Education Transforming in the sense that all children deserve

Education transformation in
Malaysia is a retaliation of placed third bottom and ranking 52 out of 65
countries in Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2012
administered by Organization for Economic Corporation and Development (OECD).

PISA 2012 also showed Malaysia was below the global average score in
Mathematics, Reading and Science.

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Malaysia Education Blueprint
(MEB) 2013 – 2025 is the manifesto of education transformation in Malaysia. One
of the main components in MEB is closing the enormity of the gap between
students studying in urban cities versus those in rural areas.  MEB 2013 – 2025 stated that more than
two-thirds of students in the majority of under-performing schools in Malaysia
come from challenging socioeconomic backgrounds.

 

Transforming education is not
only in Malaysia but it is a global movement. Transforming in the sense that all
children deserve a great teacher so that they are able to maximize their
potential and excellence is expected from every student, regardless of their
background.

In our education utopia we
expect all teachers aware that a classroom is composed of different learner
with different learning abilities, learning styles and different intelligences.

Conjointly, we expect teacher to be all time ever ready to accept the
responsibilities and take it positively to meet student’s diversity.

 

In reality, teachers are
struggling around the world, fighting on what they believe in teaching everyday.

Still, there are teachers punishing students by looking at the students unfortunate
background, looking at the family’s problem and use the problems to blame the
student’s incapability in being success.

 

Seeking the status and
correlation of teachers’ beliefs, practices and attitudes are important for
understanding and transforming educational processes. The are closely linked to
teacher’s strategies for coping with challenges in their daily professional
life and to their general well being, and they shape student learning
environment and influence student motivation and achievement (OECD, 2009). The
Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) conducted by OECD examine
teacher’s beliefs, attitudes and practices and compares teachers, schools and
countries.

 

In this study the conceptual framework
is shown in Diagram 1 below. The assumptions are teachers’ beliefs will affects
teaching attitudes and classroom practices, hence there is direct affect of
teachers’ beliefs on classroom practices.

 

Diagram 1.1

Conceptual
framework of the study

 

 

 

1.1  Research Objective

 

Achievement gap between school in the
same district is the main concern of the study because all of the teachers are
qualified teachers but the gap between high achievement and low achievement
schools are prominent and become one of the main issue in any performance
dialogue conducted in the district.

 

The aim of this study is to determine the
distinction in teachers’ beliefs, teaching attitudes and classroom practices
between teachers in high achievement and low achievement schools.

 

2.0  Literature
Review

 

One’s beliefs influence
working and learning, and teachers’ beliefs about learning and teaching
influence their instructional decisions and practices. Most of the studies that
have been conducted agreed that in general education studies, teaching is a
cognitive activity and that teachers’ beliefs greatly impact their
instructional decisions in the classroom (Shavelson, & Stern, 1981;
Tillema, 2000).

 

Many studies have explicated
aspects of teaching practice which affecting the classroom learning
effectiveness and student achievements. Borg (2003) suggests, “teachers
are active, thinking decision-makers who make instructional choices by drawing
on complex practically-oriented, personalized, and context-sensitive networks
of knowledge, thoughts, and beliefs”. But the challenge is are teachers
capable in making effective professional instructional decisions and practices.

 

According to Johnson (1994)
educational research on teachers’ beliefs shares three basic assumptions: (1)
Teachers’ beliefs influence perception and judgment. (2) Teachers’ beliefs play
a role in how information on teaching is translated into classroom practices.

(3) Understanding teachers’ beliefs is essential to improving teaching
practices and teacher education programs.

 

 

2.1 Teachers’ Beliefs

 

Different researchers gave
different definitions for beliefs. For example, Pajares (1992) reviewed a
literature of beliefs and reported that beliefs were defined in most studies as
a ‘conceptual tool’. He defined belief as an “individual”s judgment of the
truth or falsity of a proposition, a judgment that can only be inferred from a
collective understanding of what human beings say, intend, and do”.

 

One of the factors that are
believed to influence the implementation and establishment of new activities in
the classroom is teacher beliefs (Binghimlas & Hanrahan, 2010). Pajares
(1992) claimed that the investigation of teacher beliefs is a necessary way of
educational inquiry for research and education. The ability to identify and
describe the influence of teacher beliefs on instructional actions would deepen
and enrich our understanding of the teaching process (Aguirre & Speer,
2000).

