulted in not limiting to her development but extending
to support other teachers of the gifted.

Factors affecting the development of practical knowledge


a) Passion in professional development and beliefs about education

She had passion in her professional development. She graduated with language
arts/English, theatre, psychology, speech, and sociology. She had masters in
secondary education and another in mass media communications. And she
became interested in getting certificated in the gifted during teaching TAG
independent projects. She believed that the more she knew about teaching, the
more effective she could be in the classroom.

She also believed that all teachers should take classes in differentiation and/or
collaboration. She thought differentiation would work for many learners and
collaboration within the departments would help the student progress from one
class to another. In addition, she believed that teachers would benefit by having
professional growth in their subject areas. That means she did not think about
just teaching gifted students but also considered diverse learners including
gifted and talented students.

She used differentiation strategies during her regular high school classroom for
making students learn better, understanding students learning style and
awakening students desire to learn in her classes and commented the following
in the journal:

I try to use many strategies. They [students] present final projects on an


independent reading. The projects are open- ended to fit each students interest
and abilities. One is going to recreate a scene on video, another is going to dress
up as Ray Bradbarry and impersonate him telling a childhood story, another is
completing a powerpoint. etc.

It just allowed the kids to shine in their talented area It is harder to grade,
harder to plan, but it makes the learning for the students better. It also reinforced
in me the idea of the under-achiever. To not rule him or her out, but to awaken
their desire to learn in my class.

These strong beliefs about education and passion made her pursue developing
her practical knowledge and make efforts to develop it and enjoy challenge.

b) Abundant Teaching experience and knowledge background

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As mentioned above, she was an experienced regular teacher in high school.


And she majored in many areas. She believed differentiation was a best practice
and she had been doing differentiation in her high school class. Even if letters
about literature was a new subject to her, she had experience teaching English
honor class and literature in high school. So, she had sufficient knowledge
background and how to teach it. She did not have to make transformational
change for this new subject. Transformational change means one way teachers
adapted for individual differences. It needs numerous and significant alterations
in their practice in the classroom for change of teaching strategies. Meanwhile,
changes that require few alterations are described as conservational (Rubie-
Davies, 2010). July found some resources from websites and modify them into
her TAG students in elementary school. Therefore, unlike Nicole, she did not
feel much difficulty in lesson plan. After all, conservative change seemed to be
sufficient for her for this new subject.

c) Students reaction and TAG teachers support gave her confidence in her lesson and
practice.

She had some difficulty in understanding learning style of TAG elementary


students. But after a while, she was gaining confidence in teaching them.
Especially, confidence in lesson plan and practice was strongly affected by TAG
teachers support and students reaction. When she suggested Author
Luncheon to TAG teachers, all agreed with her plan. She was very impressed
with students reaction to that event.

The Author talked about her love of books and what made her pursue writing.
She gave a brief explanation of her current book and talked about how she
brings characters to life with experiences that she hopes her readers can relate to.
I have never witnessed such dramatics in such young students. Some
students obviously are catered to at home.

Over all, she wanted that the time she and her students was productive. So, she
worked hard to prepare for each lesson. And students reaction was a big motive
to gain her confidence in her practice and efforts. She was satisfied with her
lesson and practice.

When a lesson went well- the kids grasp the concept that I was trying to teach
them- made me my heart sing. I worked with the kids mainly after school. We
met 9 weeks and I had no absences. I think the commitment of the kids really
affected me.

d) Not an observer or an assistant but teacher who had authority during practicum
experience.

Unlike Nicole, Camie had an opportunity to observe and co-teach gifted


students in elementary school. When she discuss ELP elementary teachers in
her community school district about her hope observation/co-teaching in gifted
programs, they allowed her to observe 30 minutes in their classes and then to

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teach a 30 minutes class to those students who wanted to participate in Letters


about Literature program at two schools.

At first time, she was allowed to observe and co-teach with ELP elementary
teachers. But after a while, ELP teachers started to support her opinion and
allow freedom to teach their students.

I was supposed to observe the first 30 minutes, I noticed this week that the
ELP teacher at W school includes me in everything and co-teaches the first 30
minutes and then assists me the last 30 minutes, the TAG teacher and I played
devil advocate with 13 students. We made them defend their answers I think
the teacher is starting to rely on me for the entire hour.

Therefore, her role in practicum experience was not a just an observer or an


assistant, but a teacher who planed lesson independently and taught students as
she planned. This means her lesson plan and teaching practice were admitted by
ELP teachers and the authority of ELP teachers handed over to her and she was
in charge of students learning. Through teaching gifted elementary students
directly, she learned different learning style from gifted high school and
experienced some conflict between parents. This teaching experience gave a
chance to learn by doing and reframe her practice and became a motive to
develop her practical knowledge in high school as a professional growth.
Moreover, she became in progress of making resources and supporting ELP
teachers.

Discussion
A metasynthesis of the in-service professional development was conducted
using Dunst, Bruder, & Hamby, (2015) research as applicable on Niocle and
Camies responses at various levels of the research study. Nicole and Camie
were both in earlier career in gifted education and believed differentiation
should be realized in classroom. But their development phases of teaching gifted
students are different. Nicoles concern was mostly about expectation of her role
and lesson plan and teaching strategies. Jung, McCormick, & Gross, (2012)
indicates that novice teachers use specific lesson objectives to form structured
lesson plans that they did not adapt to meet student needs during teaching. Her
concerns focused on her lesson plan for differentiation and meeting some
standard about it. On reflection on her practice, she always felt some frustration
from gap between her lesson plan and her practice in class. Jung, McCormick, &
Gross, (2012) research about novice and experienced teachers showed that
novice, student teacher or beginning teachers enter classroom with images of
themselves as teachers that have been derived in part from their own
experiences as learners. And initial focus of novice teachers was inward. This
means many novice teachers teaching practices were affected by their learning
experience in school. Nicole wanted to teach gifted students using
differentiation, but the method she has experienced and learned about
differentiation was only through books or materials. She did not have
experienced even observing how differentiation is realized in a classroom. So,
she had to learn to teach even without previous learning experience about

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differentiation. The method she acquire the concept of differentiation in reality is


only through trial and errors in her class and reflecting and accumulating her
experiences by herself. She spent much time on lesson planning and did not
have confidence in teaching gifted students using differentiation until then.
Therefore, Nicole seemed to be still novice and at the survival stage.

Unlike Nicole, Camie was in another phase. She began to teach a new subject at
a different level to students for the first time. But, she did not feel difficulties in
lesson planning for this new subject. This new subject was not totally different
from her English class. She thought differentiation was very important and
taught using differentiation in her high school. Even if she had difficulties in
teaching gifted students for lack of knowledge of the learning style of gifted
elementary students at first, she became gaining confidence in teaching them.
Her concerns are not inward but outward. Lisas most concern was encouraging
all teachers take classes in differentiation and collaboration. Her most struggles
through her practicum experience are about parent or regular teachers
perception about gifted education, or justification of gifted education. She
realized the status of gifted education in reality. We can say that Nicole was in a
new turning phase which was beyond her practice to start to think about gifted
education from systematically view and support gifted students everyday lives.

One of important factor affecting their development of professional knowledge


was practicum experience. In case of Nicole, practicum experience assisting
coordinator in high school could not give her a chance even to develop her
practice about differentiation. Although she developed understanding about
gifted education system in high school, her practicum experience could not
reduce her concern about her teaching practice. Meanwhile, Camie seemed to
feel more comfortable rather than Nicole about lesson planning, and teaching
gifted students in elementary school. She had experience teaching Literature and
English. So she might have sufficient knowledge background about her new
subject letters about literature. Her practicum experience teaching gifted
students in elementary school not only broaden her understanding about gifted
education but also gave her a motive for her development as a teacher in high
school. And practicum experience confirmed her previous beliefs about
differentiation and needs of regular teachers professional development in gifted
education. Therefore, even if teachers are beginning teachers of the gifted, their
phase of development of practical knowledge might be totally different from
previous experience and practicum experience.

Another important factor affecting their development is passion as a learner


about teaching gifted students and reflection on their practice continuously.
Every time after her practice, Nicole evaluated her practice and considered
organizing lesson and connection between content and student experience or
interest. As she reflected on herself, she realized her teaching style liking
structure and organization and she tried to be more flexible during lesson plan
and teaching practice. She also felt that reflecting on her work made her growing
as a learner and she had learned that good teaching requires reflection and
flexibility. In case of Camie, She believed that the more she know about teaching

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35

she could do effective in the classroom. This was a motive for learning
something new and she enjoyed new challenge. During practicum experience,
she made new trials. Through reflection on her practice, she became to be aware
of students learning style in her classroom. Especially, reflection on students
reaction on her teaching practice became a strong motive to pursue her
development.

Steffie and Wolfe, (2001) suggested life-cycle model for career teachers. They
assumed that teachers will continue to grow and develop throughout their
professional life time and they can engage in transformational processes
including critical reflection on practice, redefinition of assumptions and beliefs,
and enhanced self-worth. Jones et al, insisted that the critical factor that enables
teachers to propel themselves through the career life is the reflection-renewal-
growth cycle. Andrea and Lisa both reflected their practice and themselves
continuously. They evaluated their beliefs and themselves as a gifted educator
and found their weakness and new learning from them. Those were stimulus for
them to make efforts to improve their practical knowledge and resulted in their
development as a teacher.
Meanwhile, isolation was barrier to development of these teachers practical
knowledge. As to Castro (2010), one of most important contextual factor may be
the personal relationship that develops between a novice and his or her
cooperating teacher. Baudson & Preckel (2013) elicited four ways of professional
learning, reading in order to collect new knowledge and information or data,
Doing as well as experimenting, reflection, collaboration. Baudson and Preckel
insisted that collaboration is the most important to professional development as
it not only provides necessary support for learning but also provides teacher
with feedback and bring about new ideas and challenge.

In case of Nicole, she wanted to develop her practice continuously and want to
share her experience with other teachers. She felt talking to others about her
learning and experiences were the best strategy for her development through
practicum course. She wanted evaluation tools for teachers themselves. But in
her school, she did not have collaborator who help her development of teaching
practice or develop lesson plan cooperatively. Meanwhile, she was in a situation
which provides regular teacher resources ideas for differentiation. This means
although she wanted better practice, no one could support and give her
feedback for her development.

Many beginning teachers feel isolation, too. But their role or job is not threatened
by other colleagues and parents in their school. Meanwhile, teachers of gifted
students have to justify their job to regular teachers or parents or even
administrator who do not understand the needs of gifted education even in their
school. It took some years for Nicole to feel comfortable with other regular
teachers at her school and earn admission of ideas/resources for gifted students
needs from them. She had a mentor for first two years. But her mentor might not
support her much about what she wanted to learn to teach, because she still
wanted to observe the class using differentiation in elementary level even after
mentoring leaving. Only the way she develop her practical knowledge about

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36

differentiation was doing by herself in her class. So, contrary to her hope of
collaborating, this situation prohibited her professional development.
Isolation feeling was the same to Camie. Even if she was most supported about
lesson plan and her practice by gifted teachers in elementary school, she
sometimes felt some difficulties in collaborating with them in class, especially,
about understanding students and sharing task.

Conclusion
Practical knowledge is challenge for beginning teachers. Berman, Schultz, &
Weber, (2012) argue that new teachers have two jobs- they have to teach and
they have to learn to teach. No matter how good a pre-service program maybe,
there are some things that can only be learned on the job. As Nicole said There
can only be so much guidance provided and then you need to jump in and start
learning on your own, it is very hard for teachers to obtain practical
knowledge through only direction and materials without their practices and
reflection on them. But teachers need guide for effective practitioner. We could
not expect only teachers passion about their job for their development. As
mentioned above, previous experience, practicum experience, and reflection
play an important role in these two teachers development. So we need to
organize teachers of gifted learners practicum experience to reflect on their
practice and establish collaboration among beginning and experienced teachers
of the gifted to support their development.

References

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Jarvis J. M., Henderson L. (2015). Current practices in the education of gifted and
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International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 15, No. 10, pp. 38-61, September 2016

Designing, Building and using Interactive e-


Textbooks according to the Organization of
Discovery Learning Acts in Vietnam

Thai-Lai Dao and Ngoc-Giang Nguyen


The Vietnam Institute of Educational Sciences,
101 Tran Hung Dao, Hanoi, Vietnam

Trung Tran
The Committee for Ethnic Minorities,
80 Phan Dinh Phung, Ha Noi, Vietnam

Abstract. When the educational target changes then the factors of


education such as the learning content, the forms of learning
organization, the check, the assessment and the learning equipment will
change. Conversely, if an above factor such as learning equipment
changes then the educational target also changes. ICT and media act not
only on the educational target but also on itself in order to create new
learning equipment. One of the new equipment now is e-textbooks. The
article refers to designing, building and using e-textbooks according to
the organization of discovery learning acts in Vietnam.
Keywords: e-textbooks, discovery learning, plane geometry.

1. Introduction
Teacher needs to prove the activity, the independency, the creativity and needs
to be against the passivity of students in order to innovate teaching and learning.
There are many different methods in order to prove the activity, the self-learning
competence of learners. One of the usual methods is discovery learning.
However, the traditional discovery learning has a very large weak point.
Discovery learning is restricted because it desires a lot of efforts of teacher.
Teacher spends a lot of time for writing lesson according to discovery learning.
The traditional discovery learning cannot simulate the processes, phenomena of
nature, social and human. The record of document and traces of acts of students
is usually cumbersome in traditional discovery learning. Especially, the
environment of interaction with students, friends and other objects is restricted
in the traditional space of classroom. Applying ICT & media in teaching and
learning is one of the best choices in order to remedy these restrictions. Basing
on the needs of learning of students, ICT and media make learning flexible.
Students are active and they choose effective learning methods suitable with
their competence. ICT and media make students themselves independent and

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39

better in learning process as well as create the advantageous environment for


self-learning and self-discovery.
E-textbooks are a concretization of applying ICT and media in teaching and
learning. E-textbooks have strong points that paper textbooks do not have such
as: their contents are formatted in order to see on the screen, they can be
packaged and transported easily; their images are eye-catching, we can zoom in
and out text size; we can interact and get feedback; there are live videos, images
and sound. E-textbooks protect the digital technology right, do not allow copy
and print (if users do not permit) and their content updates are usually
downloaded from the Internet. Especially, E-textbooks are a tool to help
discovery learning become the most effective tool compared to the other
teaching forms using ICT and media. In addition, e-textbooks also create a new
using form in teaching and learning. E-textbooks have high interactive ability,
do not restrict the number of students, do not distinguish between geographical
places, skin colors and nationalities. In addition, e-textbooks will create an
advantageous environment when users do with geometric objects.

2. Content research
2.1. Discovery learning
Discovery learning is attributed by Dewey, Piaget and Vygotsky.
(wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructivism)
After these psychologists, there are some people who continue to develop point
of views of these psychologists. Joolingen said that: Discovery learning is a type
of learning where learners construct their own knowledge by experimenting
with a domain, and inferring rules from the results of these experiments. They
actually construct their knowledge by themselves. Because of these constructive
activities, they will understand the domain at a higher level
(edutechwiki.unige.ch)
Borthick & Jones supposed that: In discovery learning, students learn to
recognize a problem, search for relevant information, develop the solution of
problem. (edutechwiki.unige.ch)
Discovery learning is an approach to instruction through which students interact
with their environment-by exploring and manipulating objects, wrestling with
questions and controversies, or performing experiments. Discovery learning
makes students remember concepts long and students discover on their own.
Discovery learning is most successful when students have basic knowledge and
experiences. (edutechwiki.unige.ch)

2.2. The strong points and weak points of discovery learning


Discovery learning has advantages and disadvantages as follows:
Strong points:
- To support the activities of students in their learning process.
- To foster students curiosities.
- To enable the development of learning skills on the life.
- To personalize the learning experience
- To motivate students highly and allow them to experiment and discover
something by themselves.
- To base knowledge on the students understanding.

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- To develop the sense of independence and autonomy of student.


- To make students responsible for their own mistakes and results
- To develop solving problems and creative skills
(Kristenlockwood13.tripod.com)

Weak points:
- To make student confusing if he has not basic knowledge.
- To create misconceptions ("knowing less after instruction")
(Kristenlockwood13.tripod.com)
In traditional classroom (do not use ICT and media), the organization of
discovery learning also gets some restrictions as follows:
- Discovery learning in traditional classroom only adapts to a small number of
students, students who live in different places do not interact together. The
interaction of discovery learning in traditional classroom is restricted.
- If there are a large number of students in traditional discovery learning then
there are not enough educational experts for helping these students
immediately. If students choose incorrect choices then they do not get
instructions immediately.
- There must be teacher then traditional discovery learning just happens.
Students discover according to the acts and requires of teacher.
Using ICT and media will help traditional discovery learning to prove strong
points and to minimize weak points. We concentrate on the researching,
designing and using e-textbooks (A concretization of ICT and media) according
to discovery orientation in learning mathematics of students.

3. Some problems on e-textbooks


3.1. The concepts on textbook
A textbook is a book which students learn school subject. Students use textbook
to learn facts and methods. Textbooks sometimes have some questions to test the
knowledge and understanding of students.
(Simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textbook)
Textbooks in Vietnam now are understood according to the whole program of
secondary school education as follows: Textbooks are main documents for teaching
and learning in schools, adapt to all of criteria due to regulations imposed by the State of
Vietnam, instruct the acts of teaching and learning that focus on the contents and
methods of teaching and learning. (Pham., T., T.)
In our opinion, textbooks are learning document for students. Textbooks must
cover over the whole program from their targets to their contents, ensure the
requests on the standard of knowledge and skills, orient to the methods as well
as help to assess and assess themselves according to the minds of competent
development of students.

3.2. The concepts on e-textbooks


According to Le, C., T., e-textbooks are textbook documents, in which their
knowledge is displayed under many different informational channels such as
texts, graphics, animated figures, static figures, sounds, ect. The important
characteristic of e-textbooks is knowledge displayed at the same time in many
different ways: the focus, simplification, detail, ect. These are advantageous for

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learners to look up and find information fast. E-textbooks now allow users to
connect and update more information from websites that their addresses are
given by e-textbooks. (violet.vn)
According to the research of given e-textbooks as well as designed and built a
concrete e-textbook at the address: http://e-edvietnam.edu.vn, our opinions are
as follows:
E-textbooks are the software of textbooks ensuring the requests of paper
textbooks, however, e-textbooks can exist independently and their content cover
whole program. E-textbooks must have electronic features, interactive features
and feedback.
(i) Electronic features are as follows: E-textbooks can act on the Internet or
without the Internet. We can see the contents of e-textbooks on personal
computers (PCs, laptops), e-readers (Kindle, Nook, Sony, Reader, etc.), tablet
computers (Multiform: iPad, Android Tablets (Galaxy Tab, Kindle Fire, etc.),
Surface; Specialized: Kno, Class-book) or smart-phones. E-textbooks can
integrate many kinds of the advanced and modern technology of informatics
and media in order to serve information transmitting, learning, and studying
best.
(ii) Interactive feature and feedback are as follows: e-textbooks ensure the
converse relations, have dialogues or have impacts between e-textbooks and
users. For example, when a student choose a wrong option on computer then he
intermediately gets a message from e-textbooks on what his errors, knowledge
and skills are and the instruction of next learning act for him in aiding discovery
learning.

3.3. The structure of an e-textbook according to the discovery learning


of students
E-textbook is a textbook software ensuring the requests for (paper) textbook,
however e-textbook can exist independently and their contents cover the whole
program. E-textbook must have electronic features, interactive features and
feedback. Thats reason why we can say that, e-textbook is the textbook software
digitized according to a concrete structure, format and script. According to
Nguyen, M., T., and the authors adding the title and contents of e-textbook, the
structure of e-textbook is the same e-document including four main parts: The
title of e-textbook, the contents of e-textbook, the connections and the interactive
and communicative environment. (Nguyen, M., T)
- The title of e-textbook. This is the name oriented for whole contents of data,
connections and the interactive and communicative environment. They must
conform to and concentrate on the correct description of chosen title.
- The contents of e-textbook. The contents of e-textbook include sections, slides,
data tables, sound files using the illustration or explanation of knowledge, files
of knowledgeable simulations, Flash files (or similar formats), video files, ect. In
addition, the contents include concrete lesson plans of each lesson or each
chapter due to the compilations of the authors of e-textbook, due to the reference
documents relating to the help of leaning, researching and exploiting of users on
e-textbook such as the document on knowledge based system, artificial, etc. E-
textbook also contains the bank of test questions and the assessments of
students.

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- The hyperlinks and hypertexts. Hyperlinks connect between the interfaces of users
and the knowledge based system of e-textbook. These hyperlinks include the
created orientations, feedback and instructions to help users find, access, interact
and activate the functions of e-textbook and data that need to use and exploit.
Hyperlinks allow users to note text paragraphs, emphasize focused knowledge.
- The interactive and communicative environment. It will be a created space for users
to approach data, display desired information and get feedback when users
interact with e-textbook. The interactive and communicative environment of e-
textbook is often designed under a software or a website.

3.4. The process of designing e-textbook


Through the researching, designing and building an e-textbook at the address
http://e-edvietnam.edu.vn, we propose the process of designing e-textbook
according to the orientation of discovery learning as follows:
Step 1. Researching program
- Find out about the contents of e-textbook.
- Find out about e-textbook according to the orientation of discovery learning.
Step 2. Designing e-textbook according to the organization of discovery learning acts
- Design necessary features and data according to discovery learning.
- Carry out programming, design e-textbook according to the orientation of
discovery learning.
Step 3. Building e-textbook
- Synthesize information and build the whole features according to the requests
of e-textbook according to the orientation of discovery learning;
- Build sample data and required data according to discovery learning
Step 4. Testing e-textbook
- Input all of data and carry out test run;
- Fine-tune other factors and complete all of features according to the orientation
of discovery learning.
Step 5. Checking and completing
- Carry out the checking of all features and completing e-textbook.

4. The use of e-textbook to help teaching and learning plane geometry


according to the organization of discovery learning acts
4.1. The process of teaching and learning a lesson on e-textbook
according to the organization of discovery learning acts
E-textbook is designed to help the self-learning and the self-discovery of
students. E-textbook helps students to learn according to their needs and
velocities by themselves, helps students to predict, find out, confirm and
generalize the results of problems. However, teacher will correct, assert all main
knowledge that needs to be learned, check the solutions of theorems, properties,
problems when students have needs. That s reason why, if we use e-textbook
according to the organization of discovery learning acts then the best form is
blended learning. According to Michael, H., blended learning is the integrating
of online learning and traditional learning with time, process and progress
under control. (Michael, H)
The process of learning a lesson on e-textbook according to the organization of
discovery learning acts includes the following stages:

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43

- Teacher gives home tasks to students (in the previous lesson in class)
- Student learns with e-textbook by himself
- Students learn in class (after students have learned the lesson in the e-textbook)
- Teacher gives home tasks to students (in the next learning period)

4.1.1. Teacher gives home tasks to students (in the previous lesson in
class)
Teacher gives home tasks to students in the previous lesson in class; Students
access the given website and do according to the requests of teacher at home. If
students do not understand and have any questions then students note them on
paper and ask teacher in the next lesson in class, teacher will explain and answer
these questions.
Concretely, students received home tasks according discovery learning on the e-
textbook in the previous lesson.
The example is illustrated by teaching and learning the lesson The reflectional
symmetry on e-textbook. The previous lesson in class is The translation and
transformations, teacher gives home tasks to students before finishing the
lesson: You learn the relectional symmetry, the symmetric axis of a figure, read
illustrated examples and do the ramified problem of 3. The reflectional
symmetry on e-textbook by yourselves. After you finish learning the
reflectional symmetry with the help of e-textbook, you will fill in the following
notes:
- What is the reflectional symmetry?
- Do you give an example on the axis of a figure in the real life?
Students write their answers on the notes and submit them to teacher in the next
lesson in class.

4.1.2. Student learns with e-textbook by himself


Student enters the Registration and Login procedures of website. Student
interacts with the objects and symbols on the screen. After that, student accesses
the contents of website, observes the examples, does the tasks and answers the
questions of teacher, receives feedback from the computer to form his
knowledge by himself. From that, student not only obtains knowledge but also
practices the skills of observation, analysis, comparison, generalization in order
to find the rules for objects and relations as well as the way of finding out and
solving problem. After student has finished the lesson on the website then
student will answer the questions that teacher gives to student in class.
Concretely, student learns the lesson on e-textbook by himself according the
organization of discovery learning acts. He does the questions suitable with his
competence. E-textbook has ramified problems to check the knowledge fast,
especially, it is suitable with average and weak students. If student chooses the
incorrect answer then he has just get feedback from the e-textbook: What are the
incorrect knowledge and mathematical skills? After student finishes the lesson
at home, student will have any questions on the needs of finding knowledge and
solving problem that e-textbook does not adapt to him then student will note
these questions in order to ask teacher or his friends in class. The type of
discovery learning which student does at home is free discovery one.

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44

The illustrated example of learning the lesson The reflectional symmetry


according to the organization of discovery learning acts is as follows:
Student enters the browser Firefox:

accesses the Internet address of e-textbook to do his self-learning:


http://www.e-edvietnam.edu.vn.
E-textbook has a common account for empty user (name: luanan, password:
123456).
If a certain user wants to create new account for himself then he enters the
square ng k on the left side:

Student enters the square on the left side Ti ng cc quy nh ca Website


as the below figure and continue to enter the square Tip tc

Student fills in the squares marked by * and fills in his password according to
the requests e-textbook:

Student clicks on the square ng k and finishes the process of registration of


e-textbook.
After that, when student accesses e-textbook, student will enter the above name
and password in the left square:

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Student sends the address of his username to teacher by email; teacher saves the
username in the account of e-textbook. After teacher saves the username, teacher
will follow the traces of acts of student on e-textbook.
The way of doing with e-textbook:
- When students read a question of a certain page of e-textbook, they themselves
answer it before clicking on the next page in order to receive its answer (if yes),
after that students compare with their choices.
- Students need to install the supplemental software such as Adobe Flash, Java
script in order to do with e-textbook
After students read the instructions of e-textbook, students will carry out the
self-learning of transformations in the plane according to discovery learning on
e-textbook:
- Students click on the function E-notebook Vietnamese advanced geometric text
book 11th Chapter 1 3. The reflectional symmetry A. Theory 1. Definition
of the reflectional symmetry page 1 then the screen of e-textbook displays two
sliding doors as follows:

Students observe the sliding door and answer the question of e-textbook:

Example 1 (The move of a reflectional symmetry across the axis)


Observe the two entrance doors of a supermarket, and give remarks on two
positional points M, M' compared with the midline of the entrance.

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46

- When students observe the two entrance doors of a supermarket on the screen,
all of good, rather good, average and bad students answer the question of e-
textbook correctly.
- Students click on the next page 2 to see the answer of the question:
(Two points M, M' are symmetric with respect to the midline of entrance door.)

- Students will continue to discover the reflectional symmetry when they click
on the page 3, read and answer the example 2 of e-textbook.

Example 2
Given a pine tree. Observe the axis of this pine tree.
We call the left pine tree being the figure ( H ). Let ( H ' ) be the figure symmetric
to the axis (Click on the right arrow of the figure (in the next page)). With each of
points M on ( H ) , observe point M ' symmetric to point M with respect to a.
When M moves on ( H ), give remarks on the positional points M' . See the
figure and answer of the question at the next page.

- When students observe the pine tree on the screen, all of good, rather good,
average and bad students answer the question correctly: Point M is symmetric
to point M ' with respect to the axis of the pine tree.
- Students click on the next page 4 then e-textbook displays the following figure:

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47

After click on the right arrow then the figure will move to become the pine tree:

Students interact with the table of choices of the page 4 of e-textbook in order to
confirm the answer for e-textbook:

When students interact with the table of choices, all of good, rather good and
average students choose the correct answer A.
Bad students still do not master knowledge through the visual symbols, so they
choose the answer that is not A. E-textbook automatically gives the
announcement and feedback on the incorrect choice of bad students as follows:

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48

When students click on the page 5, they will continue to discover the reflectional
symmetry, read and answer the question of the below figure of e-textbook:
Two given lines a and d satisfying that they intersect at A . With each of points
M on d , draw point M' symmetric to the point M with respect to a . When M
moves on d , give remarks on the positional points M' .

The discovery question:


When M moves on d , give remarks on the positional points M' .

Good Students answer the given question of e-textbook correctly.


The other students need more instructions by clicking on the page 6 of e-
textbook.
When M moves on d , give remarks on the positional points M' .

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49

Rather good students answer the given question of e-textbook correctly.


The other students need more complement instruction by clicking on the page 7
of e-textbook.
When M moves on d , give remarks on the positional points M' .

Average students answer the given question of e-textbook correctly.


The other students need more complement instruction by clicking on the
interactive (tng tc) symbol of the page 7:

E-textbook displays the interactive square, Students interact with e-textbook by


clicking points on the line d and obtain the following figure:

Students continue to click on the page 8 in order to see the remarks and answer:
(Remarks: M' moves on d through A such that d' and d take a as a bisector
line of a pair of vertically opposite angles formed by d' and d .)

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Students will continue to discover the reflectional symmetry when they click on
the next page 9, read and answer the below question of e-textbook:

Example 3
Given line a and circle ( O ). With each of points M on ( O ), draw point M'
symmetric to point M with respect to a . When M moves on ( O ), give remarks
on the positional points M' .

Good Students answer the given question of e-textbook correctly.


The other students need more complement instruction by clicking on the page 10
of e-textbook.

Rather good students answer the given question of e-textbook correctly.


The other students need more complement instruction by clicking on the page 11
of e-textbook:

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51

Average students answer the given question of e-textbook correctly.


The other students need more complement instruction by clicking on the
interactive (tng tc) symbol of the page 11:

E-textbook displays the interactive square, Students interact with e-textbook by


clicking points on the circle ( O ) and obtain the following figure:

Students continue to click on the page 12 to see the remarks and answer:
(Remarks: M ' moves on the circle (O ') equal to the circle (O ) )

Students click on the pages 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 of E-notebook Vietnamese advanced
geometric text book 11th Chapter 1 3. The reflectional symmetry A.

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Theory 1. Definition of the reflectional symmetry in order to see the remarks and
definition of reflectional symmetry:
Observing all of the above figures, we see that they have a common detail: Given
a line a , with each of points M , we only definite a point M' symmetric to point
M with respect to a .
From this, we have the definition of reflectional symmetry as follows:
The symmetry with axis a , called Sa , is a transformation that maps each of points M
onto point M' as follow : If M a then M' M ; if M a then M' is symmetric to
the point M with respect to a . Line a is called the axis of symmetry or symmetric axis.

4.1.3. Students learn in class (after students have learned the lesson in
the e-textbook)
Teacher asks students to answer the given questions at the previous lesson. All
of students discuss these questions, teacher answer these ones of students. There
are a lot of different methods in order to organize the acts in class. Teacher can
organize the common learning acts for all of students or for groups or each of
individuals.
The acts of teacher in class are:
- To stabilize the class.
- Act 1: Receive the replies of students, answer students questions and organize
the common acts for class by the questions of checking students knowledge fast.
- Act 2: Organize the acts for groups of students.
- Act 3: Send private notes to students.
- Act 4: Assert the main knowledge that needs to be learned.
- Act 5: Teacher give home tasks to students (in the next learning period)
(The type of discovery learning in class is the guided one.)

4.1.4. Teacher gives home tasks to students (in the next learning period)
Teacher gives the same home tasks to students (in the next learning period) as
the home tasks to students (in the previous learning period). Concretely, teacher
gives home tasks to students in the next learning period in class; students do the
exercises of textbook, find out more different solutions and generalized
problems. Students access the address given by teacher at home and do
according to teachers requests. When students learn with e-textbook by
themselves, students do not understand or have any questions, then students
will ask teacher in the next learning period, teacher will explain and answer the
questions.
Teacher gives home tasks to students; students consolidate knowledge, do
problems of developing thought. Students learn the next learning period on e-
textbook by themselves.
The illustrated example that teacher gives home task to students (at the next
learning period of lesson the reflectional symmetry (period 2) is as follows
- Homework: Exercises 7, 8 (page 13 E-textbook).
- Teacher consolidates, broadens knowledge and gives the advanced and
development problems of creative thought to students. For example, these are
the problems of reflectional symmetry having many solutions, similar and
generalized problems of the origin one.
- Teacher gives home tasks to students on the remaining lesson of the

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53

reflectional symmetry on e-textbook. After students themselves finish the period


2 of the lesson the reflectional symmetry at home, students will answer two
following questions of teacher:
- Is the reflectional symmetry an isometry?
- Give your statements on the coordinate expression of a reflectional symmetry
across Ox -axis?
Students note on paper and give their answers to teacher in the next learning
period.

4.2. The process of learning a lesson on e-textbook according to the


organization of discovery acts without the learning step in class
Because of some private reasons that a student can not learn the lesson in class,
for example, he is ill then e-textbook helps him to finish learning knowledge by
himself adapting to the standard of knowledge and skills. The type of discovery
learning is free one.
The process of learning a lesson on e-textbook according to the organization of
discovery acts without the learning step in class include the following steps
a) Using e-textbook to help discovery acts
b) Using e-textbook to help students learn by themselves
c) Using e-textbook to help corporate acts
d) The method of learning with e-textbook
e) The method of interaction with e-textbook
f) The results of doing tests of students
Because of some private reasons that a student misses a certain lesson, the
effectiveness of self-learning is not good as the blended learning; however,
student can understand and apply basic knowledge. From that, e-textbook helps
student continue to master the new knowledge more easily, more efficiently.

5. Results and discussion


5.1. Delivering survey forms
We delivered survey forms to 113 teachers of senior high schools in Hanoi city,
Viet Nam in order to test the application of interactive e-textbook in learning
mathematics. The result shows that 63 teachers (55.75%) think that it is very
necessary; 40 teachers (35.40%) think that it is necessary; 10 teachers (8.85%)
think that it is not necessary yet; nobody thinks that it is not necessary. It shows
that teachers are interested in using interactive e-book in teaching.

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The chart 1. The attitude of teacher towards the application


of the interactive e-book in teaching
The ideas of teachers on e-textbook

8.85 0
Very necessary
Necessary
35.4 Not necessary yet
55.75
Not necessary

We also delivered survey forms to 253 students of senior high schools in Hanoi
city, Viet Nam in order to test the application of interactive e-textbook in
learning mathematics. The result is as below:
Chart 2. The ideas of students on using e-textbook

The ideas of students on using e-textbook

200
180
160
140 Frequently
120
100 Sometime
80
60 Never
40
20
0
Like teachers Like teachers Like to explore Like to use e-
to use e- to use divided e-textbook rough
textbook in branch themselves notebook
teaching module
concept,
theorem,
solving
problem
according to

Chart 2 shows that students very like teachers to use e-textbook in learning
concepts, theorems as well as properties according to discovery learning.
Students are interested in techer using the feature of divided learning as well as
discover e-textbook by themselves. Students very like rough e-notebook in doing
with plane geometric objects.

