Textbooks at the secondary level in pakistan
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Based on the methodological orientation, the data has been gathered by applying the mixed method approach: questionnaires (quantitative), interviews and textual analysis (qualitative). As the study deal with the sensitive issue of the alignment, the use of mixed method approach will help the researcher to produce quantifiable data and at the same time enable her to validate the research with qualitative data. To ensure the suitability and to counter any difficulties involved in data collection tools, a pilot study has been carried out. Using SPSS a reliability test, Cronbach's alpha test was applied. The cronbach's alpha for the pilot study were 0.92. During the pilot study, on the recommendation of experts and further consideration the four point likert scale for two questionnaires was changed to five points.
So far, the researcher has completed the collection of empirical data in Pakistan. The process of the collection of data had been quite enlightening for the researcher. The response from the teachers at secondary SSC and higher secondary HSSC had been quite encouraging. The collection of data took five months, due to the security situation in Pakistan. The researcher had to go through a process of security checks at almost every school and college. However, she accomplished her target and collected the data from English teachers at SSC and HSSC level. The researcher has also done the content analysis of the textbook. Different themes emerged in the analysis of the textbooks. This analysis is subjective in nature and shows the clear stand point of the researcher. In the later stage of the analysis, the findings of the content analysis will be incorporated with findings of questionnaires and interviews to make the whole scenario clear.
A detailed time line has been set out to show, what has been done and what has to be done in the researcher's pursuits towards a PhD.
Signed by Candidate Print Name Saira Farooq Shah Date
Transfer Document Report
An Inquiry into the Alignment between the 'Pillars of Quality' (Aly, 2007:17). i.e. Curriculum and Textbooks used to teach English Language at the Secondary level in Pakistan.
The focus of this research is, to examine the alignment between the English Language Textbooks and the proscribed curriculum at the secondary level in Pakistan. Accordingly, the research has several related aims;
To explore the process by which the English Language Curriculum is implemented at secondary level in Pakistan.
To critically review English Language textbooks used at secondary level in Pakistan in order to uncover their strengths and weaknesses in terms of meeting the aims of the curriculum.
To analyse the English Language textbooks to assess the inclusion of the ethical and social development (or social cohesion) explicit in the national curriculum of Pakistan.
To make a contribution to the existing body of research into the alignment of curriculum delivery methods (textbooks) and the curriculum aims.
Language Educational Policy in Pakistan:
English has acquired the status of the universal language in the recent years. The importance of English is being emphasized in different newspapers and books by various authors. Crystal (2003, p.1) rightly points out ,
" From Bengal to Belize and Las Vegas to Lahore, the language of the scepted isle is rapidly becoming the first global lingua franca. "
Economic and social well being, advancement in science and technology has made people dependent on English around the world. Crystal (2003, Pg.30) reveals the fact in the following words,
"English has penetrated deeply into the international domains of political life, business, safety, communication, entertainment, the media and education."
Another point of view has described English as a "Trojan horse" (Cooke, 1988 cited in Pennycook, 1995 p.39). This reflects that when English is used as a lingua franca the language user start to think in the manner positioned by that language and they are hooked on that culture and perhaps change their original views. The use of this metaphor implies that the perceptions and culture of English take root in the environment and acculturation takes place. Another comment on the status of English as a lingua franca comes from Phillipson(2001). According to him,
"English being referred to as lingua franca conceal the fact that the use of English serves the interest of much better than others. The concept includes some and excludes some"(p.188)
The notion was asserted by Pennycook (1995) that English is the
"gate keeper to the positions of prestige in society"(p.40).
An important question which arises is that of, for whom English is serving as a gate keeper. Phillipson (2001) explained this in that the English speaking Population which is 10-20% of the world's population consumes 80% of the resources and is getting richer, whereas, the rest are impoverished. Bearing this standpoint in mind, the place of English in the context of Pakistan is important to analyse. The analysis can give a clear picture about the use of English and the benefits derived from its expansion.
The role of English in Pakistan is to be studied in the light of the fact that English has spread a world language and also as a lingua franca beyond as, "any lingua franca of the past" (Wright, 2004 p.136). English is seen as a means of attaining modernisation, of the nation as a whole (Rahman, 2002; Haque, 1993; Shamim, 2007). In Pakistan, improving the competency in English is seen as part of improving the standard of education as a whole (Shamim, 2008). Since independence, Pakistan has seen many changes in the language policies during the initial years Urdu was approved as a medium of instruction but English was not replaced by Urdu in the private schools. As a result, two different systems of education took firm roots in Pakistan resulting in creating a division in the people as asserted by Shamim (2008) that, this strengthened,
"the British Education policy of two streams of Education, English- and Urdu- medium continued with the same aims, that is, to create two classes of people- the ruling elite and the masses" ( Shamim, 2008 p.238).