 

Several studies have examined
the relationship between teachers’ beliefs and their practices in the
classroom. According to Aguirre and Speer (2000), current definitions of
teacher beliefs found in the education literature focus on how teachers think
about the nature of teaching and learning. In this context, beliefs are defined
as “conceptions” (Thompson, 1992), worldviews, and “mental models” that shape
learning and teaching practices (Ernest, 1989). Standen (2002) stated that
beliefs can be classified in terms of personal assumptions about relationships,
knowledge and society; professional beliefs about teaching and learning; and
beliefs about change and development.

 

 

 

Yero (2002) states, if
teachers believe a program they have been told to use is based on a solid
foundation, and if the program is based on beliefs similar to their own, they
will notice ways in which the program works. If they believe it is a waste of time,
they will notice evidence supporting that belief.

 

A study by Lacorte and Canabal
(2005), concerns the relevance of the perceptions and attitudes that teachers
bring with them into the classroom. Ernest (1989) argued that the autonomy of
the teacher depended on three factors:

 

1.    
the
teacher’s intellectual contents, particularly the systems of beliefs concerning
the nature of teaching and learning;

2.    
the
social context of the teaching situation, particularly the constraints and
opportunities it provides; and

3.    
the
teacher’s level of thought processes and reflections.

 

 

2.2 Teaching Attitude

 

Two important factors that
affect teacher factors in education, pedagogy and attitude, influence much of
what happens in science instruction and the resulting student learning  (Shrigley, 1983; Tobin, Tippins, &
Gallard, 1994).

 

Attitude means the
individual’s prevailing tendency to respond favorably or unfavorably to an
object (person or group of people, institutions or events). Attitudes can be
positive (values) or negative (prejudice). Attitudes determine what individual
will see, hear, think and do and they are rooted in experience and do not
become automatic routine conduct (Souza-Barros & Elia, 1997).

 

 

2.3 Classroom Practices

 

Teacher’s professional
knowledge and actual practice may diverge not only among countries but also
teachers within a country. Johnson et.al (2007) in their study of teacher effectiveness
and student achievement in science demonstrated that effective teachers
positively impact student learning and found that effective teaching increases
student achievement and closes achievement gaps for all students.

 

On the other side, Judson (2006)
states that there are some inconsistencies between teachers’ beliefs about
instructional practice and their actual teaching.

 

 

3.0  Methodology

 

3.1  Respondents

 

Data were collected from 75 teachers in
six schools in Ranau District. Three schools are identified as low achievement
school and another three more schools are identified as high achievement
school. Schools achievements are based on school achievement in Year 6 public
exam known as UPSR and result from Literacy and Numeracy Screening
(LINUS). 

 

 

3.2  Instrument and Data Collection

 

With
the aim of collecting data in the study, the modified and translated TALIS questionnaire
was used. The items in the questionnaire was selected and translated into Malay
Language.

 

The questionnaire consists of two parts,
first part is about respondent profile and second part is directly posed on
teacher’s belief, teaching attitudes and classroom practices.

 

In the questionnaire, teachers’ beliefs
were assessed on a six-point Likert scale, ranging from 1 = “strongly disagree”
to 6 = “strongly agree”. Teaching attitude and classroom practices were
examined by teachers’ frequency estimations on a 6-point scale, ranging from
“never” to “always”.

 

 

3.3  Data Analysis

 

In
this study with the aim of determining the distinction in teachers’ beliefs,
teaching attitudes and classroom practices between teachers in high achievement
and low achievement schools, descriptive statistics for the obtained data
analysis has been used. Data
from the questionnaire were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social
Sciences (SPSS).

 

Independent
t-test has been used for independent samples in order to determine if there is
any difference between the two groups. Statistically, the results of analysis
have been presumed significant at a level of p

 

 

4.0  Finding

 

Table
4.1 show the Reliability coefficient Chronbach Alpha of variables

 

 

Table 4.1

Results of
t-test and Descriptive Statistics for Teachers’ Beliefs by Group

 

Variables

Item

Cronbach
Alpha

Teachers’
Beliefs

4

0.909

Teaching
Attitudes

8

0.932

Classroom
Practices

5

0.888

 

4.1 Belief

 

Table 4.2

Results of
t-test and Descriptive Statistics for Teachers’ Beliefs by Group

 

 

Group

95% CI for
Mean Difference

 

 

 

 

Low
Achievement

 

High
Achievement

 

 

 

 

M

SD

n

 

M

SD

n

 

t

df

 

Belief

3.830

1.069

28

 

3.856

0.955

47

-0.501, 0.449

0.109

73

 

* p

 

There is no statistically
significant mean difference in Teachers’ Beliefs between this two groups.