5.2. The following of the progression for a group of students (case


study)
5.2.1. The model choice
The point of view of model choice: The choices of students presenters must be
different levels from bad and average students to good students. The presenters
are all of male students. The choices of objects are to follow the progressions and
interactive acts with e-textbook of students on the transformations in the plane
of grade 11th with the help of teacher and the other friends. The following of the

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learning process as well as the exploitable acts of some applications of e-


textbook in learning the transformations of students bases on the below criteria:
- The levels of the need, target and motivation of learning.
- The levels of the building and performing of learning plan on the
transformations in the plane according to discovery learning.
- The real abilities of the interaction with e-textbook.
- The levels of the reading and comprehension of contents in e-textbook.
- The levels of the checking and assessment of learning the transformations in
the plane according to discovery learning.
- The levels of finishing learning target and tasks.
- The applicative levels of learning knowledge for new lesson and the reality, ect.
For each of criteria, we base on the reality and theory of learning
transformations in the plane according to discovery learning concretely.
We carry out communicate with mathematical teachers, observe the altitudes, acts
and learning results of students in order to get information. We choose objects
based on the result of the processing of the above information.
The result of model choice: For the above approach, we choose 04 students to
observe, collect and process information in order to give the opinions on the
process of learning the transformations in the plane according to discovery
learning. Each of students has different level of learning ability. Concretely:
(1) Vu Vuong An (username: vuongan) is a student of grade 11A1 of Samson
high school, Thanh Hoa province.
Vu Vuong An is good at learning. He is good at mathematics, Physics,
Chemistry, ect, and is bad at literature. He is talented at physics. Vuong An is
nearsighted. He does not talk in class, he likes to join in class acts. The skills of
mathematics such as geometric skill, solving problem skill, computational skill
and using mathematical tool skill are good. The self-learning ability of Vuong
An on e-textbook is good. The time of finishing the given requires of e-texbook
of Vuong An is always at the top. After he finishes the self-learning, Vuong An
will be quite good for catching the self-learning knowledge. Vuong An also
helps the other friends, he often accesses the forum feature to help bad students.
He usually asks teacher about difficult problems concerned with the self-
learning on e-textbook.
(2) Le Quoc Hung (username: quochung) is a student of grade 11A1 of Samson
high school, Thanh Hoa province.
Le Quoc Hung is quite good at learning. He is quite good at mathematics, is bad
at literature and he is especially talented at chemistry. Hung is nearsighted. He
does not talk in class, he likes to join in class acts. The skills of mathematics such
as geometric skill, solving problem skill, computational skill and using
mathematical tool skill are quite good. The self-learning ability of Quoc Hung on
e-textbook is also good. The time of finishing the given requires of e-textbook of
Quoc Hung is always at the top. The time that Quoc Hung finishes his self-
learning is little longer than Vuong An. After Quoc Hung finishes the self-
learning, Quoc Hung will be quite good for catching the self-learning
knowledge. Quoc Hung also helps the other friends, he often access the forum
feature to help bad students. He also asks teacher about difficult problems
concerned with the self-learning on e-textbook.

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(3) Le Van Tien Dzung (username: tiendung) is a student of grade 11A1 of


Samson high school, Thanh Hoa province.
Le Van Tien Dzung is average at learning. He is not self-aware in learning, he
only learn when teacher gives learning tasks to him. He does not talk in class, he
likes to join in class acts. Dzung is quite good at chemistry, he is bad at literature
and he is not talented. He is nearsighted. The skills of mathematics such as
geometric skill, computational skill, compared skill is quite good and the skill of
using ICT is good.
(4) Tran Tri Ngoc (username: tringoc) is a student of grade 11A1 of Samson high
school, Thanh Hoa province.
Ngoc is bad at learning. Teacher even gives clear task to him, he is not self-aware
in learning. He is especially bad at mathematics and he is not talented. He is not
handicap. Ngoc is a special student. We ask teacher to help him learn and
review lessons on our e-textbook. We also ask some rather good and good
students to answer his questions on online. These things make him better. The
self-learning ability of Ngoc of two first periods is bad. He usually chooses
incorrect answers of ramified problems. The time that he finishes the given
requests of e-textbook is the longest. The path of choosing answers in ramified
problems is usually a zigzag. The time that Ngoc finishes the self-learning is less
than An and Hung about 6 minutes.

5.2.2. The analysis of results


c) The concrete results on the exploitation of some applications of e-textbook in the
learning process of the transformations in the plane according to discovery learning .
- Qualitative assessment :
(1) Vu Vuong An
At the first period The beginning of transformations and The translations and
transformations, Vuong An finishes the self-learning quite long. At the next
periods such as The translations and transformations (period 2), The reflectional
symmetry (period 3, period 4), Vuong An finishes the self-learning fast.
For ramified problems, Vuong An finishes choices fast, correctly and he is better
through each of periods. For example, the problem 2 of The reflectional
symmetry:
Given a triangle ABC ( ABC is inscribed in a circle with center O ). B , C are fixed
while A moves on the circle. Use the reflectional symmetry to prove that the orthocenter
H of triangle ABC lies on a fixed circle
then the chart of the learning process on e-textbook of Vuong An is as follows:

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57

Vuong An likes high challenging problems, asks teacher about difficult


questions in class. For example, when Vuong An learns lesson The refectional
symmetry, he asks teacher the following difficult problem Given two circles
( A; R1 ) and ( B; R2 ) lying on the same side of line d. Find point C on ( A) , point D
on ( B) and point M on line d such that MC MB is the shortest.
Vuong An is fluent and active in group acts and common acts in class. Vuong
An finishes learning notes for rather good and good students quite fast.
(2) Le Quoc Hung
At the first period The beginning of transformations and the translations and
transformations, The time that Quoc Hung finishes the self-learning is longer
than Vuong An. At the next periods such as The translations and transformations
(period 2), The reflectional symmetry (period 3, period 4), Quoc Hung finishes
the self-learning fast.
For ramified problems, Quoc Hung finishes choices fast, correctly and he is
better through each of periods. The time that Quoc Hung finishes the self-
learning is longer than Vuong An. For example, the problem 2 of The reflectional
symmetry:
Given a triangle ABC ( ABC is inscribed in a circle with center O ). B , C are fixed
while A moves on the circle. Use the reflectional symmetry to prove that the orthocenter
H of triangle ABC lies on a fixed circle
then the time that Quoc Hung finishes the problem is longer than Vuong An
about 1 minute. The chart of the learning process on e-textbook of Quoc Hung is
as follows:

Quoc Hung also likes to ask teacher about difficult problems like Vuong An in
class. For example, when Quoc Hung learns lesson The refectional symmetry, he
asks teacher the following difficult problem Given circle ( A; R1 ) and point B
lying on the same side of line d. Find point C on ( A) , point M on line d such that
MC MB is the shortest.
Quoc Hung is fluent and active in group acts, common acts in class. Quoc Hung
finishes the learning notes of rather good and good students quite fast. The time
that he finishes the learning notes is only longer than Vuong An.
(3) Le Van Tien Dzung
At the first period The beginning of transformations and the translations and
transformations, The time that Tien Dzung finishes the self-learning is longer
than Quoc Hung and Vuong An about 4 minutes. At the next periods such as
The translations and transformations (period 2), The reflectional symmetry

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(period 3, period 4), Tien Dzung finishes the self-learning quite fast. The self-
learning ability of Dzung is average.
For the ramified problem (problem 1 of lesson The beginning of
transformations), Tien Dzung chooses an incorrect choice. The chart of the
learning process of ramified problem (problem 1) on e-textbook of Tien Dzung is
as follows:

At the next periods, Tien Dzung do ramified problems for a long time but he
does not choose any incorrect choice. For example, the problem 2 of The
reflectional symmetry:
Given a triangle ABC ( ABC is inscribed in a circle with center O ). B , C are fixed
while A moves on the circle. Use the reflectional symmetry to prove that the orthocenter
H of triangle ABC lies on a fixed circle
then Tien Dzung chooses all of correct choices. The chart of the learning process
of Tien Dzung on e-textbook is as follows:

Tien Dzung does not ask teacher about knowledge concerned with his self-
learning in class. Teacher must give more exercises to consolidate his
knowledge.
Tien Dzung is fluent and active in learning with simple problems but he is
passive in learning with advanced problems in class. Tien Dzung also finishes
private notes of teacher well.
(3) Tran Tri Ngoc
At the first period The beginning of transformations and the translations and
transformations, Tri Ngoc does not master the self-learning knowledge. When he
learn by himself, he does not know to communicate with his friends and teacher
in order to get their help. Tri Ngoc chooses incorrect choices and need
instructions. The chart of the learning process of ramified problem (problem 1)
on e-textbook of Tri Ngoc is as follows:

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59

At the next period The translations and transformations (period 2), Tri Ngoc can
communicate with his friends about lesson. Tri Ngoc also chooses incorrect
choices however the time of his incorrect choices is shorter than before. The
chart of the learning process of ramified problem (problem 2) of Tri Ngoc on e-
textbook is as follows:

At the next periods The reflectional symmetry (period 3, period 4), Tri Ngoc
chooses all of correct choices of ramified problems however the time of his
correct choices is quite long. Tri Ngoc is better through every period. The chart
of the learning process of ramified problem (problem 2) on e-textbook of Tri
Ngoc is as follows:

Tri Ngoc does not ask teacher about knowledge concerned with his self-learning
in class. Teacher must give more exercises to consolidate his knowledge.
In class, Tri Ngoc is passive in two fist periods. At the two next periods, Tri
Ngoc is also active in solving simple exercises however the time of doing
exercises is quite long. Tri Ngoc also finishes private notes of teacher well.

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60

- Quantitative assessment:
We follow the learning of 04 students by e-textbook, from the traces of the
students on e-textbook, we realize that, students usually enter their login to
learn knowledge, do exercises and tests, the following results of 04 students in a
month are as follows:
TT Full name Score 1 Score 2 Score 3 Score 4
1 Vng An 7.5 8.5 8.5 9.0
2 Quoc Hung 7.0 7.5 7.5 8.0
3 Tien Dzung 6.0 7.0 7.5 7.5
4 Tri Ngoc 4.5 5.0 5.0 6.0
Observing the scores of 04 students, we realize that they are better on the
activeness, self-awareness and creation.
Thus, the experimental results show that e-textbook helps student to learn
mathematics and to improve their active and creative abilities.

6. Conclusion
Interactive e-textbooks have many strong points such as to help students to discover
knowledge conveniently; to transmit images, sound, MP3, MP4 files. E-textbooks
allow us to educate an infinite number of students. Students can interact together by
e-textbooks easily. E-textbooks will create an advantageous environment when
users do with geometric objects.

References
Doan, Q., Van, N. C., Pham, K., B., Ta, M. (2016), Advanced geometry 11th, The Vietnam
Educational Publishing House.
Joi, L. M., Camille, D., D., Krista, G., (2011), e-learning, online learning, and distance learning
environments : Are they the same? Internet and Higher Education, Vol. 14, 129-135.
Joolingen, W., V (1999), Cognitive tools for discovery learning, International Journal of
Artificial Intelligence in Education, Vol 10, 385-397
Michael, H. (2015), Workshop application of information technology in blended teaching
meeting the new school curriculums demand, Ministry of Education and Training of
Vietnam.
Mogens, N. (2003), Mathematical competencies and the learning of mathematics: The
danish KOM project. In Gagatsis, A., & Papastarvridis, S. (eds.), 3rd
Mediterranean Conference on Mathematical Education (pp. 115 124). Athens,
Greece: Hellenic Mathematical Society and Cyprus Mathematical Society.
Nguyen, T., D. (2014), The research of the lessons of teacher concentrated on the mathematical
discovery of students in teaching and learning mathematics at upper secondary school.
A Dissertation for the Degree of Doctor of Education, Hanoi National University
of Education (Dissertation written in Vietnamese).
Nguyen, V., H. (2007). Applying guided discovery teaching in the process of teaching
mathematics at upper secondary school. Journal of Vietnamese Educational Science,
28-29.
Nguyen, M., H., Khu, Q., A., Nguyen, H., T. (2016), Basic geometric exercises 11th, The
Vietnam Educational Publishing House.
Nguyen, M., T. (2012), The e-document of teaching and learning A model of blended learning
software, Journal of Vietnamese Education, number 280 (2/2012), p.5153.
Nguyen, T., T., Nguyen, H., C., Quach, T., C., Nguyen, T., H., Doan, T., P., Pham, D., Q.,
Nguyen, T., Q., S. (2006), The instructions of performing the standard of knowledge
and skills of mathematical subject 11th, The Vietnam Educational Publishing House.

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Pham, T., T., Dang, T., T., H., Do, D., L., Pham, D., T., Dao, T., L. (2015), The research on
mathematical textbooks of some countries, the proposal of applications to write
Vietnamese mathematical textbook adapting to the requires of secondary school
educational program after 2015, The report of the summarization of the science and
technology topic of the Vietnam Institute of Educational Sciences, Hanoi.
Roger, S. (1989), The elaboration of school textbooks methodological guide, Division of
Educational Sciences, Contents and Methods of Education UNESCO.
Tran, T. (2011), Applying ICT to teaching and learning mathematics at secondary school, The
Vietnam Educational Publishing House.
Tran V., H., Nguyen, M., H., Khu, Q., A., Nguyen, H., T., Phan, V., V. (2016), Basic
geometry 11th, The Vietnam Educational Publishing House.
Van, N., C., Pham, K. B., Ta, M. (2016), Advanced geometric exercises 11th, The Vietnam
Educational Publishing House.
Edutechwiki.unige.ch. Retrieved from
http://edutechwiki.unige.ch/en/Discovery_learning
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62

International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 15, No. 10, pp. 62-72, September 2016

School Leadership and English Language


Teachers Approaches in Teaching English
Language: The Case of Selected Schools in Sidama
Zone, Southern Ethiopia

*Eshetu Mandefro and Mebratu Mulatu


College of Social sciences and Humanities,
Hawassa University
Hawassa, Ethiopia

Tesfaye Abebe and Yohannes Yona


College of Agriculture,
Hawassa University
Hawassa, Ethiopia

Abstract The study was conducted to assess the strategies and


approaches used by school leadership and English language teachers in
handling English language teaching in primary and secondary schools
of Sidama administrative zone, Southern Ethiopia. The study was a
descriptive survey which comprised a total of 40 English language
teachers, 6 English language department heads, 4 School principals and
257 students drawn from randomly selected 11 primary and secondary
school students. The data were collected through questionnaires,
interviews and document analysis. The results disclosed that all the
schools didnt have functional English Language Improvement Centers
(ELIC) and School Based English Language Mentors (SBELM).
Moreover, the school leadership allocated only limited resources for
English language improvement activities. The findings also revealed
that English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers act poorly as role
models in using English and in letting the students use English language
in different contexts. Therefore, it is recommended that school
leadership should be committed not only to establish but also to follow
up English Language improvement Centers (ELICs) and School Based
English Language Mentors (SBELM) providing the basic facilities to the
practical activities. In addition, they should encourage EFL teachers to
carry out their responsibility in helping students improve their English
language ability which is the ideal activity to ensure quality education in
the Ethiopian EFL context.

Keywords: Educational leadership; performance; English Language


Improvement; English Language Mentors

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63

Introduction

At present, English is an international language which is used for


communication with many people in different nations across the worldwide. In
the education sector in particular, students in various universities use English to
search for information and gain knowledge. The teaching and learning of the
English language is also closely associate social and political roles around the
world (Ronald & David, 2001). Evidently, most universities throughout the
world need to include English language as one of their educational tool
requirements (Khader & Mohammad, 2010). Likewise, the widespread of the
English language has rapidly increased the need to attain better communication
English throughout the world. Thus, the aptitude to use English is very much
needed for further studies, journeys in other countries as well as for social and
professional global contacts (Susanna, 2007)

Obviously, peoples demand towards English language in many countries in the


world is making it a global language that spreads rapidly (Carlo, 2012). Ethiopia
is a country where English language has been taught as a second or foreign
language starting from primary schools up to higher educational institutions all
over the country. The government of the Federal Democratic Republic of
Ethiopia has been attributing a top primacy and increasingly allocating huge
capital for the expansion of equitable, relevant and quality education at all levels
and quantitative progress has been made in this respect (MoE, 2008). Over the
last two decades, the country has made significant progress in providing access
to education at all levels of the education system. This has led to a sharp increase
in the demand of teaching facilities (MoE, 2010). However, the achievements in
the access of education have not been facilitated with adequate enhancements in
quality aspect. Recognizing this fact, the Ministry of Education of Ethiopia
launched the General Education Quality Improvement Package (GEQIP) (MoE,
2008) which consists of different programs among which the English Language
Improvement Program (ELIP) is one (MOE, 2010). ELIP aims at improving the
quality of education and competencies of teachers and students in primary and
secondary schools all over the nation. The program has focused on providing
in-service training for English language teachers in primary and secondary
schools for relatively longer period of time. Besides, the 1994 education and
training policy stated that English will be taught as an independent subject
starting from early grade (grade one) and it will also be used as a medium of
instruction in secondary and higher levels. Mother tongue based teaching in
primary education is highly promoted by the educational policy. And then
English language will be introduced as a subject in grade 1 and as the medium
of instruction in secondary level. English is also a medium of instruction starting
from grade 5 and this extends up to higher educational levels.

Statement of the problem

As English is the medium of instruction in Ethiopian context, students learn the


language to know how uses different forms, and develop ability to understand
when people are using the expressions in different contexts including the

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64

academic world (VCE, 2015). One of the major areas of interventions made to
improve the quality of education in Ethiopia has been to provide English
language; skill based training for EFL and other subject teachers, and set school-
based English mentors who will assist all teachers that use English as a tool for
classroom teaching and learning (MoE, 2010). The initiative also aims at
strengthening English Language Quality Improvement Program (ELQIP) all
over the country, through continued improvement of quality teaching and
learning (MoE, 2010). But, the concern is that the mamagment of the training and
the extent of classroom application havent been studied well. In line with this,
Eshetu (2016)stated that the school level management of English language
instruction is not uniform across the schools.

When we focus at the regional context, a study conducted on the learning


achievement of schools in the Region (Southern, Nations, Nationalities and
Peoples Regional state, SNNPRS) indicated deterioration of the students
achievement in English language proficiency and overall performance at each
level. The study which was conducted on English language proficiency of Grade
4 and Grade 8 students drawn from 213 schools showed that only 23.1% of the
students from grade 8, and 16.4% from grade 4 passed the examination (SNNPR
Education Bureau, 2014).

The Annual Report of SNNPR Education Bureau (2013) also indicated that only
12.9% of the students from Sidama zone and 20.5% from Hawassa city scored
50% and above for English subject, and the performance of grade 8 students in
the Regional examination and grade 10 students in the National examination
was below average. According to the same report, the degree of failure of
students was extremely high in English, Mathematics and Science subjects.
Although these studies show the poor achievement of students in English and
other subjects, the root causes of the problem and the approaches used by
teachers and school leaders in teaching English language are not clearly known.
The present study was therefore conducted to assess the strategies and methods
used by English language teachers and school leaders in teaching the English
language.

Objectives of the Study

The purpose of this study was to assess the strategies and approaches used in
the teaching of English in selected primary and secondary schools in Sidama
administrative zone of Southern Ethiopia, and to identify the major pedagogical
and organizational problems that affect students performance in the English
language.

The specific objectives of this study were:


To assess the strategies and approaches used by school leadership in
handling English language teaching in primary and secondary schools.
To identify the kinds of teaching methods/approaches used by teachers
when teaching English in the classroom.

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65

Materials and Methods

Research Design
The method used in the study was descriptive survey because the study was
directed towards people, their opinions, attitude and behaviors. According to
Best and Khan (2006), descriptive research attempts to describe scientifically a
situation, problem, phenomenon, service or program, or provides information or
describes attitudes towards an issue. This method was therefore selected
because the nature of the problems needs wider description and detailed
analysis of existing phenomenon.

Population of the Study and Sampling Techniques


The target groups of this study were English language teachers and Grade 7-12
students in schools randomly selected from six districts of Sidama
administrative zone, SNNPRS. Both purposive and random sampling techniques
were used to obtain fair representation of the population. Accordingly, eleven
(11) schools were selected randomly from public primary and secondary schools
in the districts. In the second stage, the targets were purposefully grouped into
four categories and respondents were selected randomly using the proportional
sampling method. The groups were School principals, Department heads,
English language teachers and students. From each school, a total of 50 English
language teachers and department heads were selected through the random
sampling technique. Similarly, 257 primary and secondary school students were
selected randomly from the eleven schools.

Data Collection Instruments

Data for the study were collected through questionnaires, interviews and
document analysis. The data collected through questionnaire were used for the
quantitative analysis, while those collected through interviews and document
analysis were used to describe the findings.

The Questionnaire
To achieve the objectives of the study, a quantitative methodology involving a
close-ended questionnaire was used as the measuring instrument. The
questionnaire was used to obtain quantitative information from teachers and
students on issues related to English language teaching. A total of 307
questionnaires were distributed to students (257) and teachers (50) drawn from
the eleven primary and secondary schools. In order to have fair representation
of gender, the respondents (students and teachers) were grouped into males and
females, and then a random sample was taken from each group based on their
proportions. All of the questionnaires were appropriately filled and returned.

The Interviews

Interviews were conducted to get additional information that will substantiate


the information obtained through questionnaires and to get supplementary
information. In the interviews, semi-structured interview questions were used to

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66

collect information from 5 randomly selected school principals, 3 English


language department heads and 3 English language teachers. The interviews
focused on investigating the level of English language proficiency of students.

Document analysis
The researchers also analyzed different documents such as students profiles,
mark lists, students academic records (rosters), and records of regional and
national certificate examination results in order to cross-check the findings with
the existing facts on the ground.

Methods of data Analysis


The method of data analysis was based on the nature of the data as there were
two kinds of data: quantitative and qualitative. In analyzing the quantitative
data, all the structured items of the questionnaires were keyed into a computer
and analyzed using the computer program of Statistical Package for Social
Sciences (SPSS) version 17.0.To analyse the descriptive data. Scores of
respondents of all items were entered into SPSS software and descriptive
statistics were computed. In this study, single sample t-test was used to compute
means, standard deviations, and t-value. Frequency analysis and percentage
were also computed to determine the number of respondents who choose each
alternative response to each question. Thus, means and percentages were used
to report statistical values obtained from the respondents. The statistical
significance was set at p< 0.05.

The five point Likert scale questionnaire items were analyzed in terms of their
mean range. The mean scores from 0.01 to 2.99 indicated a negative response
and disagreement of the respondents on the statements forwarded to them; the
mean value 3.00 indicates a neutral response of respondents, and the mean value
3.01-5.00 indicates a positive response and agreement of respondents on the
issue raised in the items (Johns, 2010). The qualitative data collected through
interviews and document analysis were analyzed textually by grouping the
information thematically from the responses of the respondents.

Results and Discussion

School leadership roles in handling English language teaching


School Leadership Strategies
The respondents were asked to answer leading questions that relate to strategies
applied by the school leadership in improving English language proficiency of
students. They were requested to indicate the extent of their agreement. The
questions included presence of functional English language improvement Club
(ELIC), School-based English Language Mentors (SBELM) and use of
Communicative approach of English language teaching strategies in the schools.
The responses of students as well as teachers to these questions were negative
(Table 1). This indicates that functional English Language Improvement Club
(ELIC) in the schools is poor or totally absent. Moreover, there is no School
Based English Language Mentors (SBEM) in the schools. This shows that one of
the strategies designed by the Ministry of Education in 2010 to improve English

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67

language skills of teachers through in-service training by establishing School


Based English Language Mentors has not been implemented. The study also
indicated that the schools do not encourage communicative approach of English
language teaching strategies.

Table 1: Strategies used by schools leadership to facilitate English language teaching

Respondents views

Leadership Strategies Students Teachers


(N=257, Df.= 256) (N= 50, Df.= 49)
No
Std. Sig.2- Mean Std. Sig.2-
Mean Dv. tailed) Dv tailed)
Presence of functional English
1 language improvement club 2.28 1.44 .001 1.42 0.75 0.00
(ELIC) in the school
Presence of well- organized
2 School Based English Language 1.56 0.70 .000 1.61 0.71 0.00
Mentors (SBELM) program.
Functionality of School based
3 English language mentors 1.48 0.61 .000 1.62 0.71 0.00
(SBEM).
Use of communicative
4 approach of English language 2.10 0.86 .000 1.69 0.79 0.00
teaching strategies in the school

N.B ( = 0.05 at 95% confidence interval of the difference).

The results on Leadership strategies show that the school leaderships do not
properly implement the approaches and strategies that are believed to improve
English language proficiency of students.

Allocation of resources to improve English language teaching

The respondents were asked to rate their schools in terms of the provision of
supplementary materials to students to help them to improve their English
language proficiency. Accordingly, the mean scores rated by both students and
teachers were 2.24 and 2.17, respectively (Table 2) indicating poor performance
in provision of supplementary resources that help improve English language
proficiency of students. The value of sign.2 tailed test in both groups confirms
that there were no variations between the teachers and students responses as
the values is less than 0.05 in both groups. Moreover, from the interviews
conducted with the school principals and English language teachers, it was
found out that the provision of supplementary materials to students was
inadequate.

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Table 2. Availability of Resources and Training

Resources to improve English Respondents view on Availability of Resources


language teaching in the
schools
No Students (N= 257, Df.= Teachers (N= 50,
256) Df.= 49)
Std. Sig.2- Std. Sig.2-
Mean d tailed) Mean d tailed)

1. Adequacy of supplementary
materials to students to help
them improve English language 2.24 1.28 .000 2.17 1.30 0.00
skill.
2. Suitability of the classrooms to
implement student centered 2.20 0.98 .000 2.02 1.36 0.00
teaching approach.
3. Allocation of adequate financial
resources to support ELIC. 1.72 1.10 .000 1.84 0.73 0.00
4. Provision of different training
programs for teachers inthe 1.84 0.93 .000 1.74 1.07 0.00
areas of teaching methods.

The respondents were asked to evaluate the suitability of their classrooms to


implement a student centered teaching-learning approach, as per the standards
set for each level of schooling. The responses to this question had average mean
value of 2.20 and 2.02 for students and teachers, respectively, implying that the
size of classroom was not suitable to implement student centered teaching-
learning approach. Besides this, interviews conducted with school principals,
and English language teachers indicated that the number of students in the class
exceeds the standard class size recommended for English language teaching.
According to them, this resulted from shortage of qualified English language
teachers, and/or lack of finance to construct additional classrooms.

Regarding the schools allocation of financial resources to support English


language improvement program and provision of different training programs
for teachers in the areas of teaching methods, the mean scores showed the
schools neither allocate finance to support English language clubs nor provide
capacity building training for English language teachers to improve their
teaching methods (Table 2). Likewise, the interviews conducted with school
principals and English language teachers indicated that the schools allocation of
finance to ELIC clubs and provision of capacity building training for English
language teachers were poor. For example One English teacher said, Im
interested to strengthen the ELIC club, but the school administration doesnt
provide any resource to the center. Likewise, Alemu (2016) disclosed that
English Language Improvement Centers are not working properly in school
level due to various factors related to teachers motivation, resource limitations
and poor follow up and support activities.

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69

Teaching approaches used by English Language Teachers

The respondents were requested to rate English language teachers commitment


as reflective practitioners who are dedicated to improve English language
proficiency of students. The average score of students to the question was 2.90
while that of teachers was 2.35 (Table 3). This result indicated that the
commitment and activities of teachers to raise interest of their students to
improve their English language proficiency was not satisfactory. This was
supported by the interview conducted with school principals who revealed that
the teachers commitment to help students in the schools was generally low. This
could have resulted from inadequacy of supervision and follow-up by the school
management, and other factors related to job satisfaction and living conditions
of the teachers.

Table 3: Distribution of respondents about the strategies used


Responses towards teaching techniques
English Language Teachers Students (N= 257, Df.= Teachers (N= 50,
No motivation and teaching approaches 256) Df.= 49)
Std. Sig.2- Mean Std Sig.2-
Mean d tailed) .d tailed)
English language teachers are
1.4
1 reflective practitioner, and they 2.90 1.09 .521 2.35 0.00
influence interest of their students. 8
English language teachers in my
1.3
2 school use student centered teaching 2.74 1.06 .091 3.11 0.16
methods. 0
English language teachers in my
1.3
3 school are well equipped with 3.28 0.78 .000 3.11 0.17
required skills of English language. 5
English language teacher uses other
1.3
4 language (mother tongue, Amharic) 4.12 0.91 .000 3.76 0.00
when teaching in the class. 9
English language teachers motivate
5 their students to apply task based 1.05 2.31 1.3
2.10 .500 0.00
interactive activities in classroom. 6
N.B ( = 0.05 at 95% confidence interval of the difference).

Regarding using student centered teaching methods by English language


teachers, the opinions of students and teachers were different: The students
rating was negative (mean score 2.74) while that of teachers was positive (mean
score 3.11). The students responded that their teachers do not apply student-
centered teaching methods, while the teachers claim to apply student-centered
teaching methods in the class. However, two of the three interviewees (teachers)
confirmed that they dont apply the method due to various challenges. This
shows that a student centered teaching method is not practical in EFL classes in
the Ethiopian context.

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70

The respondents were asked to point out whether the English language teachers
are well equipped with the required skills of English language. The average
mean score given by students was 3.28 while that of teachers was 3.11. The
average mean score of both groups indicate that the English language teachers
are moderately equipped with the required skills of English language, but not
sufficient.

In response to the question of whether the English language teachers use other
languages such as the mother tongue, or the working language (Amharic) when
teaching English in the classroom, the average score by students and teachers
were 4.12 and 3.76 respectively. This result showed wider use of mother tongue
and Amharic by teachers when teaching in the class. Furthermore, interviews
conducted with English language teachers disclosed that they widely use other
languages, claiming that the students do not understand what the teacher
teaches. Obviously, the use of other languages by English language teachers to
compensate for poor understanding of subjects by the students, further
contributes towards deterioration of English language skills. In line with this,
Sambo (2015) underscores the dominance of mother tongue in English classroom
contributed more to the poor performance of students in English language.

The respondents were asked to rate their English language teachers' in terms of
their performances to motivate the students to apply task based interactive
activities in classroom. The average mean score of both groups of respondents
was 2.10 and 2.31 for students and teachers respectively (Table 3). Both groups
of respondents confirmed that English language teachers do not influence and
motivate their students to apply task-based interactive activities in the
classroom. Similarly, the interviews conducted with school principals indicated
that English language teachers do not adequately motivate their students to
perform and apply any task-based interactive activities in the classroom, such as
English language clubs, or social media of the school, to motivate the students to
improve their English language skills. This agrees with the result of Belamo
(2015) which confirmed that students are not provided with interactive activities
though the text book encourages doing so.

Conclusions
English is the medium of instruction in secondary and tertiary education
systems in Ethiopia, and it is a vital key to understand all other subjects taught
in English. However, recent studies indicate that the proficiency of students in
the English language in generally low. This study was, therefore, conducted to
assess the ways in which English language teaching is handled in Primary and
Secondary schools in Sidama administrative zone in Southern Ethiopia. In
particular, the study attempted to evaluate the methods applied and the
resources used in English language teaching.

As regards to the teaching methods used in teaching English, the study revealed
that, a) English language teachers in the schools do not generally apply student-
centered teaching methods, b) English language teachers do not motivate their
students to apply task based interactive activities in the classroom, c) The
majority of English language teachers use other languages (mother tongue

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71

and/or Amharic) when teaching English, and they hardly communicate to each
other in English, and d) English language teachers were not reflective
practitioners, and as professional teachers, they do not influence their students
to improve their English language proficiency

Regarding the resources and facilities used in the teaching of English, the study
revealed that: a) there were no well-organized school-based English language
mentors, b) the supplementary materials like audio and visual aids provided by
the schools were not satisfactory, c) English language improvement clubs (ELIC)
are either non-functional or poorly performing, d) the schools never provided
training opportunities for teachers on English language teaching methods, and
e) the school management did not encourage communicative approach of
English language teaching strategies in the schools.

The following recommendations are drawn based on the findings:

School principals should play front-line leadership roles in establishing


English language improvement clubs (ELIC) with target groups of
English language teachers,
ELICs should be supplied with the necessary resources such as
computers, internet access, different audio-visual materials,
supplementary books, magazines, newsletters etc. that support the
overall activities of the club,
School principals should establish school-based English language
mentors (SBEM) from experienced English language teachers who will
provide and organize training for teachers of English and support all
teachers using English as a medium of instruction,
School principals should provide different supplementary materials to
students to help them to improve their English language proficiency.
Also, budget should be allocated to provide the necessary materials,

School leaders should also inspire teachers to apply a more
communicative approach of English language teaching. They should also
conduct constant supervision through continuous and formal classroom
observations and visits.
English language teachers should act as role models to their students by
communicating in English with their students when teaching in the class,
and also communicate with each other by using English,
English language teachers should also motivate their students to apply
task based interactive activities in classrooms, etc. so as to inspire
students to use their potential to use English in and outside the class.

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72

References

Alemu, B. (2016). School Based Activities to Improve the Teaching and Learning of English (
MA Thesis from Addis Ababa University). Addis Ababa: AAU press.
Best, J.W., & Kahn, J.V. ( 2006). Research in Education. Prentice Hall of India. New Delhi.
Carlo, M. (2012).Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. TESOL Journal,
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Eshetu, M. (2016). Challenges in Teaching English in Ethiopia (MA TEFL Thesis from AAU).
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Johns, R. (2010). SQB Methods Fact Sheet: Likert Items and Scales. Massay: PT press L.td.
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Students achievement gap in the English language in Gaza strip from students'
perspectives. Retrieved from
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derKhader.pdf
Ministry of Education (MOE) (2010).School Improvement Program Guidelines: improving the
quality of education and Students results for all children at primary and secondary schools.
A.A:GT press
Ministry of Education (MOE) (2008). General Education Quality Improvement Package.
Addis Ababa: GT press
Murray, D. E., & Christison, M. A. (2010). What English Language Teachers Need to Know:
Understanding Learning. Taylor & Francis.
Simbo, K. (2015). The Status of English in Ethiopia. Journal of Education: 12 (4): 67-69.
Ronald, C., & David, N. (2001).The Cambridge guide to teaching English to speakers of other
languages. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Susanna, A. (2007). The weak language learner: a study of ways of taking weak language
learners into consideration in class. Sweden: Vaxjo University, School of Humanities
English, GIX115.
VCE (2015). English Language. Melbourne: Victorian Curriculum and Assessment
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73

International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 15, No. 10, pp. 73-91, September 2016

Defining Teacher Effectiveness in Secondary


Education: The Perceptions of Greek Students

Konstantina Koutrouba
Harokopio University
Athens, Greece

Abstract. The present research was conducted in 2014-2015 in 30 schools across


Greece and examines, through a specifically designed questionnaire, the views of
879 Greek secondary education students on teaching practices, teacher traits and
behaviours which are associated by students with teacher effectiveness. According
to the results, Greek students (a) relate teacher effectiveness to scientifically
accepted teaching practices implemented and procedures developed in the
classroom (e.g. during cooperative learning or individualized/ adapted teaching,
during knowledge scaffolding, clarification of objectives, and feedback provision)
and (b) attribute the feature effective to teachers who develop specific
behavioural attitudes during interpersonal communication, such as empathy,
friendliness, supportiveness, trustworthiness and humour.