The Minister of Education, Zubaida Jalal in 2004 emphasized the need for teaching English as
"an urgent public requirement" (Jalal, 2004 p.25).
This need was expressed with the
"aim to provide literacy in English to the masses for levelling social inequalities" (Shamim, 2008 p.239).
This inclination of the government was also manifested in the revised white paper on education:
"English should be made a compulsory subject, starting from class I, in all public schools. Such compulsory education of English should only start after suitably qualified teachers for English language are available to staff positions in all primary schools of the country to ensure that the benefit is assured to all the citizens and not just the elite" (Aly, 2007 p.54).
The recent educational policy presented in August 2009, also lays stress on the provision of opportunities for all to learn English in the following words,
"Develop a comprehensive plan of action for implementing the English language policy in the shortest possible time, paying particular attention to disadvantaged groups and lagging behind regions" (MoE, 2009 p.27).
The policy has taken onboard the recommendation of the white paper mentioned above and the policy provision is to use English as a medium of instruction for teaching Sciences and Mathematics from Grade 6 in all the public sector institutions.
English has been used by the elite class in Pakistan as, in Pennycook's terms
"the gate keeper to positions of prestige" (Pennycook, 1995 p.55) (i am using it again to show the implications of it in the scenario in pakistan)you used this quote above
The concept of inclusion and equity in the new education policy is suppose to spread the benefits of English language to the masses so that they can also compete with the elite class for the positions and high ranks and take part in the development of the country. The discussion above shows that the governments of Pakistan have been introducing the policy of spreading the benefits of English to masses. The following section throws light on the governmental efforts and commitment to promote education.
Education and Political commitment:
Education performs a vital role in nation building. The attention paid to the education sector by any government shows the level of commitment of that government to its people. Pakistan is a developing country and education is one of the many challenges the government of Pakistan faces. The Constitution of Pakistan has placed the responsibility of basic education on the state as this obligation is reflected in the Principles of Policy in Article 37, (GoP, 1973). Despite constitutional and policy commitments to promote literacy and education, for most of the past six decades, budget allocation for education and public spending have been very nominal. Educational funding by the Government of Pakistan has not increased from an average of 2% of GNP over the past ten years while the recommended allocation for developing countries is about 4 %(GoP, 2008 p.157). The economic survey states the reason for allocating less budget in the following words.
"It is on the lower side in accordance to its requirement given the importance of the sector but seems appropriate in terms of current financial situation of the economy"(GoP, 2008 p.157)
The outcome of this situation is that the,
"Enrolment in government schools continues to fall due to out-dated curriculum and text books, damaged buildings and absent teachers" (Qureshi,2003 p.22).
Literacy rate has been improving even though at a very slow pace, a little over 0.7 percent per annum over the last decade with considerable urban-rural and provincial differences. Of the over 163 million population, over 72 million are illiterate, 31% males and 56% females (GoP,2008). the economic survey of Pakistan 2008-09 says,
"According to Pakistan Social and Living Measurement (PSLM) Survey (2007-08), the overall literacy rate (age 10 years and above) is 56% (69% for male and 44% for female) in 2007-08 compared to 55% (67% for male and 42% for female) in 2006-07. Literacy remains higher in urban areas (71%) than in rural areas (49%) and more in men (69%) compared to women (44%)." (p.158)
If we add the 69% male and 44% female they give the total of 113 which should be 100 so is the case with rest of the figures. This shows a wide discrimination in the gender wise ratio of education. As stated in the RD1PA different policies and plans were made to address the issues of education and literacy in Pakistan. The brief summary of the plans and policies is as below.
The Governmental Policies: A Glance.
Policies and Plans
Important Issues Addressed
National Conference on Education Dec, 1947
Qualitative and quantitative expansion of education (AIOU.2007).
Commission of national Education 1959
Teaching of National Languages (GoP, 1959).
The National Education Policy 1970
Organization of curriculum committees and encouraging private publishers to publish textbooks (AIOU.2007).
The National Education Policy 1979
Revision of entire curricula with the reorganization of the textbook boards to ensure quality textbooks in time availability of the textbooks and the reasonable prices (AIOU.2007).
The National Education Policy 1992
Introduction of national ideology and social values (AIOU.2007).
The National Education Policy 1998-2010
Make Learning Rewarding and attractive. The introduction of Competitive textbooks (GoP, 1998).