 

 

4.2  Teaching Attitude

 

Table 4.3

Results of
t-test and Descriptive Statistics for Teaching Attitudes by Group

 

 

Group

95% CI for
Mean Difference

 

 

 

 

Low
Achievement

 

High
Achievement

 

 

 

 

M

SD

n

 

M

SD

n

 

t

df

 

Teaching Attitude

5.087

0.611

28

 

5.1791

0.615

47

-0.384, 0.200

0.532

73

 

* p

 

There is no statistically
significant mean difference in Teaching Attitudes between this two groups.

 

 

4.3  Classroom Practices

 

Table 4.4

Results of
t-test and Descriptive Statistics for Classroom Practices by Group

 

 

Group

95% CI for
Mean Difference

 

 

 

 

Low
Achievement

 

High
Achievement

 

 

 

 

M

SD

n

 

M

SD

n

 

t

df

 

Teaching Attitude

4.162

0.947

28

 

4.362

0.655

47

-0.572, 0.173

0.109*

73

 

* p

 

There is no statistically
significant mean difference in Classroom Practices between this two groups.

 

Finding concludes that there is
no significant difference between teachers in high achievement and low
achievement school in teachers’ beliefs, teaching attitudes and classroom
practices.

 

 

Table 4.5

Differences in
Standard Deviation for Teachers’ Beliefs, Teaching Attitudes and Classroom
Practices

 

Item

Standard
Deviation

Difference

Low

High

Teachers Beliefs

1.069

0.955

0.114

Teaching Attitudes

0.611

0.615

0.004

Classroom Practices

0.947

0.655

0.292

 

Although the are no
significant differences in all three variables, but by comparing the Standard
Deviation between this three variables as shown in Table 4.5, classroom
practices shows highest difference with 0.292 compared to teachers’ beliefs
(0.114) and teaching attitudes (0.004). This affirmed through classroom
practices observation by officers from district office.

 

 

4.4  Pearson Correlation

 

Table 4.6

Correlation
summary for Teachers’ Beliefs, Teaching Attitudes and Classroom Practices

 

 

 

Group

Teachers
Belief

Teaching
Attitudes

Classroom
Practices

Teachers Belief

Low

1.00

0.106*

– 0.067

High

– 0.010

– 0.131

Teaching Attitudes

Low

 

1.00

0.595**

High

 

0.132*

Classroom Practices

Low

 

 

1.00

High

 

 

**Correlation
is significant at 0.01 level (2-tailed)

 

Table 4.6 shows that only
teaching attitudes to classroom practices show positive correlation in both
groups. Teaching attitude will affect the teachers’ classroom practices. It
also shows that both groups showing no significant correlation between teachers’
beliefs and classroom practices.

 

Quinn and Wilson (1997) claim
that the ‘dichotomy’ of beliefs and practices may stem from the difficulty inherent
in changing teacher pedagogy. The statement above explains the reason for the finding
that transforming teacher pedagogy is a major challenge in education around the
world. Teachers’ beliefs maybe the same but not in the classroom practices.

5.0  Conclusion

 

Even though there are no
significant differences in belief, attitude and practices between this two groups
but this study has shown that there is a spot that highlighted the difference
in the level of teaching practices. This can be a hint for the next research
focus.

 

Researchers around the world
has shown co-operation among teacher to be an important engine of change and
quality development in schools, this is where Professional Learning Community
(PLC) stand in. We believe that teaching practices will affect directly on the
quality and effectiveness of the teaching and learning process. We do not
believe in drastic changes in teacher’s practices but through sharing best practices
we surmise that teachers can be lead for betterment.

 

Eventually this study will
assist Ranau District Education Office to provide effective interventions to
improve the quality of Teaching and Facilitation (PdPc) that we refer as
classroom practices of teachers in low-achieving schools to ensure student’s
outcome in line with the National Education Philosophy.