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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Computer technology explores the use of computer-aided learning

This Action Research Proposal Will Evaluate the Effectiveness of Improving the Quality of Secondary School Science and Research in Education Through Advanced Textbooks and Technology

This action research proposal will evaluate the effectiveness of improving the quality of secondary school science and research in education through advanced textbooks and technology. Specifically, the study will seek a solution to the problem in order to improve the quality of education with the objective of helping all of our students increase their MPS (mean percentage score) performance every year such as DAT (division achievement test), RAT (regional achievement test) and NAT (national achievement test), as well as ameliorate their quality of learning through advanced textbooks and technology which is geared towards focusing on one-on-one multi-classroom textbooks and materials as their peers. The objective is that by the end of the year the students will have at least doubled their learning speed in every subject and will have tremendously improved their 6 facets of understanding, 5 macro-skills, including verbal and non-verbal skills.

The Advanced Textbooks and Technology program is based on the latest science and research assessments as the best panaceas for effective learning instruction in the classroom and effective solution to ease out problems, especially in some subjects with low MPS performance. Funding, just to have acquired one-on-one multi-classroom books and materials, is requested for student learning and teacher training: to purchase the required books, and to technologically equip the students with computer's software and hardware for the school's benefit in order to increase MPS with 75% passing percentage per subject every year.
To elaborate further based on the preceding texts, the quality of research education, textbook and technology needs to be raised. It has been observed by the concerned principal that there is much to be desired in a secondary level research in education, along with textbooks and technology. I think this poor quality stems from lack of textbooks and computers inside the classrooms. Education is one of the major means which society employs to carry out its national policies. That's why this learning institution as a science high school in Cebu south, Division of Cebu Province, must equip the students with advanced textbooks, including computers in order for them to be competitive and could be able to cope with the quality of secondary school science and research in education.
One of the problems of continuing gradual decrease of MPS results in some subjects every year and stagnation of professional secondary science research and technology in education of MNSHS teachers and students is lacking of one-on-one prescribed textbook, including technological and methodical guides, special science and research lectures and reviews. Their peculiarities are determined by the fact that they are designed for those who have taught research and technology in a science education, have mastered 6 facets of understanding and thus, need not to be taught systematized fundamental knowledge. On the other hand, now the work of a science high school teacher requires a continuing mastering of new operations and processes, renewed theoretical knowledge, especially under the attack of new information technologies.
Believing that every individual can contribute to achieve the level of information, technical and technological base in the majority of teaching standards no matter how small it is, I introduced and created a firm base to put to practice one the mostly dynamic technologies using the advanced textbooks, along with computers to make the students equip with caliber of intelligence and vast repertoire of science and research experiences.
A textbook and a computer, as well as the systems of its delivery serve as a lever, which will allow the research and science of the 21st century to make a decisive step towards the dream of all enlightened teachers and students: to have an access to any advanced textbook with written research document in any point on the globe. Realizing this perspective makes the learning institution of continuing quality of secondary school science and research in education pay special attention to training those teaching and non-teaching personnel in this new technology.
Knowledgeable and skilled teachers of Minglanilla National Science High School recognize the significantly greater side effects due to lack of textbooks and computers inside the classroom that commonly occur when the subject teachers are recommended solely based on the diagnostic tests, division achievement test, regional achievement test and national achievement test. However, due to the inadequacy of textbook, research and technology analysis skills and the difficulty in teaching these skills well, many science high school teachers revert to this dangerously simplistic method of choosing old DepEd textbooks and textbook formulas.
With regard to computer problems, as what Dr. Carbonell (2009) states "Computer technology explores the use of computer-aided learning to develop skills among learners in differential assessment and decision-making, which are crucial to effective technological practice. Acquiring computers and updating them will tremendously help a lot, thus, making "self-study software" incorporate computer-aided learning and interactive databases" (p. 136). Part of advanced planning to be fully equipped with capabilities of such software includes training users on how to:
Make intelligent and wise decisions on the basis of programs and unlimited information.
