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The role of classroom interaction in a primary level classroom has been the center of focus in many studies conducted in this field. Most of the studies were carried out by western researchers in which the classroom interaction was critically studied to find its impact on the future outlook / performance of a student. These studies cover various domains of classroom interaction covering teacher-student and peer-peer interaction. Since we have a peculiar socio-economic setup in Pakistan which differs from the western cultures, there is void that needs to be filled up by analysing a classroom interaction in the framework of the prevailing teaching culture of our country.
Moreover, in our culture teaching profession has never been of prime importance rather professions like engineering, medical or being a pilot in PAF is more preferred. This has resulted in brain drain in the teaching profession. Young graduates who do not find any job, turn to the teaching profession as a last resort. Moreover, in the socio-economic setup of our country teaching is a low-income profession, which force teachers to just pass the class room time teaching nothing, and have their own tuition centers to teach at evenings. Additionally the students from the less fortunate backgrounds find it difficult to engage in peer-peer interaction or have violent attitudes in class-room interaction which, at times, proves counter-productive.
This study aims to explore dynamics of class room interaction in a primary level class room and outlines a strategy to solve this problem.
Statement of Problem
To study class room interaction in a primary class room environment.
Scope of Study
This study will identify the key factors that contribute to class room interaction in a primary level class room. It will also single out impediments being faced by schools in Pakistan to enhance class room interaction. This study may be used as a helpful guide in formulating a composite policy towards enhancing class room interaction in the school systems in Pakistan.
Significance of this Study
After independence in 1947, no serious thought was ever given to structure our educational system on a solid and balance, thoroughly worked out footings that should produce a regiment of well groomed, socially confident and focused work horses to address the compounding issues of a newly born state. Quiet opposed to that a fire fighting policy, not entirely considering the socio-religious and the socio-economic background of the people, was the main driving force behind formulation of our education policy. This resulted in situation where the intelligent and bright students from a university would end up applying for jobs other then the teaching professions and ultimately the rejected lot found a place in our schooling system as teachers where they would vent off their egoistic and social deprivation on their students.
This study would attempt to uncover the fact that lack of class room interaction is because of inept and incapable teachers. Moreover, if any attempts to alleviate the class room interaction are done, then the lack of vision by such teachers proves to be the main impediment. This study would be a valuable service to the society and the country and will serve the purpose to be a guide line in formulating a composite education policy to eradicate the flaws of the present day primary school system. This education policy can be implemented for both the public as well as private sector schools.
Both Kenneth and Bruffee (1984) have observed that the level of students' involvement in classroom interaction is directly proportional to the degree of teacher's involvement. They have further outlined that the most direct way to create class room interaction is that the teacher follow the principles of collaborative learning in which the teacher prepares a learning problem or task and then assigns small groups of students to solve the problem collaboratively. Teachers' involvement in classroom interaction was also advocated by Hill (1969) who opines that the teacher's role is most important in designing the task. Once groups have begun work, the teacher should do no more than unobtrusively monitor the process because the group needs to resolve the process themselves.
Prediction of human behaviour under a particular set of circumstances have been studied by various researchers which conclude that human mind tend to learn fast when learning is conducted in groups. Meyers (1986) also pointed out that learning is fast provided the collaborative tasks are properly designed.
The study shall aim to the answer the following:-
(a) Is the class room interaction in our schooling system degrading or is reforming?
(b) How strongly the teacher' behaviour towards enhancing the class room interaction at primary level class room affects the overall response of the students.
(c) How long will it take to reform the class room interaction problem in our schooling system?
The study is based on the following hypothesis:-
"Incapable teachers are the main reason why class room interaction is not prevalent in our primary class room environment."
Definition of Key Words/ Terms
In this study, following terminologies are used and explained below.
(a) Peer-peer Interaction: This term signifies all interactions that occur between the participants of common age groups i.e. students of the same class in a school.
(b) Socioeconomic Index. Socioeconomic index of a teacher is a composite estimation of his education and wealth whereas for a student it is based on the occupation, education and wealth of his parents.
