Professional learning of secondary science teachers in Bangladesh
thesisposted on 31.01.2017, 04:11 by Rahman, S M Hafizur
The current reform efforts in Bangladesh require a substantive change in how science is taught; an equally substantive change is needed in professional practice. This research set out to explore two basic aspects of secondary science teaching in Bangladesh. One was to guide participant teachers in changing their traditional teaching approach through the use of a concrete example of a new teaching approach. The second was to assist participant science teachers to change the culture of their existing professional practice. To address and explore both of these aims, a constructivist teaching approach (Prediction-Observation-Explanation, POE) was used as an intervention with participant teachers in an attempt to ascertain if it could influence their thinking and lead to a change in their traditional approach to teaching science. Simultaneously, all participant teachers involved were supported during the intervention regarding critique and challenge of lessons (theirs and their colleagues’) in ways that were not a part of their regular culture of professional practice. The explicit intention being that through these collaborative ways a professional learning community might be developed through which their own professional learning might be enhanced in ways that would lead to improvements in their science teaching practice. The findings of this thesis show that the use of the POE approach influenced participant teachers’ thinking about science teaching and learning. Through the POE approach, these teachers were encouraged to: use teaching aids as a purposeful tool in their teaching; develop understanding of science content with their students rather than using recall and recognition of facts; find ways to look for the relevance of science within real life situations; overcome a reliance on rote learning and theoretical exercises; and, encourage students’ interest and enthusiasm in the classroom learning environment. Moreover, the collaborative activities through the intervention process influenced participant teachers’ practice. They became committed to finding gaps or mismatches between their teaching and their students’ learning and making decisions about the challenges they faced regarding their practice through this process of job-embedded learning. The results of this thesis ultimately carry implications for science teachers’ practice in secondary schools in Bangladesh including teachers’ own professional learning, as well as for curriculum developers and school administrators, and for pre and in-service education for secondary science teachers.