Challenges related to the management of physical resources in the teaching learning process during the internship training period in National Colleges of Education, Sri Lanka
Using physical resources for teaching learning process is helpful to make child friendly learning environment & to provide activity-based learning opportunities (Osuji, Elegonye & Jeremah, 2020). Therefore, teachers should use physical resources in their teaching learning process to make student-centered learning environment that promotes students’ perception and critical thinking. The National Education commission in Sri Lanka (2003:05) has reported that the management of physical resources in schools is unsatisfactory & ineffective. In such a background, the aim of this study was to examine the challenges faced by teacher trainees in undergoing pre-service teacher training regarding physical resource management. A survey research was conducted with 55 intern teacher trainees. A questionnaire was used to collect data to identify the challenges faced by the teacher trainees in relation to physical resource management during their intern teacher training. The challenges faced by teacher trainees were observed using an observation protocol too. Further, an interview was used to triangulate the data. In the learning & teaching process, it was revealed that the usage & management of physical resources such as the chalkboard, a set of aids, teacher & children’s desks and chairs, electronic technical equipment, light, space, and cleanliness are important. But in their management, the main challenges faced by the teacher trainees were the lack of proper display of aids to all students in the class, the problem of writing letters with correct size & shape, insufficient knowledge about the use of equipment, and the problem of locating aids within the limited space. In order to solve these problems, it has been proposed to provide knowledge about the use of equipment, provide practical opportunities in National Colleges of Education and deviate from the traditional classroom setting.
Key Words: Internship teacher training, Physical Resource Management
An effective learning & teaching process is the process that is able to perfect the student with knowledge, skills and attitudes while reaching the desired goals. The learning and teaching process which was operated in the past as teacher-centered has now become a student-centered process. Therefore, the current teacher has become a facilitator. Then, managing the learning environment becomes a very important factor. In the management of the learning environment, managing human resources such as teachers, students, parents, principals and the community as well as physical resources such as classroom conditions and learning aids are essential. In such a background, the Ministry of Education of Sri Lanka has pointed out the need to use & manage physical resources in the learning & teaching process. The Sri Lanka National Education Report (2003) recommended the minimum amount of physical resources that should be in a school classroom. There are divided classrooms with strong walls & roofs, classrooms with enough spaces to move around freely for activity based learning, supplies for teachers & students, a blackboard, a display board and teaching aids were recommended minimums in a classroom. Based on the vision of “quality education for a quality society’’ the Ministry of Education in Sri Lanka introduced the Quality Development Program of the school in 2010. Thus, the evaluation of the school under the headings of objectives, resources and actions included the concept of physical resources management as one of its standards. The Ministry of Education has focused on implementing appropriate programs to develop the human & physical resource management skills of in service teachers through the School-Based Teacher Development Program (SBTDP) presented by Ministry of Education in Sri Lanka in 2013.
As Kumar (2017) pointed out, learning materials have a hidden curriculum. Teacher trainees role, attitudes about interrelationship, attitudes about femininity and social values are included. Ramli & Ahamdi (2013) founded that 76% of the student sample that participated in the study required developmental change in the physical environment of the classroom. Liyange (2014) has presented many suggestions showing the strengths and weaknesses of the education system in Sri Lanka. Among them, the development of teachers’ technical skills and teaching methods, the promotion of resources needed for the modernized curriculum are the main one. Lilawathi (2018) has revealed that teacher trainees’ lack prior knowledge of required competencies, lack of physical resources required for competency based approach and very low use of teaching aids in the learning teaching process were main issues faced by teacher trainees. The Report on Education Reforms in Sri Lanka outlined a number of criticism of the National Colleges of Education. Analyzing the above points, it appears that it is essential to identify various problems in the education system and present effective proposals to solve them.
Inquiry into the challenges related to the management of physical resource in the teaching learning process during the internship training faced by internship students in National College of Education in Sri Lanka.
The study used the survey research method as it can be used to explore logical or analytical information (Cohen, Manion & Morrison: 2000). Therefore, the researcher has found this methodological choice to be an appropriate means of addressing the research objectives. To achieve the research objectives, two samples were used under the random sampling layout out of the target population of the Wayamba National college of Education in Sri Lanka. 55 students and 32 lecturers were selected for the sample. The main data collection method was questionnaire. 16 teacher students and 10 lecturers were selected for interview, representing 30 percent of the sample selected for the data collection. The observation method was also used as a method of data collection. Seven student teachers were selected for the observations represent 45 percent of the student teachers were selected for the interview. Twenty-two lessons were observed with 3 lessons per student. Data were collected by virtual observation, questionnaires with structured and open ended questions, formal & informal discussion. Data were analyzed using quantitative & qualitative methods. Structured questions were analyzed by using statistical methods. The open-ended questions were analyzed using content analysis. The filled narrative responses were read, coded and categorized in different themes as per the words and phrases used by student teachers and lecturers.