The National Education Policy 2009
Objective driven and outcome based Curriculum, introduce competitive textbooks, launch a review process for textbook approval by the textbook boards, promote national cohesion by respecting each others faith and religion and cultural and ethnic diversity ,provide minorities with adequate facilities for their cultural and religious development, enabling them to participate effectively in the overall national effort.(MOE,2009 )
It is clearly evident that the focus of educational policies has remained the curriculum as delivered by the textbooks. Different provisions were made in all the policies to make the use of textbooks effective. A White Paper was published by the Ministry of Education in Feb, 2007 (written by Aly)in the situational analysis it was clearly stated that ,
"Textbook development appears to be the only activity flowing from curriculum even the assessments are based on these textbooks. (Aly, 2007 p.17)"
Especially in the developing countries, the textbooks are considered as the sole source of information to accomplish objectives and aims of curriculum. For the majority of the educators the textbooks are the only authentic material to rely on, while the students are laden with a big bag full of textbooks approved by the government to study.
To cite Altbach & Kelly (1988),
"Texts constitute the base of school knowledge, particularly in Third World countries where there is a chronic shortage of qualified teachers." (p.3)
An important development in the new educational policy of 2009(MOE, 2009) is the concept of inclusion and equity which were not emphasized in any previous policy. Deliberate efforts to mould the minds of youth through education especially through textbooks, started in early 1980 in Pakistan with the political agenda of Zia-Ul-Haq in the name of Islamization of the state (Nayyar, 2003). The insensitivity towards other faiths not only causes unrest and a sense of inferiority among the students belonging to other religions but also in the Muslim students belonging to other sects. Agitation was seen between 2000-2005, in the Northern Areas of Pakistan which are Shia (a religious sect in Islam) dominated. The 'textbook controversy' took hundred lives and constant curfew paralyzed the whole area. The Shia Muslims were not ready to accept the books written by Sunni (a religious sect in Islam) Scholars as they only depicted one perspective of Islam i.e. the Sunni Islam (Ali, 2008). Insensitivity and discrimination promoted in textbooks has also been observed in other countries. In Indonesia, for example, textbooks on the English Language give a single picture of the Javanese (a special group in Indonesia). The textbooks for Dalits in India and Buraku in Japan also tell the same stories of insensitivities towards the minorities (Plantilla, 2005).
The textbooks of Pakistan according to Nayyar (2003) only highlights the Muslim figures, rituals, doctrines and values irrespective of the rest of the population. Masood & Usmani (2007) in their report on textbooks in Pakistan explored that the content of the textbooks is discriminatory and in their words it results to,
"make Muslims feel superior tear at the very fabric of society we need to build and preserve, rather than destroy."
The current English curriculum for secondary school level in Pakistan (2006) says that,
"All students will develop ethical and social attributes and values relevant in a multicultural, civilized society...embedded in the chosen themes and topics of the reading texts" (MOE, 2006p. 119).
Curriculum Formulation and the use of Textbooks:
The curriculum for grades 1-12 is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education curriculum wing, Islamabad. In each province there is a curriculum Bureau or Curriculum Research and Development Centre (CRDC) that provides academic support to the ministry of Education Islamabad. Curriculum formulation is a lengthy process, as the ministry has to take expert opinions from all regions of the country. The curriculum draft is finalized by national Curriculum Review Committee, Islamabad. Thus uniform curriculum of each subject is followed all over the country.
The process above indicates complete governmental control and is thus influenced by the politics. Watson and Aubusson 1999 (cited in Halali,et.al. 2007) studied curriculum implementation in Pakistan and found that there has been authoritarian system in the curriculum and development process. Curriculum development is an ideologically motivated practice in Pakistan, which often results in heated political debates in the country (Nayyar & Salim, 2003) for instance, In 2003, when major curriculum changes from the ministry of education were introduced by the Ministry of Education, Islamabad Pakistan. The religious parties were up in arms, for example, they were against the removal of the Quranic references from Biology textbooks (Sarwar, 2004). The conference on, "Protecting Ideology of Pakistan" clearly warned the government against the implementation of 'US Agenda' by changing the curricula (PPI, 2004). Few changes made in English textbook class 10 were also deleted as it caused unrest among the people. The republication of these textbooks cost the govt at least one billion Rupees (Gillani, 2004).
Subsequently, the developed national curriculum is implemented by the provincial governments. The Textbook Boards established in the country, develop textbooks which follow the national curriculum. All the state schools in the country are expected to use textbooks which are according to the national curriculum and which have been developed by the respective Textbook Boards. The textbooks printed are submitted to the Curriculum Wing of the Federal Ministry of Education which make sure that the textbooks are aligned with the national curriculum. However, in the education policy1998-2010 as well as the education policy 2009, the concept of competitive textbooks has been emphasized (MOE, 1998; MOE, 2009).
