Teaching Enhancement Plan And The Vocational Education Institute Education Essay

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Today's teaching landscape is undoubtedly a challenging. Due to globalization and innovations in information and communications technology, there is greater demand for professionals to develop competency in international languages such as English. However, as much as this need has been recognized and incorporated in today's business education curricula, there is also the realization that this is creating new challenges for educators. This has been most apparent in professional fields of study such as business and economics which have been greatly driven by globalization. Thus, there is has been a growing recognition of the need for developing teaching enhancement programs that can better equip teachers to effectively incorporate the implications of globalization to business educational and professional development. This paper will present a Teaching Enhancement Plan (TCEP) that has been largely developed from personal experience in teaching, primarily with the Vocational Education Institute (VEI) in Qatar as a vocational instructor to students pursuing a Diploma certification and secondarily, for training and workshops for colleagues.

Learning Goals

To develop insights to education and learning research related to business curricula This objective is to address the deficiencies that may be due to a lack of solid background in teaching or instruction. In the course of this objective, it is also important to be able to evaluate the significance of the medium on instruction, English, in students' participation and performance. As highlighted in the research developed by Mathes and associates (2007), non-native English speakers are likely to struggle with their studies due to the need to adapt new language skills, particularly if there are limitations to the practice or utility of the said language outside the classroom. This goal will include the collection of research related to the development of teaching competencies. Also, the research will summarize and collate research according to applicability to current classroom setting. Finally, efforts will also be made to map the research to determine how they can be utilized to support each other in the TCEP being developed

To examine current teaching scenario based on current research on classroom and learning strategies

This objective aims to correlate previous professional experience to current teaching functions. The re-examination based on current perspectives will also improve the transfer of professional learning, validating perceptions, skills and competencies (Clarke & Thomas, 2009). The reflection may also not be limited to professional experience but also may reach back into one's own experience as a student which can further mitigate difficulties encountered in relating with current students

To determine what skills are needed to increase students' participation and involvement in learning activities

Considering that the students of the course or the participants have already exhibited difficulties in the courses, there is a real need to encourage students to go beyond the requirements of the class, particularly in improving their English communication skills. Increasing their capacity to communicate can also increase their interest and confidence in participating in classroom activity and in applying learning in their respective workplace (George, 2009). Gess-Newsome and associates (2003) attributes this to the increase in ability to use technical skills and competencies, suggesting that there is a correlation in the level of classroom involvement to student accommodation and application of education. The main tasks will include the development of a survey and focus group discussion (FGD) guide questions. Then, after the roll-out survey and FGD, a summary of findings will be created that will be sued for subsequent stages of the TCEP.

To identify social support systems to augment classroom learning

More and more, there is a realization that education is a social experience and that the prestige from education can be a primary motivator (Howard, 2010). As many of the participants of the classes and workshops may not necessarily attending out of their own choice, a number of students are attending as an employment requirement: there is a need to emphasize the social relevance of professional education and training to validate the importance of the courses and workshops (Kincaid et al, 2006). The consideration of the support systems available to the students is also a recognition of the local cultural and social dynamics which where validation of peers is given high consideration. In the context of this case, support systems refer to professional education and training being provided by the state or the community. These can come in the form of scholarships, remedial support, or counselling among others. A catalogue of support systems available to students on the needs identified in the student survey will be made. These support programs to students and survey what they could be interested will be presented to the class. Students will be then asked to try contacting these programs and for them to prepare a brief report of their experience.

To evaluate and document preliminary studies

The TCEP will at this point, consolidate what research it has been able to gather to serve as the benchmark. Students will be encouraged to participate in the programs that they have been able to contact or find out about. In the absence of such programs that they can directly participate in, the teacher can be personally design interventions for the students accordingly. More importantly, the consolidation of the study will be critical to evaluating the effectiveness of the current TCEP being implemented. The consolidated report will be generally be for the reference of the research but it will be open for inspection for any interested stakeholder

To evaluate progression of student performance and participation and consolidate survey and FGD results

The TCEP's relevance would only be able to be realized if it is able to translate in actual improvements in the student's participation and performance in class. To be able to effectively track and study their performance, the TCEP will evaluate the performance of students on the 24th and 36th week of the roll-out of the TCEP. This will allow a period of development of 12 weeks for each evaluation period. The evaluations that will be conducted will still consist of the student survey and an FGD which will create a uniform method of evaluation. The results will then be consolidated to present an outline of the progress of student's involvement in improving participation and performance in class. The evaluation will also reinforce to students the need to improve classroom performance. On the part of the teacher and the TCEP initiative itself, the periodic evaluation will also map the factors and impact of the TCEP directly to student performance.