Keywords: Effective teacher; secondary education; students views; Greece

Introduction
Teacher effectiveness has been reported to be closely linked, firstly, to a teachers
professional background and qualifications, secondly, to local/national
community values, expectations and material resources and infrastructure at the
teachers disposal, and, thirdly, to learning processes developed within school
settings and carried out through constructive interactions between teacher-to-
student, teacher-to-parent, teacher-to-teacher, student-to-student (Garrett &
Steinberg, 2015; Goe, Bell, & Little 2008; Kyriakides, Demetriou, &
Charalambous, 2006; Ross et al., 2003). Such factors, features and interactions
are likely to lead to high academic, affective, and social/attitudinal
achievements not only by students but also by teachers which can be
standardised, measured, and evaluated through a variety of modern
scientifically designed assessment procedures (Heneman et al., 2006; Junker et
al., 2006; Murphy, 2016; Rivkin, Hanushek, & Kain, 2005; Schleicher, 2016).
Although numerous aspects of effective teaching have been recorded and
examined after a huge amount of research conducted over the last few decades,
the majority of the researchers seem to agree that effective teachers are mainly
expected to (i) help all students meet not only social and educational
requirements and commitments but also a students personal expectations and
aspirations (ii) diversify teaching/learning process through the utilisation of a

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74

variety of educational strategies and individualise provision of learning material


and support according to the special needs of every student in the classroom,
and (iii) collaborate concordantly with colleagues, families, administration, and
supportive scientific services and institutions in order to share and improve
experience, feedback, and outcomes (Arnon & Reichel, 2007; Bakx et al., 2015;
Devine, Fahie, & McGillicuddy, 2013; Norman, 2010; OECD, 2013; Quigley, 2016;
Teddlie et al., 2006).
It is rather apparent that this particularly broad range of educational
aspects, that teacher effectiveness is linked to and, in fact, depends on, renders
efforts to monitor, assess or even describe it in an integrated and widely
accepted way quite challenging, albeit feasible as Campbell and colleagues
(2003), Goe, Bell, and Little (2008), Hakel, Koening, and Elliott (2008) and Muijs
(2006) have shown. In fact, one could justifiably say that if a teacher has to be
actually effective, s/he must act, behave, and develop far beyond the potentials
and opportunities provided to him/her in the real world a view apparently
unfair and discouraging for educators. It is, thus, more realistic for researchers to
examine specifically targeted aspects of effective teaching as they are
demonstrated within more controllable and monitorable educational settings, in
order to determine factors facilitating several aspects of effective teaching and
suggest ways to strengthen, improve and advance the teaching/learning process
(Borich, 2016; Greany & Rodd, 2003; Mayer & Alexander, 2011; Meng, Muoz, &
Wu, 2015; Slavin, 2014).
Modern research has provided us with relevant information; Lutz,
Guthrie, and Davis (2006) have highlighted the major positive impact which
scaffolding content and establishing steps in learning activities within the
classroom may have on the educational process, while Tucker and Stronge
(2005) have linked successful scaffolding to teacher ability to predetermine and
clearly display and explain to the students the specific academic and socio-
emotional objectives of every step of the learning procedure. Moreover,
Matsumura and Pascal (2003) have shown that effective teachers are able to
simplify knowledge and clarify appointed tasks by using comprehensible
language adapted to the students comprehension ability, while Smylie and
Wenzel (2006) have reported that adaptations of learning material in a way that
can meet diversified needs of students can produce major positive outcomes,
especially in cases where children with special educational needs are included in
the classroom. Effective teachers are expected to provide individualized
assistance to students of different learning backgrounds, emotional profile, or
ethnic origin; such adaptations and diversifications have been considered to be
cornerstones of effective teaching, as Cohen and Hill (2000), Blank, Porter, and
Smithson (2001) and Berry (2004) have shown.
Moreover, for effective teachers, adaptations seem also to be linked to their
ability to update learning content and utilize highly diversified teaching
methods and techniques within their classrooms; they are reported to engage
their students in stimulating, thought-provoking real-life learning tasks,
breaking thus the conventionalities and routines of the traditional frontal
teaching process (Gottlieb, 2015; Opdenakker & Van Damme, 2006; Pozo-
Muoz, Rebolloso-Pacheco, & Fernndez-Ramrez, 2000). They are, also,
reported to evolve their teaching practices in ways that overcome obstacles

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75

related to the socio-financial settings of the school, the infrastructure provided,


or the heterogeneity of the student population (Schacter & Thum, 2004; Sharan,
2010).
In addition, a teachers personal traits and features related to teacher-
student communication have been reported to contribute to effective teaching;
Rice (2003), Hamre and Pianta (2005), Schacter, Thum, and Zifkin (2006) and
Perry, Donohue, and Weinstein (2007) have reported that teachers investing in
the establishment of sound interpersonal relationships with their students
motivate students accountability, cooperativeness, and commitment, while
developing feelings of security and emotional stability. Despite the fact that the
quality of teacher-student communication seems to considerably depend on
factors which the teacher does not always control (Cohen, Brody, & Sapon-
Shevin, 2004), it has been confirmed that effective teachers tend to develop
friendly relationships with their students based though more on teacher
professional authority, awareness and a profound knowledge of pedagogical
principles than on personal kindness and approachability (Ferreira & Bosworth,
2001; Sharan, 2015; Van Gog & Paas, 2008). The establishment of such sound
teacher-student relationships has, also, been reported to be consolidated when
students are prompted to work in various collaborative ways, especially in cases
where the teachers provide their students with integrated knowledge on the
principles and the outcomes of cooperative learning and help them then develop
rules for cooperation, interpersonal communication, task allocation, and peer
assistance (Corner, 2012; Davis, 2013; Hargreaves, 2000).
Furthermore, effective teachers have been reported to provide their
students with sufficient feedback about their socio-affective and academic
achievements while implementing flexible assessment techniques in order to
ensure student metacognitive awareness and performance improvement
(Harlen, 2006; Heneman et al., 2006; Mayer & Alexander, 2011). In a similar way,
effective teachers are not afraid of being evaluated by their own students;
students remarks and recommendations, when developed on the basis of
mutual respect and acceptance, have been reported to improve both teachers
professional profile and students ability to construct and express sufficiently
justified judgments (Gardner, 2006; Stiggins, 2001).
As regards Greece, relevant information about teacher effectiveness is
rather scarce. The educational system in Greece, despite minor reforms that have
taken place over the last five years (Georgiadis, 2007; Traianou, 2009), remains
highly bureaucratic; namely it serves quantity rather than quality objectives, in
particular as regards secondary education (i.e., Junior and Senior High School,
with 13-18 year-old students); there is a plethora of learning subjects, not always
adequately adapted to the students comprehension level, quick-pace content
transmission through frontal lecturing seems to prevail over cooperative or
experiential learning, while continual assessment procedures seem to oblige
teachers, students, and parents to follow almost asthmatically this rapidly
evolving learning process (Alahiotis & Karatzia, 2006; Ifanti, 2007; Koulaidis et
al., 2006; Koustourakis, 2007; OECD, 2011). In addition, the inflexibility of these
content-oriented Curricula dissuades teachers from making adaptations and,
consequently, from individualized teaching, although the often unplanned
inclusion of immigrants and students with special educational needs in

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76

mainstream classes renders adaptation and individualization pressingly urgent


(OECD, 2015; Poulou, 2007; Vouyoukas, 2007; Zounhia et al., 2002).
This research, which took place in 2014-2015, examines Greek secondary
education students views on the features and behaviours of effective teachers
and follows 2011-2012 research on the effective teacher from the point of view of
the teachers themselves (Koutrouba, 2012). More specifically, it examines
students views about (a) teaching practices implemented and procedures
developed in the classroom by teachers who are considered to be effective and
(b) personality features and behavioural attitudes which are considered to be
related to teacher effectiveness.

Methodology
The present research took place in 2014-2015 with the contribution of 10
undergraduate University students who, being provided with systematic
relevant information and having the permission of the Ministry of Education
and Religious Affairs of Greece, assisted students from 30 secondary education
schools throughout Greece ((located in equal number in urban/semi-urban and
in rural/peripheral areas, where the teacher-to-student and teacher-to- school
ratios represent the national ratios of 1:8.5 and 21.1:1 respectively, OECD, 2011)
in understanding and filling in a questionnaire with 43 close-ended questions. In
this way, 1,000 questionnaires were distributed (and 879 of them were finally
returned and used for the present study response rate: 87.9 per cent) in order
to ensure that, in this research, as many students as possible had experienced
teachers of different professional profiles and teachers who had been involved in
a large number of possible different educational situations in which students
could be expected to realize, define and indicate effectiveness more easily.
Of the 43 questions 3 examined students personal profile (gender, class
attended-age, nationality), while 40 five-point Likert-type special questions (that
can be seen in table 1) referred to students perceptions about teacher
effectiveness. To maximize the respondents awareness and internal consistency
in answers during questionnaire completion, specific questions were not
arranged on the basis of their relation with the ones preceding or following
them. Nevertheless, question relevance was a criterion for question grouping.
Given the fact that the international literature could not provide the
researcher with an instrument which would allow her to examine all variables
necessary for the present research, the questionnaire was self-administered,
while, for its synthesis, valuable findings of Arnon and Reichel (2007), Cohen,
Brody, and Sapon-Shevin (2004), Davis (2013), Devine, Fahie, and McGillicuddy
(2013), Greany and Rodd (2003), Hakel, Koenig, and Elliott (2008), Kyriakides,
Demetriou, and Charalmbous (2006), Matsumura and Pascal (2003), and Pozo-
Muoz, Rebolloso-Pacheco, and Fernndez-Ramrez (2000) were used.
Predictive Analytics Software Statistics 21 was used for the elaboration of
the research data, the statistical and the factor analysis, which used Principal
Component Analysis with the method of Varimax rotation extraction to identify
the factors that affect the participants perceptions about teacher effectiveness. s

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77

Analysis of results
Participants profile
In the present research, the majority of the participants (52.8%) were girls, while
the rest of the students (47.2%) were boys. A percentage of 50.4% of the
respondents were Junior High School students (13-15 years old), while the rest
48.6% were Upper High School students (16-18 years old). Finally, a percentage
of 11.9% of the participants were of nationality other than Greek.

Special questions
Table 1 presents students responses to the questions about their views on
teachers tactics, traits and behaviours that are related to teaching effectiveness
in the classroom. Variables 1-3 portray a teacher who is considered much to
very much to be effective when s/he, firstly, has a profound knowledge of the
subject s/he teaches, secondly, provides students with detailed information on
Curriculum objectives and clarifies the expected outcomes, the learning
procedures and tasks, and, thirdly, ensures student knowledge scaffolding and
assimilation by checking prior knowledge before providing new information.
Moreover, for the majority of the participants an effective teacher much to very
much ensures comprehensibility by using simple and intelligible language
during the lesson, and adapts lesson requirements to the average students
understanding ability to prevent misunderstanding and unresponsiveness
(variables 4 and 5). Students also reported that an effective teacher much to
very much simplifies obscure notions, reducing, thus, learning effort by
providing examples and paradigms (variable 6). In addition, s/he makes many
revisions and breaks down long units into smaller ones, obviously to help
students assimilate extensive content; s/he could be probably described as
methodical, systematic, and focused on the quality of the students learning
(variable 7). Moreover, an effective teacher uses various visual aids and IT to
stimulate student interest, and modernises knowledge acquisition by providing
students with supplementary updated learning material (e.g. s/he
teaches/informs students about things shown on TV, found on the internet,
about the news, about books and newspapers, about political, economical, social,
ecological issues circulating in the local community or in the world) (variables 8
and 9).
The majority of the respondents, also, described as effective a teacher who
much to very much provides enough time for the students to answer, who
moderately to much does not hesitate to deviate from Curriculum and
schoolbooks to meet student learning needs and interests, while much to very
much utilises opportunities to teach students out of the classroom (e.g. in the
library/the lab, in the museum, in places of work, in schoolyard, during
excursions etc.) (variables 10-12).
In addition, for the respondents, an effective teacher much to very much
has to ensure solidarity/cohesion and a caring environment by providing
students who present learning difficulties with individualized learning
material/ support and by asking them simpler questions (variable 13). S/he also
much to very much has to encourage low-achievers and diffident students,
but moderately to much has to develop student cooperativeness, openness
and friendliness by encouraging group work, and, in some cases, to utilise peer

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78

learning to encourage cohesion, shared responsibility, and team spirit (variables


14-16). Effective teachers are, also, expected to stop teaching procedure to
discuss with students when a problem hinders their participation, and to put
students views under serious consideration before taking decisions about issues
regarding them (variables 17 and 18). However, when students seem to stray
from the subject and become distracted, an effective teacher is not at all to
slightly expected to turn immediately to teacher-centred methods like lecture
(variable 19). Effective teachers are, also, reported to make students feel safe and
secure, by helping them accomplish, within the school, homework assignments
(variable 20). Moreover, they avoid circumstantial judgments by assessing a
students overall learning effort and development (variable 21). Such teachers
are much to very much expected to encourage improvement incentives, by
providing students with feedback and information about their learning
performance, and by moderately to much providing opportunities for
students self-assessment in order to strengthen meta-cognitive awareness and
self-understanding (variables 22 and 23). They are, also, much to very much
expected to encourage students by highlighting positive achievements before
indicating weaknesses, mistakes and intervention measures (variable 24).
In addition, the majority of the respondents consider as effective the
teachers who much to very much are kind and open in communication with
students, frank and affable when looking a student in the face, and spontaneous
and warm during discreet physical touch (e.g. friendly thump on the back, pat
on the cheek, handshake) (variables 25-27). Students, also, seem to consider as
effective the teacher who admits ignorance about several issues, accepts that
s/he has made a mistake, and is, in general, humorous, jocular and pleasant,
albeit strict with disobedient students to whom s/he imposes exemplary
punishments (variables 28 and 29). In addition, effective teachers are expected to
display empathy, to be friendly, soothing and familiar while being on first name
terms with students, and, moreover, to be encouraging and supportive when
prompting students to be active during the learning process (variables 30-32).
The majority of the respondents much to very much believe that effective
teachers are patient, eager to repeat explanations to weak students and
encourage shy ones, while being respectful to students personal objections and
different opinions (variables 33 and 34). For the majority of the students, as well,
an effective teacher is secretive and trustworthy when heartening students to
talk about their personal matters (variable 35). S/he is, also, democratic when
permitting students to express comments about his/her teaching techniques,
classroom management, and behaviour, and unprejudiced as regards the
students academic achievements, probably in order to avoid discrimination that
may lead to a self fulfilling prophecy (variables 36 and 37). Finally, an effective
teacher is much to very much expected to be impartial as regards student
behaviour, respectful of student dignity and shyness to avoid hurting their
feelings, and consistent as regards words and deeds, namely as regards
demands from ones self and from the others (variables 38-40).

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79

Table 1: Responses of students (in percentages) to the questions about effective


teachers practices, features and behavioural attitudes

Not at all
I would describe a teacher as effective as

Slightly

Moder-

Much
long as s/he:

much
Very
ately
1. Knows perfectly what s/he teaches, 1.3 4.1 8.9 26.4 59.3
looks confident about what s/he knows
2. Tells us before the lesson why we are 3.1 14.2 28.7 36.7 17.3
doing it, what s/he expects me to learn
and to do, and how to do it
3. Checks before the lesson what I already 0.9 3.2 14.8 36.2 44.9
know and urges me during teaching to
remember things I have already learnt
4. I can understand him/her when s/he 1.7 3.4 16 39.9 39
speaks, I know the words s/he uses
5. I think that all students learn, s/he 2.7 10.8 27 36.7 22.8
repeats, explains and urges everybody
to participate
6. S/he gives many examples, explains 0.9 1.9 8.4 24.5 64.3
difficult words, underlines sentences,
writes text using bullets
7. S/he makes many revisions and divides 2 8.6 22.6 38.9 27.9
long units into smaller ones
8. Uses 3.6 6.1 17.3 35.1 37.9
pictures/graphs/maps/films/power
point/computers
9. Teaches us about things shown on TV, 3.1 9.3 25.6 37.8 24.2
found on the internet, about the news,
about books and newspapers, about
things happening in the town or in the
world
10. Gives me time to answer at ease, s/he 1.4 6.4 18.8 35.3 38.1
regularly tells me to take my time
11. When we are very interested in 6 14.4 32.1 30 17.5
something, s/he leaves the books aside
12. Teaches me everywhere, in many 4.2 5.5 16 32.9 41.4
occasions, even out of the classroom (in
the library/the lab, in the museum, in
places of work, in schoolyard, during
excursions etc.)
13. Makes easier questions to weak 3.5 5.3 19.1 35 37.1
students, teaches them in the break
time, gives them easier work to do
14. Regularly congratulates weak and shy 1.4 3.9 12.1 30.3 52.3
students
15. Lets us work in groups 7.1 16.3 27.8 30.8 18

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80

16. Sometimes s/he puts a good student to 13.5 15.1 27.5 27.3 16.6
help a weak one
17. When we have a problem, s/he stops 1.7 3.8 11.4 32.6 50.5
the lesson to discuss it and s/he wont
go on before we solve it
18. Listens carefully to our proposals when 1.5 3.2 11.5 35.7 48.1
we have a problem
19. When we get distracted, s/he starts 50.5 21.8 15 7.4 5.3
lecturing
20. Helps me at school do/prepare my 1.5 4.4 19.3 40.3 34.5
homework, helps me when something
is difficult
21. Doesnt only tell me what marks Ive 6 6.4 12.6 26.7 48.3
got in exams, but also if I try enough, if
I improve, if I behave well
22. Explains to me my mistakes, what to do 8.1 8.5 19.6 33.7 30.1
the next time to improve, what my
strong points are
23. Lets us find our own mistakes, mark 9.8 20.7 32 25.8 11.7
and grade our own works and
performance, check our own behaviour
24. First tells me the positive things I have 2.8 5 14 33.3 44.9
done, and then the negative ones
25. Is friendly and smiling when s/he talk 2.6 3.8 15.8 31.6 46.2
to me
26. Is kind, sincere, simple, looks at me in 6.8 11 22 30.3 29.9
my eyes
27. Often gives me a friendly thump on the 7.5 13.7 24.9 23.7 30.4
back, pat on the cheek, handshake etc.
28. Sometimes s/he says Well, I didnt 1.6 4.2 13.5 42.3 38.4
know that or Sorry, thats my fault
29. Is humorous but becomes strict when 1.9 2.3 12.6 36.5 46.7
someone doesnt behave well
30. I think s/he easily places him/herself in 3.1 4.7 13.8 28.9 49.5
my shoes
31. Calls me with my first name, tells me 4.2 5.3 17.3 31.4 41.8
often its OK-dont worry
32. Tells me often go on, dont be afraid, 1.6 3.7 15 31.3 48.4
Ill help you
33. Is never tired of explaining again and 1 3.2 9.2 31.2 55.4
again, especially to kids who dont
understand something or are shy
34. Respects our views and objections 1 5.2 15.6 33.9 44.3
35. Would never tell a secret Ive told 1.1 2.4 8.2 28.6 59.7
him/her; I would confide a secret or a
personal issue to him/her
36. Lets us judge him and his/her lesson 5 5.8 17 34.6 37.6
without getting angry

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81

37. Tries to help all students learn, not only 4 6 11.9 19.9 58.2
the good ones
38. Is just and fair when imposing 2.2 4.4 13.1 32.2 48.1
punishments
39. Calls me out of the classroom to discuss 3.9 6.9 16.7 30.3 42.2
privately something I have done or said,
or something I must do
40. Wont do what s/he tells us not to do 4.7 4.8 10.5 18.3 61.7
(play with mobile phone, chew gum,
come late in the classroom)

Factor analysis
Thirty two of the earlier-mentioned variables were selected, related in level
of significance = 1% to the perceptions of the 879 secondary education students
about effective teaching. The thirty two variables were as follows:
I would describe a teacher as effective as long as s/he:
(1) Knows perfectly what s/he teaches, looks confident about what s/he
knows
(2) Tells us before the lesson why we are doing it, what s/he expects me
to learn and to do, and how to do it
(3) Checks before the lesson what I already know and urges me during
teaching to remember things I have already learnt
(4) I can understand him/her when s/he speaks, I know the words s/he
uses
(5) I think that all students learn, s/he repeats, explains and urges
everybody to participate
(6) S/he gives many examples, explains difficult words, underlines
sentences, writes text using bullets
(7) Uses pictures/graphs/maps/films/power point/computers
(8) Teaches us about things shown on TV, found on the internet, about
the news, about books and newspapers, about things happening in
the town or in the world
(9) Gives me time to answer at ease, s/he regularly tells me to take my
time
(10) When we are very interested in something, s/he leaves the books
aside
(11) Teaches me everywhere, in many occasions, even out of the
classroom (in the library/the lab, in the museum, in places of work,
in schoolyard, during excursions etc.)
(12) Makes easier questions to weak students, teaches them in the break
time, gives them easier work to do
(13) Regularly congratulates weak and shy students
(14) Lets us work in groups
(15) When we have a problem, s/he stops the lesson to discuss it and
s/he wont go on before we solve it
(16) Listens carefully to our proposals when we have a problem

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82

(17) Helps me at school do/prepare my homework, helps me when


something is difficult
(18) Doesnt only tell me what marks Ive got in exams, but also if I try
enough, if I improve, if I behave well
(19) Explains to me my mistakes, what to do the next time to improve,
what my strong points are
(20) First tells me the positive things I have done, and then the negative
ones
(21) Is friendly and smiling when s/he talks to me
(22) Is kind, sincere, simple, looks at me in my eyes
(23) Often gives me a friendly thump on the back, pat on the cheek,
handshake etc.
(24) Sometimes s/he says Well, I didnt know that or Sorry, thats my
fault
(25) Is humorous but becomes strict when someone doesnt behave well
(26) I think s/he easily places him/herself in my shoes
(27) Calls me with my first name, tells me often its OK-dont worry
(28) Tells me often go on, dont be afraid, Ill help you
(29) Is never tired of explaining again and again, especially to kids who
dont understand something or are shy
(30) Respects our views and objections
(31) Would never tell a secret Ive told him/her; I would confide a secret
or a personal issue to him/her
(32) Lets us judge him and his/her lesson without getting angry

We applied factor analysis (Howitt & Cramer, 2014) to these variables in order to
determine the factors that influence students beliefs about effective teaching,
given the fact that this technique for data analysis is acceptable and adequate, as
verified firstly by the value 0.916 of the KMO measure for sampling adequacy
and secondly by Bartletts test of sphericity (table 2) which revealed high
statistical significance of the statistic 2 (zero p-value).

Table 2: KMO and Bartlett's Test of sphericity

Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy 0.916

Bartlett's Test of Sphericity Approx. Chi-Square 8216.329

df 496

Sig. 0.000

Since performance of PCA from the first eight components, which had
eigenvalues greater than 1, explained 55.774% of the total variance, PCA was
used with Varimax rotation extraction method in eight components (table 3).
Scree plot (Figure 1) shows where the most variance was explained.

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83

Table 3: Factor analysis results

Rotated Component Matrix

Variables Component

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Communalities

1 0.723 0.084 0.078 0.150 0.079 -0.057 0.203 -0.027 0.610

2 0.295 -0.019 0.138 0.056 0.282 -0.135 0.656 -0.112 0.651

3 0.651 0.129 0.226 0.117 0.065 0.080 0.029 0.102 0.527

4 0.339 0.634 0.190 0.136 -0.020 0.027 0.108 0.038 0.586

5 0.032 0.204 0.036 0.149 -0.068 0.234 0.654 0.092 0.562

6 0.721 0.228 0.097 0.074 0.013 0.119 0.065 0.049 0.607

7 0.317 0.193 0.127 0.235 0.520 0.292 -0.036 -0.016 0.567

8 0.139 0.065 0.161 0.072 0.153 0.759 0.136 0.068 0.677

9 0.026 0.560 0.231 -0.070 0.266 -0.038 0.147 -0.087 0.475

10 0.104 0.098 0.152 0.009 0.194 0.749 0.067 -0.035 0.648

11 0.295 0.243 0.103 0.081 0.637 0.112 -0.107 0.009 0.592

12 0.092 0.116 0.655 0.073 0.119 0.021 0.193 -0.106 0.519

13 0.461 0.202 0.037 0.023 0.146 0.153 0.351 0.208 0.466

14 0.008 0.036 0.048 0.084 0.618 0.234 0.283 0.086 0.535

15 0.505 0.160 0.140 0.075 0.133 0.178 0.172 0.230 0.438

16 0.187 0.247 0.558 0.120 0.060 0.036 -0.032 0.278 0.506

17 0.178 0.380 0.082 0.144 -0.011 0.229 0.478 0.203 0.525

18 0.051 0.044 0.158 0.106 0.207 -0.129 0.109 0.692 0.591

19 0.278 0.125 0.130 0.178 -0.143 0.216 -0.018 0.653 0.635

20 0.675 0.204 0.212 0.091 0.180 0.073 -0.059 0.080 0.598

21 0.061 0.103 0.681 0.099 0.164 0.145 -0.088 0.053 0.547

22 0.154 0.020 0.209 0.607 0.026 0.035 0.109 -0.064 0.454

23 -0.031 -0.016 0.082 0.690 0.252 -0.052 0.134 0.126 0.584

24 0.181 0.702 0.118 0.150 0.115 0.049 0.024 0.063 0.582

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84

25 0.140 0.032 0.519 0.205 -0.165 0.025 0.271 0.247 0.494

26 0.207 0.165 0.222 0.678 -0.014 0.059 0.083 0.215 0.636

27 0.129 0.195 0.131 0.752 -0.011 0.100 -0.028 0.084 0.655

28 0.185 0.171 0.678 0.177 -0.046 0.109 -0.034 0.091 0.578

29 0.145 0.574 0.121 0.141 -0.171 0.227 0.244 -0.084 0.532

30 0.226 0.626 0.053 0.107 0.214 0.075 0.000 0.256 0.575

31 0.199 0.092 0.514 0.222 0.137 0.165 0.128 0.107 0.435

32 0.155 0.466 0.141 -0.049 0.394 0.036 0.014 0.206 0.462


Percentage Rotation
of total sums of
10.234 8.860 8.545 7.254 5.692 5.331 5.265 4.592
variance squared
explained loadings

Note: Communality or common factor variance: total variance of


each variable explained by common factors

Figure 1. Scree plot

Comments on the factor analysis results


According to the factor analysis results, the eight main factors were as follows:

Factor 1: Expert teacher orientation towards simplified knowledge scaffolding,


addressing learning problems and boosting the students confidence. Variables
with Significant Positive Influence [VSPI] between them and with the
Highest Factor Loadings [HFL]: [1], [3], [6], [13], [15] and [20]. The students
reported that they expect from effective teachers not only to be experts as
regards subject knowledge, but also to be able to provide students with
simplified but soundly constructed integrated knowledge, to address
quickly and successfully students learning problems regarding
understanding and assimilation, and, finally, to boost weak students and
hard-workers confidence.

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85

Factor 2: Teachers features regarding comprehensibility, patience, openness,


and respect. [VSPI and HFL]: [4], [9], [24], [29], [30] and [32]. The students
participating in the study believe that effective teachers are modest and
open to criticism and a diversity of views, teach simply and
understandably, while, at the same time, are patient with slow-
apprehension students.
Factor 3: Teachers features regarding good-listening, supportiveness,
trustworthiness, and humour. [VSPI and HFL]: [12], [16], [21], [25], [28] and
31. The participants consider that effective teachers should listen
carefully to the students problems, complaints and views, be
approachable and serious at the same time, and supportive as regards
students individual learning needs, hesitations and inner sensitivity.
Factor 4: Teachers friendliness and empathy. [VSPI and HFL]: [22], [23], [26]
and [27]. Effective teachers tend to display affability and friendliness
towards their students, with discreet physical touch, friendly direct eye
contact, using the students first name and, finally, by demonstrating
empathy and sharing students thoughts and problems.
Factor 5: Learning in groups, with visual aids, and out of the classroom. [VSPI
and HFL]: [7], [11] and [14]. Effective teachers should prefer cooperative
learning as a teaching/learning strategy which can be further
strengthened through the utilisation of multiple visual aids and IT, while
experiential teaching out of the classroom remains highly preferable as
an alternative teaching technique.
Factor 6: Breaking Curriculum restrictions and updating learning content.
[VSPI and HFL]: [8] and [10]. The participants expect from effective
teachers to update the content of the subjects they teach using various
modern sources of information even if they have to deviate from the
teaching routines and restrictions set by official Curricula.
Factor 7: Clarifying objectives, adapting teaching, and assisting with homework.
[VSPI and HFL]: [2], [5] and [17]. Effective teachers tend to clarify the
objectives of the school subject, the expected outcomes and the tasks
assigned to students, while at the same time they adapt teaching
techniques and expectations and provide individualised help to students
who present learning difficulties.
Factor 8: Providing feedback and integrated assessment. [VSPI and HFL]: [18]
and [19]. Effective teachers should provide students with detailed
feedback regarding their overall performance, while constructively
suggesting ways for further improvement and development.

Conclusions and discussion


This study examines Greek secondary education students views on teacher
effectiveness. Its results show that Greek students (a) relate teacher effectiveness
to scientifically accepted teaching practices implemented and procedures
developed in the classroom, and (b) attribute the feature effective to teachers
who develop specific behavioural attitudes during interpersonal
communication.
As regards teaching practices and procedures, Greek students, similarly to
their international counterparts (Opdenakker & Van Damme, 2006; Bakx et al.,

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86

2015; Borich, 2016), seem to believe than only teachers who possess profound
knowledge of their discipline should be described as effective. However,
professional traits implied in factor 1 focus not only on teacher expertise as
regards content-knowledge but also on a teachers ability to link newly-provided
knowledge to prior cognitive background of the student, evidently in order to
bridge the teaching/learning gaps which segregated or piecemeal provision of
knowledge often results in (Lutz, Guthrie, & Davis, 2006). Students, also, report
that they feel more confident when their teachers help them build such
consolidated cognitive structures, probably because, as international reports
show (Rice, 2003; Rivkin, Hanushek, & Kain, 2005), these structures are
considered by the students to be more easily accessible and manageable. Student
demand for more simplified knowledge, adapted to their personal learning
ability, is also demonstrated through factor 7. Effective teachers are expected, as
Ross and colleagues (2003) and Slavin (2014) have already shown, to provide
their students firstly with information about what they have to do, and how and
why they have to do it, and secondly with individualized assistance in order to
accomplish tasks assigned to them (Matsumura & Pascal, 2003). It is rather
evident that, as factor 8 implies and Mayer and Alexander (2011) and Smylie and
Wenzel (2006) have also reported, students feel more secure and willing to be
assessed by a teacher who has consciously and actively been involved in their
personal, individualized struggle for learning, and who has provided them with
ample feedback information and support for improvement. However, a teachers
ability to individualize knowledge and support, as already shown by Sharan
(2010) and Van Gog and Paas (2008), is highly dependent on room for
manoeuvre provided by official Curricula; factor 6 jointly to factor 5 portray a
teacher who, according to Greek students and their international counterparts
(Garrett & Steinberg, 2015; Goe, Bell, & Little, 2008; Gottlieb, 2015; Greany &
Rodd, 2003), is effective when s/he is able (i) to adapt Curricula demands and
restrictions to his/her students interests, needs, and abilities, and (ii) to update
learning material and learning procedures through the use of varied teaching
strategies. However, variables 11 and 15 of table 1 and relevant participants
responses show that the majority of Greek students are moderately and much
but not very much sure that effective teachers should stray from official
Curricula guidelines or implement group work as an alternative teaching
strategy a finding also reported by Greek and international researchers
(Alahiotis & Karatzia, 2006; Berry, 2004; Ifanti, 2007; Koulaidis et al., 2006). To
explain this hesitation of a significant percentage of the respondents, one should
take into account that for Greek students, parents, and teachers as well,
secondary education traditionally constitutes a stage of the students preparation
for advancement in tertiary education (Koutrouba, 2012; OECD, 2013). For the
average Greek, university studies are highly considered firstly to facilitate
professional development and survival in an extremely challenging job market,
and secondly to avert a return of young people to rural economics restrictions of
the past. As a result, a bureaucratic educational system, as expressed through
inflexible over-demanding Curricula, has provided in the course of time
students with more opportunities for broader content-knowledge and fewer
opportunities for integrated attainment of social or affective objectives in
education (Georgiadis, 2007; Koustourakis, 2007; OECD, 2011). In addition,

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87

many students and teachers as well have been reported to believe that frontal
whole-class teaching, though not pleasant as variable 19 in table 1 implies,
produces higher academic achievements in shorter periods of time than
cooperative procedures or alternative teaching strategies can do (Opdenakker &
Van Damme, 2006; Rice, 2003; Sharan, 2010). The combination of student social
advancement expectations with teachers efforts to disseminate rapidly large
quantities of knowledge seem to undermine constructive adaptations to the
Curriculum, individualized or cooperative learning, and, finally student and
teacher perceptions about what real education should be. Therefore, if a shift in
educational values and practices should occur, as Cairns, Lawton, and Gardner
(2001) have already noticed, education policy-planners should reduce content
overload and a subsequent fast pace, in order to facilitate smooth content
assimilation and effective knowledge consolidation, as Opdenakker and Van
Damme (2006) and Perry, Donohue, and Weinstein (2007) have confirmed. In
addition, they should give teachers a free hand to implement cooperative
learning in their classroom, so as to enhance teaching routines and turn
traditional learning into a lively experiential procedure (Traianou, 2009). As a
result, teachers would also be able to provide their students with more
individualized assistance, facilitating, thus, more fair and meaningful
assessment, as Ross and colleagues (2003), Sharan (2010), and Teddlie and
colleagues (2006) have shown.
Furthermore, as regards teacher behavioural attitudes during
interpersonal communication, factors 2 and 4 provide the picture of an effective
teacher who respects the students special features and sensitivities and displays
empathy and friendliness (Rice, 2003; Slavin, 2014). As already mentioned in
factor 8, these two features seem to be attributed to a teacher who actively
supports and participates in the efforts of the student. Moreover, according to
factor 3, effective teachers are expected to be good-listeners and trustworthy as
well. It is rather understandable that teenage students learn better when
friendliness is present in every learning procedure (Hamre & Pianta, 2005;
Noyes, 2005; Schacter, Thum, & Zifkin, 2006). Of course, it is a teachers duty to
define the limits of friendly relationships with the students, in order to help
them feel accepted, encouraged and safe (Hargreaves, 2000; Harjunen, 2011).
Curricula-planners should, however, promote learning procedures that facilitate
the construction of relations where respectfulness coexists with friendliness. The
organization of well-defined collaborative learning activities, cultural events,
and schools experiential connections with social environments, could be rather
easily introduced in real school life through more innovative flexible Curricula
which serve equally cognitive, affective, and social objectives (OECD, 2013; Rice,
2003). Finally, teachers training in adolescent psychology would provide them
with the professional skills required for meaningful, effective teaching (Rice,
2003; Rivkin, Hanushek, & Kain, 2005; Smylie & Wenzel, 2006; Tucker &
Stronge, 2005).
The present study shows that, according to the students, effective teaching
may sound unrealistically ideal when examined on a theoretical basis. On the
other hand, students clearly know what they expect from their teachers because
they have already seen it happening (Sharan, 2015). It may not be sure that one
teacher could be ever likely to have all the expected positive attributes, but, at

2016 The author and IJLTER.ORG. All rights reserved.


88

least, educators would admit that improving professional features and


communication skills and taking into account the views, expectations, visions of
their students may drive them more close to what is scientifically described as
teacher effectiveness.

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International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 15, No. 10, pp. 92-103, September 2016

Teaching and Learning Strategies Adopted to


Support Students Who are Blind in Botswana
Joseph Habulezi
University of Botswana
Department of Educational Foundations

Abstract. The study is based on the teaching and learning strategies


Molefi Senior Secondary School in Botswana adopts to support students
who are blind. The objectives of the study were to describe and explicate
the teaching and learning strategies the school adopts to support
students who are blind and project ways for improving the practices.
The study made use of the school community and stakeholders as its
respondents. The interviews, documents and observations were used to
collect data. The data was broadly analysed using descriptions. The
research study established that there are a variety of pedagogical
practices used to support students in the teaching and learning
processes to accommodate students who are blind. It is recommended
that the school casts its net even wider to embrace more key
stakeholders like parents. The school should further consider more
participatory and exploratory teaching and learning styles. The use of
access technology could cultivate self-confidence, self-esteem and
promote more interactive and independent student learning. This could
further make students even more proactive in the teaching and learning
processes.

Keywords: Botswana; teaching and learning strategies; visual


impairment

Introduction
Blindness is strictly defined as the state of being totally sightless in both eyes
although the word is commonly used to signify visual impairment, or low
vision, meaning that even with eyeglasses, contact lenses, medicine or surgery, a
person does not see well(Dalh, 2016). Kirk, Gallagher, Coleman and Anastasiow
(2015) define visual impairment as any form of visual loss which may include
very moderate or complete loss of vision. It also means the absence of capacity to
see after correction, which may result in reduced performance in most aspects of
life. The impairment has a lot of implications that range from increased
dependence, isolation from the social mainstream, reduced benefits and
opportunities available and increased time of completion of assigned tasks
(Thurston, 2010, Thurston, Thurston & McLeod, 2010).

In November 2008 the 48th session of the International Conference on Education,


(UNESCO, 2008), entitled Inclusive Education: The way of the future, took

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93

place in Geneva. One hundred and fifteen (115) countries resolved to advance
guidelines on the provision of educational support intended for students from
diverse backgrounds, including those with blindness, to promote equal, fair and
equitable educational opportunities for all in public schools. The Botswana
Government considered it appropriate the ratification of some of the
international conventions related to inclusion because it views Inclusive
Education as a means of improving the quality of education for all children
(Habulezi & Phasha, 2012). Quality education is not just the rote learning of
subjects in an inflexible curriculum, good quality education is concerned with
the education of the whole individual in terms of developing understanding,
interests, self-knowledge, emotions, personality and making accommodations,
to mention but a few. The process encompasses, among others, expanding the
application of access to include access to the curriculum and to the wider
educational processes.

In its quest for excellence in education, the Government of Botswana set seven
pillars to be achieved. Botswana aims to be an educated, informed,
compassionate, just, caring and prosperous nation (Government of Botswana,
1997, 2013). To achieve this, Abosi (2000) states that the Government of
Botswana assigned stakeholders distinctive tasks to perform. To this effect, a
desk has been set up under the Office of the President to preside over, among
other issues related to disabilities, inclusive education matters. Further, the
Ministry of Education and Skills Development (2006) guides that for special
education teachers who also have a teaching subject, consideration should be
made to reduce their teaching loads in order to allow them time to assist other
subject teachers as well as to give support to students with special needs.