Results and Discussion
How do teacher trainees manage physical resources in the classroom learning teaching process?
The first objective of the study is to examine the perceptions of student teachers about the classroom learning and teaching process during their internship teacher training. A percentage of 71% of student teachers and 63% of lectures stated that the current understanding about using & management of physical resources in the learning and teaching process is sufficient. Accordingly, it was revealed that the understanding of physical resource management among teacher students is sufficient. When asking how student teachers have used physical resources in the learning and teaching process. Researcher identified the some physical resources which commonly used by student teachers. There are chalk board, teacher made supports, whiteboard, teacher and child desk and chairs, electronic equipment, lighting, space and clearness, classroom environment. The trainee teachers who are trained in rural areas mostly use chalkboard than whiteboard (76%). The reason of using blackboard was its availability to find easily. Relevant to the research finding, 81% of Students teachers who are trained in rural areas didn’t use the whiteboard and 27% of student teachers who are trained in urban areas too didn't use whiteboard in their training period due to lack of knowledge to use whiteboard technically. Student teachers use self-prepared teaching aids without significant differences between rural and urban. The use of electronic technology equipment in the teaching learning process is normal. It was revealed that the students’ contribution to use of the classroom environment such as light, space and cleanliness is at a minimum level due to the lack of motivation & weakness of creativity of the student teachers and being used to traditional patterns.
It was discovered that the attention of student teachers on the aspects of identifying physical resources needed in the learning teaching process, obtaining resources in a timely manner, maintaining resources, using them efficiently and developing physical resources is not at an optimal level. Several actions taken by student teachers to manage physical resources in classroom learning process were also identified. They are using “T” aids to place such as posters, page flips, hole board prepared by student teachers, grouping student when using number sticks & cards. Also the student teachers were directed to bring the various sets of materials to provide for group activities separately and placing the equipment such as tabs, computers, speakers, mobile phones etc. in the classroom before the lesson can be identified. But not arranging children’s desk and chairs in way that is necessary to easily place students as appropriate for the activities, not choosing appropriate learning places for skill demonstrations, not preparing the materials for the use of the chalkboard & whiteboard in advance, lack of interest in repairing broken desk & chairs, lack of interest in setting up support using alternative methods to minimize costs, purchasing various learning aids prepared by commercial purposes, lack of motivation to use discarded milk boxes, matches boxes, cardboard packaging, discarded bottles for minimizing the cost were also identified.
The challenges faced by teacher trainees regarding the management of physical resources in the classroom
The third objective was to examine the challenges faced by primary teacher trainees in the learning and teaching process related to management of physical resources. The main challenges of managing chalkboard were, inconsistencies between the location of children’s desk and chalkboard, its small size, overcrowding students in the classroom. The main challenges of managing whiteboard faced by teacher trainees were the problem of writing letters according to the correct shape & size, lack of technical knowledge about using the whiteboard. As well as not being unable to prepare attractive aids according to its’ intelligent level, having to incur high costs for preparing the teaching aids, lack of existing knowledge of using technical equipment and the insufficient facilities were revealed. Difficulty managing desk and chairs due to limited space in classroom is also major challenge.
Suggestions for mitigating the challenges faced by teacher trainees about physical resources management in the teaching learning process
Both teacher trainees and lecturers have presented so many suggestions about physical resource management. Among them, improving the possibility of getting practical training, providing practical training period to enhance their usages, developing group discussions before teaching practice, providing opportunities to build interpersonal relationship with in service teachers, giving opportunities by making rigid time schedule flexible in NCoEs, taking appropriate steps to reduce the excessive number of students in a classroom, motivating self-learning concept among teacher trainees and also identifying .physical resource management strategies through contextual learning were most important suggestions.
Jayawardhana (2000) & Lilawathi (2008) found out that teacher trainees do not know the techniques of using chalkboard and this study also revealed that, inconsistencies between the location of children’s desk and chalkboard, its small size, overcrowding students in the classroom as challenges.
Mupa & Chinooeka (2015) founded that the teaching learning aids used by teacher trainees are not enough and Wall (2016) founded that insufficient classroom space facilitates the use of student centered new learning teaching methods. But in this study, writing letters according to the correct shape & size, lack of technical knowledge, unable to prepare attractive aids according to students’ intelligent level, high costs for preparing the teaching aids, limited space in classroom were challenges.
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