Identify when available information is inadequate for making reliable decisions.
Assess and single out the best available solution among a limited set of options.
Identify complex patterns (textbooks and computer-related problem clusters) having probabilistic rather than deterministic structures.
Recognize the significance of a wide range of possible solutions and subsets of the textbook definitions and patterns.
The study has significance because both teachers and students will benefit when the students become more responsible in their actions, and equip them with caliber of intelligence and vast repertoire of learning experiences. Students who spend time to reflect on their actions have possibility to change their self-concept, and fight for what they think is right to have been supplied with 1 textbook per student, furnished with 1 computer per student, and taught through advanced textbooks with science and research approaches in education for the betterment of the school.
Our public education system has a lot of problems, dilapidated classrooms and lack of teachers among them. But I believe that if there is one thing we ordinary Filipinos can solve, it is the availability of quality textbooks. In a science high school like Minglanilla National Science High School, we need quality textbooks and every student must have 1 textbook and 1 computer. How can we make quality textbooks available to every school child in this learning institution? Normally, if you want to write a book, you agree with a publisher on the topic and sign a contract with them. You, the author, are in charge of writing the content, while the publisher assigns a team composed of editors, illustrators, and proofreaders to make sure that the final manuscript is correct before it gets printed. During the creation phase, only you and the publisher's team have access to the manuscripts. When the manuscript is ready, it is given to the printing team who turns it into a book. For public school textbooks, a little more care is applied. To ensure the quality of textbooks, the Department of Education (DepEd) has a four-step evaluation process, involving a few more evaluators and authorities.
This was already in place before a schoolteacher Antonio Calipjo Go discovered. After 10 years of studying textbooks, Mr. Go came to the conclusion that half of the public school textbooks in English, Filipino and Social Studies were "defective." In 2002, he found 400 errors in a single public science high school textbook. And only June of last year, he again uncovered a lot of errors in seven Social Studies textbooks. Mr. Go came out with his findings. DepEd's process is failing and we need a different approach to ensure the quality of public textbooks .
In order to solve these emerging problems regarding lack of quality textbooks and computers, as the principal of this learning institution, I have to source out funds from the PTA, LGU and the rich people in the community to purchase computer-units for computer lab, including quality textbooks. Aside from this, in order to have quality of education, in-service retraining should likewise be upgraded from time to time in order for the teacher to be fully equipped with caliber of intelligence. The program is a must since computer science teacher certification is a recent development, thus, most of these teachers were trained in another field. This project is composed of a sequence of courses which will teach the core principles of computer science to these MNSHS teachers.
According to Dr. Buenaventura (2003), "A teaching framework extends the traditional problem textbook-solving method in computer science education in order to increase student motivation. It replaces textbook-computer problems by so-called challenges and in particular emphasizes the learning situation and inspiration of the students. Furthermore it combines several pedagogical principles and applies them in a process of how students learn in a motivating and self-regulated way. In order to justify the necessity of a new concept, problems in the traditional textbook-problem solving approaches in a science high school education are significant" (p. 45). In order for addressing students' motivation changes are necessary, the ensuing change in students may eventually lead to important changes as well in the country and in the world, for it is these students who will one day dictate the course of events in the future. The principal and teacher preparations, the teaching facilities, equipment and materials, and the teaching strategies are among the necessary factors to the quality of instruction, thus improving the quality of secondary school science and research in education through advanced textbooks and technology.
On the other hand, to pave the way for theoretical framework, and to improve the quality of secondary school science and research in education through advanced textbooks and technology, it is categorically stated that the present study is anchored on the theory of Lado and Orleans (2000) that the technologically-adapted-structured lessons based on macro-skills learning performance can attain more developments in intellectual aspects and acquisition of language. This is a valuable resource in assimilating with peers and adults in developing a sense of personal growth and in finding a place in social, technological and economic life adapted to this capacity and personal preference. Attaining the language skill requires the mastery of a system that takes literally years to learn.