In Botswana, a student with blindness is equated to 4 students in a general


education classroom. In light of this situation, there should be reduction of
students in classes the students with blindness are placed. The teaching and
learning processes should therefore be all embracing, employing all the
instructional activities that can produce the best in a student with blindness.
Mastropieri and Scruggs (2015) add that concrete materials or physical objects
that learning support staff use to engage students in the hands on learning of
various subjects are important because they assist students in learning numerous
concepts easily. In order to effectively achieve the set goals in teaching students
with blindness, contact during instruction, especially when manipulatives or
concrete objects are involved, should sometimes be one-to-one, equal-status, and
cooperative (Silverman, 2015).

Brawand and Johnson (2016) advise that stakeholders involved in the education
of students who are blind need to collaborate in order for the students to fully
benefit from all instructions in the classrooms. The foregoing practices are
expected to yield the desired results and provide equal and equitable education
opportunities for all. The study on teaching and learning strategies adopted at
the school that caters for students with vision impairment aimed to explore the
teaching and learning strategies the school employs to meet the needs of the
nation and the students in particular.

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Methodology
Since the purpose of the study is to describe and examine the teaching and
learning strategies the school adopts to support students with vision
impairment, a qualitative design was adopted. The design was used because of
its responsivity to native sites, environments, and participants needs. The
design also helps in the identification of circumstantial and setting factors as
they relate to the phenomenon under study. In addition, the design engages a
variety of approaches mainly to prevent inconsistencies (Yin, 2009, Mouton,
2005). The setting for the design is, among others, an actual classroom or school
ideal for the study (McMillan & Schumacher, 2014). The target population in the
study was the school community and its stakeholders. The table below shows
the participants in the study.

Table 1. Study participants

Category of participants total participated females males


Special education teachers 5 5 0
students with vision 8 3 5
impairment
General education teachers 3 2 1
Parents 3 2 1
Management team 2 1 1
CRC member 1 1 0
Public library member 1 0 1
Braillist 1 1 0
Development trust staff 2 1 1
Learning support worker 1 1 0
Past students 4 2 2

Participants were selected for different reasons. These include length of


service in the special education profession, interest in participating in the
research and positions held at the institution.

Mundane selection of participants in a research in which participants are scanty


or not knowledgeable about the subject is difficult (Bailey, 2007). When the
study was conducted, Molefi Senior Secondary School had 7 special education
teachers specialised in teaching students who are blind. The 42 stream school
had 1637 students, 29 of whom were students who were blind. The
circumstances and characteristics of the target population demanded that
judgemental, chain-referral and self-selected sampling methods be used to select
a sample.

Judgemental sampling was used on participants who were deemed information


rich. These included specialist teachers, general education teachers, Central

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95

Resource Centre staff, Rehabilitation and Development Trust staff and staff from
the library for people with visual impairment. On the other hand chain-referral
sampling was used on past students because those best able to access members
of hidden populations are their own peers (Keltner, 2016). Data was collected on
a member who in turn provided information on where to find another one. In
contrast, self-selected sampling, in which a participant offers to take part in the
study because of their interest and familiarity with the subject, was used on the
learning support worker and the members of the senior management team.
Triangulation was employed in the collection of data through the use of
documents, interviews and observation. This was done to ensure rigour,
relevance and to corroborate the data.
Observations were done at the school for one academic term from the beginning
to the end of the school term. I observed, as a participant observer, how the
school prepares for the students, receives the students at the beginning of the
term until the school closed. There were 16 observations lasting between 1 to 2
teaching periods (40 to 80 minutes) in all that were done observing how the
school teaching and learning take place in a real setting.

Some traits of concern were not openly witnessed during observations, for
example, participants views, attitudes and understanding of instructional
strategies for students who are blind. In view of that, interviews enabled the
gathering of such form of data. Unobtrusive, favourable and appropriate places
for the meetings were identified. Open-ended interviews which lasted 20
minutes each on average were either audio or videotaped with participants
permission. Documented sources offer rich secondary information (De Vos et al,
2011). The significance of these sources for present-day studies should not be
undervalued. Significantly, the document study was utilised for being cheap,
non-reactivity and unreachable participants in the case of past students who
were difficult to find. Therefore, policy documents, non-personal and mass
media were utilised in this study.

Data was qualitatively analysed with the help of Rubin and Rubins (2005)
approach which states that Data analysis begins while the interview is still
under way. This preliminary analysis tells you how to redesign your questions
to focus in on central themes as you continue interviewing. Careful steps
were taken to abide by ethical issues. Permission was obtained from the school,
relevant bodies, learners and parents.

Results
Molefi Senior Secondary School employs varied and valuable instructional
strategies in teaching students who are blind under the circumstances and
prevailing conditions. A summary of the instructional strategies used are
presented further down as obtained through the data gathering tools used. In
interviews with management committee members and the senior teacher special
education, it emerged that the school makes sure students with vision
impairment are assessed to know how best to support each one of them. The
senior teacher was recorded saying:

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96

First and foremost, we make sure we have student profiles and then carry out
routine informal functional vision assessment that includes assessment on
learning media, access technology, Orientation and Mobility. This is followed by
medical assessment at Deborah Retief Memorial Hospital or eye clinic in Gaborone
then we take these reports to the Central Resource Centre for Special Education for
specialised educational assessment to help prepare an individualised education
program for each student.

Correspondence among the documents analysed showed that the school is well
networked with stakeholders like the Department of Evaluation and Curriculum
Development. In the process of curricular development, the Department of
Evaluation and Curriculum Development works with specialist special
education teachers to accommodate issues related to students with special
educational needs. The proposed syllabi are further sent to schools for more
consultation. Special education specialist teachers consult subject specialist
teachers and make suggestions that are sent back to the Department of
Evaluation and Curriculum Development for consideration and possible
integration.

At implementation stage, four out of the five special education teachers


interviewed revealed that specialist teachers make further modifications to suit
individual students needs. These modifications are based on the teachers
informal assessments and the formal assessment recommendations from the
Central Resource Centre for Special Education. Three general education teachers
interviewed all indicated that modifications are done but expressed concern on
the modifications on the teaching and learning materials for students with vision
impairment as shown in the excerpt below:

The changes that these special education teachers make or suggest water down the
standards and make us, you know, change our objectives in a way. Someone can
just say, modify this question, our students cannot draw or it is too congested,
this is not necessary to answer the question, remove it,. Besides, special
education department delays everything, . we cannot write this paper this
afternoon because the paper is not yet brailled for students from special
education They do some good work for students at our expense.

One interviewee lamented that he was always bothered to come and describe
the pictures in the sources for History because the special education personnel
insisted that the subject teacher was better placed to do that and knows the
appropriate terminology for each source. He complained that sometimes he felt
the descriptions were advantaging the special education students. Adaptations
were also observed in which learning media was adapted to braille, large print
or recorded.

The Department of Special Support Services through the special education wing
organises workshops for special education teachers to share knowledge on how
to modify and adapt teaching and learning materials for students who have
vision impairments. Further, the special education personnel informed the
researcher that the special education department in the school inducts new

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97

teachers on the teaching and learning methodology for students who have vision
impairment. To augment the efforts above, a schedule on the notice board
carried names of specialist special education teachers and the departments they
were attached to for the purposes of consultations and advice.

To be in concordance with the final examination standards, the senior teacher for
special education informed the researcher that the school works hand in hand
with Botswana Examinations Council to make sure the modifications at the
school and those done at Botswana Examinations Council are of the same
quality and standards more so that final Form 5 examinations are brailled in the
United Kingdom.

When students with vision impairment are admitted to the school, they are
strategically allocated classes basing on their junior secondary school
performance and the students subject preference as one interviewee stated:

We guide students in choosing classes with the help of their results from junior
secondary school leaving examinations. We particularly consider how they
performed in Mathematics and Science. After the stream is decided, we, in a way,
consider the students subject preference in the optional subjects.

Classes students who have special education needs are allocated to have the
number of students reduced. While in classrooms, students sit in positions they
are comfortable with depending on their impairments or preferences.

In practical subjects like Art, learning


support workers work with subject teachers in helping the students grasp the
subject matter. Art was the only subject though where a learning support worker
was observed working with the teacher. Where the students with vision
impairment are lagging behind, the subject teachers were seldom observed
conducting remedial lessons either before or after the lesson. This was common
practice though for expatriate special education teachers. On individual bases,
expatriate special education teachers and learning support workers were
observed tactile orientating students with vision impairments even in subjects
they do not teach. The diagrams used were from previous examinations. Two of
the management committee members interviewed stated that:

You know we are at pains sometimes to explain to authorities why over time is
paid to special education members of staff. In the afternoon, they request that their
students read from the special education department for ease access. But they still
want to work with students after hours say in Orientation and Mobility because it
is too hot to work during normal working hours and that students would be doing
the other academic work.

Upon interview, the teacher in-charge of Orientation and Mobility explained:

Yes, we have Orientation and Mobility sessions both during afternoon study and
after hours when it is cool because it is very hot to practice between 1300 hours
and 1630 hours. Besides, certain techniques have to be demonstrated in areas

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98

which are quiet and have few people distracting the clients. We also have to be
flexible because the subject is a life skill and it is not examinable. So students shun
it and give priority to examinable subjects. When they suggest weekend or evening
it is fine.

During examinations or end of month tests, students with vision impairment


were observed having their assessment activities in four different rooms when a
core subject was being written. A member in the examinations committee
explained:

Room 1 is used by braille users, the students study room is used by low vision
students using large print and these students do not use braille. On the other side
we have a student in each room with a scribe or amanuensis. The students in those
rooms do not know braille, for the student in the office, the examination is recorded
while for another student in the guidance and counselling room an amanuensis
reads the questions for the student, writes down the responses and the second
person records the proceedings with a digital voice recorder at the same time.

When students with vision impairments were writing assessment items, they
were given extra time depending on the prescription the low vision assessment
officer at the Central Resource Centre for Special Education made. Generally, the
records showed that the majority of the students had 25% extra time of the
papers time. Other students had 30% extra time of the time for the paper. One
student was observed taking rest breaks due to fatigue and perpetual head arch.
Time taken to rest was being recorded and adjustments made accordingly.

The special education senior teacher revealed that although the school has a
shortage of learning support staff like braillists, an arrangement is put in place to
make sure students work is brailled in advance and transcription is done within
the set time frame. There was, however, notable shortage of brailled and
recorded books as well as production materials like zytex paper. To compensate
for the shortage of text books, one student reported that:

We sometimes go to the library for people living with vision impairment where we
borrow recorded and brailled books. When we have no transport, the library
personnel bring the books for us.

Data gathered indicated that government is very committed to the education of


students who are blind. This was evidenced from the amount of money the
government is spending on acquiring access technology the staff and students
use. On stakeholder participation, interview results, observations and records
showed that there was neither serious involvement of the surrounding
community nor the parents of students with vision impairment.
Discussion
The purpose of this study was to investigate teaching and learning strategies the
only senior secondary school in Botswana that caters for students who are blind
adopts in the process of teaching and learning. The results showed a holistic and
concerted effort from the school and relevant government wings.

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99

The school collaborates with health facilities, Botswana Examinations Council,


Department of Evaluation and Curriculum Development, the Central Resource
Centre for Special Education and the Library for people living with vision
impairment among others. This is a necessary approach because in the teaching
and learning processes involving students with special educational needs, a
multifaceted approach is recommended (Government of Botswana, 1994,
UNESCO, 2008, Hamilton-Jones & Vail, 2014, McBride, 2009). The needs of the
students are numerous, and since a school cannot offer all the necessary services,
it is health and prudent that facilities that are specialising in the areas have an
input.

Further collaboration was observed among school personnel. Some general


education classroom teachers strategise for their lessons with special education
teachers to accommodate aspects on how to be inclusive in their classroom
activities. In addition, special education teachers and learning support workers
support students and teachers in classrooms and at the special education
workroom. This practice is synonymous with the recommendations of UNESCO
(2009) and Government of Botswanas (2007) guidance that collaboration and the
participation of all stakeholders is key to meeting the full potential of all
students. More encouraging is the fact that special education teachers are linked
to various subject departments for more individualized support. Despite this
positive observation, there were mainstream teachers who felt bothered when
asked to offer their expertise to help modify or adapt teaching and learning
materials for students with visual impairment.

The school, though, can still improve its operations through the involvement of
the surrounding community and the parents of the students with vision
impairment more. Students do not live in isolation and some of the things learnt
are not taught but observed and learnt in various spheres of life including in the
communities. Besides, community members have different professions and
talents that can be of help in the education of the students. Parents especially,
know a lot about their children and their input is invaluable. If continuity of
some of the teaching and learning programs is expected at home, parents must
be brought on board (Malekpour, Aghababaei, Hadi, 2014, Hebel, 2014).

The curriculum the institution presents is flexible and comprehensive. At


curriculum design level, stakeholders are consulted to take care of the interests
of students with blindness. In the school, students with vision impairment share
subjects with all other students in the school. Although not all stakeholders
agree with the practice, the school makes the curriculum accessible through
adaptation and modification of different syllabi contents. This is in agreement
with UNESCOs (2009) and Government of Botswanas (2006 & 2013)
recommendations on changing the systems obtained to suit the students. The
practice also agrees with Farrell (2002) and Fraser (2015) who assert that all
students should have access to the same level as the others by adapting the
resources, assessment methods, classroom organisation and teaching methods so
that they can take part as fully as possible. The school needs to intensify public

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100

awareness to bring on board some stakeholders who are of the view that
modifications made to make the curricula accessible by all water down the
standards.

In the initial stages the school scrutinises the students who are blind when they
arrive in the school, guides them in choosing subjects and classes. It further
conducts informal and formal educational assessments including the medical
one. This is a necessary procedure, because the appropriateness of the learning
support is heavily dependent on the educational recommendations in the
assessment report (Bell, Ewell & Mino, 2013). The assessment, in fact, is of
paramount importance because it benefits the students.

During lessons, in classes with reduced number, students with blindness sit in
preferred positions to enable them utilise their residual sight or listen with less
distraction nearer to teachers. This also assists students who are either myopic or
hyperopic. To accommodate the extra time awarded to students with special
educational needs and to reduce on disturbances, the students with blindness
write assessment items in separate rooms, braille users, large print users and
those who are amanuensed; all in different rooms.

The practice observed agrees with the views of Piljl and Van den Bos (2001) and
Eloff and Kgwete (2005) who classify the characteristics of the exercise as
additional features of the practice that are most important in eliminating the
obstacles to the participation and learning of children with vision impairment. It
is also important to take cognisance of the staff professional development the
school and the wing spearheading special education organise for special
education teachers. These help in advancing teachers knowledge and
instructional strategies for students with special educational needs. Such a
gesture would also be helpful to the larger community who are also important
stakeholders.

In subjects that have manipulatives or objects for tactile observation, both


general classroom and special education teachers remediate students who are
blind either before or after the lessons. Teachers tactile orientate the students to
clearly see the embossed tactile graphics. This helps to augment on the areas
students may miss during lessons. In line with the foregoing, Jaquiss (2010)
states that this is essential because the tactilist should interact with braille
readers to ensure that the tactile graphics can be understood especially that blind
readers vary in their abilities to evaluate, understand and employ tactile
materials. It should be noted here that tactile observations were done in some
subjects by personnel not qualified in the subjects, if specialists can do the tasks
students may benefit more. Additionally, the past examination diagrams that are
mostly used in the exercise may not be tailored to the material being delivered, it
may be more helpful to emboss diagrams tailored to the content being delivered.

To promote independent movement among students, the school has an


Orientation and Mobility programme carried out at convenient times because of
the flexibility exercised all for the students to move independently, efficiently

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101

and safely. This is made possible by paying the teachers incentives for the extra
mile they take to equip the students with the noble and all important life skills
among others. Instead of leaving it to the teacher in-charge of Orientation and
Mobility to decide on when to conduct the sessions for life skills, it may be more
helpful to time table the subject like any other.

Conclusion and recommendations


With the support of various government wings and other stakeholders, the
school employs numerous pedagogical practices in an effort to meet the diverse
needs of all students. Collaborations, modifications, accommodations, use of
various learning media (braille, audio, large and normal prints) all augment in
the delivery of service to all students with a view to providing access to equal
educational opportunities to all. There is always need to evaluate practices for
accountability and performance improvement. It is, therefore, recommended
that the school explores on more technology orientated student support and
learning activities that could improve the image and participation of the
students. More parental involvement could add impetus to practices as parents
have a wealth of knowledge about their children. The shortages of human and
material resources are better addressed to further improve service provision.
There is always new knowledge being generated and the continuous workshops
would be helpful and possibly touch even those not very clear on the reason and
need for modifications.

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Bailey, C., A. (2007). A guide to qualitative field research. Thousand Oak: Pine Forge.
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Fraser, K. (2015). Accessible Science: Making life sciences accessible to students with visual
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Jaquiss, R. S. (2010). An introduction to tactile graphics. Journal of Blindness Innovation and
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International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 15, No. 10, pp. 104-112, September 2016

On-Demand Lecturers in a Medication


Calculation Course in the Bachelors Degree in
Nursing Program: A Quantitative Study

Kristin Hjorthaug Urstad, Bjrg Frysland Oftedal and Brynjar Foss


Department of Health Studies, University of Stavanger, Norway

Abstract. On-demand lectures are a common learning tool at institutions


around the world and are highly valued by students. However, less is
known about how this digital resource is implemented in students
strategies of learning. Exploring the students user log data for on-
demand lectures would be a valuable contribution to the research in this
area. Aim: The aim of this study is to identify nursing students use of on-
demand lectures in a medication calculation course by exploring the
students user logs. Design: The study has a descriptive, quantitative
design. All data were collected from a Mediasite server log. The 22 on-
demand lectures covered all relevant medication calculation topics and
lasted an average of 7.5 minutes. The on-demand lectures were presented
as supplemental tools to traditional learning methods. A total of 48
students used the on-demand lectures and were included in the study.
Results: The average watching time for each lesson was 2 minutes and 18
seconds less than the full length of the lecture. The average number of
views per lecture was 24.6, ranging from 2 to 53. The average number of
students watching each lecture was 15, ranging from 2 to 29. The active
user group (students using the on-demand lectures more than once,
n=27) spent on average 1 hour and 38 minutes on the lectures spread
over 4.1 days. Discussion/Conclusion: The results show that most of the
students spent a significant amount of time using the on-demand
lectures. The diversity in use of the on-demand lectures suggests that
students select topics based on their individual needs. This option of
tailoring content to individual needs is clearly one of the benefits of on-
demand lectures. Based on the students selective use of the on-demand
lectures, we assume that these lectures do not replace, but rather
supplement, traditional lectures.

Keywords: On-demand lectures; nursing students; quantitative design;


medication calculation; e -learning.

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105

Introduction
The traditional lecture on campus is the most frequently used pedagogical tool
in higher education. This might be explained by its benefits, such as its potential
to convey complex information to large student groups, to set topics in
appropriate contexts and to provoke and engage the students (Brown &
Mangoue, 2001; Exley & Dennick, 2011). However, an increasing focus on digital
learning has welcomed a wide range of new learning tools and provided the
traditional lecture with new possibilities, such as the on-demand lecture. An on-
demand lecture is a recorded lecture or sets of lectures that can be created in an
educational setting with an audience or in a studio. Viewers are able to access
remotely the lecture in real time or later on. Most often, on-demand lectures are
used in addition to traditional on-campus lectures (Karnad, 2013).

The use of on-demand lectures in higher education is a common practice around


the world, and the lectures are highly appreciated of on-campus students as well
as distance learners (Hanegahn, 2016, Woo et al., 2008; Brittain et al., 2006;
Veeramani & Bradley, 2008; Gosper et al., 2008). On-demand lectures offer a
learner-centred approach, as they provide increased control for students who
may view lectures at their own pace, time and place (Baecker, Moore, &
Zijdemans, 2003; Traphagan, Kuscera, & Kishi, 2010). Students report that on-
demand lectures have a positive influence on their learning and exam results,
causing them to feel less anxious about the course (Traphagan et al., 2010;
Williams & Fardon, 2007; Gosper et al., 2008) and providing them with greater
flexibility (Phillips et al., 2010; Cooner, 2010). Students report using the on-
demand lectures for varies of purposes, including as a substitute for live
lectures, for exam preparation and for repetition of difficult material (Gorissen et
al., 2012). Students with physical or learning disabilities may find on-demand
lectures especially useful as a way to manage the pressure of note taking in class,
or as a way to manage difficulties in attending class due to disabilities (Williams,
2006).

Although educators seem to be in agreement that on-demand lectures are a


valuable learning tool, less is known about how students use this tool in their
learning processes. More insight in relation to the use of e-learning tools in
higher education is needed (Pani et al., 2015). Previous research regarding on-
demand lectures has mainly focused on students opinions; this research
indicates that more objective data is needed in this field (Gorissen et al., 2012).

Examining students user log data for on-demand lectures could provide
valuable information to help educators develop digital programs with optimal
pedagogical outcomes. Hence, the aim of this study is to identify nursing
students use of on-demand lectures in a medication calculation course by
exploring the students user logs.

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106

Methods
Design and sample
The current study has a descriptive, quantitative design. All students in their
first semester of pursuing a bachelors degree in nursing at a Norwegian
university were invited to participate in the study. Of the 172 students enrolled
in the medication calculation course, 72 agreed to participate. Of these, 48
students used the on-demand lectures and were included in the study. All data
were collected from the Mediasite server log.

The medication calculation course


The traditional medication calculation course consisted of five classroom
lectures (given in two sessions of 45 minutes), five supervised case case-based
sessions (two hours for each session) and a textbook used with the syllabus for
the course.

The on-demand lectures were presented as supplemental tools to traditional


learning methods. The 22 on-demand lectures covered all relevant medication
calculation topics (Table 1) and lasted an average of 7.5 minutes each. The on-
demand lectures did not contain any student feedback; no communication
platforms and no instructions for use were provided. The on-demand lectures
were made available to the students from the start of the course until the day of
the final exam, a period of 6 weeks.

Table 1. An overview of the on-demand lectures.

On-demand lectures The medication calculation topics (n=14)


(n=22)
1 Intro, fraction and percent
2 Mass and volume
3 Mol and IE
4 Time
5 Rounding
6 Medication dosages calculation
7 Tablets
8 Oral suspension
9 Injections
10 Medication patch
11 Infusions (simple) part 1
12 part 2
13 part 3
14 part 4
15 Infusions (complex) part 1
16 part 2
17 Dilutions part 1
18 part 2
19 part 3
20 Double-checking calculations part 1
21 part 2
22 part 3

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107

Results
The results show that the students did not see all lectures in their full length.
Each lecture was watched for an average of 5 minutes and 18 seconds (average
time of lectures was 7 minutes and 30 seconds). Figure 1 shows the duration of
each lecture and the average time the students watched.

Figure 1. Duration of lectures and average time each lecture was watched.

Further, the results reveal a variation in the choice of lectures. The largest
number of students who watched the same lecture was 29, and the smallest
number was two (Figure 2). By calculating the average number of students
watching the same lecture, we found that 15 students (31%) watched the same
lecture (Figure 2). The average number of total views per lecture was 24.6,
ranging from 2 to 53. The lectures about fraction and percent (lecture 1), time
(lecture 4) and dilution, part one (lecture 11), were watched by the most
students, whereas the lectures about double-checking calculations (lecture 14,
parts 13) were watched the least (Figure 2).
108

Figure 2. Number of students watching each lecture.

35
Number
30 of students

25
20
15
10
5
0

The average time students spent watching on-demand lectures was 1 hour and 3
minutes over 2.8 days. When excluding students who logged in once only, we
found that 27 students (56%) used the on-demand lectures more thoroughly
(more than once). This group was characterized as active users. This active user
group of students spent, on average, 1 hour and 38 minutes on the lectures
spread over 4.1 days.

Discussion
The aim of this study was to identify the students use of on-demand lectures in
the context of a medication calculation course for nursing students. To be able to
develop educational programs with optimal pedagogical outcomes, it is essential
to understand how this e-learning tool is implemented in students processes of
learning. Previous research within this area is scarce and has mainly focused on
students overall opinions of on-demand lectures (Williams & Fardon, 2007;
Gosper et al., 2008; Gorissen et al., 2012 Phillips et al., 2010; Cooner, 2010).
Additional insight can be gained by examining the actual use as recorded in
students logs.

An important observation in this study is the students diverse use of the on-
demand lectures. The results showed a significant variation in choice of lectures,
wherein an average of 15 out of 48 students watched the same lecture (31%). The
largest number of students watching the same lecture was 29 (60%). However,
these 29 watched the first lesson, which also contained introductory material.
The diverse use may indicate that students selected medication calculation
topics based on their individual needs. The perception of what appears difficult
will vary among students, and in live lectures for large student groups, the
possibility of meeting individual needs is limited.

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109

Our findings indicate that one benefit of on-demand lectures is that students can
choose topics based on their needs and thereby tailor their study efforts to fit
their strengths and weaknesses. For many reasons, increased focus on tailoring
in teaching will benefit students. Health research has shown that tailored
education programs provide successful outcomes, including increased
information recall, perceived relevance of teaching material and change of
behaviour (Noar et al., 2007; van der Meulen et al., 2008; Rimer et al., 1999). Also,
in a recent study of students in higher education, the use of computer-tailored
student support was associated with better grades in physics (Huberth et al.,
2015).

To identify how much time students spent with on-demand lectures, we


separated low users (n=21) from active users (n=27). We assumed that some
students might just be curious and log into the Mediasite platform without
actively using the learning material. When excluding students that used the on-
demand lectures only once, we found that active users spent 1 hour and 38
minutes on the lectures spread over 4.1 days. Determining whether this is a
significant amount of time is not straightforward, as this study did not measure
how much time students spent on other learning activities in this course.
However, based on the fact that no instruction for use was given and that the on-
demand lectures included no student feedback, one could argue that the
students spent quite a lot of time using this learning tool. We must also bear in
mind that the students were in an early phase of their studies and did not have
access to such learning tools previously in their nursing studies. It is possible
that the students use patterns could change in later stages of their studies.
Studies concerning changes in the use of digital learning tools among students
could be an interesting topic for further research.

We found that students did not see all of the lessons in their full lengths, but
watched parts of them. Average watching time for each lesson was 2 minutes
and 18 seconds less than the full length of the lecture (the average length of
lectures was 7 minutes and 30 seconds). This suggests that students search for
specific materials in parts of the lecture. Previous research into students use of
on-demand lectures reveals that students consider watching full-length lectures
as time-consuming; therefore, they adopt a more strategic learning approach
focusing on the concepts they experience as difficult (van Zanten et al., 2012).
The ability to search for and review only relevant parts and the ability to repeat
difficult material is an important benefit of on-demand lectures (Gorissen et al.,
2012). For the medication calculation course explored in this study, where case-
based exercises and calculations are an important part of student self-studies,
this flexibility is clearly a benefit.

Although the on-demand lectures in this study were provided as a whole


course, the students seemed not to use it this way. Based on the students
selective use of the on-demand lectures, and despite the lack of measurements of
attendance to the on-campus lectures, we assume that on-demand lectures do
not replace but rather supplement traditional on-campus lectures. This is in line
with previous research in which students preferred live on-campus lectures
over recorded on-demand lectures (Schreiber et al., 2010). Students found

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110

recorded lectures to be less engaging and easy to put off (Schreiber et al.,
2010). Instead of using on-demand lectures as a replacement for live lectures,
students view the two as complementary; preferring a blended format consisting
of on-demand lectures, live lectures and course materials (Yeung et al, 2016,
Karnad, 2013).

Limitations
This study aimed to identify students use of on-demand lectures in the context
of a medication calculation course for student nurses. Many student nurses
struggle with math calculation and problem-solving skills, and failure rates are
especially high for this topic (McMullan et al., 2010, Jukes & Gilchrist, 2006;
Brown, 2002; Keers et al., 2013). This might impact the use of the on-demand
lectures, as students might spend much effort on this course. Future research
should include on-demand lectures on different topics in nursing education and
include a larger sample of students. Further, including qualitative data in the
form of interviews with students could provide more depth to our results.

Conclusion and implication


The results in this study show that most of the students spent a significant
amount of time using the on-demand lectures. The diversity in the nature of
their use indicates that students selected topics based on their individual needs.
This option of tailoring content to individual needs is clearly one of the benefits
of on-demand lectures. Based on the students selective use of the on-demand
lectures, we assume that these lectures did not replace, but were used to
supplement, traditional lectures.

This study adds a valuable contribution to the understanding of how digital


tools are implemented in students learning strategies. This insight might be
useful when designing educational programs with optimal pedagogical
outcomes.

References
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International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 15, No. 10, pp. 113-129, September 2016

Efficacy of Music Therapy and Bibliotherapy as


Interventions in the Treatment of Children
With EBD: A Literature Review
Raol J. Taft and Jannah L. Hotchkiss
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Kansas City, MO, USA

Daesik Lee
Gyeongin National University of Education
Incheon, Korea

Abstract. Expressive arts therapies are commonly used in the treatment


of children with disabilities. Two forms of art therapies often
recommended to address issues of selfesteem and challenging
behaviours are music therapy and bibliotherapy. The purpose of this
review is to investigate the literature on the effectiveness of music
therapy and bibliotherapy as interventions for students with emotional
behaviour disorders (EBD) and challenging behaviours. Eleven studies
published in articles involving 523 students in three countries met
criteria for inclusion. Results from five studies suggested group music
therapy had minimal to no impact on self-esteem or aggression of
students with behaviour problems. However, one group music therapy
study indicated statistically significant improvement in students
negative self-evaluation, depression, and anger. Data from five studies
using bibliotherapy as an intervention in group and individual therapy
sessions suggested an increase in self-concept and a decrease in
aggression of students with challenging behaviours. Findings from this
review indicate a paucity of empirical research in this area and a need
for further research on the effectiveness therapies in the treatment of
children with challenging behaviours.

Keywords: bibliotherapy; music therapy; emotional behaviour


disturbance

Introduction
It is well recognized in the literature that students who present challenging
behaviours are more susceptible to social and academic failure at school
(McIntosh & Goodman, 2016; Orpinas, Raczynski, Peters, Colman, & Bandalos,
2015). For various reasons, traditional behaviour management and teaching
strategies have proven to be inadequate in ameliorating academic and

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behavioural concerns of these students. (Crone, Hawken,, & Horner, 2015;


Hemphill, Plenty, Herrenkohl, Toumbourou, & Catalano, 2014; Skiba, 2014; Van
Acker, Grant, & Henry, 1996; Wehby, Symons, & Canale, 1998). Pehrsson and
McMillen (2005) argued for the need for innovative practices so that these
students might experience success in school. The notion that the arts are
beneficial to the "emotional well-being of the observer or participant has been
around since Aristotle proposed the idea of emotional catharsis" (Pehrsson &
McMillen, p. 1). Bunt and Stige (2014) note that healers have utilized music
therapy plenteously throughout history. Some (Forgan, 2002; Haines, 1989;
Montello & Coons, 1998; Sausser & Waller, 2006) feel that bibliotherapy and
music therapy offer avenues to address the needs of students with behavioural
concerns.
This review examines the efficacy of music therapy and bibliotherapy
interventions for students with challenging behaviors and ascertains if they are
viable treatment approaches for this student population. This review considered
four questions: (a) What were the foci and outcomes of the studies, (b) What
were participant characteristics, (c) What were student placements where
studies took place, and (d) What intervention formats were used.

Method: Literature Search


Several strategies were employed to find studies suitable for inclusion in this
review. A search of ERIC, PyschINFO, Google Scholar, and Web of Science
databases was conducted using the key words: music therapy, adjunctive therapy,
bibliotherapy and children with disabilities or special needs students, emotional behavior
in the descriptor fields, abstracts and titles of the articles. Databases were
searched from the earliest date available to the present. Only studies presented
in peer-reviewed journals were considered.
References contained in literature reviews of music therapy and
bibliotherapy and expressive art therapies targeting other special needs
populations were examined for additional sources. Ancestral searches were
performed by checking citations of acceptable articles. Finally, a manual search
of studies published from 1970 to 2015 was performed on the journals Music
Therapy and The Journal of Music Therapy to determine if any studies from these
journals had were missed in the ERIC, PsychINFO, Web of Science, and Google
Scholar database searches.
Eleven studies were identified using the following criteria: (a) targeted
students with emotional behaviour disorders (EBD), emotional disturbance
(ED), behavioural disorder (BD), conduct disorder (CD), oppositional defiant
disorder (ODD), or children at risk for developing behavioural difficulties; (b)
the studies were empirical in nature and targeting specific behaviors as
dependent variables with measurable outcomes; (b) the study involved some
form of music therapy or bibliotherapy as an intervention; (c) there were no age
limits on subjects, and all settings (i.e., residential treatment facility, home,
school, alternate education placement, or vocational) were acceptable; and (d)
studies that included students with stated behavior criteria and general
education students reported the findings for the special needs students
separately.
In this article we discuss within discrete sections definitions of music

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therapy and bibliotherapy and discuss relevant literature. The review is further
organized under three broad sections: results, discussion, and implications for
research and practice. The broad sections results and discussion include three
subsections: (a) participants and settings, (b) treatment format and focus, and (c)
treatment outcome, with music therapy data followed by bibliotherapy data
included in each subsection. The review closes with a discussion of limitation of
existing research and suggests directions for future research.

Computation of Effect Sizes


Effects sizes were calculated only from the group design studies reporting
significant effects and when the studies provided necessary information (sample
size in each group and standard deviation) for the calculation of Cohens d. For
example, even if a study reported significant effects of intervention, calculation
was not possible when it did not provide information on the number of
participants in or the standard deviation data of each group. In addition, effect
sizes were calculated for each dependent measure, regardless of the number of
the dependent variables in each study. The effect sizes were scaled to Hedges g
to account for the overestimation of the studies with small sample sizes.

Music Therapy Literature: Definition


According to the American Music Therapy Association music therapy is defined
as motor skills, social/interpersonal development, cognitive development, self
awareness, and spiritual enhancement (AMTA, 2016). Further, the AMTA
states that music therapy interventions can address development in cognitive,
behavioral, physical, emotional, and social skills. Music therapy can also
facilitate development in communication and sensorimotor skills" (AMTA).
Music therapy is used to improve selfconcept and communication skills
by teaching the child a skill that is important to them and to others. However,
music therapists working in schools have little research to aid them in
constructing programs that might work in teaching students with emotional and
behavioural disorders (EBD). Sausser and Waller stated, No literature currently
available describes a specific music therapy program for working with students
with EBD (p. 5). The trained music therapist may employ two types of music
therapy. Active therapy occurs when the student or client actively participates in
music making. In passive music therapy the student or client is not physically
active but is involved in music listening (Montello & Coons, 1998).

Participants and Settings


One hundred and 37 students participated across six music therapy studies
(Bittman, Dickson, & Coddington, 2009; Eidson, 1989; Haines, 1989; Hallam &
Price, 1998; Montello & Coons, 1998; Rickson & Watkins, 2003;). Table 1
summarizes the reviewed studies. Seventy eight participants were male, 34
participants were female, and the genders of the remaining 25 participants were
not specified. In the study by Montello and Coons (1998), participant ages
ranged from 11 to 14 years old. In this study, 14 participants were male and two
were female. Six students were Caucasian, seven AfricanAmerican, and three
Hispanic. In the study by Haines (1989), 19 male students, ages 11 to 16 years
old, participated. These students were AfricanAmerican or Caucasian, but

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specific numbers of each were not given. In the study by Rickson and Watkins
(2003), the ages of the 15 students ranged from 1115. Nine were ethnic Maoris
and nine participants were New Zealand European. In the study by Bittman et
al. (2009), 52 students whose age ranged from 12-18 were participants. The
participants consisted of 11 females and 22 male subjects. Participants were
African American, Asian, Caucasian, and Puerto Rican, but specific numbers of
each were not reported. In the study by Hallam and Price, ten students aged
nine to ten years old participated. Two females and eight males were included in
the study. The participants ethnicities were not reported. The 25 participants in
Edisons (1989) study were between 11 and 16 years old. Genders and ethnicities
were not reported.
Five studies occurred in a school setting. Two of these studies (Eidson,
1989; Montello & Coons, 1998) were conducted in self-contained classrooms in
public schools. Another was conducted in the United States in an alternative
school setting for students with ED (Haines, 1989). The study by Rickson and
Watkins (2003) was conducted in a residential school in New Zealand. Children
in the study by Hallam and Price (1998) attended a day school for children with
emotional behavioural concerns. The study by Bittman et al. (2009) took place in
a childrens home for adolescents that served as a residential juvenile treatment
program.
Participants in one study had been diagnosed as ED, LD, and ADD
(Montello & Coons, 1998). All participants in another study were identified as
ED (Haines, 1989). The third study included participants with ADHD, ODD,
and/or CD (Rickson & Watkins, 2003). Participants in the fourth study had
numerous mental health disorders, including CD and ADHD (Bittman et al.,
2009). Numbers of participants specifically identified with a condition were not
given. Participants in two studies (Eidson, 1989; Hallam & Price, 1998) had no
specified diagnoses, but they were identified as emotionally and behaviourally
troubled (Hallam & Price) or emotionally handicapped (Eidson).
Calculating an average effect size from the music therapy studies with
significant effects was not possible due to either the lack of information on the
number of participants or because of a one-group design.