Textbooks are the most important element in any attempt of the educational reform in Pakistan because,
"textbooks are the sole reading material that the students will have access to and which the teachers will use as an instructional resource.(Halali. et.al. 2007)"
Textbook are at the heart of educational enterprise as they offer students, "a rich array of new potentially interesting facts and open the door to a world of fantastic experience" (Chambliss & Calfee 1998, p.7). The dominance of textbooks, especially in the context of developing countries has been reiterated and highlighted by various writers. Maxwell, 1985 for example identifies their role as the organizing centres for instructional programme and as the most dominant element in classrooms aside from teachers, students and physical space. (Cited in Mohammad & Kumari 2007, p.3)
The organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Bank and UNESCO also recognize the central importance and role of textbooks in the context of developing countries. The World Bank for example suggests that reforms be initiated in relation to textbooks in developing countries; textbooks being , "a critical part of education as necessary as classroom itself, as indispensable as the classroom teacher."(DeGuzman, 2000 cited in Oakes & Saunders, 2004)
The research in the area of education in Pakistan by Mohammed (1994; cited in Mohammad & Kumari, 2007) indicated that teachers mostly teach to textbook content. He also considered such an approach typically resulting in poor academic performance of Pakistani students However, Fuller & Clark (1994; cited in Oakes & Saunders, 2004) identified a positive link between student achievement and the role of textbooks.
To summarize the discussion on the system and policy of education in Pakistan. English is considered very important and the Govt of Pakistan through the language policy wants to transfer the benefits of English to masses, so that they can also raise their standard of living by taking part in the activities which were previously only open to the elite. English is taught as a compulsory subject and in the state owned and many private schools government approved textbooks are used as the students have to appear in the examinations administered by the 26 boards of intermediate and secondary education and these boards follow the national curriculum. So, a majority of the population of Pakistan study the curriculum and textbooks approved by the Ministry of Education. Therefore, by studying the role of the textbook and its alignment with the national curriculum it is intended to scrutinize (or highlight) that how the objectives of the curriculum are materialized through the medium of textbooks.
Considering the above context, it is clearly evident that the focus of educational policies in Pakistan has remained the curriculum and the textbooks. Different provisions were made in all the policies to make the use of textbooks effective. A White Paper was published by the Ministry of Education in Feb, 2007 where curriculum and textbooks were described as the, "pillars of quality" (Aly, 2007 p.17). Moreover, the new policy has also stressed the need to make English language accessible to the masses through the process of making English language compulsory and to promote social cohesion and inclusion of the deprived sector which has been excluded on the basis of religion, class or creed. As stated in the educational policy 2009,
"To promote national cohesion by respecting each others faith and religion and cultural and ethnic diversity." (MOE, 2009 p.17-18)
Therefore, it is important to see the alignment between the curriculum and the textbooks.
Alignment has several different interpretations in education. La Marca.et.al(2000) identify that the Webster Dictionary defines alignment as,
"to align "as "to bring into a straight line; to bring parts or components into proper coordination; to bring into agreement, close cooperation" (p.1)
In context of classroom teaching, alignment signifies the conformity between the teachers' objectives, classroom activities or learning experiences and the assessment. On a broader level, curricular alignment refers to the extent to which the curriculum across the different grades is constructed and is in conformity with what is learned in earlier grades (Tyler, 1949). Alignment, as described above looks at
"the degree to which expectations[i.e., standards] and assessments are in agreement and serve in conjunction with one another to guide the system toward students learning what they are expected to know to do" (Webb, 1997 p.4).
Ideally, students' assessment should be derived from what is expected of them as mentioned in the curricula, as well as from what is being taught to them by their teachers. Even though, not everything from the curricula can be assessed, alignment research can throw light on the degree of curriculum covered in assessments. The theory which forms the basis of the alignment research is that a reliable message from all parts of the educational setup i.e. the curriculum (state standards) content taught and assessment will end up in methodical, standard-based reform (Smith & O'Day, 1991). This type of consistent message has been explained by Porter (2002) in the following words:
"An instructional system is to be driven by content standards, which are translated into assessments, curriculum materials, and professional development, which are all, in turn, tightly aligned to the content standards. The hypothesis is that a coherent message of desired content will influence teachers' decisions about what to teach, and teachers' decisions, in turn, will translate into their instructional practice and ultimately into student learning of the desired content." (p.5)
So, alignment research can demonstrate the link between assessment, curriculum and the learning experience, also referred to as instruction. If all the components are aligned or are delivering a consistent message about teaching and testing, it will have a positive result on student achievement. There has been very little research done on the implication of the alignment research in the classroom setting (Roach. et.al. 2008). Adding to the scenario, it is significant to mention that , all the alignment research has been conducted in the context of developed countries and their policies, for example, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation, bound the states in the USA to illustrate the alignment between the testing tools and the state standards (Johnson, 2005; Leffler et.al. 2005). An alignment study in the context of a developing country has the potential to help the stake holders that are policy makers, textbook writers, teachers and the assessment developers to refine the curriculum textbooks and assessment to help and support each other in the drive for better student achievement.