To present results of study to students, colleagues and other stakeholders and consolidate feedback for final report

The presentation of the results will serve not only as another step in consolidating the progress of the TCEP but also to validate results and to highlight to study participants the research value of the program being implemented. Separate schedules will be made for the presentation of the result for students and then for colleagues and other stakeholders. The different schedules are simply to account for differences in perspective that may be adapted by the two sets of audiences regarding the use of the TCEP being implemented. The researcher will conduct a comparison of the preliminary evaluations of performance and participation of students as of Week 12 to the subsequent Week 24 and 36 evaluations. The main method of evaluation of improvements in performance will be based on the degree of statistical significance, if any, of the study to student's participation and performance

To present final paper determining how the TCEP program was able to meet TCEP objectives

The paper will then be finalized: the main elements of the study will consist of the preliminary study, the comparative evaluations, and the incorporation of feedbacks on the study and lastly, analysis and recommendations based on the TCEP conducted.

Significance and Scope of Goals

Previous to working in the UAE, my previous experience was in business in Australia. Pursuing a Master's Degree in Education has highlighted the need for developing teaching skills and developing innovative TCEP's to augment professional development. My association with the IVD is now approaching its fourth year. For the first year at The Institute I taught English to prepare the students for the Diploma, an 18 month course. Eventually, the teaching load was expanded to teaching students a number of subjects such as accounting, financial accounting, marketing, business communication, internet marketing, international business, human resource and business ethics. This has also been extended to colleagues through workshops, all using English as the language of instruction. My colleagues, like myself, have not come from an educational background, the workshops on various aspects of education to help people develop their teaching techniques.

There are a number of theories that can be considered for the current TCEP. However, this research will focus on the identification of existing competencies, particularly in enhancing previous learning and experience as a business professional to teaching business. In a similar study developed by Lawless and Pellegrino (2007), they point out that the integration of skills from previous disciplines requires the adjustment of perspectives: this implies that though expertise may be achieved in the practice of a discipline, this level of competency cannot be assumed when one's function is changed such as in the case of becoming a teacher. Similarly, Johnson and Fargo (2010) the transformative capacity for professional development can be directly associated with student achievement. This suggests that the TCEP is not just critical to improving classroom effectiveness but actual perspectives about education, continuing professional development as well as the social role of education.

The objective of developing insights to education and learning research related to business curricula can be considered a direct response to these research developments. This perspective is not limited to higher education but has also been proven as applicable to all education levels. According to Anfara and associates (2006), the perceived improvement of the content of curricula may not necessarily be due to changes in the actual content but rather the accessibility and achievement of learning objectives. In the case of the current students and attendees of the classes and workshops, the challenge is to be able to communicate to them the importance of their classroom activities to their professional lives.

Previous experience as a business professional has already highlighted the importance of effective communication and the development of competencies in communicating in English. The need to master and international language is not only a skill to be learned, it can be considered as an actual requirement for anyone who wants to succeed in the field of business. There is also need to recognize that communication is also not limited to the mastery of a language but there is also a need to develop competencies that will allow one to communicate effectively with people whose language skills may not be as well developed. In order to examine current teaching scenario based on current research on classroom and learning strategies, it is critical to consolidate learning from business practice in Australia with the experience that I have been able to accumulate as a teacher. preliminary examination has highlighted to me that students are often unable to realize the importance of getting a good business education and that language and cultural barriers can really exacerbate this concern.

These concerns also have external examples or parallels: studying the thrust of many international companies, one can easily see the growing emphasis on developing professional skills that require continuing professional development (Marshall, 2008). Current innovations in educational research have also reserved greater responsibility for teachers to develop programs that can effectively engage student (Clarke & Thomas, 2009). Other external factors that support the TCEP being developed is based on the experience of other teaching professionals teaching students with special needs. In the studies developed by Powers and associates (2005) and Howard (2010), they have been able to determine that students' perception of classroom effectiveness and significance of education were enhanced with the knowledge that their instructors where also undertaking professional development. The rationale is that teachers can be considered as instruments of learning that requires maintenance and re-tooling and this comes in the form of training and education.