It has become an established fact that the language facility can raise student's intelligence as measured by intelligence tests. This is so because of the language facility can be determined through speaking and writing. The teacher has to find ways to teach all his students properly because if they are taught properly, the latter can learn technological skills and concepts necessary to effectively function in modern society.
The difference between excellent teaching and acceptable classroom performance is no more than the ability to take advantage of opportunities which develop in the context of the classroom, and which cannot be anticipated by even the most talented and skillful authors. The teacher who can make the most of these opportunities will be the one to dominate the materials he/she teaches and to implement a vast repertoire of techniques and procedures for classroom management. The language program should take into account the cognitive and socio-cultural needs of the students, the community in which the school is located, the training, language ability and personality of the teacher, and the present and foreseeable future needs of the society in which our learners are living or planning to live (Makalinao, et al., 2001).
In English for Special Purposes (ESP), the desirable goal to strive in language teaching is general communicative competence. Language teaching has a definite purpose, teachers of ESP teach only the requisite for a particular purpose, be it an occupation (business English), or a domain (English for Science and Technology). Thus, before English is done, the baseline experiment on needs analyses is imperative, specifically doing analysis of situations where pilot students will likely find themselves and carefully selecting the English necessary for them to meet the language demands of these restricted domains and contrasting approaches to education (Widdowson, 1998).
Learning is indispensable on the part of students who undergo rigid studies of the language, but teaching involves much more than knowledge of methods. However, a well-versed teacher maybe in psychological and linguistic theories, in techniques and methodologies, this knowledge alone will not assure success. And even more basic ingredient of good teaching is the teacher's attitude toward his students and his work. More than ever, we must recognize the teacher's compassionate, intelligent, individual approach to his work as the essential factor in successful language teaching.
According to British Education theorist Peter Newsam (2005), the essential factor in successful language teaching as well as a considerable diversity of views exists among analytic and linguistic philosophers regarding the nature of conceptual or linguistic analysis. Some are primarily concerned with clarifying the meaning of specific words or phrases as an essential step in making philosophical assertions clear and unambiguous. Others are more concerned with determining the general conditions that must be met for any linguistic utterance to be meaningful; their intent is to establish a criterion that will distinguish between meaningful and nonsensical sentences. Still other language analysts are interested in creating formal, symbolic lingua francas that are morphological in nature. Their claim is that philosophical problems can be more effectively dealt with once they are formulated in a rigorous logical language.
Alcantara, et al. (2002) quoted the importance of speech improvement as saying that in teaching, skill in oral communication is recognized as a very important part of the qualification of a teacher. It is axiomatic that instruction can be efficiently and effectively carried out only within the context of effective communication. Hence, good speech, which is basic in communication, is an important concern of every teacher not only as a practical tool but also as a fine art. By implication, speech improvement is both desirable and imperative in teaching, and for that matter, in every human endeavor. The kind of speech improvement designed to achieve good speech, is that which takes into consideration not only linguistic principles but also makes use of corrective techniques firmly based on scientific facts and principles. In the Philippines, every vowel in the Visayas dialect is stressed. This explains why children read in a sing-song manner. There are only five (5) sounds for the five vowels. In English, there are various sounds for each of the five (5) vowels. For aalone, a varies in sound in words: can, star, lake, chair. There are strong stresses at regular intervals. The weak-stressed syllables are observed and the final sound of each word is blended with the initial sound of the one following within the same unit. These differences call for sufficient aural-oral preparation before actual speaking of English is done.
In teaching English, many teachers make their student commence with the language activities at the same time in their desire to follow the minimum requirements without considering the children's developmental stage. They fail to realize that some students develop slower than the others. For example, writing for training is similar to writing for reinforcement, but it differs in that it is not limited to the reinforcement of grammatical structures (Marquez, 1999).