Many definitions of curriculum have been provided by different educationists, a few educationists define curriculum as the activities planned by the school (J.F Kerr, 1968; Saylor and Alexander 1954). There are others which find this definition incomplete and they point out an important aspect of 'hidden curriculum' (Kelly, 2004; Bernett, 1977 cited in AIOU Pakistan, 2007). Taylor, 1949; Taba Hilda, 1962; Wheeler, 1971; Walker, 1971; Skilbeck, 1976 all gave different models to define and construct curriculum.
After going through different views of curriculum it is obvious that there is no one comprehensive definition of curriculum and to search for one might not be worthwhile. As noted by Pinar.et.al (1995, p26),
"the multiplication of definitions is not an urgent problem to be solved. It is rather, a state of affairs to be acknowledged. In the field comprised of various and autonomous discourses, it is inevitable."(Cited in Colin J Marsh 1999, p.119)
Jackson (1992) holds the opinion that definitional shifts are evident over past decades. Thus, it might be argued that these shifts represent 'conceptual progresses' in the words of Tanner and Tanner. (1980, p.41) While defining the curriculum in Pakistan the objective approach is followed. The following flow chart from the curriculum document explains the process (See MOE, National Curriculum, 2006, p.3).
Identifying competencies & selecting competencies
Developing Learning Standards
Defining benchmarks at developmental level
Student learning outcomes at each grade levelNational Curriculum for English Language grades 1-12
Education in many countries is going through reforms in the curriculum. For example, India (Srivastava, 2005) In many countries when curriculum reforms are in process the most influenced sector is the textbook. For example, In Malaysia the Curriculum development Centre revised the English curriculum in 2002 and textbooks according to the new curriculum were published in 2003(Mustapha,2008). In Pakistan, the textbooks are,
"the widely used tool for curriculum interpretation and implementation (Mahmood.et.al, 2009 p.1)".
This has been asserted by Nemati 2009 in the following words,
"One way to amend and improve a curriculum is to improve the textbooks and the materials employed in the program. (Nemati 2009, p 98)"
Textbooks play a central role in the interpretation of the curriculum as they are the primary realization of the syllabus that the teacher uses. The use of textbooks to teach English remains strong. Garinger(2002),explains this in the following words.
"Even with the development of new technologies that allow for higher quality teacher-generated material, demand for textbooks continues to grow" (p, 1).
Textbooks have a huge control over what is being taught at the school level. Teachers depend on the textbooks to impart the fundamental concepts of the content. To cite John,
"a majority of teachers use textbooks as their principal curriculum guide and source of lessons(2001, p.32)".
Textbooks in Pakistan are the core source of information on a particular field of knowledge, they are also designed to reflect the values and aims of the nation. They are made to teach what the administration or the government want pupils to study. It can also be interpreted in the following words that the textbooks,
"tell children what their elders want them to know (Kalmus, 2004, p.13)".
There has been a difference between the situations in the developed and developing countries. In some countries the textbooks are only used as resource material and the teachers are provided with other resources to compliment the textbooks, for example in the Canadian education system
"â€¦â€¦a textbook is always accompanied by other materials such as, CD's cassettes, tests and a teacher's guide. (Fredriksson & Olsson, 2006 p.10)".
Contrary to this, the situation in the developing countries is entirely different. Policy recommendations of the World bank for the developing countries stresses the supply of the textbooks
" (with a) student-textbook ratio of at least 2:1 for each subject taught... countries should focus on providing their school with good (pedagogically sound, culturally relevant, and physically durable) textbooks and on encouraging teachers to use them. (Lockheed & Verspoor, 1991, p.57 cited in Crossley & Murby, 1994 html doc no page specified )"
In the context of Pakistan the situation has not changed over the past two decades, despite global developments in web based materials. The government of Pakistan in the green paper published in 2006 state the situation that,
"the textbook is the only available learning material in most schools. Additional materials like teaching aids, supplementary reading materials and school libraries are virtually non-existent (p.2)".