Consultation with other teachers and business professionals, it is clear that their practice has also emphasized the need for continuing education. In many institutions and organizations, continuing education and training are increasingly being considered as an integral of professional practice. According to interviews conducted by Hendricson and associates (2007), business professionals and teachers consider opportunities for continuing education as an important component of their compensation packages. At the same time, Wang and associates (2010) highlight the need for teachers to become more proactive in the development of enhance programs: teachers are most likely the ones who will have the best insight on how educational programs can be improved. They are encouraging personal development initiatives and collaborative efforts with colleagues as a cost-effective and sustainable means for developing professional or teaching competencies (Cortese, 2005; Dunne et al, 2008).

Considering the learners of this study, there is a need to understand their motivation in taking the courses, how they plan to utilize their education in the future and how they perceive the process of education. The learners are Arab speaking government employees of both sexes. They are placed in this Institute by their employers for retraining. Their age range is from about 25 to 55 years of age. Their educational level varies from secondary level to diploma holders. About half of the students are not able to speak well in English, the majority of them extremely poor writers of English. They are not interested in studying and are unable to submit written assignments. Those who do submit assignments are generally not able to address the issues to meet the criteria. This suggests that their attendance to the classes may be just to comply with company requirements. Since there is no personal cost even though they recognize the prospective value of completing courses, they do not see the value of investing themselves in their classes.

Thus, the objective to determine what skills are needed to increase students' participation and involvement in learning activities can be considered as a direct intervention or response to these issues. Considering this objective with the need to evaluate the role of the organization in the current situation, also gives rationale to the objective of this exercise to identify support systems to augment classroom learning such as in the case of the IVD, where the state, and ultimately the public as whole, acts as the primary sponsor educational institution offering the courses which includes business programs such the Diploma course that I have become involved in. As part of the Abu Dhabi University Knowledge Group (ADUKG), one of its main objectives is to be able to train business professionals to support not only local industries but also the influx of global business interest in the UAE. Recognizing the lack of English proficiency of many of its students, it has made an effort to develop a faculty that can address this issue. Language and professional development programs have also been extended to other organization members. This can be associated with efforts of the Institute to develop professional competencies that can better support the education and development of students who can be competitive in global settings.

The subsequent phases on the study which is to focus on the evaluation of the progression of student performance and participation and consolidate survey and FGD results as well as the presentation results of study to students, colleagues and other stakeholders and consolidate feedback for final report are all a means of highlighting the social relevance of the TCEP being developed. As has been highlighted in other education research efforts, it is imperative that research participants be able to see the conclusion of a study to be reinforce their perception of its relevance and value (present results of study to students, colleagues and other stakeholders and consolidate feedback for final report (Roxa et al, 2008). The final report for the whole TCEP will be the finalization of the whole TCEP initiative. The most important component of the report will be the analysis and recommendations to be made by the researcher. This will bring to full circle the TCEP efforts which were first motivated by personal challenges encountered in teaching IVD courses.

Implementation Plan

The current TCEP is to serve as a platform of future enhancement programs. The objectives of the TCEP reflect the recognition of the need to develop insights into existing conditions affecting classrooms and how current teaching experience and skills can be utilized to increase students' appreciation, participation and performance. The weeks defined in the plan refer to five working days, and each objective will be generally allotted three weeks for completion. After the completion the first twelve weeks of the current plan, two twelve-week evaluation periods will be set to determine if there has been any progress in students' performance. After these two evaluations, the preliminary study will be evaluated and a determination will be made whether the TCEP was able to mitigate the concerns raised during the preliminary study. At this stage, the study will also determine whether the availability of support systems are able to respond to students' needs and also how teachers' intervention and professional development can increase student participation and performance.

The next phases of the TCEP will then focus on evaluating the significance of the study results. Aside from evaluating the progression of students, the periodic evaluations will also serve as method of reinforcement. Students will be reminded of the need to increase their participation and performance as well as their direct participation in the research being conducted. The third and last phase of the TCEP will then focus on the validation of the study results to students, colleagues and other stakeholders. The study will be presented to students, colleagues and other stakeholders: feedback on the study results will then be incorporated into the final report that will be the conclusion of the current TCEP.