Music Therapy Interventions


Montello and Coons (1998) focused on aggression as the dependent variable and
compared active and passive music conditions. Subjects were separated into
Groups A, B, and C. Group A underwent active music therapy for 12 weeks and
passive music therapy for the 12 following weeks. Group B, the control group,
received passive music therapy for all 24 weeks of the studys duration. Group C
received active music therapy for 24 weeks. Active music therapy included
learning and playing primarily percussive instruments. Passive music therapy
involved the students listening to a selection of eclectic music.
Haines (1989) focused on self-esteem as the dependent variable and
specifically targeted raising the participants self-esteem. The study compared an
active music condition versus a verbal condition. Ten students received music
therapy treatment in a group setting. Activities included song writing, listening
to music, singing, and rhythm exercises. Nine other students served as the
control group and received verbal therapy

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Rickson and Watkins (2003) focused on aggression as the dependent


variable. The study implemented four active music activities: creation of a
greeting song, rhythmbased exercises, experiencing and caring for musical
instruments, and group song writing. Students were not divided into smaller
groups but participated in the activities as one large group.
Bittman et al. (2009) focused on numerous variables including behaviour
toward others, anger control, self-concept, depression, and school/work
performance. The study used active music therapy and implemented an
intervention called HealthRHYTHMS drumming protocol. Students were
divided into two groups and had six weekly, onehour sessions. Program
activities included icebreakers, playing percussive instruments, and responding
rhythmically to questions. Group A received the intervention from weeks one
through six, while Group B received no intervention. From weeks seven through
twelve, Group B received intervention while Group A did not.
Hallam and Price (1998) focused on behaviour and mathematics
performance. The study used passive music in a nontherapeutic setting. All
participants performed timed mathematics tasks for four consecutive sessions
with no background music followed by four sessions with background music.
After a gap week, they had three sessions with background music followed by
three sessions without it. Teachers and one researcher attended all sessions to
observe the amount and type of rule-breaking behaviours and math
performance.
Eidson (1989) focused on seven general behaviours and participant
behaviours as the dependent variables. Students were divided into three groups:
Group 1 received music therapy that targeted specific behaviours, Group 2
received general music therapy, and Group 3 received no music therapy but
were monitored as a control classroom with no interaction. Group 3 students
were differentiated by the schedule of reinforcement, which resulted in four
subgroups. Students were given tokens and accrued points for performing
target behaviours.

Treatment Outcomes

Two studies targeting aggression (Montello & Coons, 1998; Rickson &
Watkins, 2003) reported the only significant effect size was an increase in
aggression in the treatment group. No other significant effect sizes were
reported. Both studies reported an increase in positive behaviours from results
obtained from teacher and student selfreports but these increases were not
significant. Haines (1989) reported a significant change in selfesteem in both
treatment and control groups. Bittman et al. (2009) reported statistically
significant positive changes in all dependent variables which ranged from school
performance to self-evaluation.
Hallam and Price (1998) reported a significant improvement in
mathematics performance during sessions when background music was played.
Participant behaviour generally improved in sessions with music, but these
findings were not statistically significant. Eidson (1989) reports that scores for
behaviours stabilized over time in the experimental groups, but in the control
group these scores continued to fluctuate. He also noted the most regularity in

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118

weeks when reinforcement was provided via token distribution. However, no


significant increase or decrease in appropriate behaviour occurred when
reinforcement was withheld.

Table 1: Music Therapy Studies


Study Focus Participant/S Conditions Format Length of Outcomes
etting Treatment
Montello Aggression, 16 students (2 Active and passive Group 24 weeks Increase in hostility in
& Coons motivation, and females) ages 11- music therapy therapy during one experimental
(1998) attention in ED, 14 years old in a led be a regular music group. No significant
LD, and ADD self-contained professio class time differences between
cases U.S. class nal music active and passive
therapist therapies on 3
dependent variables

Haines Self-esteem in ED 19 students (all Active music Group 2 stages of 6 No significant


(1989) cases males) ages 11-16 therapy and verbal therapy 30-minute differences between
years old in a therapy led by a sessions over the effects of music
private professio 3 weeks therapy and verbal
(alternative) ED nal music totalling 6 therapy conditions
school in the U.S. therapist weeks
Rickson & Aggression in 15 students (all Music therapy with Group 16-30 minute No definite treatment
Watkins ADHD, ODD, males) ages 11-15 various session therapy sessions twice effects could be
(2003) and/or CD cases years old in a lengths led by a a week detected
residential New professio
Zealand school nal music
therapist
Bittman, Anger control, 52 students (30 Active music Group 2 stages of 6 Significant increase in
Dickson, self-concept, and females, 22 therapy therapy consecutive school/work
& behaviour toward males) ages 12-18 led by a weekly 1- performance,
Coddingt others in mental in a residential trained hour sessions depression, negative
on (2009) health disorder treatment facility facilitator self-evaluation, and
cases in the U.S. instrumental anger
Hallam & Behaviour and 10 students (2 Passive music Timed 7 trials with Significant
Price mathematical females, 8 males) therapy trials background improvement in
(1998) performance in ages 9-10 at a facilitate music and 7 behaviour and
cases with day school for d by the trials without mathematics
emotional and children with students it. Length of performance for all
behavioural emotional and teachers sessions not students
difficulties (no behavioural specified
label specified) difficulties
Eidson Interpersonal 25 students Group 1: Active Group 9 sessions In the experimental
(1989) skills and (gender not behaviour-specific therapy followed by a groups, behaviour was
behaviour in specified) ages music therapy led by a performance more stable and
emotionally 11-16 in five self- Group 2: General therapist consistent during
troubled contained music therapy weeks when
students (no label classrooms in the Group 3: No-contact reinforcement was
specified) U.S. control classroom given, but no
Group 3 divided significant
into three improvement when
subgroups reinforcement was
withheld
Note. ADD = Attention Deficit Disorder; ADHD = Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; ED =
Emotional Disorder; ODD = Oppositional Defiant Disorder; CD = Conduct Disorder

Bibliotherapy Literature: Definition


Unlike other forms of the arts, bibliotherapy has not been academically
established as a legitimate form of therapy. The literature reveals two individual
types Clinical bibliotherapy usually is administered in a structured setting; is
implemented by a counsellor, therapist, or psychologist; and is most often used

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119

to treat individuals with serious emotional or behavioural problems.


Developmental bibliotherapy is implemented by lay persons in a school setting
such as a classroom or library room and employs guided reading to promote
interactions between readers and literature. Developmental bibliotherapy is
useful as a proactive approach to dealing with inappropriate behaviours and as
a tool for facilitating problem solving in specific conditions (Cook, Earles-
Vollrath & Ganz, 2006; Pehrsson & McMillen, 2005).
Bibliotherapuetic theory suggests that students might be able to better
understand and deal with their behaviours by identifying with a character in a
book, film, poem, or other literary medium. Interaction between the individual
and the character in the story provides a safe distance for the child and aids
them in verbalizing their problems. A clarifying process intensifies the transition
to form insight that facilitates a change in behaviour (Shechtman & Nachshol,
1996). This catharsis enables the person to understand his/her problem and
hopefully facilitates improved problem solving using appropriate behaviours
rather than unacceptable behaviours to deal with challenging situations
presented to the student in everyday life (Cook et al., 2006; Forgan, 2002; King &
Schwabenlender, 1994; Shechtman & Nachshol). Cook et al. stated that a basic
foundation of bibliotherapy is that when students identify with characters in a
story experiencing problems similar to ones they face, the child forms an
association that makes it possible to release emotions. This change assists
children in gaining an alternate trajectory in life and supports more diverse
methods of interacting with other individuals.
Bibliotherapy sessions can be conducted utilizing an individual or group
format. Group formats are preferred when working with aggressive children for
a number of reasons. Children will feel less threatened in a group session than in
an individual session, if implemented correctly group sessions may provide
positive role modelling, and groups provide a context for psychoeducation and
interpersonal interactions (Shechtman & Ben-David, 1999). Individual group
sessions ensure that the therapist-client relationship is fortified and the focus of
the interventionist is on the individual child during the session (Shechtman &
Ben-David).

Participants and Settings


Three hundred eightysix students participated across five bibliotherapy studies
(Lenkowsky, Barowsky, Dayboch, Puccio, & Lenkowsky, 1987; Shechtman, 1998;
Shechtman & Ben-David, 1999; Shechtman & Nachshol, 1996; Shechtman, 2006).
Table 2 provides a summary of the reviewed studies. Participant grade levels
were reported more frequently than ages and ranged from first through ninth
grade. Two hundred sixty eight participants were male, 16 were female, and the
genders of 102 participants were not specified. Males participated in at least four
studies and females participated in at least one study (Lenkowsky et al., 1987)).
In one study (Lenkowsky et al., 1987), participants grade levels were reported
instead of their ages. In this study, 79 male and 16 female students in fourth
through seventh grade participated. One hundred and two students ranging
from grades one through nine participated in Shechtman and Ben-Davids study
(1999), but participants genders were not reported. Though race for each
student was not specified, the sample represented diverse schools and peoples

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in Israel including Jewish, Arab, and Druz. In another study, age was reported
instead of grades (Shechtman & Nachshol, 1997). One hundred and seventeen
males ages 13-16 years old participated. Shechtmans study (1998) reported both
age and grade. The 10 participants were 8-year-old boys in fourth grade.
Participant ages in Shechtmans study (2006), ranged from 8-16 years old. Thirty
of the participants were Arab and 31 of the participants were Jewish. Generally,
racial and socioeconomic breakdowns were not reported in the studies.
Bibliotherapy participants had learning disabilities, were emotionally
handicapped (Lenkowsky et al., 1987); ED, BD, or socially maladjusted
(Shechtman & Nachshol, 1996); or aggressive or highly aggressive
(Shechtman, 1998; Shechtman & Ben-David, 1999; Shechtman, 2006) but
numbers of subjects specifically identified with a condition were not given. Only
one study was conducted in the United States (Lenkowsky et al., 1987) and was
carried out in an alternative school that only served students in special
education. Participants in this study were identified by their school systems.
Two studies in Israel (Shechtman, 1998; Shechtman & Nachshol, 1996) took place
in alternative education settings, and two studies in Israel (Shechtman & Ben-
David, 1999; Shechtman, 2006) took place in a public education setting.
Participants in Israel were identified by the government and referred to an
alternate placement or by home room teachers if the participants were in a
public education setting.

Bibliotherapy Interventions
Lenkowsky et al. (1987) focused on selfconcept as the independent variable and
compared bibliotherapy and literature as treatments. Participants were split into
four groups. Group 1 and 2 both read the same books of general interest during
three periods weekly. Group 2 participants engaged in a dialogue session each
week where students talked about "feelings, emotional experiences, and school
related problems" (Lenkowsky et al., p. 486). Participant in Groups 3, and 4
were the initial and second bibliotherapy groups and both read identical
literature. Group 3 met three time weekly and read literature focused on
problems the students might encounter on a regular basis. There was no weekly
discussion session for Group 3. Group 4 participants engaged in a discussion
meeting weekly.
Shechtman and Nachshol (1996) focused on aggression, adjusting
behaviour, and belief system sustaining aggression as the dependent variables.
Students were split in three groups and each received treatment 15 weekly one
hour sessions. The control group received an intervention mandatory in Israel
but without focus on aggression. The other two groups were from two different
schools and received bibliotherapy treatment during these sessions that focused
on aggression.
Shechtman (1998) focused on aggression as the dependent variable. Five
students were the control group counterparts of the other five students who
received bibliotherapy. This singlesubject design study consisted of 10 weekly
45minute affective bibliotherapy sessions. Shechtman and Ben-David (1999)
also focused on aggression as the dependent variable. Participants were split
into 15 small groups and 15 students did not receive treatment because they
were wait-listed. Affective bibliotherapy was administered to the groups during

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121

10 weekly 45minute sessions.


Shechtman (2006) focused on empathy and aggression. Two to three
aggressive students were selected from 24 classrooms and split into three
treatment groups for individual counselling. The first group received integrative
counselling plus bibliotherapy (ICB), the second received integrative counselling
with no bibliotherapy (IC), and the third was the control group. The
participants treatment condition was administered by counselling students
during 10 45minute sessions over the course of 4 months.

Treatment Outcomes
Lenkowsky et al. (1987) reported a significant difference between both treatment
conditions and the nontreatment conditions. Each bibliotherapy treatment
group, Group 3 and Group 4, exhibited significant increases in selfconcept.
Nontreatment conditions, Group 1 and Group 2, reported no changes.
Studies targeting aggression (Shechtman & Nachshol, 1996; Shechtman,
1998; Shechtman & Ben-David, 1999; Shechtman, 2006) all reported a reduction
in aggression in some capacity. Shechtman and Nachshol (1996) reported no
significant differences between treatment and control groups in any targeted
variable in the first year but in the second year of the study investigators
reported a significant increase in the control group on beliefs maintaining
aggression. No other significant changes were noted on other behavioural
variables. Shechtman (1998) reported reduced aggression in treatment groups
and a non-significant increase in constructive group behaviours. Data from the
study by Shechtman and Ben-David (1999) indicated (a) reduced aggression in
treatment groups, (b) the individual format showed less aggression over time
but the difference was not significant, and (c) therapists in group conditions
used more directives and exhibited a lower level of selfdisclosure than
therapists in individual therapy sessions. There were no changes noted in
control groups of any study. Shechtman (2006) reported an increase in empathy
and reduction in aggression for both ICB and IC treatment groups, but the gains
for ICB were greater than the gains for IC. Effect sizes from the studies reported
significant effects of bibliotherapy ranged from 0.15 to 1.84, resulting in about an
average effect size 0.964.

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122

Table 2: Bibliotherapy Studies

Study Focus Participants Condition Format Length of Outcomes


and Settings s Treatment

Lenkowsky Self-concept 96 students (79 Group 1: Group 3 weekly Significant


et al. (1987) in LD and males and 16 literature therapy. sessions. improvement in self-
emotionally females) in 4th-7th Group 2: Implement Length of concept in
handicappe grade in a U.S. literature and er not time bibliotherapy
d cases alternative school rap session stated. unspecified treatments. Non-
for special Group 3: bibliotherapy results
education bibliotherapy insignificant
students Group 4:
bibliotherapy
and
discussion
session
Shechtman Aggression, 117 male students Group A: Group 2 years In 1991, no significant
& Nachshol behaviour ages 13-16 years bibliotherapy therapy led differences between
(1996) adjustment, old in alternative Group B: by control and treatment
and belief schools in Israel bibliotherapy graduate groups. In 1992,
system (vocational n=46, Group C: no students, control group
sustaining residential =44, treatment teachers, indicated significant
aggression secondary n=14) and increase in
in ED, BD, counsellors endorsement of
or socially beliefs maintaining
maladjusted aggression.
cases
Shechtman Aggression 10 males students Bibliotherapy Group 10 weekly 45- Treatment group:
(1998) in highly age 8 years old in . Each therapy led minute decrease in aggressive
aggressive an alternative student by two sessions behaviours;
cases (no school in Israel compared to experience Constructive group:
label student in d special behaviours increased.
specified) control group education Control group: no
teachers change

Shechtman Aggression, 102 students 15 small Group and 10 weekly 45- Reduced aggression
& Ben- outcome (gender not groups and individual minute in treatment groups
David difference in specified) in 1st 15 individual therapy led sessions and therapists used
(1999) formats, through 9th grade students with by 30 more directives and
and no treatment graduate exhibited a lower
difference in counselling level of self-disclosure
processes in special
highly education
aggressive students
cases (no
label
specified)
Shechtman Empathy 61 male students Group 1: ICB Individual 10 45-minute Significant
(2006) and ages 8-16 years old Group 2: IC therapy led sessions over improvement in
aggression from 24 Group 3: no by 4months empathy and
in classrooms in treatment randomly therapist satisfaction
aggressive Israel. Arabs n=30, assigned for the ICB group.
cases (no Jews n=31 counselling Slightly less resistance
label students and more
specified) matched insightfulness in the
by ICB group than in the
ethnicity. IC group.
Notes. LD = Learning Disability; ED = Emotional Disturbance; BD = Behavioural Disorder,
ICB=adjunctive bibliotherapy, IC=counselling with no literature

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123

Discussion
The review generated five findings. First, data suggested that the main focus of
the studies was aggressive behaviour. Second, participants were predominantly
adolescent males. Third, student placements were seldom in general education
settings. Fourth, group formats were used in music therapy studies, and group
clinical bibliotherapy was most frequently used in bibliotherapy studies. Finally,
there was little evidence to support the claim that music therapy was effective as
an intervention tool for addressing challenging behaviours of this student
population, while bibliotherapy studies indicated that these interventions may
be more effective.
Most data indicated that music therapy did not produce significant
changes in student behaviours and would not be an effective method of
intervention to address the needs of students with challenging behaviours. In
fact, two studies reported an increase in aggressive behaviours (Rickson and
Watkins, 2003; Montello & Coons, 1998). The only study that reported notable,
positive effects of music therapy was the study by Bittman et al. (2009). Results
also indicated bibliotherapy might reduce aggressive behaviours and have a
positive impact on group behaviours of students with behavioural concerns
when used as a facilitative agent to promote changes in student behaviours.
At least 66% of the students participating in studies reviewed in this
paper were male adolescents. It is commonly accepted that males make up a
higher percentage of students diagnosed with behaviour problems (Friend, 2013;
Wagner, Kutash, Duchnowski, Epstein & Sumi, 2005), but it appears that such a
high percentage might indicate female students were either overlooked, not
diagnosed as having behaviour problems, or were not nominated as aggressive
students by teachers. Since gender was not specified for 127 of the participants
this percentage of maletofemale adolescents must be taken with caution. Only
one study included participants in first through fourth grade.
The main focus of three music therapy studies was student aggression
(Bittman et al., 2009; Montello & Coons, 1998; Rickson & Watkins, 2003). Results
question the efficacy of music therapy as an effective intervention tool when
used with students with EBD. Montello and Coons investigated the effects of
active versus passive music participation. They hypothesized students in the
treatment group (active participation) would exhibit a decrease in aggressive
behaviours. The authors stated that the only significant findings were from
Group A (active followed by passive) which exhibited increasing hostility in the
first half of the study. Group B exhibited an improvement in aggression,
motivation, and attention in the second half of the study (passive followed by
active). It is unclear what may have produced the effect, active vs. passive
therapy, order of therapy presentation, etc. Montello and Coons concluded that
the data did not indicate that active music therapy reduced aggression of the
participants of this study. This finding is inconsistent with the results of
Bittmans (2009) study, which indicated a substantial decrease in aggressive
behaviour, among many other variables, after exposure to the intervention.
Rickson and Watson (2003) also examined the effects of music therapy on
aggressive behaviours. The treatment group exhibited increased aggressive
behaviours while in the of music therapy period and not during the non
treatment phase. The treatment group subjects all had ADHD, despite

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124

randomization during assignment to groups, and the authors suggested that this
might have impacted the results. Montello and Coons (1998) also found that
boys with ADHD presented more disruptive behaviours during music therapy.
This finding suggests that boys with ADHD might become over stimulated
during music therapy or in a less structured setting. These findings conflict with
Cripes (1986) study on the effect of rock music as an adjunctive supportive
therapy for students with ADD. Data indicated rock music therapy did not
negatively impact aggression, attention, or motivation of students with ADD
and during periods of listening to rock music levels of motor activities
decreased.
Three music therapy studies reviewed (Eidson, 1989; Haines, 1989;
Hallam & Price, 1998) focused on the behavioural and emotional improvement
of students and not on aggression as a specific dependent variable. Haines (1989)
examined the result of music therapy on selfesteem of students with ED and
found active music therapy had no significant effect on the selfesteem of
students with emotional disturbance. Hallam and Price found that passive music
therapy significantly improved students behaviour and mathematics
performance for all participants receiving this intervention. Similarly, Eidson
(1989) found behavioural stability and improvement in targeted behaviours for
groups receiving music therapy. However, it was difficult to determine whether
the changes in behaviour described in the study were a result of the music
therapy intervention of if they were a result of the token economy and
reinforcement system implemented as part of the intervention.
Four studies explored the effect of bibliotherapy on aggression of
students with behavioural problems (Shechtman, 1998; Shechtman & Ben-David,
1999; Shechtman & Nachshol, 1996; Shechtman, 2006). Results indicated that
bibliotherapy might be an effective intervention tool for addressing behavioural
concerns and selfesteem of students with emotional behaviour problems.
Shechtman (2006) reported that individual bibliotherapy resulted in greater
empathy and less resistance in the experimental group than the control group.
However, Shechtman and Nachshol (1996) conducted a twoyear longitudinal
study which produced conflicting results. Results from the first year showed no
significant differences between experimental and control groups in gains in any
targeted behaviour areas. Results from the second year indicated significant
differences between groups in attitudes towards aggression and aggressive
behaviour. The data from the control group indicated significant increases in
validation of beliefs maintaining aggression. There was no difference
demonstrated in the experimental group. Shechtman and Nachshol (1996) stated
this might indicate the intervention was only able to stop endorsement of this
belief system, not eliminate it. Lenkowsky et al. (1987) examined the effect of
bibliotherapy on the selfconstruction of students with emotional disabilities.
This study had two bibliotherapy treatment groups, one utilizing a discussion
group and one without a discussion group. Both treatment groups showed
significant positive changes in selfesteem when compared to equivalent control
groups, but there were no differences between treatment groups. Investigators
concluded the presence of a discussion group was not a factor impacting the
outcome of the study and that bibliotherapy appeared to be the causative agent
promoting change.

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125

Suggestions for Future Research


There is a notable paucity of empirical inquiries on effectiveness of bibliotherapy
and music therapy related to students with emotional behavioural concerns
(Rickson & Watkins, 2003). Much of the evidence that is available is either
anecdotal or narrative (Sausser & Waller, 2006). Furthermore, existing empirical
evidence is often contradictory (Edison, 1989; Haines, 1989)
Studies from Israel, New Zealand, and the United States were reviewed
in this paper. Labels identifying students as students with challenging
behaviours ranged from ED to highly aggressive. Labels or diagnoses may
differ from one country to another or, as in the United States, from one school,
district, or state to another. Generalizability is questionable in light of this
variable. Shechtman (2003) noted it is not clear whether a population studied in
Israel would be different from populations of aggressive children in Western
societies such as United States inner city populations. The fact that search
procedures found only one empirical study conducted in the United States
would indicate that more research should be undertaken with United States
student populations to determine efficacy of bibliotherapy in this country.
Additionally, more studies need to be conducted in inclusive settings with this
population to determine whether music therapy, bibliotherapy, or art therapy
might be effective in an inclusive general education setting.
Three studies (Shechtman, 1998; Shechtman & Ben-David, 1999;
Shechtman & Nachshol, 1996) implemented an Affective integrative model of
group bibliotherapy based on a clinical format adjusted to suit individual
developmental requirements of the children. One study (Shechtman & Ben-
David, 1999) specifically investigated use of group vs. individual therapy and
reported no difference between treatment groups. If this finding could be
replicated across populations and settings it might indicate that group therapy is
as effective as individual therapy. Implications would translate into cost
effectiveness for schools and more students would be able to receive treatment.
Several music therapy studies contained weaknesses in study design.
Montello and Coons (1998) groups were not randomly assigned and Group C
was lost in the second half of the study due to attrition factors. Investigators
stated that Group A was significantly more hostile than Group B at pre-test and
that Group C was more musically talented than Groups A and B. Statistical
procedures to ameliorate potential bias in the results were not discussed by the
researchers. The study by Bittman et al. (2009) was conducted in a highly
structured environment, which would be difficult to duplicate in a general
education setting similar to the settings of the other music therapy studies. The
results from Eidson (1989) cannot be attributed to the music therapy intervention
with certainty because student behaviour was reinforced through a token
economy. Theres no mention whether this system was used to prior to the onset
of the music therapy intervention or implemented as a component of the
intervention.
Rickson and Watkins (2003) reported all subjects in one group had
ADHD despite randomization during assignment to groups. The authors
suggested that this might have impacted results. Montello and Coons (1998)
also found that boys with ADHD presented more disruptive behaviours during

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126

music therapy. They claimed that boys with ADHD might become over
stimulated during music therapy in a less structured setting. Differences
between groups and differences between individuals in groups may have acted
as proximal causes which impacted targeted study outcomes. Rickson and
Watkins suggest conducting studies which utilize larger numbers of subjects.
These studies should incorporate procedures that match multiple treatment
streams and multiple outcome measures with specifically targeted goals. Again,
it is possible that proximal variables impacted study outcomes.
Haines (1989) found factors that may have accounted for a lack of
differences between the two groups could be sample size, attrition of
participants during the study, length of treatment period, test of instrument,
outside variables, numerous interruptions during therapy sessions, and overall
design of the study. Students with brain injury and students with emotional
disturbance constitute two different disability categories under IDEA, but in
Haines study, no distinction is made between these two populations and
targeted behaviours for students with emotional disturbance and those with
brain injury were the same.
Bibliotherapy studies appeared to be better designed. Several key factors
mentioned by investigators that needed to be considered were small sample size,
population demographics, and impact of the therapist on the outcomes of a
group. Any of these variables can affect reliability and generalizability of
findings.

Conclusion
Special educators are responsible for ensuring that best practices are
implemented with their students who have special needs. Only interventions
that have a solid base of valid empirical research studies to demonstrate that
they are, in fact, best practices should be used with this disability population.
Research has demonstrated that there are proven and sound interventions that
can be used to address the needs of children with challenging behaviours.
Opportunities to Respond (Sutherland & Wehby, 2001), behavioural momentum
(Cooper, Herron, & Heward, 2013), proximity control, use of positive
reinforcement, principles of applied behavioural analysis, school-wide positive
behaviour intervention and supports (SWPBIS), the use of functional
behavioural analysis to determine the function of behaviours, and the use of
qualified applied behavioural analysts (Alberto & Troutman, 2013; Yell,
Meadows, Drasgow, & Shriner, 2013) are just a few of the interventions and tools
proven successful and available for educators who work with children with
challenging behaviours. Unfortunately, there is also a long list of unproven
interventions that have been adopted by special educators (Mostert & Crockett,
1999).
The findings of previous reviews (King & Schwabenlender, 1994; Lee,
2015; Yeaw, 2001) support the findings of this review. Two reviews investigated
the efficacy of music therapy in the treatment of children with developmental
disabilities (Lee, 2015) and psychiatric and developmental difficulties (Yeaw,
2001). Data from both studies indicated that music therapy research was
burdened with methodological issues which weakened findings of the studies.
Both Lee and Yeaw both found that the reviewed studies were limited by their

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127

research designs and findings were compromised by small sample size, lack of
control groups, and lack of reliable assessment and measurement tools. These
researchers concluded that results from the studies in their reviews should be
interpreted with caution. Twentyone years ago, King and Schwabenlender
(1994) investigated the use of supportive therapies for individuals at risk for or
identified with EBD. They concluded that even though supportive therapies
were heuristically rich and offered teachers new strategies to use for addressing
the needs of children with behavioural issues, the studies did not "consistently
adhere to strict and rigorous scientific methodological efficacy" (p. 2). Results
from the current literature review also found that there were methodological
and design concerns in both music therapy and bibliotherapy and suggest a lack
of enough empirical data to support a conclusion that bibliotherapy or music
therapy had a significant, positive impact on target behaviours exhibited by
students with or at risk for EBD. Today, Bradt (2016) emphasizes the importance
of systemic reviews in research.
History has shown that educators in the United States often implement
programs of instruction that have a paucity of empirical research to demonstrate
their efficacy and value to our student population (Stahl, McKenna, & Pagnucco,
1994). It is perplexing that such interventions persist and appear regularly
(Mostert, 1994; Mostert & Crockett, 1999-2000). Music therapy and bibliotherapy
have been in use in the United States since the 1930s and some have suggested
their use as interventions for addressing problems presented by students with
emotional behavior problems. A finding of this review is there is a marked
paucity of evidence to support that assumption. Empirical evidence is limited
at best. Further research needs to be conducted on bibliotherapy and music
therapy to establish if they are, in fact, viable approaches for addressing
problems exhibited by students with behavioural concerns.
Perhaps, as Mostert and Crockett (1999) suggested, as special educators,
we need to remember our history of adopting less than empirically sound
practices. Professionals in teacher preparation programs must demonstrate
"three critical components of informed practice: what has worked, what has not,
and the ability to tell the difference" (p. 142). The authors of this review agree
with Mostert and Crockett that the use of some practices in the treatment of
children with behavioural issues should be employed with caution and an
understanding that these practices are by no means "best practices". Educators
should not assume that these supportive therapy interventions will result in
significant behavioural changes for these student populations until further
research is conducted.

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Sausser, S., & Waller, R. J. (2006). A model for music therapy with students with
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International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 15, No. 10, pp. 130-146, September 2016

Quality of Academic Resources and Students


Satisfaction in Public Universities in Kenya
Augustine M. Kara, Edward K. Tanui
Maasai Mara University
Narok, Kenya

Jeremiah M. Kalai
University of Nairobi
Nairobi, Kenya

Abstract. Quality of academic resources and students satisfaction in


universities has emerged a high profile agenda in the 21st Century.
Universities require the resources in order to effectively fulfill their core
mandate of teaching, learning and research hence contributing to a
fulfilling educational experience for the students. In Kenya, public
universities have expanded rapidly without adequate financing from
the Government over the last two decades. These factors have a bearing
on the ability of the universities to provide quality academic resources
that guarantee students satisfaction which is yet to be determined. The
study adopted cross sectional research design. Eight universities
representing 36 percent of the accessible public universities participated
in the study. Data were collected from 1062 third and fourth year
undergraduate students using a questionnaire. The overall Cronbach's
Alpha reliability coefficient for the entire scale was 0.887. The study
found that quality of academic resources had four reliable dimensions of
quality of teaching facilities, quality of library service environment,
availability of text books in the library, and availability of internet
services. It was found that independently, quality of teaching facilities,
availability of textbooks, and quality of library service environment
were positively and significantly related to student satisfaction.
Availability of internet services was insignificant in determining
students satisfaction in the universities.

Keywords: Academic resources; teaching facilities; textbooks; library


service; internet services; students satisfaction.

1. Introduction
Public universities play a key role in training human resources favourable to
attainment of the United Nations Millenium Development Goals (World Bank,
2010a). However, diminishing public funding and increasing students
enrolments resulting to rapid expansion threaten the capacity of universities to
fulfill this core mandate (Altbach, Reisberg & Rumbley, 2009). Confronted by
these constraints, there have been concerns that the universities are not likely to
deliver a fulfilling university experience that facilitates the development of a
high calibre graduate (UNESCO, 2014). Indeed, universities are hard pressed by

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131

stakeholders to pursue excellence in educational service with the ultimate aim of


ensuring that customers, including students, are satisfied (World Bank, 2010b).
According to Hansemark and Albinsson (2004), customer satisfaction is an
overall attitude towards a service provider, or an emotional reaction to the
service experience. McDougall and Levesque (2000) also define customer
satisfaction as cognitive or affective outcomes that emerge in response to a single
or prolonged set of service encounters. The Commission for University
Education in Kenya (2008) lists parents, students, staff, community, funding
agencies, and employers as the main stakeholders in universities. However,
Firdaus (2006) expounds that students are the primary customers and outcomes
of their perceptions of the university experience is relevant in the continuing
debate on quality improvement in universities.

According to Kishore (2012), outcomes of students perceptions of educational


service quality in universities include positive word-of-mouth communication
about their universities to their friends, future intention to come back to their
university to pursue other academic programmes, and perceived value for
money the student pays for educational services. Dib and Alnazer (2013)
contend that students satisfaction results to contentment with the educational
services experience culminating to feelings of joy and pleasure for being
associated with a university. Arokiasamy and Abdullah (2012) emphasize the
need for universities to provide a fulfilling university experience because of the
potential impact of students satisfaction on the competiveness of an institution,
motivation and ability of students to develop the desired competencies,
retention of existing students, and efforts to attract and recruit new students in a
highly competitive higher education market.

Although students satisfaction in universities is affected by various factors,


quality of academic resources, a key component of educational service quality,
has generated a lot of interest in recent years (Prasad & Jha, 2013). Quality of
academic resources is a multidimensional construct which is often approached
from a range of indicators that support teaching, learning and research activities
in a university. Such indicators include lecture facilities, laboratory facilities,
library service, and access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
infrastructure and digital resources (Taib, Warokka & Hilman, 2012; Mahmood,
Dangi & Ali, 2014). Inadequate financing and rapid expansion of public
universities over the years has resulted to deterioration of the average quality of
academic resources (Yizengaw, 2008). Ndirangu and Udoto (2011) observe that
low quality academic resources not only affect teaching and learning but also
impacts on students and lecturers motivation, self-image, dignity, and sense of
pride in their universities.

Coskun (2014) study in a university in Albania found that students give


particular importance to academic facilities because they spend a lot of their
time interacting with the facilities. Sufficient facilities are likely to enhance the
interaction, bring about creative learning, and contribute to a fulfilling
university experience. Salad (2014) study in Mogadishu found that adequacy of
teaching facilities is significantly related to students satisfaction. Similarly,
Mansor, Hasanordin, Hafiz and Rashid (2012) research in a university in

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132

Malaysia found that quality of academic resources significantly impacts on


students satisfaction perceptions. The findings suggest that students appreciate
the provision of adequate laboratory equipment, lecture rooms, and other
physical evidences of an excellent university. Contrary to this finding, J.
Douglas, A., Douglas, A. and Barnes (2006) study in Liverpool John Moores
University in England; and Khan, Ahmed and Nawaz (2011) study in Pakistan
concluded that quality of academic resources has an insignificant relationship
with students satisfaction. The findings suggest that quality of academic
resources is not a matter of consideration for students in a university.

Over the last two decades, public universities in Kenya have expanded rapidly
without adequate financing from the Government (Republic of Kenya [ROK],
2007). Students enrolment in the universities increased from 139,470 students in
2010/11 academic year to 276,349 students in the 2013/14 academic year (ROK,
2014). This translates to 98.1 percent growth in enrolment over a period of three
years. According to Kinyanjui (2007), rapid increase in students enrolment has
resulted to widespread perception from stakeholders that the average quality of
public university educational service has declined. Increasing enrolment has
been associated with pressure on available teaching and learning resources
(ROK, 2006). There have been concerns that the available infrastructure in the
universities cannot adequately support students and teachers in achieving their
academic goals (Ndirangu & Udoto, 2011). The situation may be more
aggravated in the recently established public universities which were upgraded
from middle level colleges without requisite infrastructure to support university
teaching (Wanzala, 2013).

The Government also delinked admission of students to public universities


based on available accommodation (ROK, 2005). Consequently, public
universities in Kenya have on a number of occasions, been pressurized to admit
more students than they can accommodate (ROK, 2006). Students possibly learn
in congested and stressful environments likely to affect students satisfaction
which is the subject of the current study. In response to concerns for quality
educational service delivery, public universities in Kenya are required by the
Government to implement Total Quality Management practices such as
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) systems with an aim of
improving service delivery and ensuring that customers, including students, are
satisfied with the university experience (Owino, Oanda & Olel, 2011).

The Commission for University Education [CUE] in Kenya demands that


universities shall provide adequate lecture rooms/theatres, adequate laboratory
facilities, quality university library commensurate to students enrollment and
quality ICT services as critical components of academic resources in the
universities (CUE, 2014). The Commissions requirements are aimed at ensuring
that the universities promote highest standards of teaching and learning and
that students acquire skills consistent with educational goals and aspirations of
Kenyans (CUE, 2014). However, the extent to which the existing quality control
and improvements initiatives have impacted on the quality of university
experience remains unknown. At a time when there is global recognition that
students are the primary customers in universities, it is urgent to determine the

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133

relationship between quality of academic resources and students satisfaction in


public universities in Kenya with the ultimate aim of identifying improvement
priorities. The study was guided by the following objectives:
i. To determine the indicators of quality of academic resources in public
universities in Kenya.
ii. To examine students ratings of the indicators of quality of academic
resources in public universities in Kenya.
iii. To determine the relationship between the indicators of quality of
academic resources and students satisfaction in public universities in
Kenya.

