Studying the science of teaching


  • Education
  • Sunday, 17 May 2020

Prep time: SMK Cheras teachers prepare for the reopening of schools, keeping social distancing in mind.

A FRAMEWORK to help navigate teachers through the ‘new norm’ is expected this week.

Since April, the National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) has been working round-the-clock on its ‘Post Covid-19 Pandemic Schooling Research Based on Social Distancing Pedagogy’ study.

Once the study, which is in its third and final stage, is completed, a framework to guide teachers who are expected to be back in school soon, will be prepared.

The framework would be shared with the union’s counterparts globally.

“We expect everything to be completed by this week to allow for any possibilities if the school session starts in early June.

Far apart: Teachers need to prepare classrooms for social distance learning.Far apart: Teachers need to prepare classrooms for social distance learning.

“It is a new way of life – especially for teachers – yet there has been no research done on teaching in a social distancing environment so we are faced with a novel situation.

“This study is not only about a social distancing-based teaching pedagogy in schools, but it also highlights issues and challenges educators, students and parents face in using online learning during the MCO, ” NUTP secretary-general Harry Tan said.

The whole education system needs to be re-looked with teachers needing to be retrained and students’ socialisation being curtailed, he said.

The RM20,000 study is a first-of-its-kind to be spearheaded by teachers, he said, adding that many had volunteered their expertise pro-bono.

“This is not just any study – it is about the science of teaching.

“We want to identify and design a social distancing-based teaching pedagogy in schools for a world crippled by the pandemic.

Tan: The study will aid teachers in a post-MCO environment.Tan: The study will aid teachers in a post-MCO environment.

“Some 100 experts from various fields within the education sector came together to help design this study.”

The findings of this study can be referenced by all parties, especially the Education Ministry, in handling the post-MCO schooling session, he said, adding that the framework could also be used to improve the implementation of teaching and e-learning.The study comprises of a needs-based analysis (Phase One), design and development of the framework (Phase Two), and usability assessment of the framework (Phase Three).

Under Phase One, an online survey involving 10,487 educators and experts was conducted from April 27 to May 1 to examine the issues and challenges in the school system post-Covid-19.

The survey results from Phase One (see fact box) was used as input for the second phase involving a focus group discussion and interpretive structural modeling.The second phase consisted of two workshops with 20 specialists from various disciplines, including experts from the Education Ministry and academics from public and private universities.

Keep a distance: Malaysian school students will have to maintain strict social distancing protocols just like their counterparts in China to help curb the spread of Covid-19 once schools reopen here. – APKeep a distance: Malaysian school students will have to maintain strict social distancing protocols just like their counterparts in China to help curb the spread of Covid-19 once schools reopen here. – AP

Some of the universities involved include Universiti Malaya, Universiti Sultan Azlan Shah, Institute of Teacher Education Malaysia and UNITAR International University.

Tan said the workshops, conducted online, discussed elements of social distancing-based teaching pedagogy in schools post-Covid-19.

Experts were given the opportunity to share their ideas on the formation of the pedagogy, he added.

The data collection for Phase Two ended on May 12.Under Phase Three, a panel of experts will evaluate the usefulness of the ‘Post Covid-19 Pandemic Schooling Research Based on Social Distancing Pedagogy’ framework.

Thorough protocols: SMJK Choong Hwa, Bidor, Perak staff follow strict standard operating procedures in their preparation to welcome students back.Thorough protocols: SMJK Choong Hwa, Bidor, Perak staff follow strict standard operating procedures in their preparation to welcome students back.

NUTP, said Tan, is being proactive in addressing the post-MCO challenges its 220,000 members will face when schools reopen.

“We are embarking on something that has never been done before.

“We have to ensure the well-being and safety of teachers and students in school.

“Regulations – no matter how simple – are never easy to follow, more so when it comes to children. So implementing this framework will be another challenge we have to overcome.”

Let’s do these

The majority of the 10,487 respondents who participated in NUTP’s online survey want the following:

• Install heat detection tools at school entrances and in classrooms

• No sharing of equipment such as textbooks and stationery

• Emphasise the importance of safety, hygiene and health

• Every student, teacher and staff must wear a face mask

• No air conditioners in classrooms

• Schools must provide hand sanitisers and soaps in every classroom, toilet and strategic locations within the vicinity

• Students, teachers and staff movements must follow one-meter social distancing and systematic procedures to avoid interaction through touch during school hours, after school hours and between lessons

• Rotational recess to ensure social distancing

• Parents to pack food for their children

• Give special attention to physical facilities in classrooms

• The layout of classroom tables and study area, lighting and ventilation must be in accordance with Health Ministry and Education Ministry SOP

• Dynamic schooling system where students go to school for three days and learn online for two days on rotation

• Full time face-to-face learning for Forms Five and Six students

• Only 10 to 15 students per class

• Use school halls for lessons with more than 35 students

• All school and parent-teacher association activities must comply with Education Ministry SOP

• Only four subjects per day to minimise movement during school days

Source: NUTP ‘Post Covid-19 Pandemic Schooling Research Based on Social Distancing Pedagogy’ survey

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