In Pakistan, the textbooks are developed in the light of national curriculum and are evaluated afterwards to see the alignment between the textbooks and the curriculum. The evaluation of the textbook is one of the most important tasks of the curriculum wing. The curriculum wing of the Ministry of Education is authorized to approve or withdraw any textual material for the classes up to XII (GoP, 1976). An approved textbook turns into the curriculum in the class room (Lame, 1991). Skierso (1991) found that,
" most of teachers tend to follow the text's sequence, methodology, pacing and vocabulary to the letter" (p.432).
In Pakistan research in the field of education has thrown light on the different issues Chughtai (1990), Mansoor (1993) and Shirani (1995) showed that researchers in the English language learning have not explored the role of English language textbooks as the main tool in the delivery of curriculum. Their main focus has been on other areas for example, the overcrowded class rooms, orthodox teaching methods and the competency of English language teachers. As stated above, textbooks serve as a centre of educational quality and reform. Abbas (1993) reported on several attempts that have been made to update Pakistani textbooks, what is missing is study of the interaction between textbooks and how teachers make use of this resource. Further studies by Bano (2005) concluded that since teachers do not have access to national curriculum documents, provided only to textbook writers for their guidance, it is imperative that textbook writers ensure that the textbook reflects the aims and objectives of the national curriculum.
After the whole discussion about the importance of textbooks in meeting the curriculum aims in the context of Pakistan, a study of alignment becomes imperative. The researcher has been investigating the alignment of the curriculum and the textbooks by approaching the teachers who are stake holders and user of the textbooks of English at the secondary level.
It is the endeavour of this study to unfold the role textbooks play in delivering the English language curriculum at the secondary school level in Pakistan, to get some understanding of how effective the textbooks are as well as to assess how well the textbooks deliver the curriculum. This aim, it is believed, can be achieved through exploring relevant issues of the alignment of textbooks with the curriculum and their suitability to achieve the objectives of teaching English at secondary school level in Pakistan, as they are perceived in the field by the 'beneficiaries' or 'stakeholders' that are the programme designers, English teachers at secondary level, English teachers at higher secondary level and students. As such, data will be gathered, analysed and reported in a combination of two methodological orientations: qualitative and quantitative.
Educational research literature crafts a methodological division between these two approaches; hence there has often been a trend to see them as contra paradigms. These two paradigms have different academic and epistemological roots. Quantitative methods are based on positivist tradition. The "quantitative purists" (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004 p.14) believe that the social sciences should be treated in the same way as the physical sciences. The purists also emphasise that the inquiry should be objective. It means to reach at time and context free generalizations so that the results of research in the field sciences is applicable in different situations at different times making it valid and reliable.. The significance of quantitative approach for the educational researchers is described by Johnson & Onwuegbuzie (2004) in the following words,
"According to this school of thought, educational researchers should eliminate their biases, remain emotionally detached and uninvolved with the objects of study, and test or empirically justify their stated hypotheses."(p.14)
In contrast, the roots of qualitative approaches are positioned in anthropology and interpretive traditions, with their stress on the investigation of meaning and culture (May, 1993; Cohen and Manion, 1994). The advocates of the qualitative paradigm argue that realities are multiple-constructed and that time and context free generalizations are neither sought-after nor achievable. This stance holds the view point that research is value-bound. Guba (1990) asserts that logic flows from specific to general and that knower cannot be separated from the known because the subjective knower is the source of reality. However, Hammersley (2008) has argued that the supporters of qualitative research have not been able to answer the three objections raised by the qualitative researchers about documenting the differences that can be measured, failure in countering the competing explanation through the use of statistics and failing to give generalizable results. He also adds that,
"qualitative researchers have discounted quantitative criticisms as based on an inappropriate or false paradigm, but they have not developed an effective consensus about the philosophical underpinning of their work." (p.35)
The supporters of both the paradigms see their view point as ideal and they advocate the incompatibility thesis (Howe, 1988). Guba (1990) who is a qualitative purist took a very clear position when he asserted that,
"Accommodation between paradigms is impossible ... we are led to vastly diverse, disparate, and totally antithetical ends" (Guba, 1990, p. 81).
The disagreement between the two paradigms in relation to their epistemological debate, however, has illuminated significantly the respective strengths and weaknesses of the two approaches. Moreover, educational researchers have begun to realize that educational practices are dependent on the cultural and social framework in which they function. And that they are not neutral to educational policies. Subsequently, it is now broadly recognized that no one research paradigm can answer all the questions which crop up in educational research and, instead, there is an inclination mainly in academic research, to merge qualitative and quantitative methods (see Bryman, 1998). Exploration of an educational phenomenon needs a blend of methods to produce rich and perceptive outcomes. Johnson & Onwuegbuzie (2004) also promote methodological pluralism to carry out effective research; every method of research has certain limitations the use of mixed methods can help in balancing the negative aspects of one another. As Foster (1996) has pointed that,
"The rich, detailed, meaning centred accounts produced by qualitative methods must be supplemented by information on frequency, duration, and intensity produced by quantitative methods, and vice versa" (P.9).