Objective

Resources

Task

Week

To develop insights to education and learning research related to business curricula in response to globalization

Peer-reviewed journals and articles, institution-hosted internet resources

Collect research related to the development of teaching competencies

1

Summarize and collate research according to applicability to current classroom setting

2

Map the research to determine how they can be utilized to support each other in the TCEP being developed

3

To determine what skills are needed to increase students' participation and involvement in learning activities

Student survey, FGD materials, statistical analysis software

Develop survey and FGD guide questions

4

Roll-out survey and FGD

5

Create a summary of findings

6

Learner's profile, catalogue of course/support programs available to students

Create Learner's Profile

7

Make a summary of the related courses taken that can be used as a resource

7

Make a summary of competencies or learning that have been not yet fully utilized and create a plan on how they can be maximized

8

To identify support systemsto augment classroom learning

Internet, student survey

Make a catalogue of social support systems available to students on the needs identified in the student survey

9

Present these social support programs to students and survey what they could be interested in

10

Ask students to try contacting and participating these programs and for them to prepare a brief report of their experience

10

Ask students to make their presentations

11

To evaluate and document preliminary studies

TCEP preliminary summary, presentation materials and equipment

Present a summary of TCEP for the consumption of colleagues and other interested stakeholders establishing current student and classroom competencies

12

To evaluate progression of student performance and participation and consolidate survey and FGD results

Student survey, FGD materials, statistical analysis software

Complete first survey and FGD evaluation

24

Complete second survey and FGD evaluation

36

Complete third survey and FGD evaluation

37-40

To present results of study to students, colleagues and other stakeholders and consolidate feedback for final report

TCEP preliminary summary, evaluation reports, presentation materials and equipment

Schedule presentation to students and collect feed back

41

Schedule presentation to colleagues and other stakeholders and collect feedback

42

Compare preliminary evaluations of performance and participation to Week 24 and 36 evaluations

43-44

Determine if statistical significance, if any, of the study to students participation and performance

45-46

To present final paper determining how the TCEP program was able to meet TCEP objectives

Final report

Finalization of paper and conclusion of TCEP

47

Presentation/submission of final report

48

Reflections and Insights

Education has always been an important concern of any society. However, in the context of globalization, the factors that affecting classroom and curriculum effectiveness have become just as complicated: this has become most apparent in the field of business because of the nature of today's economies and marketplace. Like, any other field of interest, the need to develop effective programs has to be rooted in research and benefit the grassroots of the organization, in the context of this study, actual classrooms. It is not surprising that the UAE, an emerging business destination in the region, is making significant efforts to encourage the internationalization of its business curriculum and professionals. As much that this can be a boon to its citizens, this has also created greater pressure in performance, requiring not only the acquisition of professional skills but also social skills such as communication and accommodating more global perspectives. Making students realize this is already challenging enough but when it is in the conjunction with the need to learning a foreign language, it is to be expected that students' participation will leave a lot to be desired.

My experience as an instructor in the IVD has highlighted the need to understand social and cultural factors that can affect my students. What could be construed as apathy may be due to a lack of appreciation of the opportunities that they are being given. What can be seen as a lack of quality in the papers because of lack of perception of the lessons may be also due to limitation in language and communication. In the course of the development of the TCEP, a number of literatures have mentioned transformative education. Though this may seem such a lofty objective, there has also has been the realization that unless students and participants' perspectives on the importance of their courses and workshops, then their participation and learning will not be given greater priority. In all stages of the TCEP, there is always an effort to involve research stakeholders. This has been primarily rooted in the highlighting the social relevance of the initiative being undertaken but should also be seen as an effort to cultivate long-term commitment to the development of research. As much as the we have recognized that the educational perspectives are changing due to globalization and other developments, there should also be realization that more changes are up ahead. Without the recognition of this and the need for long-term commitment to developing research, then curricula will always lag behind the actual needs of students and teachers alike to ensure the effectiveness of classrooms.

In any effort that is to developed to be done to accomplish these objectives, the development of quality research is important. As an educator, one of the biggest challenges has been developing skills from being a business professional. To be able to effectively do so, there is a need to "translate" professional learning to classroom application. This can only be possible if one is willing to invest in learning about education theories, developing learning tools and techniques and improving collaboration with students. The government in UAE as well as the IVD has proven itself very willing to support the development of their students through education and professional development. Thus, it can also be assumed that if research on the educational and professional can be developed by teachers, then it can be given priority, developing the necessary support and resources to realize the full potential of courses. In conclusion, though the current TCEP is limited to developing research insights and initiating access of support systems for students, the potential of the program to improve classrooms and workshops can still be considered substantial, if not critical to improving future programs.

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