2. Conceptual framework
In analyzing the relationship between quality of academic resources and
students satisfaction in the universities, it was important to conceptualize the
linkage in terms of the independent and dependent variable chain. The
conceptual framework shown in Figure 1 demonstrates that the independent
variable, which is quality of academic resources, is a multidimensional construct
of the dimensions of quality teaching facilities, quality library services, and
access to ICT resources.

Input Process Output

Students satisfaction
- Pleasurable feelings for
being associated with a
Quality academic university
Provision
resources - Willingness to come back
of quality
- Teaching facilities to the university and
academic
- Library services pursue an academic
resources
- Access to ICT programme
- Recommending to
prospective students
- Perceived value for fees
paid to a university
Figure 1: Relationship between quality of academic resources and students
satisfaction
The independent variable for the study is students satisfaction. It was
conceptualized as the composite mean score of students feelings of pleasure and
contentment for being associated with a university, future intentions to enrol in
their universities for other academic programmes, recommending prospective
students to pursue degree programmes in their university through positive
word of mouth communication, and perceived value for fees paid to a
university. Teaching facilities, library service, and access to ICT resources relate
to students satisfaction. Similarly, overall students rating of quality of academic
resources influences students satisfaction. The extent to which quality of
academic resources affects students satisfaction depends on the commitment of
the universities to ensure that the resources are sufficient and effective.

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3. Methodology
The study used cross sectional design. According to Bryman and Bell (2007),
cross-sectional design entails the collection of data from a random sample
representing some given population at a given time in order to detect patterns of
association between the variables of study. Henn, Weinstein and Foard (2009)
explain that the key strength of cross sectional design is the collection of data at
the same point in time hence mitigating the possibility of external time-related
events and variables confounding on the findings. Cross sectional design was
selected for the study because it enabled the researchers collect data at a single
point in time hence minimizing time related events that were likely to impact on
quality of academic resources and students satisfaction in the universities. The
design also enabled the researcher determine the relationship between quality of
academic resources and students satisfaction in the universities. Eight
universities representing 36 percent of the accessible public universities
participated in the study. Data were collected from 1062 third and fourth year
undergraduate students using a questionnaire. Quality of academic resources
was measured using 16 items while students satisfaction was measured using
six items placed on a five point Likert and Likert type scale.

To ensure validity of the questionnaire, the study used face and content validity
which was achieved through expert review. Piloting was done in one of the
public universities in order to determine the Cronbach's Alpha coefficient of
reliability for the subscales and the entire questionnaire. The pilot university was
exempted from the main study. The sample size for the pilot study was 110 third
and fourth year undergraduate students as per Mulusa (1990) who recommends
that piloting should involve at least 10 percent of the sample size for the main
study. The pilot study revealed that the overall Cronbach's Alpha coefficient for
entire scale (22 items) was .887. The reliability indices for the different subscales
were; quality of academic resources (.852) and students satisfaction (.883). The
reliability indices for the entire scale and subscales were above the .700 threshold
recommended by Pallant (2005). The questionnaire was therefore considered
reliable and used in the actual study. Data from the main study were analyzed
using descriptive statistics, factor analysis and regression analysis. Interpretation
of the data was done with reference to the research objectives and the results are
presented in the following sections.

4. Results and Discussions


The following results were obtained from the study;

4.1 Indicators of Quality Academic Resources


Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was applied in determining the indicators
of the quality of academic resources in the universities from the questionnaire
items. The analysis was necessary in order to determine whether the items
accurately measured the intended indicators and ensure that the factors were
defined by items which grouped for a particular factor only (Yong & Pearce,
2013). Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) measure of sampling adequacy and Bartletts
test of sphericity results for the entire scale were examined. KMO test provides
information regarding the grouping of survey items. It determines whether
enough items predicted each factor. Bartlett's test is used to test whether

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135

questionnaire items are correlated highly enough as to provide a reasonable


basis for factor analysis (Field, 2009). The KMO and Bartlett's Test for the scale
on quality of academic resources are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1: KMO and Bartlett's Test for the Scale on Quality of Academic
Resources
KMO measure of sampling adequacy .832
Bartlett's Test of Sphericity Approx. Chi-Square 5970.790
df 120
Sig. .000

The analysis found that KMO measure of sampling adequacy for the scale on
quality of academic resource is .832 and was considered adequate because it
indicated that enough items grouped into distinct factors of quality of academic
resources (Leech, Barret & Morgan, 2005). The Bartlett's test results of the scale
items show Chi-Square value = 5970.790 which is statistically significant at
p<.05. According to Field (2009), a significant Bartlett's test infers that the
variables in the scale on quality of academic resources had a high correlation as
to provide a reasonable basis for factor extraction. Varimax orthogonal rotation
was applied in extracting the indicators of quality of academic resources. The
study settled for varimax orthogonal rotation because it reduces the complexities
of factors by maximizing variance of loadings on each factor and therefore
generating a simple structure as conveyed by Field (2009). According to Leech,
Barret and Morgan (2005), a factor should have an Eigen value greater than one
for it to be considered useful.

The solution generated revealed a total of 16 components explaining 100.0% of


the variations in the quality of academic resources. Four (4) components had an
Eigen value greater than one suggesting that the scale measured four
dimensions which explained 60.568 percent of the variations in quality of
academic resources as summarized in the rotated component matrix in Table 2.
The matrix reveals that component one (1) had five items. The five items were
interpreted as quality of teaching facilities and accounted for 31.16% of the
variations in quality of academic resources. Six items loaded on component two
(2). The items emphasized the need for library staff to be responsive to students
needs, the library having basic comfort for study and having adequate sitting
space. Items in component two were grouped as quality of library service
environment and accounted for 13.30% of variations in quality of academic
resources. Three items loaded on component three (3). The component was
interpreted as provision of internet services and explained 8.82% of the
variations in quality of academic resources.

Component four (4) had two items. These items were interpreted as availability
of textbooks in the universities libraries. After determining the factors that
constitute quality of academic resources in public universities in Kenya, the
study proceeded to check the internal reliability of each of the components in the
scale. The study found that all the components had Cronbachs alpha above .700
threshold recommended by Pallant (2005). The analysis therefore revealed that
quality of academic resources in the universities could be defined using four

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reliable dimension or indicators. The indicators are quality of teaching facilities,


quality of library service environment, availability of text books in the library,
and availability of internet services.

Table 2: Indicators of Quality of Academic Resources


Component Factor and
percentage
1 2 3 4 variance
Lecture halls and rooms has enough tables .759 Quality of
and chairs teaching
The university has adequate teaching .755 facilities,
laboratory facilities 31.16%
The university has adequate lecture rooms .749
and halls
Lecture halls and rooms have enough sitting .726
space for students
The university has adequate computers for .701
ICT lessons
Library staff are friendly and helpful .792 Quality of
Library staff provide prompt services to .778 library service
students environment,
The library has convenient opening and .699 13.30%
closing hours
The library has comfortable chairs and tables .632
When i visit the library, I always find a seat .487
and a table to study from
The library provides a conducive .483
environment for study
Students can access university internet on .883 Access to
their phones and laptops internet
The university provides internet facilities for .879 services,
students 8.82%
Library facilitates access to internet resources .498
The library is stocked with latest and .816 Availability of
authoritative textbooks text books in
The library has textbooks that lecturers .815 the library,
recommend for my course 7.29%
Cronbachs alpha value of component .816 .784 .731 .774 Total variance
60.57%

Although the study identified four internally consistent indicators, quality of


teaching facilities was the most important and accounted for 31.16% of the
variations in quality of academic resources. The finding implies that students
were most concerned with adequacy of lecture rooms and halls, availability of
quality lecture chairs, adequate sitting space during lectures, sufficient and
equipped laboratory facilities, and adequate computers for ICT lessons
practicals. After determining the indicators of quality of academic resources, it
was important to analyze students ratings of the indicators in order to establish
the extent to the universities had quality academic resources to support

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teaching, learning and research activities and the results are presented in the
following section.

4.2 Ratings of the Indicators of Quality of Academic Resources


Students ratings of the quality of academic resources were collected on a five
point Likert and Likert type scale of strongly disagree (SD), disagree (D), not
sure (NS), agree (A), and strongly agree (SA). Results summarized in Table 3
indicate that students rating of the quality of teaching facilities was below
average (M = 2.43, SD = 0.93) implying that most of the public universities had
inadequate teaching facilities. Majority 727 (68.5%) of the students disagreed that
the universities had adequate lecture rooms and halls suggesting that lectures
were conducted in congested environments which possibly hindered effective
teaching and learning. This is contrary to Isa and Yusoff (2015) assertion that
adequate lecture facilities are a prerequisite for quality teaching and learning.
Ndirangu and Udoto (2011) also argues that learning in congested environments
decreases students concentration and attention, affects students motivation,
self-image, and a sense of pride in their universities.

Majority 680 (64.0%) of the students disagreed that the universities had adequate
teaching laboratory facilities implying that students pursuing disciplines
requiring practicals had inadequate exposure to the enriching laboratory
learning experiences. According to Reid and Shah (2006), teaching laboratories
provides students and instructors with an opportunity to illustrate ideas and
concepts, and to expose theoretical ideas to empirical testing. Hofstein and
Lunetta (2003) also stress that laboratories provide students with an opportunity
to handle equipment and chemicals, and to acquire and develop general skills
such as team work, time management, and problem solving.

The results revealed that majority 724 (68.1%) of the students were not satisfied
with the adequacy of computers for ICT lessons practicals. The study results
imply that the universities were not adequately equipped with ICT
infrastructure to facilitate practical orientation of students towards ICT skills
possibly because on inadequate funding for ICT resources. The finding concurs
with Tarus, Gichoya and Muumbo (2015) who found that inadequate ICT
infrastructure was one of the key barriers to teaching of ICT skills in public
universities in Kenya. On the quality of the library service environment, the
study results indicated that students had above average ratings (M = 3.26, SD =
0.87). The results suggest that most of the public universities had a library
service environment that could support students private study and research
needs. Majority 587 (55.3%) of the students agreed that library staff were
friendly and helpful. Most 573 (53.9%) of the students also concurred that the
staff provided prompt service to students. This is in line with Tiemensma (2009)
who observed that approachable, helpful, and responsive library staff is a key
ingredient towards performance excellence in provision of library services.
Despite the positive ratings of the quality of the library service environment,
majority 572 (53.9%) of the students indicated that the libraries did not have
enough chairs and tables. The results imply that most of the universities did not
have a library facility whose size could accommodate the existing students

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enrollment possibly because of inadequate finances to upgrade the existing


library facilities and procure reading carrels.

Table 3: Students Ratings of the Quality of Academic Resources

Factor Item SD D NS A SA
Quality of The university has 293 434 65 239 31
teaching adequate lecture rooms and 27.6% 40.9 6.1 22.5% 2.9%
facilities halls %
Lecture halls and rooms 273 350 66 299 74
have enough chairs of 25.7% 33.0 6.2% 28.2% 7.0%
acceptable quality %
Lecture halls and rooms 272 350 73 304 63
have enough sitting space 25.6% 33.0 6.9% 28.6% 5.9%
for students %
The university has 240 440 124 221 37
adequate teaching 22.6% 41.4 11.7% 20.8% 3.5%
laboratory facilities %
The university has 320 404 106 197 35
adequate computers for 30.1% 38.0 10.0% 18.5% 3.3%
ICT lessons practicals %
Overall mean rating of quality of teaching facilities, M = 2.43, SD, 0.93
Quality of The library provides a 96 113 54 582 217
Library conducive environment for 9.0% 10.6% 5.1% 54.8% 20.4%
Service study
Environment The library has comfortable 111 177 99 502 173
chairs and tables 10.5% 16.7% 9.3% 47.3% 16.3%
When i visit the library, I 243 329 107 304 79
always find a seat and a 22.9% 31.0% 10.1% 28.6% 7.4%
table to study from
The library has convenient 125 147 83 513 194
opening and closing hours 11.8% 13.8% 7.8% 48.3% 18.3%
Library staff are friendly 150 203 122 466 121
and helpful 14.1% 19.1% 11.5% 43.9% 11.4%
Library staff provide 142 214 133 477 96
prompt services to students 13.4% 20.2% 12.5% 44.9% 9.0%
Overall mean rating of quality of library service environment, M = 3.26, SD = 0.87
Availability The library is stocked with 361 346 120 188 47
of text books latest and authoritative 34.0% 32.6% 11.3% 17.7% 4.4%
in the library textbooks
The library has textbooks 223 357 89 323 70
that lecturers recommend 21.0% 33.6% 8.4% 30.4% 6.6%
for my course
Overall mean rating of rating of availability of textbooks, M = 2.47, SD = 1.13
Availability The university provides 114 131 47 659 111
of internet internet facilities for 10.7% 12.3% 4.4% 62.1% 10.5%
services students
Students can access 92 143 49 635 143
university internet on their 8.7% 13.5% 4.6% 59.8% 13.5%
phones and laptops
Library facilitates access to 149 199 111 493 110
internet resources 14.0% 18.7% 10.5% 46.4% 10.4%
Overall mean rating of availability of internet services, M = 3.42, SD = 0.96

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This was contrary to CUE (2014) requirement that universities should provide
adequate library facility for students. CUE also requires that the facility should
have adequate and appropriate furniture that guarantees privacy and comfort
for each individual reader who seeks to use the library resources (CUE, 2014).
Data on the provision of textbooks in the libraries revealed that students mean
rating was below average (M = 2.47, SD = 1.13) as summarized in Table 3. The
results suggest that most of the public universities in Kenya did not have
adequate number of latest and authoritative textbooks in circulation, including
those that were recommended by the lecturers. This was likely to affect the
standards, quality and relevance of university education as students did not
have adequate textbooks to consult from. The finding on inadequate library
resources concurs with Mwiria, Ngethe, Ngome, Ouma-odero, Wawire and
Wesonga (2007) who argue that the acquisition of library resources is the worst
victim of neglect in universities in Kenya.

Data on the availability of internet resources revealed that students had above
average ratings (M = 3.42, SD = 0.96). Majority 770 (72.6%) of the students
agreed that the universities provided internet facilities for the students. A high
proportion 778 (73.3%) of the students also agreed that the universities internet
facility was accessible on their phones and laptops. The findings suggest that
public universities in Kenya recognized the role played by internet services in
higher education resulting to widescale uptake and facilitating access of the
services to students. According to Bett (2014), availability and access to ICTs
such as internet services is the basic minimum for any institution to apply ICTs
in education. Indeed, it is a strategic option towards preparing students for
effective participation in the global knowledge economy (Poda, Murry & Miller,
2006). Provision of internet services, as found in the current study, has a high
potential in improving the students academic and social encounters leading to a
fulfilling university experience (Adesoji, 2012).

Further, most 603 (56.8%) of the students reported that the universities
facilitated access to internet resources. The results suggest that the universities
had subscribed to online resources to complement the textbooks available in the
libraries. Amunga (2011) attest that a variety of online resources are available to
public universities in Kenya through open access online platforms, institutional
subscription to established online academic resource providers and through
efforts of local and international collaborations and networks. According to
Rotich and Munge (2007), availability of online resources, though not the
panacea for the teaching and learning resource scarcity, has a huge potential of
complementing the available teaching and learning resources hence improving
the quality of university experience among the undergraduate students.

4.3 Students Satisfaction in Public Universities in Kenya


The students satisfaction scale had six items measuring overall students
satisfaction in the universities. Principal Component Analysis was used to
determine whether the items in the scale accurately measured the construct of
students satisfaction as to help in finding solutions for the hypothesis of study.
The scale was first examined for suitability to factor analysis using KMO
measure of sampling adequacy and Bartletts test of sphericity. The analysis

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revealed that the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of sampling adequacy for the


students satisfaction scale was .868 and was considered adequate for the study.
The Bartlett's test results revealed Chi-Square value = 3910.495 and is statistically
significant at p<.05. The analysis extracted one component that explained 66.746
% of the total variance in students satisfaction. The total variance explained by
the Principal Component Analysis for the students satisfaction scale is
summarized in Table 4.

Table 4: Total Variance Explained by the Components in Students


Satisfaction Scale
Extraction Sums of Squared
Initial Eigenvalues Loadings
% of Cumulative % of Cumulative
Component Total Variance % Total Variance %
1 4.005 66.746 66.746 4.005 66.746 66.746
2 .722 12.041 78.786
3 .437 7.288 86.074
4 .368 6.126 92.199
5 .271 4.514 96.713
6 .197 3.287 100.000
Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis.

The Unrotated Component Matrix on Students Satisfaction Scale revealed a one


factor model of students satisfaction. Consequently, there was no need for
rotation. The scale was subjected to a Cronbachs alpha test, resulting in an
overall scale of = .898 which was above the recommended Cronbachs alpha
threshold of .700. This showed that the items included in the students
satisfaction scale adequately captured a single construct. The scale was therefore
used to represent students satisfaction in the universities. Students satisfaction
was the dependent variable for the study and needed to be determined. To
determine students satisfaction in the universities, overall mean of the items
measuring satisfaction was computed. On a scale of one (1) to five (5) where one
was the lowest possible mean score and five the highest, the study found that
overall, students satisfaction was moderate (M = 3.08, SD = 1.04). The finding
reveals that slightly above half of the students would; recommend their
universities to prospective students, were satisfied with the educational
experience in their universities, felt that they got value for fees paid, and would
enroll in their universities for other academic programmes in future. Although
the results suggest that the students perceived the universities more positively,
Kapur and Crowley (2008) acknowledge that it is the desire of most individuals
to pursue university education due to high rates of private returns such as
lifetime earnings and self-esteem. Positive perceptions towards the universities
could possibly be explained by the fact that the universities had provided the
students with a lifetime opportunity to pursue university education, quality of
educational services being provided notwithstanding. It was therefore important

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to determine the relationship between quality of academic resources and


students satisfaction in the universities.

4.4 Quality of Academic Resources and Students Satisfaction


The study sought to determine the relationship between the indicators of quality
of academic resources and students satisfaction in the universities. To test this
relationship, a multiple linear regression analysis was applied. The analysis
involved four independent variables (predictors) of quality of academic
resources. The predictors were quality of teaching facilities (M = 2.43, SD = 0.93),
quality of library service environment (M = 3.26, SD = 0.87), availability of text
books in the library (M = 2.47, SD = 1.13), and availability of internet services (M
= 3.42, SD = 0.96). Students satisfaction in the universities was the dependent
variable (M = 3.08, SD = 1.04) and the results are summarized in Table 5.

Table 5: Multiple Linear Regression Analysis: Quality of Academic Resources


and Students Satisfaction

Model Summary
Std. Error of the
Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Estimate
1 .482 .232 .229 .91007
ANOVA
Sum of
Model Squares df Mean Square F Sig.
1 Regression 264.278 4 66.069 79.773 .000
Residual 875.430 1057 .828
Total 1139.708 1061
Coefficients
Unstandardized Standardized
Coefficients Coefficients
Model B Std. Error Beta t Sig.
1 (Constant) 1.187 .128 9.249 .000
Quality of teaching facilities .186 .034 .167 5.564 .000
Availability of textbooks .188 .029 .205 6.522 .000
Quality of library service .298 .039 .249 7.636 .000
environment
Availability of internet .002 .033 .002 .065 .948
services
Dependent Variable: Students satisfaction

The results summarized in Table 5 reveal that the R-value of the multiple linear
regression model is .482 with an adjusted R2 of .229. Quality of academic
resources therefore accounted for 22.9% of the variations in students satisfaction
in the universities. To assess the statistical significance of the model, it was
necessary to examine the ANOVA results. The results provide an F test for the

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null hypothesis that none of the dimensions of quality of academic resources is


significantly related to students satisfaction. The analysis revealed that the F-
value (F 4, 1057 = 79.773) and p = .000. The model was considered significant
because p<0.05. It was concluded that the dimensions of quality of
academic resources in the model had a significant combined effect on
students satisfaction in the universities.
Further, it was important to determine the relationship between each of the
indicators of quality of academic resources and students satisfaction. This was
achieved by assessing the standardized Beta coefficients (whether positive or
negative) and the level of significance (Sig) or p values in the indicators of
quality of academic resources in the model. According to Field (2009), a positive
standardized Beta coefficient conveys that there is a positive relationship
between an independent variable and an outcome whereas a negative coefficient
represents a negative relationship. Pallant (2005) explains that the significance or
p value indicates whether a variable is making a statistically significant unique
contribution to the dependent variable. The study used p<0.05 to determine the
statistical significance of variables in the study. Data summarized in Table 5
show that quality of teaching facilities was directly and significantly related to
students satisfaction ( = .167, p = 0.000). An increase in the quality of teaching
facilities in the universities was likely to result to a proportionate increase in
students satisfaction. The finding implies that students are likely to be more
satisfied pursuing their education in universities which have adequate teaching
facilities that guarantee comfort, facilitates practical learning experiences, and
supports the acquisition of ICT skills. The finding concurs with Mansor,
Hasanordin, Hafiz and Rashid (2012) research a university in Malaysia which
found that there is a significant relationship between quality of academic
resources and students satisfaction. However, the findings are contradicted by
Khan, Ahmed and Nawaz (2011) study in universities in Pakistan which found
that teaching facilities were having an insignificant relationship with student
satisfaction.

Data summarized in Table 5 further show that there is a positive and direct
relationship between availability of textbooks and students satisfaction in the
universities ( = .205, p = 0.000). The finding implies that the availability of a
variety of authoritative textbooks that supports students learning and research
needs is a prerequisite for a fulfilling university experience. The finding concurs
with Tuan (2012) study in universities in Vietnam which found that academic
resources such as sufficient textbooks and references were important
determinants of students satisfaction. The quality of library service environment
also had a direct and significant relationship with students satisfaction in the
universities ( = .249, p = 0.000). The finding implies that an increase in the
quality of library service environment was likely to results to a proportionate
increase in mean students satisfaction in the universities. Students are more
likely to be satisfied in universities providing libraries with adequate and
comfortable seats. In addition, the library should be accessible to the students
and the library staff should have customer focus. The finding concurs with Tuan
(2012) study in universities in Vietnam which found that academic resources
such as modern library facilities, sufficient textbooks and references were the

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143

strongest determinants of students satisfaction. Students ratings of availability


of internet services ( = .002, p = 0.948) was not significantly related to students
satisfaction since p>.05 controlling for other variables in the model. The finding
implies that students were contented with the provision of internet services in
the universities.

5. Conclusion

The conclusion of the study is that quality of teaching facilities, quality of library
service environment, availability of text books in the library, and availability of
internet services are reliable indicators of quality of academic resources in public
universities in Kenya. The study concludes that the universities did not have
adequate teaching facilities, the library service environment was constrained by
library facilities that did not match students enrollment, and inadequate
textbooks to support teaching and learning. These constraints had the potential
to affect the quality of academic programmes and students satisfaction
negatively. The study also concludes that there is a significant and direct
relationship between quality of teaching facilities, availability of textbooks in the
library and quality of library service environment and student satisfaction in the
universities. An improvement in the level of provision of these dimensions was
likely to result to a proportionate increase in students satisfaction in the
universities. Availability of internet services had a direct but insignificant
relationship with students satisfaction implying that students were contented
with the provision of internet services in the universities.

6. Recommendations
The following recommendations are made from the results and conclusions of
the study:
i. The Commission for University Education (CUE) should enforce
University Standards for Accreditation and Operations. It was evident
that majority of the universities were operating without conforming to
the stipulated minimum requirements in terms of quality and size of
lecture facilities, laboratories, libraries, and ICT services as to guarantee
students satisfaction.
ii. The Ministry of Education should also ensure that the universities
budgets are fully funded. Quality university education cannot be
guaranteed in an environment where universities are struggling to
finance critical aspects such as teaching and learning facilities, ICT
services, and quality library service.
iii. The role of Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service
should be strengthened. The Placement Board should work closely with
CUE in controlling admission in public universities to commensurate the
declared enrollment capacities of the universities.

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International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 15, No. 10, pp. 147-162, September 2016

The Understanding of Contemporary Vocal


Pedagogy and the Teaching Methods of
Internationally Acclaimed Vocal Coaches
Dr. Trish Rooney
Institute of Education,
London

Abstract. As a result of the growing interest in Contemporary


Commercial Music (CCM) singing, and increasing interest in TV shows
such as The Voice, X-Factor and American Idol, many singers are
realising the importance of developing a strong vocal technique.
Lack of scientific understanding and poor kinaesthetic awareness in the
past, has meant that singing pedagogies have relied on the use of
imagery and on the sensations of singers and teachers (Morris, 2012,
Chapman, 2006). In the 21st century, however, scientific understanding
and knowledge about the voice, as well as a great tradition of imagery
and sensation based pedagogies, has led to a great deal of disagreement
about the best method to approach the teaching of singing. Vocal music
is a broad field and incorporates many genres. Voice qualities vary
greatly between these styles and are very different from classical singing
(Bjorkner, 2008, p. 533), which has been the predominant style of tuition
until relatively recently. The difference in voice quality between classical
and CCM styles has raised issues about the nature of appropriate
teaching for CCM. Some have argued that different techniques are
needed for learning to sing CCM and that classical tuition is not
appropriate. The research reported in this project aims to develop
further understanding of pedagogy as it applies to CCM by
interviewing ten internationally acclaimed vocal coaches as well as
finding out what approach they would have to addressing the vocal
issues of two singing students shown to them on video.
Epistemologically, this research adopted a phenomenological approach
and used semi-structured interviews. The research generated many
specific lessons for vocal pedagogy. It has shown: teachers must base
their teaching on an in depth understanding of how the vocal
mechanism works rather than just teaching how they were taught. They
must tailor their teaching to the individual needs of students, as well as
stay up to date with the latest developments in vocal pedagogy; that
there are differences between teaching singing in the classical and CCM
styles; that learning about specific styles requires specific training.
Teachers should also have professional performance experience; always
support and encourage students; and help their students to understand
how to connect with a song and perform with emotional awareness.
Education is ultimately concerned with the improvement of practice.
My aim is that this study contributes to the development and re-

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148

evaluation of the teaching and learning of CCM singing in Ireland and


provides a strong and comprehensive vocal methodology.

Keywords: Contemporary Commercial Singing; Vocal Education;


Singing; Popular Music

The Training of Vocal Teachers


To learn how to sing rock, jazz, country or any style of music, one needs to have
listened to and exposed oneself to that music to know how the artists sound
when they sing in that style. Chandler (2014, p. 48) argues that research into
different genres of CCM unfolds more sub genres, cross genres, derivative
genres and sibling genres. To teach these styles, teachers need to at least be
aware of the fundamental differences and have made these sounds themselves,
know how they feel, know how to prepare the throat to make these sounds and
know how they are produced physiologically. As LoVetri argues you cant
teach what you do not do and you cant do what you do not understand. But, in
singing, people do it (or try to) every day (LoVetri, 2014). If classical teachers
have had extensive exposure to the artistic and interpretative elements of CCM
and are very familiar with a particular style, they may be competent CCM vocal
teachers. However, it is generally the case that the stylistic requirements for
popular music are beyond their own background as teachers (Riggs 2008, p.81).
As LoVetri puts it there is no such thing as good generic training for anything.
General study produces general results (LoVetri, 2014). CCM singing has
different stylistic requirements to classical singing and because CCM is a
relatively new area, tutors may not have been exposed sufficiently to the style or
have a background in CCM as either performers or teachers (Edwin, 2005, Riggs,
2008, p. 81). There are differences in learning to sing classical and CCM.
Underpinning these are some common issues relating to teaching including
those concerned with breathing, singing from the diaphragm, larynx position,
yawning, vocal cord closure, subglottic pressure and airflow.
The difference in voice qualities between classical and CCM styles has raised
issues about the nature of appropriate teaching for CCM. Edwin (2002)
suggested that in the past, differences in vocal quality in CCM may have been
viewed as aesthetically inferior by some classical commentators (Edwin, 2002),
and differences in technique may have been considered to be vocally damaging
(Spivey, 2008). Therefore, teachers who say singing is singing, if you have a
solid classical technique you can sing anything (Edwin, 1998, p. 81) could be
causing vocal damage if they insist on using classical vocal technique for CCM
singing (Edwin, 1998; Edwin, 2005).
Teachers without appropriate experience may be unable to help a student
master a rock song, for example, through providing traditional vocal instruction
breath support and resonance (or placement) (LoVetri, 2014). Riggs (2008)
supports this:
Often a teacher will avoid his lack of ability in this area by saying that the
student should learn the right way first, and then sing the songs they
want later, implying that any singing that isnt opera or lieder is a
prostitution of the vocal art. Their usual methodology - badgering students
about diction, breathing, tone colour, posture etc - which may barely be
tolerated in the classical idiom, does not apply at all to popular styles

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149

such as country, rock, jazz, blues and gospel (Riggs, 2008, p. 82).

While traditional training has been shown to benefit classical virtuosos, musical
theatre performers, jazz and other singers, new techniques are needed to
physically support the broader sound vocabulary used in contemporary musical
styles (Deva, n.d, para 7).
Although more and more teachers have CCM vocal training, the
pedagogy for teaching CCM is still in its early days. The probability for
uninformed or generic teaching is high. Chandler (2014, p. 36) supports this
view when she states the specifics are distinctive and non-generic, requiring
specialised knowledge, training and competence on behalf of those teaching it.
For further discussion see Chandler, K. (2014) Teaching Popular Music
Styles, in Harrison, S & O Bryan, J. (eds) Teaching Singing in the 21stCentury.

The Role of the Contemporary Singer

The role of a CCM singer has developed in response to the specific style of music,
which s/he is required to sing and involves telling a story through song,
engaging an audience and evoking their feelings. When we sing, a lot of the
believability that naturally comes with speech is lost. the challenge for a singer
is to bridge the gap between the believable realm of speaking and the more
artificial world of the song (Love, 1999, p. 155). Love argues that Frank Sinatra
was the master of the art of making singing believable: with every note, you feel
the emotion. When he hurts, you hurt. When hes happy, you cant help but
smile. thats the goal, whether youre a rocker or a folk singer-songwriter
(Love, 1999, p. 155). For Love, the goal is to sing as if you were speaking. Gerald
Seminatores (2010) paper Teaching poetry through song: A modest proposal,
outlines how to speak, analyse and paraphrase song lyrics where he advocates
that singers practice speaking the text before they sing it in a performance.
Seminatores aim is to teach students not only how to sing notes and phrases,
but also to speak words and ideas in songs as if they were the students own
(Seminatore 2010, p. 515). Understanding the meaning of a song and developing
an emotional connection with the lyrics being sung is very important.
Conveying that meaning to an audience is an important skill for every CCM
singer to develop. Wormhoudt (2001) suggests that audiences love when an
artist connects with a song and expresses emotions. It is this shared
communication which engages us on a number of different levels that is the
foundation of an interpretive artists skill (p. 72).

The need to make an emotional connection with the audience can influence
vocal tone, and quality. Historically, vocal teaching has supported the
development of emotional awareness and generally achieved good results
(Morris, 2012, p. 2). However, because of a lack of scientific understanding,
singing pedagogies have relied on the use of imagery and on the sensations felt
by singers and teachers (Morris, 2012, Chapman, 2006). Some authors have
argued that the imagery used in teaching singing is based on myths that have
been passed down from generation to generation (Chapman, 2006; Michael,
2010). Chapman argues that if imagery is applied skilfully, and if it is consistent

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150

with science it can be useful, but it can be confusing if it is a substitute for


informed teaching. She also suggests that it can be destructive when teachers use
images such as breathe into your buttocks, push your belly wall down and out
while singing, or fill every crevice of your body with air, as these may not
always be successful. She argues that an image such as imagine you are walking
across a bridge made of cling film in very high heels, could be interpreted as
singing high notes in a light and effortless way, but could also produce the
opposite effect to that desired by creating fear and constriction in the vocal tract
(Chapman, 2006, p. 255). Also, imagery that works positively for one individual
may be unsuccessful or have a negative impact on someone else. Riggs (2008, p.
78) argues, that teaching that provides definite cause and effect relationships
helps the student to understand how the voice works and how certain sounds
are produced, and exercises that produce the desired result are much more
beneficial than descriptions of somebody elses personal experience.
Thurman (2004) suggested that in the 21st century, the profession of
singing teaching is currently in a decades-long historic transition from pre-
scientific vocal pedagogy to science based voice education. During this
transition, mixtures of pre-scientific and science- based concepts, terminologies,
and practices are inevitable (Thurman, 2004, p. 28). Scientific understanding,
knowledge about how the voice works and new findings that are
counterintuitive have challenged common teaching methods (Roth & Abbott,
2014). This, paired with a long tradition of the use of imagery and sensation
based pedagogies has led to much disagreement about the best way to approach
the teaching of singing. Some teachers adopt a scientific perspective, while some
believe that using imagery and felt sensation is the best approach, and others
adopt a combination of the two (Morris, 2012, p. 3). While good teachers have
produced great singers adopting a traditional approach, there is a need for an
approach to CCM that is distinct from classical vocal pedagogy in order to better
serve the needs of these singers (LeBorgne & Rosenberg, 2014).

Research Questions

The specific research sub-questions addressed were:


To what extent is the teaching of internationally acclaimed vocal tutors of
CCM affected by their own experiences of being taught?
To what extent, do internationally acclaimed vocal coaches have similar
approaches to the teaching of CCM?
What are the perceived differences between classical and CCM
technique?
To what extent, do internationally acclaimed vocal coaches tailor
teaching methods for each individual student?
What opportunities are there for the professional development of vocal
tutors of CCM and to what extent do they take advantage of these?

The overarching research question was:


How can vocal education practices be improved through the exploration of
contemporary vocal pedagogy and the teaching methods of Internationally
acclaimed vocal coaches?

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151

Methodological Perspective

Epistemologically, I adopted a qualitative approach to the research. As


qualitative researchers tend to be phenomenological in their orientation, this
was my philosophical stance (Bowmann, 1998). Finding meaning is the objective
of phenomenology and it is grounded in early-20th-century continental
philosophy, that of Heidegger (1962) and Husserl (1913) in particular. The start
and end point of phenomenological research is lived experience (Bresler and
Stake, 1991). The aim is to construct a clear experiential memory and to help
people create a more sophisticated account of things (Bresler & Stake, 1991, p.
76).
Phenomenology attempts to investigate what was experienced and how it
was experienced and tries to understand what it is like from the point of view of
the participants. Phenomenological methods are particularly useful for bringing
experiences and perceptions of participants from their own perspectives to the
fore, exploring how they affect approaches to teaching and learning and
therefore challenge assumptions and traditional wisdom. Adding an interpretive
aspect to phenomenological research allows it to be used as the basis for
practical application and enables it to inform, support or challenge policy and
action.

Methods/Design
Phenomenological Interviews/Interview Structure

Phenomenological interviews are used to generate data, which is derived from


examining the lived experiences of participants. Such interviews can be used to
generate thorough and in-depth accounts of human experiences. In devising
such interviews it is important to pose questions that generate comprehensive
information regarding these experiences as well as the participants responses to
the phenomenon of investigation. Adams and van Manen, suggest that the
direct description of a particular situation or event as it is lived through without
offering causal explanations or interpretive generalisations is the focus of
phenomenological interviews (2008, p. 618). They distinguish between two
corresponding types of interview - the phenomenological interview, which
compiles and explores accounts of lived experience, and the hermeneutic
interview which seeks to examine the interpretive meaning aspects of lived
experience material (2008, p. 618). Many researchers use phenomenological
interviews to accrue comprehensive accounts of lived experience but may adopt
various types of analysis which are not informed by the diverse strands of
phenomenological theory, for example narrative analysis or constant
comparative analysis. In some studies the term phenomenological is used as a
synonym for qualitative.