This trend of blending qualitative and quantitative methodologies gave rise to a third paradigm 'mixed-methods research'. According to Johnson et al. (2007) mixed research can be positioned between the extremes of qualitative and quantitative research. The concept of mixing methods was introduced by Campbell and Fiske in 1959 to study psychological traits (Johnson et al. 2007; Cresswell, 2003). Mixed-methods research is positioned in pragmatic philosophy. By positioning in the pragmatism the mixed method research,
"attempts to fit together the insights provided by qualitative and quantitative research into a workable solution." (Johnson and Onwuegbuzie, 2004 p.16).
Taking a pragmatic or pluralist stance will help to enhance communication among researchers from other paradigms as they endeavour to advance knowledge (Maxcy, 2003; Watson, 1990). Pragmatism evolves from the work of Peirce, James, Mead and Dewey (Cherryholmes, 1992). Knowledge in pragmatic sense crops up from actions, circumstances and consequences not from the precursor conditions. The main concern is the solution to problems. Rather than giving importance to methods, the problem is considered important and researchers can use any approach to comprehend the problem. As a philosophical advocates for mixed methods research, Patton (1990) and Tasskkori and Teddlie (1998) emphasize to focus on the research problem in social science research and use pluralistic approaches to draw knowledge about the problem. The following table adapted from Cresswell (2003 p.12) shows pragmatism's claims and its implications for mixed-methods research.
Table: Pragmatism and Mixed-methods Research
No one system of philosophy and reality
Engage in both qualitative and quantitative methods in research.
World is not an absolute unity
Use many approaches to collect and analyze data.
Truth is what works at the time
Use of qualitative and quantitative data for comprehension of problem.
Therefore, we can say that mixed-methods research is a third research paradigm which legitimizes "the use of multiple approaches in answering research questions, rather than restricting or constraining researchers' choices" (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie,2004 p.17). The researchers who use a pluralistic approach and use both qualitative and quantitative methods in their research have an advantage of integrating the potentials of quantitative and qualitative methods.
In the context of this particular study, the implementation of both qualitative and quantitative methods is important because quantitative research readily enables the researcher to set up relationship amongst variables. Qualitative study can, in this matter, help to explain the factors determining the broad relationships that are developed. Based on the methodological orientations, the data will be collected by mixed methods approach: questionnaire, interview, textual analysis. As this study deals with the sensitive issue of the alignment of the textbooks with the national curriculum at secondary school level in Pakistan, the researcher cannot rely on a single method to study the suitability of the prescribed English textbooks. The use of a mixed method approach will help the researcher to produce quantifiable data and at the same time enable her to validate the research with the qualitative data. For example, one of the sections of the questionnaire (quantitative tool) asks the opinion of the teachers at secondary level in Pakistan about the inclusive and ethical considerations mentioned in the curriculum and their explicitness in the textbooks. The data collected about this aspect of the study will be cross checked by the content analysis (qualitative tool) of the textbooks done by the researcher. Moreover, the interviews (qualitative tool) from the experts in curriculum design will also help to explore this one aspect of the inquiry. So, the use of mixed methods will be helpful as it will help to explore the research from every angle and will allow the researcher to validate and triangulate the findings from different sources.
The work completed to date:
Piloting: improving the validity and reliability of the instruments
Every research faces potential difficulties involved in data collection tools, to counter these issues researchers regard pilot study an important part in the process of research. Borg and Gall (1983) view piloting as an initial trial of research instruments and techniques in the progress of a sound research plan: along with helping to try-out the instrument, it gives the researcher supplementary knowledge that guides to improved research and can help to maintain the validity and reliability of data collection tools.
Seliger and Shohamy (1989) consider that two types of information are collected during the pilot study.
"One relates to practical aspects of administering the data collection tool, such as the time required to administer the instrument, and the clarity of the instructions. The other relates to the reliability and validity of the instrument" (p. 195).
Bryman (2004) also holds the opinion that piloting helps to ensure the workability of a research instrument. Thus, the information obtained provides the researcher with the opportunity to discover if the questions are producing the type of data required and, where essential, to amend or to remove any questions which may be vague or bewildering to the informant.
