Teachers' perceptions about child-friendly and interactive teaching-learning in early primary grades of Government Primary Schools (GPS)
AuthorJewel, Md. Mahfuzur Rahman
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The teacher's role is the key to achieve results in child-friendly schools and learning spaces. Therefore, the required training and support to prepare teachers for this important role must be a priority (LINICEF, 2009, p.5). Teachers are powerful mediators in all educational maffers. Ukeje, (1992) noted that if the child is the centre of educational system, the teacher is the pivot of the educational process (as cited in Olaleye.2012). The pre-primary activities in Bangladesh consist of various programs under different actors. Earlier NGOs were in the frontline and a big number of pre-primary schools were run by NGOs like BRAC, Save the Children, Plan International, Care, Action Aid, Dhaka Ahsania Mission etc. Other options offered are by madrasas, mosquebased maktabs, mondirs and privately owned Kindergartens. In 2010, Government initiated pre-primary education through GPS as an interim ilrangement with an intention to expand it with standardized curriculum and materials. Conducting teaching learning process for the pre-primary learners is critical and much different than those of regular primary learners. But the interim teachers, after receiving 6 days basic training, are facilitating pre-primary classes. The study looked into the understanding and perception ofearly grade teachers about child friendly teaching learning process. As Government introduced PPE by an interim alrangement involving existing primary teachers (especially early grade teachers), this study explored the teacher's perception about the child friendly interactive teaching learning process in early grades of primary school. The assumption was that PPE initiative (which included training of teachers, conducting classes as per training and teacher's guide emphasizing child friendly and activitybased teaching leaming) has influenced early grade teaching leaming to some extent The overall objective is to find out the perception of early grade teachers about the child-friendly and interactive teaching-learning process, to what extent this is practiced in early grades of primary school, and what barriers the teachers are facing in practicing child-friendly and interactive pedagogy. Following a qualitative approach, including in-depth interview with the teachers and class observation in the particular research sites, the research has been conducted in two urban schools with four teachers selected - two with pre-primary training and two without. In this study two types of data collection tools were used; in-depthinterview questionnaire (semi-structured & open ended) and observation tool and guideline. A data categorization and coding system was applied to analyze the data. The transcription of the recorded data was produced and the contents were coded. Coded data were further analyzed, described and classified based on themes derived from the research questions. Findings revealed that all four participants are familiar with child-friendly interactive teaching process and spoke in favor of teacher's positive attitude, friendly behavior and congenial interaction to make classroom interactive. The trained teachers preferred and emphasized learner focused classroom as they are aware of the benefits. The non-trained teachers due to superficial knowledge, emphasized more on materials and participation, and favoured classroom practices in which teachers have to play main role. The trained teachers were more confident to make class child-friendly and interactive but non-trained teachers were found more traditional. Regarding views and understanding on child-friendly interactive teaching, most of them mentioned that students are more interested in doing tasks and their talents are nurtured through their active participation. All of the respondents received some sort of training on different subjects of primary grades. However, the trained respondents obtained training in "primary level teaching" and "subject based training". On the other hand, the non-trained teachers obtained training in C-in-ED and particular subjects; which were basically on classroom management, methods and techniques. In terms of interactive teaching, the responses were distinctively different from two types of respondents. The trained group of teachers stated the learner as the center of interactive teaching whereas the non-trained teachers focused more on teacher's role to conduct the class. Most of the respondents also emphasized the value of the joyful leaming processes for children, such as learning by playing, acting or using interesting material during the learning process. In addition they also mentioned that group work, pair work or experience sharing were also important ideas in teaching process. Understanding of the practice on interactive teaching learning process in early primary grades is varied by the respondents. Most of them mentioned that more classroom space and less number of students are necessary for interactive teaching. The teachers, who are familiar with the interactive teaching learning process, said that they used to face difficulty to teach before they obtained the training. The training helped them to know the methods and techniques of managing a large classroom effectively through the interactive process. Lack of infrastructure (space, furniture), leaming materials and training were considered as most challenging issues to respondents to engage children. During the observation, it was found that the trained teachers had their separate plans according to individual differences. On the other hand, the tendency of a separate plan for individual children was not frequent with the non-trained teachers. Findings show that without proper and appropriate support (from Government, School Management Committee, TRC, TEO, ATEO, and DPEO), it is difficult to execute any initiative at the school or classroom level. In addition, they need positive attitudes and regular monitoring fiom Head teacher, TRC, TEO to ensure child-friendly interactive teaching leaming. Based on the above discussion, the study found that, the teacher's perception regarding child-friendly interactive teaching leaming process differs among trained and non trained teachers. Trained teachers mentioned about leamer focused and participation based teaching leaming process. But non trained teachers talked about materials and participation of the children; they also mentioned that supportive school environment, teachers' training and low student-teacher ratio are key factors to ensure interactive teaching-leaming in the classroom. In conclusion, it can be said that to ensure interactive teaching leaming process for the children of early grades, training of teachers, conducting classes as per training and teacher's guide emphasizing child friendly and activity-based teaching leaming are important. Recommendations. Further study with a larger sample size is required. Pre-primary teachers could be assigned in the early grades as Pre-primary or Early Childhood Development training support to improve teaching learning process in early grades. Teachers' motivation, constant monitoring and supervision need to be taken in to account so that all the teachers willingly give their full effort to teach early graders. curriculum and guideline for teacher's education package can be reviewed to make it more attractive and user friendly. Specialized professional course on ECD and training on interactive teaching leaming for teacher can further improve the classroom situation.