Research Design

I decided that the most appropriate method for addressing the research
questions was to undertake semi-structured interviews with experts in the field.
As part of the interviews I decided to introduce two short video recordings to
stimulate participants thinking about their teaching. One was of a sixteen- year

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152

old male student, the other a thirteen-year old female student. Each performed a
verse and the chorus of a song. These pupils were chosen as they had particular
vocal and stylistic issues that needed improvement. These videos were used to
prompt discussion and stimulate interviewees responses (Roth, 2009). I invited
each tutor to treat the recordings as if they were in a master class situation
whereby they commented on the performances and explained how they would
set out to help the students improve their vocal skills and knowledge. The aim of
the video recordings was to witness how the experts addressed vocal problems,
identified common exercises and techniques that they used and how they
changed their methodology depending on the needs of a student and also
provided a basis for reflection on practice and continuing professional
development (Jewitt, 2012).
Issues relating to generalisability, reliability and validity and ethical issues were
also addressed.

The Development of the Interview Schedule

The interview questions were based on my reading of the existing literature, my


own experiences as a performing musician and teacher, and a desire to add to
the existing body of CCM vocal knowledge, and share the results with CCM
singers and teachers alike. I wanted to learn if leading vocal educators had
shared common experiences, and whether or not these experiences influenced
their teaching methods. The vocal education literature is sometimes
contradictory and teachers hold many different beliefs and attitudes and adopt a
variety of different practices. The questions asked came about as a result of my
own personal experiences of vocal lessons and a quest to understand and
develop a solid vocal methodology for CCM as well as to attempt to fill gaps in
the literature.

Sample

I chose ten participants to take part in this research, as this was deemed
sufficient to obtain in depth knowledge of their life experiences as musicians and
teachers and to discuss their teaching methodologies. The intention was to
involve participants with different backgrounds, some who were vocal coaches
on TV shows such as American Idol, X-Factor, and The Voice, celebrity vocal
coaches, authors, artists, vocal education researchers, and teachers.

The Thematic Analysis

After analysing the data, three overarching themes emerged. These themes were
Teaching, Learning, Style and Technique. Each of these themes has a range of
sub-themes.
Figure 6.1 synthesises the findings from the interviews and the videos and refers
to the number of times each theme was mentioned by participants.

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Figure 1.1 Findings from the interviews and the videos

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154

Key findings

All of the expert teachers agreed that it was important to tailor teaching to the
individual needs of the student. The participants believed that people learn in
different ways and that the type of teaching approach that might work for one
student may not suit another.
There was much disagreement between the interviewees about how to teach
breathing in relation to singing CCM.
Six of the participants suggested that imitation was one the biggest problems
that CCM singers faced as some of the sounds they hear on recordings are
impossible to create with the human voice and also because copying
discouraged them to develop their own voice.
The participants believed that the differences between classical and CCM
singing included vowel shapes, style, flexibility, larynx position, vocal technique
and vocal qualities.
The expert teachers did not agree as to whether it was appropriate to use
imagery in teaching or whether explanations should be based on scientific
evidence.
All of the participants had classical training. Their experiences had affected their
teaching practices. Despite this there was disagreement about the extent to
which classical training was useful for singing CCM.
There was almost unanimous agreement that to teach CCM, teachers needed to
have experience as performers.
There were differences in the extent to which the participants were familiar with
the different methods and approaches to teaching singing such as The Estill
Method, Speech Level Singing, Accent method and so on.
All but one participant agreed that it was important for teachers to continue
their education.
Most participants indicated how important it was to listen to and be exposed to
as much music as possible.
Focus in practice was felt to be important by some participants. Its subjective
nature was stressed by others.
Five participants emphasised the importance of being physically fit as a singer.
Three participants reported using resources as a teaching aid.

Findings in Relation to the Research Questions

The following sections relate the findings to the research questions and the
existing literature.
The specific research sub-questions to be addressed were:
To what extent is the teaching of internationally acclaimed vocal tutors of
CCM affected by their own experiences of being taught?
To what extent, do internationally acclaimed vocal coaches have similar
approaches to the teaching of CCM?
What are the perceived differences between classical and CCM
technique?
To what extent, do internationally acclaimed vocal coaches tailor
teaching methods for each individual student?

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155

What opportunities are there for the professional development of vocal


tutors of CCM and to what extent do they take advantage of these?

To what extent is the teaching of internationally acclaimed vocal tutors of


CCM affected by their own experiences of being taught?

All of the participants discussed their experiences of singing lessons. Issues


relating to style, experience as a learner and developing an interest in vocal
pedagogy as well as imagery vs science emerged as reflecting the tutors own
experiences of being taught.
Overall, the findings from the research suggested that the teaching of
vocal tutors of CCM is affected by their own experiences of being taught. This
was sometimes as a result of them rejecting the approaches of their own teachers
and attempting to develop more effective ways of teaching the singing of CCM
rather than in the traditional empirical model of teach how you were taught as
discussed in the literature review.
Despite this, and consistent with the literature, there continued to be
controversy about issues relating to breathing, the use of imagery and whether
classical training had anything to offer. In relation to breathing, the responses
from the participants confirmed the different views held amongst vocal
teachers. While it is unquestionable that breathing is important for singing,
there are questions about how it should be taught and described, with some
seeing breathing and singing as a relaxed process and others viewing it as
something to be controlled and practiced. Kempfer (2014) argued that the
differences in breath use between classical singing and CCM are not
sufficiently covered in the current literature. This needs to be addressed.
The use of imagery in teaching also led to conflicting responses from the
participants, reflecting the literature, where some authors have argued that the
imagery used in teaching is based on myths that have been passed down from
generation to generation (Chapman, 2006, Michael, 2010), while others argue
that if imagery is applied skilfully and is consistent with science it can be useful.
Overall, there appeared to be three groups. The first group had positive
associations with teaching from a classical perspective as they felt they could
amend their classical knowledge to suit CCM. The second group had
complemented their classical training with extensive industry experience. The
third group rejected classical teaching outright and felt that it was not fit for
purpose. The literature set out above revealed increasing evidence that having
expertise in singing the classical repertoire did not transfer to CCM. Chandler
(2014) and Brown (1996, p. 136) argue that popular and classical singers live in
different worlds.
To conclude, it would seem that traditional classical pedagogies did not prepare
any of the interviewees entirely for performing or teaching CCM. All of the
interviewees reported rejection, innovation, or major industry experience as a
vital addition to their understanding. This is consistent with Thurman (2004),
who suggested that the profession of singing teaching is currently in a decades-
long historic transition. As a result of this it is inevitable that there are mixtures
of pre-scientific and science-based concepts and understanding (Helding, 2015,
p. 353). It is clear that there is still considerable disagreement and different
points of view both in the literature and in practice.

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Are there common underlying approaches to vocal teaching of CCM?

Overall, there was some commonality in the approaches to vocal teaching of


CCM. These tended to be based on very broad principles. The importance of
listening to a wide range of music and performers was stressed. Growing up
listening to, being exposed to and performing in a broad range of music and
genres, will inevitably provide a learner with a wide variety of musical
experiences, skills and knowledge. The more skills and musical character, the
greater chance the individual has of having a sustainable musical career.
Learning musical style through listening is implicated here. Being
immersed in music emerged as the best way to learn a particular style. Some
participants felt that imitating was not a useful approach and while it might be
useful to imitate performers as an exercise, this was problematic as a key
strategy as:
each individual has a different physiological structure to their voice;
it is important to develop an individual style;
singers need to connect emotionally with a song;
recordings often enhanced or manipulated sounds which made accurate
copying impossible;
overuse of imitation can limit creativity and the development of a
personal style.

It was argued that students need to be aware that copying can be a very useful
exercise, as great singers are extremely accomplished and have various voice
qualities and sounds that can and should be replicated and experimented with.
This can lead to a greater understanding of how certain voice qualities are
produced. If students copy a range of great singers and recording artists, they
will acquire a wide set of skills and musical vocabulary. This will provide them
with a huge range of vocal colours that can be used to create their own
individual style. Kempfer (2014) supports this suggesting that it is important to
understand your own voice and how the voice works in general rather than
trying to create someone elses sound and that singers should create their own
sound with similar colours (Kempfer, 2014, p. 34).
There was strong belief from those who discussed the importance of
expression and emotion that when a singer really had an emotional connection
with a song, the audience would feel that connection. Expression and emotion
are vital tools for singers to develop. Connecting with an audience requires
communication skills and for the singer to feel a relationship with the song.
Understanding the meaning of a song is important but can be difficult for
younger singers to express, as their life experiences are limited. To overcome
this, CCM teachers should be equipped with interesting emotion evoking
exercises to help young singers to develop the ability to emotionally engage with
the repertoire. The importance of expression and emotion has been stressed by
many authors (Bathori, 1957; Love, 1999; Wormhoudt, 2001; Seminatore, 2010).
Participants also believed that it was important that performers were in good
physical shape. If dance routines are required or lengthy performances or
rehearsals are expected, being fit and healthy will benefit a singer.

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Depending on the background, professional experience and professional


development of vocal tutors, the participants had varying degrees of knowledge
about how the voice works. As in the literature, there were different approaches
and beliefs about breathing and larynx position. With on-going research and
growing interest in CCM the underlying mechanisms will be identified and
some of the disagreements will be resolved. Teachers will then become more
aware of the technical and stylistic requirements of CCM singers via master
classes, workshops, books, blogs and general discussion with colleagues who
may have attended professional development courses. Change takes time.

What are the differences between classical and CCM technique?

Some of the differences between classical and CCM technique reported by the
participants included vowel shapes, style, larynx position, vocal technique and
voice qualities, movement, breathing, improvising, ad libbing and expression
and emotion. The participants clearly indicated that classical singing requires a
very different skill set to CCM. As CCM is closer to the way we speak,
maintaining an ah position for example, for an entire song is inappropriate.
Speech reflects what we are feeling and changes depending on what we are
saying, this is the same as when we sing. The emotion and story of a song
should be reflected in the singing voice and the inherent voice qualities and
intensity level associated with it. The conceptualisation of voice quality is less
fixated in CCM than in classical music. In classical music singers voices are
categorised and repertoire matched to their voice and learned as part of building
up a personal repertoire. CCM singers select songs to learn for a range of
reasons. They are sometimes expected to mimic the sounds of recording artists
and be familiar with songs currently in the charts. They could be in a tribute act,
a soul band, a gospel group, or a pop band or other group and knowing the
relevant repertoire and understanding stylistic differences is important. Singers
may select songs because they believe that they suit their voice, they have an
emotional connection with the song, they like it, it is a challenge, it is fun and
enjoyable to sing, or their favourite singer sang it. The songs usually tell stories
that people can relate to.
CCM singers are required to move with the music and sometimes dance
or groove with the music. This of course depends on the style of the music and
the type of performance setting or gig. As the literature revealed classical singers
may only be required to move or dance when singing an operatic role.
As previously noted, there is a necessity for breathing in relation to CCM to be
addressed in research and the literature. The findings from the research reflected
those in the literature showing widely different views about the role of
breathing for singing and how it should be taught. In particular, further research
on breathing techniques when belting are needed.
A basic understanding of improvisation would be very useful for all
singers of CCM as outlined by Chandler (2014) and LoVetri (2011). They discuss
how gospel, soul and R&B singers frequently use very heavily ornamented
melismatic lines for expression. CCM singers are expected to improvise riffs and
ad lib and jazz singers are expected to engage an audience and hold a musical
conversation with other instrumentalists through improvisation. Learning how

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to improvise and ad lib also greatly aids the process of creating an individual
style.
In general, CCM and classical singing require very different training.

To what extent are teaching methods tailored for each individual student?

The participants agreed that it was very important to tailor teaching to each
individual student. They argue that as every student tended to present different
problems it was the role of the teacher to diagnose what areas needed work. This
means that teachers require a great deal of knowledge about the voice and the
types of strategies that could be adopted to address students problems.
Approaching every lesson in the same way was seen as unproductive because of
the variability in individual voices, personalities and aspirations. Teachers
should establish what students want to achieve and support them in achieving
their aims. For example, some students may simply like to sing, while others
will want a career in singing and performing and some might like to become
teachers. Teaching methods should be tailored accordingly and teachers need to
develop a range of approaches and adopt them flexibly.

What opportunities are there for the professional development of vocal tutors
of CCM and to what extent do they take advantage of these?

The research showed that, overall the participants agreed that it was important
to continue their professional development. The nature of what they felt to be
useful varied. While some indicated that it was important to know about specific
methods, such methods were not universally adopted. No one educational
approach to teaching CCM in singing was seen to be dominant.
The findings suggested that having performing experience was extremely
important in teaching individuals to sing CCM, although there were examples of
excellent teachers who were not performers. However, this seemed to be the
exception. As teachers need to be able to prepare students for performing, and
educate them as to how to use their voices efficiently so that they are prepared
for a career in singing, having experience of performing is important. The
participants felt that lack of personal performing experience might limit the
extent to which the teacher could do this. Teachers should also be able to
demonstrate. This requires them to have vocal fitness. Professional CCM singers
can be required to perform anywhere from three to six hours, which would
require them to be vocally fit and healthy.

Implications for Practice

This research generated some very specific lessons for vocal pedagogy, which
can now be added to the existing body of knowledge to help improve existing
practices. It has shown that:

there are differences between teaching singing in the classical and CCM
styles;

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learning about specific styles requires specific training;

where possible teachers should have professional performing experience;

teachers should impress upon students that imitating the sound of their
favourite singer can be unproductive and they should develop their own
distinctive sound;

teachers should encourage and support students;

teachers need to help their students to become emotionally aware and to


communicate emotionally with the audience;

teachers should encourage students to be physically and vocally fit and


to care for their voice;

teachers need to base their teaching on an in depth understanding of the


physiology of breathing and singing rather than just teaching how they
were taught;

teachers need to tailor their teaching to the needs of individual students


and have a range of available strategies to meet the individual needs of
students;

teachers should be aware that they may not have the skills to provide
solutions to all of their students challenges and that there may be times
when they need to seek advice from other teachers or refer students to
others.

teachers need to be aware of the latest developments in vocal pedagogy


and attend courses and master classes to prevent their teaching practices
becoming out dated;

Conclusion

Historically, teaching methods have been passed down from generation to


generation and the emphasis has been on being able to sing classical music.
However, having expertise in singing the classical repertoire does not
automatically transfer to CCM. Learning about specific styles requires specific
training. Students need to find a teacher who has knowledge of the required
style and how to teach it.
It is clear that many different approaches and attitudes towards singing
are commonplace. As the singing profession has transitioned from a pre-
scientific understanding of vocal education to a science based vocal education a
mixture of different terminologies, concepts and practices are inevitable. As
western classical vocal training has been the usual method of instruction the
majority of teachers have experience in this approach only. In this age of multi

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160

media, internet and globalisation, all styles of music have become widely known
and easily available. Providing education in one style ie. Western classical
singing is not sufficient. As the research shows clear differences between
classical and CCM style it seems unlikely that a traditional classical pedagogy
will provide singers with the understanding and skill set required for CCM
performance styles.
In addition to the use of registers, vocal qualities and articulation, the
abdominal support needed for CCM is different from that of classical singing
and will also change depending on the CCM style being sung. The relevance of
traditional classical technique(s) in view of these clear differences becomes very
questionable. Bartlett (2014, p.32) states that some authors continue to plainly
and strenuously challenge the view that traditional classical training is sufficient
for singing success in any style or genre.
Hence, there is an urgent need for teachers to re train and keep
themselves up to date with advances in voice science and also to develop
stylistic awareness. There are influences from so many cultures that vocal
training needs creativity. The more experience teachers have with different
styles of singing and different vocal methods or approaches, the more they will
have to offer students.
There are now many opportunities for teachers to explore and develop
their skill set and knowledge base. Online scientific journals cover a vast array of
topics including classical singing, pop/rock, music theatre, vocal distortion,
acoustics physiology and so on. Organizations such as The New York Singing
Teachers Association (NYSTA) offer online courses that are available to teachers
from all over the globe (Meyer & Edwards, 2014 p.442). Other organizations
have a strong web presence and provide journals, webinars, master classes, and
conferences where researchers, teachers and medical professionals can share
their knowledge to improve the standard of vocal training. These include the
National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), the Voice Foundation, the
American Academy of Teachers of Singing (AATS), The National Centre for
Voice and Speech (NCVS), International Congress of Voice Teachers (ICVT),
Physiology and Acoustics of Singing (PAS), Pan-European Voice Conferences
(PEVOC), American Speech Language Hearing Association (AHSA) and Voice
and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA).
Moving forward, a new and more comprehensive vocal pedagogy is called for,
and as demonstrated by this research, for the training of CCM.

Benefit for my Institution and my own Teaching

The aim of this research was to raise the awareness of CCM vocal education in
Ireland and to explore how its quality might be improved. As Principal and
Vocal Tutor at a CCM School, the experience and knowledge that I have gained
was of huge benefit to the students in this institution. The research has provided
me with in depth insights into the practices and teaching methods of expert
vocal tutors, which have inevitably improved my practice, which will in turn be
handed down to my students. The expertise that I have gained from this
research project through the interaction with the expert vocal tutors and the
engagement with the literature has been invaluable. It has increased my
awareness, knowledge and skill set primarily as a teacher, but also as a

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161

researcher. It has raised my own standards as a vocal coach and I am confident


that the standard of teaching I am providing and will continue to provide will be
well informed, passionate, up to date and most importantly, cater to the needs of
every student. I have studied privately with many of the participants, which has
opened up new avenues and approaches to my teaching, helped me to create
new and inspiring exercises and ways to engage students. The acquaintance
made with the participants has already let to a webinar series whereby these
tutors can give online master classes to my students. This has created invaluable
opportunities for vocal education in Cork as students can now have guidance
from these world experts as well as their regular weekly lessons.

Studying the vocal education literature, reading journals and blogs and
following various Facebook accounts has become much more than research but
a true passion, which I am confident will always continue.
It is important that the needs of aspiring CCM singers are met and high
standards of teaching are developed and maintained. Education is ultimately
concerned with the improvement of practice. Music educators are always
searching for successful teaching approaches from which to learn and on which
to model. My aim is that this study may contribute to the development and re-
evaluation of the teaching and learning of contemporary singing in Ireland and
provide a strong and comprehensive vocal methodology.

This research could possibly and potentially diversify vocal teaching


methodologies and practices and contribute theoretically and empirically to
improving educational policy and practice for future professional development.

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International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 15, No. 10, pp. 163-179, September 2016

Understanding the Developing Persuasive


Writing Practices of an Adolescent Emergent
Bilingual through Systemic Functional
Linguistics: A Case Study

Dr. Joshua M. Schulze


Western Oregon University
Monmouth, Oregon, USA

Abstract. This article presents the findings of a qualitative case study


which stems from a teacher action-research project that analyzes the
persuasive academic writing practices of an adolescent, beginning-level
English language learner (ELL) and the teaching practices of a veteran
English as second language teacher (the author). The author, who is
also the teacher and researcher, details the implementation of a Systemic
Functional Linguistic (SFL)-based pedagogy designed to support ELLs
in increasing their control of the linguistic resources necessary to write
persuasive texts in school contexts. The SFL analysis of written
persuasive arguments composed by the focal student before and after
the implementation of the SFL-based pedagogy indicates the students
increased control of both discourse structure and register. This purpose
of the study is twofold: to present a detailed exploration of SFL
pedagogy in practice and to demonstrate how teachers can use SFL to
understand the developing writing practices of their emergent bilingual
students.

Keywords: English language learners; Systemic Functional Linguistics;


Genre based Pedagogy; Academic Writing

Introduction
Students in US middle schools (years 6-8) are expected to construct cohesive,
persuasive arguments using academic language. Employing the expected
academic language and discourse structure of persuasive arguments can be a
daunting task for emergent bilingual English language learners (ELLs) as they
simultaneously learn to negotiate meaning from social as well as academic
language (Gibbons, 2015; OHalloran, 2014). Although research indicates that
ELLs may take upwards of seven years to develop academic language
proficiency (Collier, 1989), the current instructional context, influenced by the
expectations of the Common Core and the standards-based educational reform
movement prevalent in US public schools, does not afford ELLs seven years to
develop a command of academic writing practices equivalent to that of a native

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164

speaker of English. ELLs who have not demonstrated control of academic


language remain at risk of not completing school and, consequently, failing to
demonstrate sufficient career and college readiness. Therefore, it remains
imperative that ELLs receive instructional scaffolding designed to accelerate the
pace of their academic persuasive writing development. Correspondingly,
teachers of ELLs need tools for understanding the demands of persuasive
academic language and well-researched instructional methods for making those
demands visible to their students. With these challenges in mind, I constructed
the following research questions to guide my study:

How can systemic functional linguistic-based genre pedagogy support


ELLs in expanding their control of the linguistic resources necessary to
construct written persuasive texts composed in school contexts?

What can systemic functional linguistics (SFL) tell teachers about the
academic writing practices of ELLs?

Recent research indicates a SFL-based pedagogy designed to make the discourse


structure and linguistic features typical of persuasive academic writing visible
can have a significant impact on the way ELLs shape persuasive texts (Brisk,
2014; OHalloran, 2014; Gebhard, Harman, & Seger, 2007; Schulze, 2011, 2015).
For instance, Gebhard et. al (2007) demonstrate how SFL-based pedagogy can
support 5th graders in constructing arguments to change school policies. Schulze
(2011) illustrated how SFL-based pedagogy facilitates ELLs in participating in
persuasive civic discourse. Both studies indicate that SFL-based pedagogy
results in ELLs producing more effective arguments that employed the linguistic
features such as syntax, cohesive elements and word choices, and discourse
structures expected of academic persuasive writing. While these studies have
highlighted the instructional practices that have influenced the academic writing
development of ELLs in primary and upper elementary settings, there has not
been sufficient research that explores the implementation of SFL-based
pedagogy in middle school ESL instructional contexts nor research that clearly
shows how teachers can use SFL analysis of student texts to better understand
how emergent bilinguals learn to write in academic settings (Schulze, 2016).
Additionally, teacher educators and professional educators seeking to develop
proficiency in SFL pedagogy need additional, explicit examples that clearly
illustrate how SFL theory can be put into practice in ESL classrooms (Gebhard,
Harman, & Seger, 2007; Paugh & Moran, 2013; Schulze, 2011, 2015).

As a teacher dedicated to reflective practice, I was eager to discover potential


connections between my teaching and changes in my students academic writing
practices. I decided to collect data related to my implementation of SFL-based
pedagogy. Creating a teacher-action research project allowed me space to pose
questions about the challenges of my teaching practice and my focal students
learning, reflect on the data, and inform my future practice. Focusing on the
work of one student through a case study approach allowed me room to conduct
an in-depth and intricate SFL analysis of the changing writing practices of an
ELL. Through the descriptive case study presented in this article, I illustrate the
teaching practices of a veteran ESL teacher (the author) and academic writing
practices of a beginning-level ELL. The case study shows how SFL-based

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165

pedagogy provides visible instruction focusing on the organization and


linguistic features of persuasive academic writing. Complementing the
description of SFL-based pedagogy, SFL analysis of a persuasive argument
produced by a focal student seeks to connect changes in the organizational
structure and academic language use with SFL-based pedagogy. Last, the study
illustrates how the cultural and linguistic resources of ELLs can be embedded in
SFL-based pedagogy in ways that promote student investment in improving
academic persuasive writing practices.

Context
The study was born from a necessity many teachers encounter in their
classrooms. My students needed to learn how to use academic language
effectively to read and write in academic contexts and wanted to do so in an
engaging manner that promoted their investment in learning. As a teacher
providing supplemental English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction to 6-8th
grade ELLs, I was tasked with supporting the academic literacy development of
ten Caribbean-born Spanish speakers. The task was made complicated because
the instructional materials the large, urban school district provided failed to
promote student investment in learning English. The textbook consisted of a
series of decontextualized grammar exercises coupled with Mexican-centric
reading passages about such topics as the historical contribution of the Aztecs
and making tamales, topics which did not resonate with my Caribbean-born
students. On the other hand, my students frequently expressed an interest in the
musical genre of reggaeton 1 and shared critiques of artists and their latest songs.
Therefore, I had what I would describe as a pedagogical epiphany through
which I determined that exploring reggaeton would potentially promote my
students investment in learning to write persuasive arguments as it would
allow my students to assume the role of content experts apprenticing me into the
world of reggaeton, while I apprenticed them into the world of persuasive
academic writing in English.

My first step was to design a standards-based instructional unit centered on the


topic of reggaeton music. The Common Core State Standards adopted by the
majority of US states require students in grades 6-8 to compose persuasive
arguments. Therefore, I tasked my students with constructing a persuasive
argument in the form of a persuasive music reviewed designed to convince their
peers to purchase and download the latest musical work of their favorite
reggaeton artist. To do so, I taught students how to compose arguments that
employed the discourse structure and register expected of persuasive academic
written discourse.

To gain a baseline assessment of their current control of the discourse structure


and language features associated with persuasive writing, I invited my students
to write an initial draft of their music review. The un-coached first drafts of
students writing did not effectively accomplish the persuasive purpose. The text
produced by my focal student, whom I will call Laura, demonstrated a
significant number of linguistic strengths demonstrated by an emergent

1
Reggaeton is genre of music with Latin and Caribbean roots.

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166

bilingual student, but also illustrated significant challenges faced by ELLs


learning to control the grammatical and lexical resources necessary for effective
academic writing.

Mi nina bonita
I like This artist
Because the songs are romantic does are chino and nacho. I recommend because
is very beautiful And romantic And they can arrive far away with this music
because is very nice and cute. Is better than the rest because no serve and I dont
like.
Figure 1. Lauras First Draft of Argumentative Text

Most noticeably, her text was short because it did not include significant detail
that would inform the reader about her artist or the genre of his music. While
there were some cohesive devices evident at the sentence level (because,
and), it generally lacked sufficient use of linguistic devices that contributed to
a cohesive and coherent text. Furthermore, although she made a recognizable
attempt to convey a positive evaluation of the artist throughout her paragraph,
her writing lacks adequate demonstration of the control of the lexical and
grammatical resources to convey her positive judgement and evaluation of the
artist and his work.

With Lauras linguistic strengths and challenges in mind, I sought to develop


an instructional unit that would benefit her as well other students in the class
who were also experiencing similar challenges. I decided to implement an SFL-
based approach to writing instruction that brought explicit attention to the
language features and discourse structure of persuasive arguments to gauge
the effects of the pedagogy on helping Laura and students like her to become
more effective persuasive writers.

Theoretical Framework: SFL, Genre, Schematic Structure, Register


Before I present details of the instruction, it is important to understand the
theoretical basis that informs SFL-based pedagogy. As its name suggests,
systemic functional linguists consider language to be a semiotic system which is
governed by choices that language users make in particular contexts. These
language choices are influenced by ones ideological assumptions such as ones
values and biases, the genre one enacts, and the register one employs to
construct or react to particular context of situation (Schulze & Ramirez, 2007).
Register is constructed by three distinct aspects: field, tenor and mode. These
register variables can be somewhat simply stated as what is the topic, who or
what is referenced, and the manner or channel in which the language act is being
presented (Eggins, 2004; Gibbons, 2015). Field is concerned with the action
happening within the text (the processes), who or what is participating in these
events (the participants) and the linguistic features that designate when, where
and how the events take place (the circumstances). From an SFL perspective,
processes form the principal foundation of a clause given that the clause is
mainly about the action or the state in which the participants are involved
(Halliday & Matthiessen, 2014). The transitivity system of English grammar
construes experience into a controllable group of process types. The central

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167

categories of processes composing the transitivity system are divided into those
that represent internal and external experience (the material and mental
processes) and those that function to classify and identify (relational processes).

Table 1. Three Principal Process Types from Focal Student Work

Process Type Material Mental Relational


Function Shows external Shows internal Classifies and
action actions identifies
Example Drake sings in the He wants to tell Drake is a good
genre of hip-hop. people if you artist.
want something
you have to work
hard to succeed.
Tenor constitutes the second element of register. Language users utilize
linguistic resources to create relationships and convey authority within written
discourse. These linguistic choices often contribute to what writing teachers call
voice. SFL theorists explore several linguistic elements to uncover the role
language plays in establishing interpersonal relationships within a text. Namely,
tenor analysis involves examining an authors use of appraisal resources or, the
kinds of attitudes that are negotiated in a text, the strength of the feelings
involved and the ways values are sourced and readers aligned (Martin & Rose,
2008, p.25). Oftentimes such value systems are not made explicit, but are
revealed only through close examination of the varying aspects of the system of
appraisal upon which authors draw to express their values. Martin and Rose
(2008) propose a tripartite system of appraisal involving engagement,
graduation and attitude. Due to the space limitations of this article, my analysis
will focus on the three principal linguistic elements that construct attitude
within a text: affect, judgment, and appreciation.

Within the context of writing a persuasive music review, authors are expected to
draw on appraisal resources to express attitude through opinions of various
artists and their music. Persuasive writers call on appraisal resources to clarify
their attitudes towards a subject or to construct a voice of authority. The three
clauses below exemplify the varying appraisal resources as they may appear in
the context of the persuasive argument students were expected to construct for
this assignment.

Table 2. Appraisal Value Resources

Appraisal Aspect Definition Example


Affect Expresses an attitude The music was
about an object or thing. boring.
Appreciation Expresses thoughts The audience found
regarding a the rhythm
phenomenon or action. captivating.
Judgment Expresses thoughts on Banning IPODS from
justice. school was unfair.
Mode has to do with how the message is being conveyed and the role language
plays in communicating that message. Spoken and written discourse frequently

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168

rely on different language resources to make meaning. To analyze the mode of


written discourse, linguists focus on features such as conjunction, Theme and
Rheme and repetition (Brisk, 2014; Halliday & Matthiessen, 2014; Schulze, 2011).
Theme refers to first part of the message in the clause (Halliday & Matthiessen,
2014). Rheme is described as what remains in the clause after the Theme.
Though the Theme is frequently found in the subject position of the clause, it
does not always take this role. Rather, various clause constituents can serve as
the Theme, and thus create a marked theme that allows the author to emphasize
varying aspects of the clause. As writers begin to develop control of written
language, they also typically use patterns of Theme and Rheme to advance ideas
throughout a text coherently and cohesively. For instance, writers typically
introduce new information in the clauses final position. As the text unfolds,
novel information is situated in the Theme position of the subsequent clause
(Christie, 2012). The skillful manipulation of Theme and Rheme in a quasi-zig
zag pattern is a fairly common way to bring what writers call flow to lengthy
passages of texts.

With greater frequency, developing writers also begin to rely on repetition as a


linguistic resource to maintain textual cohesion. Writers may repeat certain
lexical terminology or entire phrases. Repetition is especially useful in texts that
address complex or technical subjects as it helps to maintain focus on the topic.
Good writers also begin to use cohesive elements to construct a logical flow. The
logical relations often include contrast, as exemplified by the conjunctions but
or however, or equal relations, held together by the conjunctions and or
or. Although not all writers use elements of mode consistently, developing
control of these elements typically indicates writing development (Schulze &
Ramirez, 2007, Schulze 2011).

From an SFL view, the register variables described above play an important part
in the construction of genre. According to SFL theorists, registers combine to
form genres which enact socially recognizable meanings and accomplish tasks
within a culture. Martin, Christie and Rothery (1987) define genre as a staged,
goal-oriented social process with structural forms that cultures use in certain
contexts to achieve various purposes (pg. 59). A genre is said to consist of
stages because it usually advances sequentially through these stages to
accomplish its purpose. Certain clause level elements like processes,
participants, and circumstances tend serve as linguistic signposts through the
stages (Eggins, 2004). While a text advances through its stages or schematic
structures (Martin & Rose, 2008, p. 9), the linguistic, syntactical and textual
features associated with the genre work to accomplish a texts goal; thus, making
genres goal oriented. Genres are said to realize a social process because they
are recognized as purposeful by participants who are members of the culture.
The social processes typically associated with academic writing in school
contexts involve: describing, narrating, synthesizing, analyzing, defining,
explaining, evaluating, and persuading (Knapp & Watkins, 2005; Rose & Martin,
2012). The corresponding genres used to accomplish these social processes
include: recounts, narratives, explanations, informational reports, and
arguments.

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169

Persuasive Writing in School Contexts


Written arguments composed in school contexts employ a distinct discourse
structure and contain recognizable linguistic feature (Derewianka, 1990). The
first stage of persuasive argument usually begins with the presentation of the
issue in which the author introduces the main topic of the argument and
provides any relevant background to the reader. Typical linguistic features that
contribute to the fulfillment of the purpose of this stage include the introduction
of participants related to the field of discourse and circumstances of time and
place used to describe these participants. In the second stage, the author
typically takes a position and justifies it. During this stage, writers rely primarily
on declarative sentence structure. Additionally, the position stage is typically
distinguished by the inclusion of conjunctions at the paragraph and clause level
that function to facilitate the construction of a cohesive introduction to the
argument (Gibbons, 2015; Rose & Martin, 2012; Schulze, 2011). During the third
stage, the author may include some form of resolution to the argument. Within
the fourth and final stage, the author usually restates the position and
recommends action. Within the entire argument, particular language features
assist writers in accomplishing the genres purpose. SFL linguists have identified
linguistic features such as generalized participants, the timeless present tense of
processes, emotive vocabulary, and cohesive connectors occurring at the clause
and paragraph level (Derewianka, 1990; Schleppegrell, 2004).

SFL-Based Teaching and Learning Cycle


The initial stage of instruction in the SFL-based teaching and learning cycle
begins with the process of deconstruction in which teachers lead students in an
analysis of model texts created to bring attention to the typical stages writers
follow as they attempt to make meaning and the linguistic features they
typically employ within each of the stages to help accomplish the genres
purpose. As part of the initial text deconstruction, teachers make explicit a texts
social purpose, intended audience and typical schematic structure, the
aforementioned stages through which a text typically progresses as meaning
unfolds within the text. For teachers of ELLs, this stage frequently emphasizes
building the field of knowledge of the topic as new writers may experience great
difficulty writing about topics with which they are unfamiliar with in their home
culture (Brisk, 2014; Gibbons, 2015). Following the textual deconstruction stage,
the teaching and learning cycle continues with teachers and students jointly
constructing a text which demonstrates the expected discourse structure and
register. In the last phase of the teaching and learning cycle, teachers reduce the
amount of direct instructional scaffolding and afford students opportunities to
write independently. The teaching and learning cycle is intended to be recursive
and allows for teachers to reenter the cycle according to the level of support
students need to ultimately develop independent control and a critical
orientation to the socially valued genres found in school contexts (Brisk, 2014;
Gebhard, Harman & Seger, 2007; Rose & Martin, 2012, Schulze, 2011).

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170

SFL Intervention in Middle School ESL Classroom


As I implemented the teaching and learning cycle described above with my
beginning-level ELL students, the deconstruction stage of instruction focused on
building the field of discourse. Although I had heard my students conversing
about reggaeton before and after class and had read the initial drafts of their
persuasive music reviews, I needed a way of assessing their prior knowledge of
reggaeton before continuing instruction. With this goal in mind, I facilitated a
guided discussion in which I asked students to tell me what they already knew
about reggaeton. I asked students to share which artists were most popular and
provided language frames written on the white board such as One artist I know
is . . . to promote the participation of all students in the discussion. I then
transcribed the list of artists they identified in the class discussion on chart paper
which I displayed in the front of the room. After completing the transcription of
the list, I prompted students to tell me what they knew about the origins of
reggaeton. To facilitate student responses, I defined the word origin in
Spanish. I pointed out that the word is a direct cognate of the Spanish word
(Origin) thereby encouraging them to use their existing knowledge of language
to understand the words meaning and the meaning of the question. As students
shared their responses in the group discussion, I transcribed their responses on a
KWL chart. KWL serves as an acronym for What We Know, What We Want to
Know and What We Learned. The construction of a KWL chart helped me guide
my students thinking, as I recorded their understandings of the topic before and
after we began a deeper exploration of the topic of reggaeton. Following the co-
construction of the KWL chart, I distributed a shared reading about the history
of reggaeton intended to answer the questions we constructed regarding the
origin of the musical genre of reggaeton. The text provided a comprehensive
overview of the history of reggaeton and exemplified several linguistic features
expected in written persuasive arguments. For instance, the text contained a
number of participants related to the field of discourse of music such as:
reggaeton, music, singers, and rhythm, among others. Furthermore, the
author of the text drew extensively on appraisal resources to convey attitude and
evaluation. Last, the text contained a number of logical connectors and pronouns
that function to bring cohesion and coherence to the text.