The piloting for this study was carried out at three different cities. Three different questionnaires were tested. The questionnaires for English teachers at SSC and HSSC level in Pakistan were tested in the schools and colleges. 10 questionnaires for each category were administered and collected. Using SPSS Cronbach's alpha test was applied on the collected data. Cronbach's alpha is used to check the internal reliability. According to Pallant (2007) the figure above 0.7 is acceptable but 0.8 is preferable. The Cronbach's alpha for the pilot of this study were 0.92. This showed high reliability. During the pilot study the researcher met experts on the recommendation of her supervisor, the expert in statistics highly recommend to change the four point scale to five point scale. After this recommendation the researcher looked in the literature. The literature on the issue of advocating five point scales instead of four point scale is very limited. Edwards (1946) analysed the neutral scale and commented that the neutral zone appears to be ambiguous. He further argued that,
"'neutral' items may also express attitudes of 'indifference' and attitudes of 'ambivalence'" (p.168). "
Komorita (1963) in his study has come to conclusion that the choice of the number of scale is content specific. There are some studies which deal with the issue of inclusion of mid-point category in the rating scale. Matell and Jacoby (1972) in their study either recommend avoid using the neutral category or to use it with many categories in the rating scales. They comment that,
"the decision would seem to depend on the level of 'uncertain' responses one is willing to tolerate" (Matell & Jacoby,1972 p.508).
Whereas, Worcester and Burns (1975) in their study used a four point balanced scale without a neutral. They reached a conclusion that a four point scale without a neutral point pushes the respondents towards the positive end of the scale. Garland (1991) in his research found that 'social desirability bias' can be reduced by eliminating the neutral point of the rating scale. He further commented that,
"the presence or absence of a mid-point on an important scale produces distortions in the results obtained" (p.66).
Hence, the literature on this topic tend to support the researcher's initial decision of using four point scale but further discussion with the experts in social sciences and Education the issue of ethical consideration emerged. There might be some respondents who really feel neutral ambivalent, undecided, or unconcerned about some particular issue, then a mid-point seems (from a realist perspective) to be an important thing to maintain. (Edley,N 2009) It means that by omitting the neutral point one tends to exclude a significant number of respondents who have a different perspective. This is equivalent to imposing your choice on free will of people and demanding a certain response from them. Consequently the researcher made a decision to use five point rating scale instead of four point scale in her questionnaires for Hssc and Ssc English teachers. Whereas, being a discrete group the experts questionnaire was not changed and remained with four point scale.
The researcher has completed the collection of data and is busy in the analysis of the data collected in the field.
The process of the collection of data had been quite enlightening for the researcher. The response from the teachers at secondary SSC and higher secondary HSSC had been quite encouraging. The approachability and response from the experts proved quite a task and despite all the difficulties, the researcher managed to interview three experts who have been involved in the curriculum making process. Being quite a small group and dispersed throughout the country the researcher efforts to approach them did not succeed. One of the problems was the health and safety issue because it was not safe to travel to few places in Pakistan due to security reasons. However, the researcher tried to contact them via email and phones but did not get any positive response. The collection of data took five months, due to the security situation in Pakistan. The researcher had to go through a process of security checks at almost every school and college. However, she accomplished her target and collected the data from English teachers at SSC and HSSC level.
The researcher interviewed five different people who included two educationists who were not the curriculum experts but they had made valuable contribution towards the teaching of English and the inclusive aspect of education. Their opinion and views were very crucial for the research as their work sets a benchmark in the field of educational research in Pakistan. The process of interviews revealed that the English textbooks for the secondary level in Pakistan are not according to the curriculum of 2006, available on the website of the ministry of education Pakistan, but on the curriculum formulated before it in the year 2002. However, the implementation of the curricula says that the new textbooks for different subjects, "for classes I, VI, IX and XI by the start of the new academic session in the first phase" (Majeed, 2007 p.8). This aspect will be underlined in the discussion and the analysis section of the thesis.
The researcher has also done the content analysis of the textbook. The themes that emerged were the gender representation, cultural issues like nationalism, inclusion of the target culture, inclusion of social attributes, inclusion of religious diversity, authentic material in the textbook. The researcher also looked at the functional implications of the textbooks and has analyzed the activities and exercises, up-to-date material, inclusion of literary text and use of textual aids in the textbooks. This analysis is subjective in nature and shows the clear stand point of the researcher. In the later stage of the analysis, the findings of the content analysis will be incorporated with findings of questionnaires and interviews to make the whole scenario clear.
Contribution to Knowledge:
Through the whole activity of undertaking research, the researcher wants to contribute to the existing body of research on the alignment of the curriculum delivery method (Textbook) and the curriculum aims. Besides this, the researcher also wants to appraise the contribution of the English language textbooks have made in the inclusive education at the secondary level in Pakistan.
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