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In this world of rapid technological development and information explosion, the framework of education, being its purpose or nature, is compelled for changes in order to meet the challenges of the evolving society. As information is volatile, education should move towards a recurrent mode, where learners are empowered for life-long viability.
For the learners to be learning enabled and lifelong capable, along with backbone of knowledge, self directed knowledge acquisition, construction and self evaluation should be bargained. The traditional and inflexible way of teaching approach has only been passive and regulatory where the students did not have a holistic development , eventually impaired the students from being autonomy( Hung et al, 2006 ) .The focus of the education therefore should place more emphasis on the process of learning, rather than the product.
The paradigm shift from teacher centredness to learner centredness in the teaching and learning process will help in the fulfilling the aims of the education. The intergration of self directed active learning in the process will make learner be intrinsically motivated. (Tomlinson, 2001)
According to Curriculum Coporation Australia (1996), the subject Home Economics can assist in moulding the students' future by making them responsible citizens. It has also been pointed out that Home Economics embellishes the students with basic skills, knowledge and attitudes to become independent individuals which will contribute to the welfare of the society.
Small group cooperative learning has been highlighted for its contribution in developing the learner socially and personally. It has also been proven that with determined aims, intrinsic motivation can be developed in the learner. Jigsaw strategy is one such approach which involves cooperative learning and will ensure academic achievement with self confidence and interpersonal skills in the learner. (Barry and King, 1998)
1.2 Problem statement
Over the past few years in teaching, I have been constantly observing certain trend in students which eventually does not prove to be advantageous for the students and not even the educator. Home Economics consists of three main parts: Human Development and Health, Food and Nutrition and Design, Clothing and Textiles (NCF, 2009). Some of the students often encounter problems to understand as well as to communicate their ideas in order to explain a particular content. These problems are diagnosed when the test papers or classworks and homeworks are corrected or during oral presentation of a research work given.
Based on my teaching experience, I have noticed that some of the topics like Meal planning, wardrobe planning and some others in Home Economics at Form 3level are often dealt in a passive way where the students do not get enough time to assimilate the main concepts. There is not much interaction between the educator and students.
Often, in order to complete the scheme of work and to do revision works, some of the topics are often delivered in a traditional way. But I have noticed that if the teaching and learning is not taking place, then, even if revision is done, the students still lack confidence in attempting the revision questions and the reason is that the students have not developed the required understanding of the topic delivered.
Through traditional method of teaching, chalk and talk, I have noted very low participation on the part of students in the lesson. Some students even perceived some of the topics to be boring and uninteresting. The students, having different learning style, are not participating actively in the learning process, thus eventually are found to lag behind in the education system
The behavior of students among themselves has also greatly triggered me in the past few years. I got the opportunity to work in several schools, being private or state. Since I worked both my theory class and practical class in Food and Nutrition laboratory, therefore I have the possibility to observe the seating arrangement of the students, which is those of same ethnic group, will always be together.
1.3 Rationale and justification
According to Barry and King (1998), active participation is an important aspect in teaching and learning where teachers are advised to utilize a wide range of teaching approaches in the purpose to develop better comprehension, improved communication and critical thinking in the students.
Therefore, topics should be delivered in such a manner that at the very beginning, the students grasp the main points and develop understanding by being active learners instead of passive ones. Jigsaw strategy helps to increase the retention rate as the students are given greater opportunity to talk and they are able to interact in a lively way. (Aronson, 1990)
Consequently, by adopting learner centered strategy, the students will get a platform where they can be actively involved in the teaching and learning process and can also share their experience with their peers. Through lots of reading, I have decided to change strategy and adopt a learner centered strategy that is to implement Jigsaw strategy in the teaching of Home Economics topics to mixed ability students of Form III level.
Jigsaw strategy is a teaching approach which was developed by Aronson, Blaney, Stephan and Snaap (1978).The jigsaw technique is a cooperative learning technique where each group member's contribution is important for the completion and full understanding of the whole topic. The approach is about forming home groups in which each member is given a specific segment of the whole topic to prepare and develop knowledge on the topic. Each member of the home groups will get a different segment of the topic from the other members. The members of each group are given time to read over the segments, where afterwards they are directed to expert groups which comprise of one member from each home group, having the same segment of topic. These expert groups are given time to discuss the main points of their segment and to plan the delivery of the segment of the topic to their members of their home groups. After mastering the segment, each member of the expert group returns to the home group where each member, having an expertise in a specific segment of the topic, will explain to the other group members and eventually each home group will get a full understanding on the whole topic. To be sure that each student has understood the topic, an assessment will be carried out to evaluate the effectiveness of the jigsaw strategy.
Implementation of the Jigsaw strategy will help to a certain extent to address the problems enumerated above. Aiming at promoting the well being of the individual within one's environment, Home Economics curriculum fosters lots of competencies and amongst them are the communication skills, thinking skills, problem solving skills and ability to work in group. Therefore using Jigsaw strategy will further bring a contribution to meeting the aims of the Home Economics Curriculum.
Jigsaw strategy helps to develop understanding of a particular aspect of the topic which would not be difficult if the students would have tried to learn the topic on their own. Peer tutoring is encouraged in this technique as the students will have to learn corporately in the expert group and afterward present their findings to the other members of the home group. This strategy will disclose a student's own understanding of a concept as well as reveal any misunderstanding about a particular part of the topic. At this stage of learning, they will develop self confidence and self understanding and which would be of great help in lifelong learning.
The social and ethnic differences among the students will be addressed by this technique since the students will have to interact with several students in the home group and expert group. In this technique, each member is empowered to take charge of their own learning and is free to choose the way of delivery of the particular segment of the topic to the home group. Therefore students with different learning styles will learn and deliver in their own style.
Form 3 students have been chosen for the research, as they tend to be more mature. At this level, they are much more influenced by peers out of curiosity or interest, therefore the peer influence factor can help them to work successfully in groups and learn in a new way, later leading to an independent learner.
Hence this research will allow me to explore the implementation of the Jigsaw strategy in the learning process. The research will also help to measure the effectiveness of the Jigsaw strategy in engaging the students in an active manner and developing the social skills in order to cope with later challenges in life
1.4 Research questions
How can Jigsaw strategy help the Form III students to understand selected Home Economics topics?
To what extent are the students motivated when using the Jigsaw strategy?
To what extent do the students improve their social skills through Jigsaw strategy?
To investigate the effectiveness of Jigsaw Strategy in the teaching of Home Economics topics to mixed ability students at Form III Level.
The objectives targeted for the study are as follows:
Find out whether the Jigsaw Strategy improved students' understanding of the selected Home Economics topics.
Determine whether the Jigsaw strategy was effective in promoting social skills among students.
Suggest ways to facilitate the implementation of Jigsaw strategy in the class from both teacher's and students' perspectives.