According to Lado, et al. (2000), for purposes of training, writing presents students with patterns of linguistic and rhetorical forms that might be new to them and gives them practice in using and manipulating these new patterns: for instance, "students may be asked to change a general statement: "Thermometers measure temperature," into a definition "Thermometers are instruments which measure temperature." The speed and frequency of international communication have outstripped the speed of teaching and learning languages and demand more effective methods of teaching. With the need for more effective teaching of language goes the need for more effective testing of their use.
Communication Arts in English is not taught in a vacuum. Although its objective is to develop in the students the language skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing, the teacher uses content materials in the pursuance of the skills' objectives. In teaching English, the teacher is guided by the assumption that language is trimodal. This means that language is composed of three components or hierarchies which interlace with one another. There are three components of language: phonology, structure and lexicon. The first component is phonology. Phonology is the science that deals with sounds. It has two divisions, namely: phonetics and phonemics. Phonetics deals with separate sounds or phones. Its three branches are articulatory phonetics which deals with speech production, auditory phonetics which deals with speech reception, and acoustic phonetics which deals with speech transmission. Phonemics is that branch of structural linguistics which has for its subject matter the organization of phones with groups of faculties of sounds called phonemes (Preece, 2005).
Leon-Ladera, et al., in their Speech Communication and Creative Expression for English Teachers (2005), emphasize the importance of aspects of linguistics. There are many different ways to examine and describe individual languages and changes in languages. Nevertheless, each approach usually takes into account the language's sounds (phonetics and phonology), word structure (morphology), and sentence structure (syntax). Most analyses also treat vocabulary and the semantics (meaning) of a language. Any human being learns language starting with the use of mind but he hears the sounds first before he uses them. Listening is very important in learning a language, for learning them at the start wrongly, the individual gets a shaky foundation of the language he is speaking. Learning
is seen to be a natural, gradual process, through which student's progress at their own rates. At first it is expected that students will speak or write imperfect English. Through a combination of sensitive error-correction strategies (such as the teacher repeating correctly a student's faulty utterance) and continued practice, the learner's interlanguage will increasingly conform to the target language.
The choices of teachers remain to be like those of the artists. Artists' choices are not at random. They are driven by what artists are trying to achieve and they are assessed by the artists every step of the way to assure that the choices being made are congruent with their purpose. Art teachers can help art students become aware of the options they have by having them study art history to review the choices others have made. They can also help by making their students perfect their technique. But it is incumbent upon the artists themselves to create their unique blend that is their own special contribution to others (Mu±oz, et al. 2000).
It is similar with teaching, according to Patron (2002), teachers must be familiar with the various methods, approaches, and techniques in the teaching and learning not only of language but also of literature to bring out the potential benefits of literature--linguistically, culturally, and aesthetically. Only those who are intimately acquainted with the situation, with the students and with themselves can have the choices they are uniquely suited to make. It is, after all, only the teachers who will be there to assess the outcome of the choices they make. It is only the teachers who are there to make sure that they know why they are doing what they are doing.
Simultaneous in learning the sounds of the language the learner uses structure. This is the second component, otherwise known as grammar. This has something to do with structural patterns. A language works in a pattern. It has its own structure which is meaningful to its own speakers. It operates within its own recurring patterns or arrangements which are meaningful to its speakers. In English the sentence structure begins with the subject, followed by the predicate. It is exactly the opposite of Cebuano-Bisaya-sentence that begins with the predicate followed by the subject (Gurdiel, 1992).
There is a need to comprehend the ways to teach the English (the target language must be associated with technology-driven skills for the students), particularly in first year High School at Minglanilla National Science High School, Poblacion Ward I, Minglanilla, Cebu. It is important that teachers should provide their students with authentic examples of language to study. It appears clearly that one aspect of authenticity resides in natural, spontaneous speech which has normal irregularities, hesitations and simplifications so that the students are trained to listen for cues that will be present in normal speech and not just in that particular brand of speech spoken only to foreigners.