The next stage of the teaching and learning cycle called for me to conduct a
modeled writing exercise. During the course of my modeled writing, I employed
instructional strategies such as think aloud to make my composition strategies
visible and to build my students metalinguistic awareness related to the
organizational and linguistic choices I employed to construct persuasive text.
The modeled writing was a complex instructional practice involving frequent
recasting of my written text. The entire modeled writing activity took
approximately 25 minutes and gave me space to make visible the language
choices writers contemplate when constructing persuasive texts. Following the
modeled writing, I displayed the teacher-constructed text as an exemplar to the
whole group and guided students through an analysis of the stages and
linguistic features of persuasive texts. I invited students to read the text aloud
with me. As we read the text aloud, we stopped to define new lexical items and
discuss how particular word choices contributed to the purpose of persuading

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171

readers to download the work of the chosen artist. As we analyzed the text, I
had students chart processes, participants and circumstances in their notebooks.
Next, students worked collaboratively in dyads to identify the stages of the text.
They had 10 minutes to use their notes and the exemplar texts we had analyzed,
to identify each stage of the persuasive argument.

Following the analysis of the teacher-constructed text, we jointly constructed a


new text. Throughout the joint construction, students volunteered potential
sentences and word choices. My role including offering suggestions, translating,
recasting to improve syntax, and insisting on punctuation. I did not edit
students words completely, as constructing an perfect work sample was not the
goal of joint construction. Instead, I offered suggestions that I thought would
augment my students understanding of the field of knowledge and discourse
structure of the genre. I prompted them to use the model texts and the words
and phrases they had recorded in their notebooks. I circled words and
underlined phrases that they contributed on the chart paper and stopped to
discuss why they chose a particular word or phrase in an effort to bring
attention to those choices to all learners in the class. Once the jointly constructed
text was drafted, I asked students to evaluate the text to ensure that the stages
and linguistic features typical of persuasive text were evident and that the text
had ultimately accomplished its task of effectively persuading its audience to
download the latest album of a reggaeton artist.

The last step in teaching and learning cycle calls for students to construct texts
independently. Although I was not taking a central role at this point of
instruction, I did continue to provide instructional support. Namely, I
distributed a graphic organizer to assist in organizing their drafts. I also
encouraged students to use resources such as the modeled texts and word-lists
that they kept in their notebooks, the jointly constructed text which was
displayed prominently in the classroom, a bilingual dictionary, and perhaps
most importantly, each other. I wanted them to identify as language learners
who not only had command of the topic of reggaeton, but also had developed
significant content knowledge regarding how to construct an effective
persuasive text. After they were finished writing, they conferenced with me
individually. During the writing conferences, students edited, conducted
organizational revisions, and consulted the graphic organizer to evaluate their
work. Following the individual conference, they created their final draft.

Methods: Focal student, data collection and analysis


The instructional unit highlighted in this study took place over the course of
approximately five weeks in which I met with students for approximately two
hours each day. As I was the teacher of record, I had permission to collect and
analyze data related to student performance, however, I did share an overview
of the project with parents and obtained their permission to share the results of
the study. The focal student for the case study, whom I will call by the
pseudonym, Laura, was selected because the linguistic challenges she displayed
in her first draft of the persuasive text were representative of the challenges that
other ELLs at the beginning stages of English language acquisition experience.

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172

Laura was a 13-year-old from the Dominican Republic who had recently
enrolled in the 8th grade. According to her school records, her parents, and my
observations, she was fully literate in Spanish. She had entered the United States
within the last year and was identified as a beginning-level ELL.

To gain a deeper understanding of how Lauras writing practices changed


during the course of SFL-based instruction, I collected numerous sources of data
related to my teaching and her learning. During the study, I collected students
notebooks, written drafts, and made substantial field notes after each class. I
collected two versions of students texts composed during the course of my
teaching. The first text was a first draft representing the un- coached version
of a persuasive text created prior to the implementation of SFL-based pedagogy.
The second text was composed following the teaching and learning cycle. Figure Three
displays the two instantiations of Lauras texts which are analyzed within the findings
section of this article.

Lauras First Text Lauras Text Composed Following


SFL-based pedagogy
Mi nina bonita I like This artist Drake sings in the genre of Hip
Because the songs are romantic does Hop
are chino and nacho. I recommend Hes a up and coming artist
because is very beautiful And His most famous song now is
romantic And they can arrive far forever
away with this music because is very He was born on October 24, 1986 in
nice and cute. Is better than the rest Toronto, Canada
because no serve and I dont like. Drake is a good artist
Became e he writer interesting lyrics
For example in the song Forever he
tell a story about a boy who want to
learn to play basketball.
He wants to tell the people if you
want some thing you have to work
hard to succeed.
I recommend that you listen to his
music and download it.
I recommend his music became e its
emotional and interesting.
I recommend Drake became e his
songs are popular and soulful.
He sings in the hip---hop genre.
and download his most famous song
now.
It is Forever
and also his famous song became e
it talk about important things.
Figure 3. Lauras Persuasive Arguments

I conducted an SFL analysis of Lauras second text to identify changes in the


discourse structure and register and subsequently evaluate changes in her

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173

persuasive writing practices following SFL-based pedagogy. To analyze the


extent to which Laura employed the recognizable discourse structure expected
of persuasive texts, I began by transcribing her writing and then separating each
clause. Next, I identified and labeled each stage of the schematic structure
typically found in arguments as identified by SFL linguists (Brisk, 2014;
Derewianka, 1990; Rose & Martin, 2012). After identifying the recognizable
stages of the discourse structure of the persuasive argument, I further identified
and labeled the linguistic features indicative of the stage and identified language
features that contributed to the accomplishment of the social purpose of
persuasive texts.

Following the analysis of the discourse structure, I turned my attention to


register, analyzing the language features of Lauras texts to evaluate whether the
language choices constructed the expected register of academic persuasive
writing. Using the typed transcription of Lauras texts which had been divided
into clauses, I analyzed transitivity patterns contributing to the field of discourse
(Christie, 2012; Halliday & Matthiessen, 2014). The processes were next divided
into subcategories of material, relational, and mental processes. Next, to
highlight how Laura used appraisal, I made a visual chart that included all
lexical items with the exclusion of articles and prepositions that occurred more
than twice in her texts. The words and phrases were subsequently transcribed to
a chart designed to locate the lexical choices on an appraisal continuum of word
choices that indicated positive evaluations or judgments. Words that I
interpreted as reflecting a positive judgment or evaluation were placed closer to
the plus sign. Last, I analyzed the mode by identifying and labeling cohesive
elements such as repetition and conjunctions as well as identifying the Theme
and Rheme of each clause.

Findings Related to Control of Schematic Structure

SFL analysis of Lauras text composed following SFL-based pedagogy indicates


more effective control of schematic structure necessary to realize meaning within
her argument. For example, as her text unfolds, she presents a sequenced
discourse structure beginning with an issue statement. Whereas in the first
rendition of her argument, she began her text with a fragment identifying the
title of a song (Mi Nina Bonita), in her second version she presents a more
carefully constructed introduction for her reader that, in turn, more effectively
orients her reader to the topic of the text. For instance, within the first two
clauses of her text, she efficiently introduces her reader to her topic by
introducing the artist in the form of the participant Drake and identifying the
type of music he composes and reveals her positive attitude/affect towards his
music.
Drake sings in the genre of Hip Hop. Hes an up and coming artist.
Improvement in Lauras construction of an issue statement can be traced
directly to two elements of SFL-based pedagogy. First, during the stage of
instruction devoted to building the field of knowledge of the purpose and
structure of persuasive texts, I had reinforced the important function of the issue
statement as we completed a graphic organizer designed to support students

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174

with understanding the function of each stage of persuasive argument. During


this portion of instruction, I defined the purpose of the issue statement in terms
of its function: orienting the reader to the topic of the writing. Second, during the
modeled writing stage of the teaching and learning cycle, I used think aloud
strategies to explicitly emphasize that effective persuasive writers introduce
readers to the topic through a general issue statement. I explicitly taught
students how issue statements function to orient the reader to the topic under
discussion by introducing the participants that will take part in the text. To
exemplify this function directly, I provided constructed an exemplar text that
illustrated these stages and linguistic features. The teacher-constructed model
text included the following clause:
An excellent new release from an up-and-coming artist has just arrived in stores.
Noticeably, the clause from the model text above includes two linguistic features
that construct a more elaborate and detailed opening issue statement. First, the
model text includes a modified nominalization (an excellent new release) in the
subject position. This modified nominalization in the subject position includes a
post-modifier that adds further description (from an up-and coming artist). Such
changes in Lauras texts indicate that she was appropriating linguistic resources
presented in the model texts to accomplish the purpose of the issue statement
stage. As Laura subsequently develops the first paragraph of her final text, she
demonstrates her increased understanding of the function of issue statements.
Within her issue statement, she shares important information about her artist
with her reader. Namely, she informs her readers about what kind of music
Drake sings (Hip Hop), the title of his most well-known song (Forever), and his
birthplace (Toronto). She accomplishes this information sharing by using
circumstances to enhance her issue statement. While I did not conduct direct
instruction regarding how to elaborate clauses with circumstances of place and
manner, I did provide examples of how to use details effectively through our
joint construction of persuasive texts.

A second indication of Lauras enhanced control over the linguistic resources


necessary to construct an effective issue statement is evident in that she
immediately clarifies her stance and expresses her opinion about the artist she is
writing about through the use of appraisal elements. For example, Laura
describes Drake as an up-and-coming artist, which represents an additional
direct lexical appropriation from the model text. Laura continues to utilize
appraisal resources as she advances her text to the argument stage. Within this
stage the author is expected to state the argument and justify it by presenting
supporting details. Within the second paragraph Laura accomplishes the goals
of the argument stage as she states Drake is a good artist and supports her
assertion by describing the song and interpreting its underlying social message.
Her interpretation of his music contrasts greatly with her first text that only gave
general opinions about the music being beautiful and romantic without
providing supporting details about why she liked the music.

The most noticeable evidence indicating Lauras increased control of the


linguistic resources necessary to construct an effective persuasive text in school
contexts occurs in the recommendation stage. During this stage the author

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175

typically proposes a course of action for readers to follow. In her first text, Laura
omitted the recommendation stage. However, following SFL-based pedagogy,
she includes a clear recommendation for action. She states that she wants
readers to listen to his music and download it and supports this call for action
by appealing to the sensibilities of her readers by using appraisal resources to
describe the music as emotional and interesting. As Laura concludes her
final text, she includes a clear summary statement that, through skillful use of
participant repetition, re-orients her readers to the artist under discussion
(Drake), the type of music he sings (Hip Hop) and his most famous song
(Forever). Additionally, she repeats her call for action (download his most
famous song now) and reiterates her evaluation of the social relevance of the
song:
It is Forever and also his famous song because it talks about important things.
Findings Related to Changes in Control of Register
Analysis of the register of Lauras final text reveals substantial enhancement in
her control of the linguistic resources necessary to construct persuasive music
reviews appropriate for school contexts. Examining elements of the field of
discourse highlights this development. Most notably, her second text
demonstrates an increased number of music-themed processes and participants.
For example, in her initial text she writes about the artists and songs in very
general ways and never actually names the artist she is discussing. In contrast, in
her final text she specifically names the artist, describes the music as the genre
of hip hop and evaluates the interesting lyrics of his song, Forever.
Additionally, she demonstrates greater expertise in using processes related to
the field of music discourse. For instance, in the following clause she uses three
processes related to persuasive music reviews:
I recommend that you listen to his music and download it.
This particular clause indicates positive changes in Lauras persuasive writing
practices in two specific ways. First, her choice of the mental process
recommend functions as a linguistic signpost signaling to readers that a
specific call to action will follow. Second, the expected, specific actions follow in
the second half of the clause, as she instructs her readers to listen and
download Drakes latest recording. The material process download
represents a particularly interesting process choice that appears frequently in the
context of electronic music transfers, the way music is obtained by the current
generation of music fans. Notably, download is a process that appears twice in
the model texts which exemplifies a lexical appropriation directly from the
model text constructed in class. Also worth noting are two circumstances
appearing in the first paragraph. Both circumstances function to broaden the
depth of the field by providing the reader with personal background
information about the artist. The temporal circumstance on October 24, 1986
pinpoints when Drake was born and the circumstance of location, in Toronto
Canada, specifies where he was born.

Analysis of the tenor of Laura second text also reveals increased control of the
linguistic resources necessary to construct a relationship with her readers that
ultimately allows her to persuade readers more effectively. Perhaps most
effectively, she more readily draws on appraisal elements to express her

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176

judgment and evaluation of her artist and his music. The clauses below
highlights several examples of this increased control:
I recommend his music because its emotional and interesting.
I recommend Drake because his songs are popular and soulful.
Laura evaluates the lyrics of Drakes songs using lexical choices that have
positive appraisal values such as interesting and categorizes the songs as
popular and soulful and the music as emotional and interesting. She
also expresses her judgment of Drake as person by describing him as an up-
and-coming and a good artist, using the attributive relational process is to
connect the participant Drake to the positive characteristics she attributes to
him. She also extends her appreciation of the lyrics of the song as she evaluates
them as being important separating them perhaps from other lyrics of other
artists, these of which deems as having social relevance.

In addition to increased control of the linguistic resources necessary to construct


the expected tenor of a persuasive music review constructed in school contexts,
Lauras final text demonstrates more skillful management of the linguistic
features constructing the register variable of mode that function in the
construction of a coherent and cohesive persuasive argument. To maintain this
coherence, she utilizes conjunction, repetition, and thematization. At the clause
level, she includes conjunctions such as for example and because to
elaborate, illustrate, and advance her ideas through the text. The presence of
these conjunctions may be linked to their inclusion in model texts and indicate
that Laura was using the model texts and the charts containing these
conjunctions as a resource for her own writing. The following clause exemplifies
how she took up the resources made available in the SFL instruction to links
ideas and elaborates her point using conjunctive elements.
Drake is a good artist because he writer [sic] interesting lyrics.
For example within the song Forever, he tell a story about a boy who wants to learn to
play basketball.
The conjunction because connects her evaluative claim (Drake is good) with
the detail supporting her claim (he writes interesting lyrics). She expands her
idea using the phrase For example. Additionally, Laura maintains cohesion
through repetition. For instance, she includes an explicit repetition of the name
of the artist (Drake) in each paragraph as well as repetition of the title of his
most famous song (Forever).

In her final summary paragraph, Laura also employs repetition effectively to


reorient her readers to the main ideas expressed in her review and repeats the
phrase I recommend three times to emphasize her point. Through repetition of
the key terms of genre and hip hop as well as the key process download
readers are provided explicit direction as to what action they are expected to
perform after reading the text. The last indication of her developing control of
modal elements is evident in the noticeable change in Lauras negotiation of the
thematic elements of Theme and Rheme to advance ideas within her text. The
same excerpt from above serves to illustrate her control of theme and rheme:
Drake is a good artist because he writes interesting lyrics.
For example, in the song, Forever, he tells a story about a boy who wants to play

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177

basketball.
By picking up the Theme lyrics from the first clause and then elaborating in
detail why the lyrics are interesting in her subsequent clause she demonstrates
increased control in her ability to advance key concepts and supporting claims in
her text.
Discussion
The analysis presented above indicates that SFL-pedagogy had a significant
impact on bringing Laura, a beginning-level ELL, closer to the intended goal of
writing effective persuasive texts by providing instructional support to
demonstrate the connection between form and purpose, but also by
strengthening her ability to include academic persuasive language at the clause
level. The study shows that through explicit teaching focusing on the stages and
linguistic features of persuasive writing, emergent bilingual students may
potentially learn to construct detailed and coherent arguments. From the
perspective of a teacher and teacher educator, the study also highlights how SFL
analysis can pinpoint what our students can do with language and provides a
way for us to potentially track that development and design instruction to
enhance persuasive writing development. For instance, from my analysis, I was
able to identify the next steps in instruction. I noted that Laura would require
continued and focused instructional support in learning how to build on the
ideas she introduced within the clause and connect and expand those ideas
cohesively and coherently throughout the text. That meant that I needed to
highlight examples of cohesive elements that appeared in reading and provide
direct instruction through language-focused in-class language instruction.
One instructional practice I could implement to support her control of cohesive
elements is the presentation of a mini-lessons focused on teaching students how
to create nominalizations and use those nominalizations effectively to bundle
ideas that can extend throughout a text and thereby develop textual coherence
and cohesion. At the clause level, Laura may also need continued support to
enhance her control of lexical- grammatical resources, such as the use of the past
participle, in order to help her share her ideas without as many indications of
non-native English writing. However, as good writers and writing instructors
know, writing is a recursive event with opportunities to revise and develop
ones writing.

Conclusion
This study shows how emergent bilingual students can benefit from SFL-based
pedagogy in ways that help them develop greater control of persuasive
language through instruction that focuses on academic writing both at the genre
structure and clause level. Case studies in language teaching and learning
remain inherently limited in their applicability to broader contexts because,
however in-depth the analysis of the case may be, it is by definition limited to
one learners experience. To adequately prove that SFL pedagogy was the
defining factor contributing to the changes in Lauras writing practices examined
in this article is impossible. As a teacher researcher, I recognize that in order to
make creditable claims related to the language development of my learners, a
larger data set encompassing numerous texts composed over a longer period
would be much more informative. Yet, what I sought to accomplish in this paper

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178

was to show how teachers and the teacher educators who prepare them can use
SFL as tool to examine their ELLs existing and changing writing practices. The
paper also sought to provide a detailed explanation of how SFL pedagogy is
implemented in ESL instructional contexts, given that academic language
instruction, particularly in the content areas, has become an essential ingredient
in effective teaching practice. However, given that teachers have long practiced
process-based approaches to writing instruction, having an explicit analysis of
SFL pedagogy can serve as guide and example of the ways teachers can bring
attention to language and potentially support ELLS in increasing their control of
grammatical and lexical resources through culturally-relevant SFL based
pedagogy.

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International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research


Vol. 15, No. 10, pp. 180-192, September 2016

Relationship between the Principal's Leadership


Style and Teacher Motivation

Wasserman, Ben-eli, Yehoshua, Gal


Lifshitz, College
Jerusalem, Israel

Abstract. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship


between the principal's leadership style and the motivation of the
teachers in their work. The research was conducted using the
Quantitative Method and included questionnaires for the teachers
relating to leadership style and motivation. The questionnaire was given
to 137 teachers who teach in elementary and secondary schools in 2014.
The research findings indicate a number of significant correlations: a
significant correlation was found between the principal's styles of
leadership and the teacher's perception of the teaching profession as
positive. A significant correlation was found between the teacher's
willingness to actively devote himself and the teacher's initiatives
related to teaching. In addition, a significant positive correlation was
found between the teacher's perceptions of the profession as being
positive and between the teacher's initiatives relating to teaching.

Keywords: Principal's leadership Style; Teacher Motivation; School


principals

Introduction
School is one of the social, political and economic centers of our lives. Within
this framework, the principal constitutes one of the major links in the
educational system in general and in the school in particular. The principal
oversees many fields in the school and is responsible for a wide range of duties.
The research literature found that the principal and his style of leadership has
great influence on the various processes in the school ( Shabbat, 1996; Kula &
Globman, 1994; Hau et al., 2016). The patterns of leadership in its entirety is
called "Management Style". The personal style of the principal which is
influenced first and foremost by his personal values and mental perception,
although, this style is influenced by his principles and the norms by which he
prefers to work. Also, the principal's personality and leadership style is reflected
in his performance as a principal in the system (Oplakta, 2007). Researchers
point to the various models of leadership styles adopted by principals. This

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181

research will concentrate on one of these model which is the decentralized or


centralized model.
The researchers Leithwood et al. (2006) present the decentralized style of
management Decentralized management is characterized by the ability of the
principals to relax their hold and maintain cooperation and delegation of
authority. These are not simple skills and every principal must develop them.
The decentralized management is a dynamic and not static concept. Leithwood
et al. (2006) emphasize that the more complex the principal's role the more
necessary it is to delegate authority with other people, and the decentralized
model has proven to be effective in organization and leads to successful
consequences for the school and it pupils. In decentralized leadership it is not
enough to hand the reins over to others who are experts in that field, there must
also be an effort to develop leadership (Elmore, 2006). The decentralized
principal recognizes his staff's talents, he encourages and develops the
pedagogical abilities of the teachers. With the growth of the expert's influence
and delegation of authority, these people take on the responsibility of
implementation (PwC, 2007; Elmore, 2006).

The Effect of the Leadership Style on the School


Studies that were conducted have found that the decentralized style of
leadership that results in efficient pedagogical leadership is one of team work
and cooperation. The more the school succeeds in sharing with the professional
staff its decisions (coordinators, administrative staff) the more it can expect
greater involvement on their part, identification and personal commitment to
fulfill its institutional policy (Sharan, 1986). A leadership style, which is aimed
largely at fostering interpersonal relationships will express higher intimacy and
a strong push towards greater consideration. In a study that was conducted by
Bimber (1995), it was found that very few schools changed their educational
management in a significant manner. It was found that after years of
decentralized process the leadership structure remained under central
command, or in a good scenario there existed a mixture of centralized and
decentralized leadership. In his opinion the main reason for the limited
influence of decentralization is the link that cannot be broken between decision
making and budget, personnel and teaching. Namely, the authority to make
these decisions is dependent upon other decisions, over which he has no
authority.
Friedman (2004) points out that principals have a critical role in creating a
positive and nurturing environment for the teacher. Teacher's expectations from
principals are receiving support, establishing clear areas of responsibilities,
setting goals, giving feedback, encouragement, information, creating good
communication and effective professional interaction between staff members. In
addition, the principal is responsible for creating an open atmosphere in the
school, to be organized and goal oriented.
From the studies of Prizker and Hen (2010) we can understand that there is great
importance to cultivating the teacher's side of the relationship with the

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182

administration especially in the early years of teaching. The principal is


responsible for creating a supportive environment from the side of the
administration and seasoned teachers to the new teacher.

Teacher's Motivation
What motivates the teachers in their work? Various researchers in the
educational department tried to trace the process of motivation of teachers and
educators. Therefore, a definition is needed as to what constitutes motivation for
teachers. The researchers (Gibson, Ivancevich & Donnelly, 1988) define
motivation, as the force that causes an individual to act in a certain manner or to
be oriented towards it. To Herzberg (1967) motivation would be enhanced when
opportunities were provided for subordinates to demonstrate their capabilities
and when they are recognized for their accomplishments.
Many researchers tried to trace the process of motivation of teachers, from the
studies that confronted Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs theory (Trusty &
Sergiovanni, 1966) it appears that teachers do not reach self-actualization from
their work. Acker (1989) believes that the motivating factor for teachers is
essentially the feeling of self-realization, expertise, respect, a mission for future
generations and the desire for advancement, and not salaries and benefits. It was
also found that higher wages and extrinsic benefits are not enough to preserve
their energy and strength for the long term in the workplace.
Rosenblat and Robin's (2000) study showed that there is a correlation between
job security and their commitment to the school. In their study they show that
teachers reported a low level of job security and connected it their low salary,
while those teachers who reported a high level of job security connected it to
achievement and their self-actualization. According to this study it appears that
the more the teacher receives a free hand, responsibility, multi-tasks, and self-
actualization, the more committed he will be to the school, will feel more job
security and as a result his motivation will be strengthened to use his talents for
the school.
According to Adams (1965) who defined the concept of "fairness" as a situation
in which the relationship between input and output of its employee is equal to
that of other workers with whom it has a direct or indirect relationship. Adams
(1965) claims that there is no doubt that financial reward is also a motivation for
teachers, but it is a secondary one compared to their primary idealistic one.
Therefore dealing only with teacher's salaries will not raise their motivation in
the workplace.
Other essential factors that serve as a motivating force for teachers are
psychological benefits such as: appreciation of their work, freedom in carrying
out their work, meaningful and diverse projects, partnership in decision making,
receiving positive feedback, obtaining resources to carry out the work,
teamwork, delegation of authority and support from the administration, fair
treatment and a reasonable work load, opportunities for advancement and
continuous learning.

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Oplatka (2010) adds that according to various studies, it appears that job tenure
and a good salary are not listed as one of the main factors that motivate teachers.
On the contrary, what motivates teachers is improvement of self-esteem,
expertise, respect, and a feeling of accomplishment in their work. Asor (2001)
believes that motivation comes from two main factors: Intensity and autonomy.
The amount of effort the teacher is willing to devote to realizing the goal
(Intensity of investment) and freedom of choice and identification with the goal
(autonomy of investment). In order for the teacher's motivation to be high, there
is a need for them to identify strongly with the goals of the education ministry
and the school administration and there must be full partnership and freedom of
choice in the decision making process of the educational goals.
Navon and Schapiro (1989) point out that teachers aspire to fulfill a broader role
in the educational system than in the past, from a desire to control and oversee
the activities of adults, which gives them intrinsic satisfaction beyond the
external benefits they receive like wage increases or less hours of frontal
teaching. These benefits result in satisfaction from their work and a feeling of
belonging to the school, even when the teachers do not receive social prestige
from the general public.
In relation to motivational factors Oplatka (2006) found that a sense of mission,
family atmosphere in the teacher's room and the principal's sensitivity to the
teachers' needs contribute to a higher motivation amongst the teachers in the
school. Kocaba and Karakse, (2005) emphasize: The most important factor for
the motivation of teachers is the school administration, the participation of
teachers in decision making, the sharing of authority and responsibility,
compensation and rewards can motivate them.

Research on the Relationship between Principal's Management Style


and Motivation of Teachers
Research emphasizes the correlation between the management style and the
teacher's commitment to their work(Dou, et al., 2016; Ling & Ling, 2012; Raman
et al., 2015). It was found that teachers are more committed when the principal
mediates and provides encouragement, recognition and clear goals (Nguni,
Sleegers & Denessen, 2006).
There are studies that point to the style of management as the influence on
teacher's motivation and Job Satisfaction teacher's ( Ghazala, et al., 2015). Park
and Rainey (2008) showed in their research: Research has shown a positive
correlation between transformational leadership and motivation.
Transformational leadership increase motivation of employees. The research of
Eyal and Roth (2010) also show a positive influence: Studies that investigated the
correlation between educational leadership and teacher's motivation, found two
important finding. First, transformational leadership was negatively associated
with teachers' burnout, and this association was partially mediated by teachers'
autonomous motivation. Second, transactional leadership was positively
correlated with teachers' burnout, and this association was partially mediated by
teachers' controlled motivation. Thus, principal leadership style, as perceived by
teachers, was a predictor of teachers' motivation type and feelings of exhaustion

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184

in school. Principal empowering behaviors centering on the intrinsic or personal


power of teachers' explained 14% of the variability in teachers' motivation (Davis
& Wilson, 2000).
Additional studies in the field of education show that the more the leader is
attentive and answers the personal needs of the followers the higher their
motivation at work will be and this encourages them to solve the problems that
arise and increases their participation (Avolio et al., 2004). Friedman (1997) adds
and emphasizes that expanding the authority of the teacher and assigning tasks
strengthens the teacher's feeling of responsibility and therefore increases his
motivation and his willingness to devote himself to the work (Avidav-Unger &
Friedman, 2011).
On the other hand, there are studies that show that management style does not
influence teacher motivation. In a study that was conducted by Eres (2011) they
did not find a meaningful correlation between the transformational leadership
characteristics of school principals and the level of teacher motivation. Gallmeier
(1992) also did not find a definitive connection: teachers who work under
democratic and transactional administrators do not have a significantly higher
motivational level than those who work under dictatorial administrators. The
study that they conducted differentiates between dictatorial and democratic
principals while this study differentiates between principals who use
decentralized and centralized management styles.

Purpose of the Study


The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between the principal's
leadership style and teacher motivation in their work. Is it true that the more
decentralized the principal's style by delegating authority and sharing decision
making with the staff, the higher the motivation of the teachers will be?

Method
The study was conducted in the State of Israel. The study included a
questionnaire of teacher's attitude towards management style and motivation.
The questionnaire was given to 137 teachers who teach in elementary and
secondary schools. 35% of the teachers had between 1 and 10 years tenure, 6.3%
had 11-20 years tenure, and 1.6% had 21-30 years tenure. The study was
conducted in the year 2014.
Research Tools
The study was conducted using the quantitative method. A questionnaire was
prepared with two subjects. The management style variable included 16
questions on the scale of 1 - 5. The questions related to the style of management
of the principal where 1 indicated a centralized style of management and 5
indicated a decentralized style. The motivational variable included 23 questions
on a scale of 1 6. The questions related to the motivation of the teacher for his

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185

work where 1 indicated a teacher with low motivation and 6 was a teacher with
high motivation.

Results
Below are means and standard deviations of the two variables: motivation and
management style.
Table No. 1: Means and Standard Deviations for Each Statement in the
Management Variable. Averages are displayed in descending order. N=137
5 = very characteristic, 1 = very uncharacteristic

Mean S.D
` 4.13 0.94
The principal appoints teachers for special tasks 3.87 1.03
The principal makes time to listen to the teachers 3.72 1.03
The principal discusses issues that were suggested by the 3.65 1.09
teachers
The principal creates a comfortable atmosphere for the 3.59 1.10
staff
The principal checks the distribution of grades the 3.57 1.27
teachers give in the different classes
The principal encourages the teachers to participate in 3.55 1.06
deciding school policies
The principal waits for the teaching staff's approval before 3.21 1.16
acting on important issues
Teacher conferences are organized according to a strict 2.81 1.39
agenda

The principal acts without consulting the teaching staff 2.53 1.08
The principal rules with an iron hand 2.51 1.26
The principal does not explain his actions 2.36 1.16
Teacher's conferences are devoted mainly to the 2.36 1.16
principal's report
The principal is a "lone wolf" 2.29 1.53
The principal does not want to listen to opinions that 2.25 1.06
differ from his opinion
The principal does not encourage innovation 2.09 1.16

The average range shown is between 2.09- 4.13.

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186

The comment that received the highest average was "The principal is an
educational role model" (Average 4.13, deviation 0.94).

Table No. 2: Means and Standard Deviations for Each Statement in the
Motivation Variable. Averages are displayed in descending order. N=137
6 = Agree strongly, 1 = Disagree strongly

Mean S.D
The work constitutes a positive challenge for me 5.10 0.93
I participate in the school's social activities 4.98 1.07
I initiate personal conversations with my students 4.98 1.05
Most of the time I arrive at school in a happy mood 4.98 1.07
I am willing to devote extra effort in my work 4.95 0.89
I learn professional courses in my field 4.93 1.03
I use my creative ability in my place of work 4.93 1.03
I update the parents about their children's achievements and 4.87 1.16
behavior on my own initiative.
It's important to me to promote a student even at the expense 4.83 0.96
of my personal time.
I'm willing to take upon myself responsibility for important 4.81 1.09
projects
I take care to diversify my teaching methods 4.80 0.93
I devote my free time to advancing my school tasks 4.78 1.11
I feel that my work as a teacher is very enjoyable 4.77 1.08
I give myself tasks that are hard but achievable 4.59 1.26
I devote a lot of time in preparing my lessons 4.57 1.06
I initiate activities with the professional and supervisory staff 4.55 1.06
If I had to do it all over again I would still choose the 4.51 1.44
teaching profession
I organize social activities for my pupils 4.47 1.25
I aspire to fulfill additional tasks in the system 4.47 1.25
I feel that teaching is burning me out 3.02 1.54
I feel that as a teacher I am not advancing enough in my life 2.76 1.51
I feel that my expectations of teaching are not being fulfilled 2.69 1.32
If I had a different profession I could use my skills better 2.60 1.43

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The average range shown is between 5.10-2.60.


The statement that received the highest average was "The work constitutes a
positive challenge for me" (Average 5.10, deviation 0.93).

The variable: Teacher's work motivation


For the teacher's motivation variable an analysis was made. There were 3 main
factors involved: the teacher's willingness to actively devote himself, the
teacher's perception of the teaching profession as positive and the teacher's
initiatives related to teaching. Below is a table that presents the 3 main factors
that were found in the teacher motivation variable.
Table No. 3: Analysis of Factors in the Teacher Motivation Variable
Number of Reliability Mean S.D
Items Factor
The teacher's willingness to 9 =0.832 4.83 .68
actively devote himself

The teacher's perception of the 7 =0.755 4.45 .85


teaching profession as positive

From Table No. 3 we can see that the averages are high and range between 4.45-
4.83 (on a scale of 1-6) and the deviation standard was similar (0.68, 0.85, and
0.97).
`
Table No. 4: Pearson Correlations between the Variables of Motivation and
Management Style
The teacher's The teacher's The teacher's
willingness to perception of initiatives related
actively devote the teaching to teaching
himself profession as
positive
Management Style -0.042 -0.316** -0.020
The teacher's 0.136 1 0.214**
perception of the
teaching profession as
positive
The teacher's 0.472** 0.214** 1
initiatives related to
teaching

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188

From Table No. 4 we can deduce that:


1. A significant negative correlation of a moderate intensity was found
between management style and the teacher's perception of the teaching
profession as positive, thus the more decentralized the management style
the higher the teacher's positive perception rises.(rp= -0.316, p<0.01).
2. A significant positive correlation of moderate intensity was found
between the teacher's willingness to actively devote himself and the
teacher's initiatives related to teaching, thus the higher the willingness to
devote himself the greater the teaching initiatives will be. (rp=0.472,
p<0.01).
3. A significant positive correlation of low intensity was found between the
teacher's perception of the teaching profession as positive and the
teacher's initiatives related to teaching, thus the more positive the
teacher's perception of teaching is the more he is willing to actively
devote himself to teaching tasks.(rp=0.214, p<0.01).

Discussion
The statement that received the highest average in the management variable was
"The principal is an educational role model" (Average 4.13, deviation 0.94). The
teachers feel to a great extent the educational role model of the principal and this
can be explained according to Oplotka (2007) who claims that the personal style
of the principal is reflected in his role as a school principal who is influenced
first and foremost by his personal values and mental perception.
The statement that received the highest average in the teacher's work motivation
variable was "The work constitutes a positive challenge for me" (Average 5.10,
deviation 0.93). This finding matches Acker (1989) statement who claims that the
motivating factors for teachers in their work is a feeling of self-realization and
not salary or benefits.
A negative correlation was found between the management style and the
teacher's perception of the teaching profession, thus the more decentralized the
management style the higher the teacher's positive perception rises (rp= -0.316,
p<0.01).
Studies have shown, that teacher participation and encouraging involvement in
the school constitutes a means for developing the school as a whole and to the
improvement of teaching. According to White (1992) the lowering of
supervisory pressure and delegation of authority to teachers improves their
teaching, prevents good teachers from leaving and strengthens the cooperation
of the teachers with the administration and work colleagues. There are
testimonies that in these kind of conditions the teachers report high motivation,
satisfaction, and loyalty to the school and are open to new initiatives Shedd and
Bacharach (1991) in Edi and Hen (1997).
Johnson (1990) in Edi and Hen (1997) emphasizes the great importance of the
school workplace and its influence on the teacher's method of working. Long
hours, a lot of administrative paper work, large and heterogeneous classes, tight
working hours etc. make it difficult for the teacher and affects his motivation at

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189

work. On the other hand, professional advancement, accepting roles,


independence and involvement in decision-making enhances the teacher's
satisfaction and encourages persistence in teaching.
Fox (1986) tested the school principal's ability to create a right basis for
motivating teachers. His findings show importance in giving respect and
recognition to teacher's efforts, setting difficult but achievable goals and
participation of the teachers in decision-making. Furthermore, it was found that
transformational leadership of principals allows for worker empowerment and
affects their development (Avidav-Unger & Friedman, 2011).
In addition, a significant positive correlation was found between the teacher's
willingness to actively devote himself and the teacher's initiatives related to
teaching (rp=0.472, p>0.01). The more the teacher is willing to actively devote
himself in the school the more willing he will be to devote of his time and energy
in his class and school tasks. In addition, a weak moderate correlation was found
between the teacher's perception of the teaching profession as positive and the
teacher's initiatives related to teaching (rp=0.214, p<0.01). Part of the teacher's
perception of the teaching profession as positive includes initiatives related to
teaching.

Conclusion
The management style of the principal of the school has an impact on the
teachers in their work in general and the teacher's perception of the teaching
profession in particular. Studies have shown that a positive and significant
relationship between the principal and his teachers influence the teacher's
fulfillment and his attitudes (Price, 2012; Huang et al., 2013).
In addition, the results of the studies indicate that a teacher who is willing to
actively devote himself and a teacher who perceives the profession of teaching
as positive, will be a teacher with educational initiatives in the school. The study
conducted by Fairman and Mackenzie (2015) also shows that teachers who
perceive themselves as leaders and teachers who know themselves and their
abilities, these will be the teachers that will improve and devote themselves to
their work in the school.

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