(c) Collaborative Learning: Collaborative learning means designing learning task or problem by the teacher which is then handed over to the students to solve collaboratively.
(d) ANOVA: Analysis of Variance is a collection of statistical models and associated procedures in which the observed variance in a particular variable is classified into components which can be attributed to various sources of variation.
A hybrid model consisting of both the qualitative and quantitative research methodologies will be employed for data acquisition for this study because it tend to perform better in undertaking any research. For this purpose, questionnaires and interviews of the students and teachers will be the main source of data gathering.
Population and Sampling. The population for this research will be the students and teachers of the selected schools. This study will include students and teachers of primary level, both from private schools as well as public sector schools. From private sector Beacon House and City School have been chosen and from the public sector, F.G. School and Army Public School have been chosen. All of these schools are situated in Karachi, Hyderabad and Nawab Shah area. A total of 30 schools consisting of 20 private and 10 public sector owned schools have been chosen. Sample size will consists of 15 students and 20 teachers from public sector school whereas 10 students and 15 teachers will form up the sample size from the private sector schools. The total sample size will be 950 that will include 550 teachers and 400 students in all.
Research Instruments. As outlined earlier, this research will follow a hybrid model which is a combination of both the qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. Following the traditions of qualitative methodology, in-person interviews with both the students and teachers will be conducted. The teachers will be asked the reasons for declining class room interaction and what are the salary structure that is being followed in prevalent schools. The students will be asked to outline the degree of interest/ guidance provided by a certain teacher. To cover up the quantitative domain, questionnaires will be used for data gathering. The questionnaire will be given to both teachers and students. The teachers will highlight their income details, the number of family member they have to support, their marital status, the educational qualifications they have, did they adopt the teaching profession by will or by compulsion. The student will be subjected to answer questions such as the educational level of their parents and the income or family wealth.
Two separate questionnaires will be prepared; one for the teachers and one for the students. The questionnaire for teachers should be prepared in such a way as not to offend them, and for the students it should be prepared according to the comprehension level of the students. In both cases it should be a combination of multiple choice questions (MCQs) and fill in the blank type of questionnaire. The interviews required will be 15-20 minutes long for the students and 20-25 minutes long for the teachers.
Plan of Data Analysis
18. ROOTS and SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) software packages will be used for the data analysis. These software packages provide Descriptive statistics, Bivariate statistics, prediction for outcomes and prediction for identifying groups which helps in effective data analysis. Statistical models like ANOVA (Analysis of Variance) will be used to analyze contributing factors across the teachers and students groups belonging to different socio-economic groups. Recursive abstraction and mechanical techniques will be employed for the qualitative analysis. Bar charts, Pie charts and Histograms will be used for statistical comparison of data.
Validity and Reliability
19. Interviewer corroboration and peer debriefing will be used as a method of establishing the validity of qualitative analysis whereas the questionnaires distributed among the selected schools shall form up the quantitative analysis.
20. The research will be carried out in such a manner that confidentiality of all of the information is strictly ensured. This will be done by approaching the management of the selected schools. They will be taken into confidence on the intent and the rationale behind the research. The participants of the study will be provided full confidentiality by keeping their names confidential. Moreover, access to the information of this study will be provided to the participants of the study only.
Summary of the Proposal
21. The purpose of this research is to study the dynamics of class room interaction in a primary level class room. The study was based on the assumption that class room interaction in a primary level class room is affected by multiple factors. These factors include socio-economic standing of the teachers, the ability/competency level of the teachers and the socio-economic standing of the students. Among these the first two are the prime factors in determining the overall level of the class room interaction. The research model employed for data gathering and analysis is a mixture of both the quantitative and qualitative methods. For the purpose of this study, the population will be defined as all the teachers and students of the selected schools of primary level educational segment of Pakistan enrolled. Sample size will be 900 that shall include 500 teachers and 400 students from 30 different private and public schools.
Time Activity Chart
22. Research shall be conducted for duration of six months, with effect from 01 October, 2011 till 01 April, 2012. Timelines for various activities of the research are as follows:-