According to Pahang (1995) in her dissertation entitled "A Correlative Study of the Mental Ability and Language Achievement," this study has something to do with the freshman's actual needs in English. The question is how students can later on develop essays and other literary forms after attending English classes. Some of them will later enjoy reading newspapers and write letters. But others will become tourists, immigrants, hotel clerks, and stewards on cruise ships, journalists, and diplomats , participants in domestic and foreign conferences. Such people will need to be able to communicate orally, write legibly, read with comprehension and understand with other when he speaks. If speech is unintelligible, the act of communication has failed; the person who is supposed to receive the message would fail to respond or if ever a response is made, this may be inappropriate.
It is also supported by Gabison (1991) in her study entitled "A Correlative Study of the Mental Ability and Language Achievement," it is worth-noting that these structural lessons are dependent upon the data gathered from the language inventory tests responded to by the learners. For theoretical specificity, these structural lessons consider the four (4) areas of English language teaching, namely: listening, speaking, reading and writing as sequenced in the lessons. The lessons are more on the difficulties and needs of the freshmen as identified by the students and their teachers. Those studying English may be aware of the importance of oral and written communications. The students who are second speakers of the English language expend their efforts to acquire proficiency in this particular language.
Students need to be able to communicate orally. That is, a learner needs to comprehend the other fellow when he speaks and vice versa. If speech is unintelligible, the act of communication, needless to say, has failed. The student who is to receive the message fails to respond inappropriately. Thus, it is very important that one should learn to speak as intelligible as possible '" not necessarily like native speakers '" but well and clear enough to be understood. Communication needs constant practice despite the barrier of the language made culturally diverse from the others. Difficulty of the language is inevitable on the learner who is not native speaker of the language. That is why structured English lessons are a must in the step-by-step study and in-depth analysis done by the students themselves in order to pan out both in oral and written communications in English (Navarro, 2001).
There are some techniques suggested to improve the teaching of English language among non-English speakers. A few include 1) the grammar translation approach, which teaches the learner using the mother tongue, 2) the direct approach, which attempts to integrate more use of the target language instruction, 3) the reading approach, which is intended for people who do not travel abroad and reading is the one usable skill in a foreign language, 4) the audio-lingual method, which uses the principles of the direct method, 5) the community language learning, which is patterned after the counseling technique, 6) the silent way, which uses verbal commands, 7) the functional-notional approach, which breaks down the global concept of language into units of analysis in terms of communicative situations in which they are used, and 8) the total physical response, which combines information and skills through the use of the kinesthetic sensory system (Jordan, 2001).
Gurdiel (1992) said that English is one of the learning areas that develop the learners' confidence and ability in using the language for effective communication and critical thinking. The macro-skills to be developed are listening, speaking, reading and writing in English.
Briones (2003) compared the oral and written English proficiency of the senior secondary students of the University of Southern Philippines, Lahug Campus and found out that the students who are good at oral communication may not at all times be good at written communication. In the same school but in a different campus, Bandajon, et al. (2003) found out that among the first year secondary students, the girls have higher scores than boys in literal comprehension and application in the English subject.
Widdowson (2003) assessed the communication skills need of the high school students and found out that speaking and listening skills, together with related micro-skills such as conversational, oral presentation and telephone conversational skills are most useful and applicable in the job setting and recommended for reinforcement of English communication skills in major subject areas.
The foregoing literature has clearly shown the factors that facilitate the learning of English language for non-speakers of English--learning said language must be associated and supplied with advanced textbooks and provided with computers in order for the students to become computer-literate. Besides, the teacher preparation, the teaching facilities, equipment and materials, and the teaching strategies are among the necessary factors to the quality of instruction.


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Important Quotes for Teachers

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. ~William Arthur Ward. The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself. ~Edward Bulwer-Lytton. A teacher's purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image. ~Author Unknown. What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches. ~Karl Menninger. Teaching should be full of ideas instead of stuffed with facts. ~Author Unknown. The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate "apparently ordinary" people to unusual effort. The tough problem is not in identifying winners: it is in making winners out of ordinary people. ~K. Patricia Cross


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