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The framework presented in Fig. 1 below, provides the backbone by which concepts of this study flow. The target respondents are the chemistry teachers of Sarangani Division. The study will assess their performance level and teaching competence in view of the following parameters: knowledge of the different chemistry content in a diagnostic test in relation to their self-assessment in the NCBTS-TSNA Toolkit under domain 4 - curriculum and their over-all teaching competence as described in all other domains of the NCBTS-TSNA Toolkit.
An intervention program by way of teachers' training shall be prepared by the researcher based on the identified least learned competencies and least scored items in the NCBTS-TSNA Toolkit, subject to the acceptability of the respondents. The proposed training program will enable chemistry teachers to eradicate or at least minimize some misconceptions in chemistry and gain better understanding of some difficult concepts in chemistry. Likewise, the proposed training program shall contain diverse teaching skills and strategies to address the needs of different types of learners.
B. Review of Related Literature
Related articles and findings from other studies are included herein to give the researcher insights thus, providing a stronger basis by which to pursue this investigation.
B.1 Repertoire of Knowledge and Skills for Effective Teaching
Khine, Lourdsamy, Lang and Wong (2005) state that enhancing knowledge of self as a teacher can be achieved through number of approaches as presented below:
Knowledge of Self
Knowledge is increasing rapidly. How adequately a teacher shows improvement is a measure of teaching quality. A teacher must invest in lifelong learning through trainings, skills development and personal upgrading. Mr. Goh Chok Tong (1998), former Prime Minister of Singapore said:
" We must make learning a national culture...We must set up comprehensive mechanisms to continually retrain our workforce and encourage every individual to engage in learning as a matter of necessity ... teachers and principals will constantly look out for new ideas and practices, and continually refresh their own knowledge. Teaching will itself be a learning profession like any other knowledge-based profession of the future".
Self-evaluation and re-evaluation with regards to a teacher's over-all growth and self-worth is an important tool in knowing oneself. Believing in one's value, talents and self-worth will earn self-esteem, which in turn enables a teacher to relate with others. A teacher must also periodically assess his/her own attitude which can affect his/her perceptions in relating with others. Peers and students assessment can also provide some objectivity to complement one's assessment of self.
The mentor-mentee scheme can help to enhance self. A mentor provides the lifeline to new teachers "tossed in tumultuous water" of an uncertain environment. Mentors provide non judgemental feedback and the "modelling effect".
Knowledge of processes
A teacher must be a reflective practitioner. In reflecting, the teacher look inwards to evaluate own teaching behaviour, discover new ideas and see how certain practices can translate into own teaching to improve performance. Knowledge on problem solving is also important as the school environment constantly presents problems to be solved. Knowing the problem solving process will generate alternative solutions. Research on the other hand, provides sound rationale to a range of options of the best teaching practices. The knowledge of search processes will connect the teacher to the most current materials to the best use of the learners.
Knowledge of Content
Content is essential and a dynamic knowledge. For a teacher to teach the subject well he or she needs to have an understanding of an extensive and updated knowledge, be able to anchor the knowledge with everyday application and be prepared to answer all kinds of questions relevant to what he or she teaches.
Delivery of the desired content and skills in science to the learners greatly depend on how much a particular science teacher have in store for them, e.g. educational background, major area of specialization, related trainings and teaching experience. Though, the set of desired learning competencies provide teachers with direction, it is broad in scope and can be interpreted in different ways depending on the teacher's background and experience. A teacher must have the right knowledge of the different contents and skills in the BEC competency before he/she can exactly translate it to the learners. The wide scope of science demands that teachers must possess the specific knowledge and skills of a particular branch of science and not from related background and experience. Physics, Chemistry and Biology teachers should not only be one page ahead of their students; however, they should be experts, because that is what the learners expect them to be.
Knowledge of Teaching Pedagogy
Teaching for better learning is about how to teach effectively. The process is associated with terms like, instructional strategies, teaching knowledge, teaching strategies, teaching methods, teaching principles or teaching models.
Teaching for thinking is a decision making process of making meanings. The thinking process is associated with the following terms: analytical thinking, analogical thinking, reflective thinking, critical thinking, creative thinking, inductive thinking and lateral thinking. Though, there are different terms for thinking but there is a common thread through them; it is a process with three components- operations, knowledge, and dispositions.
Knowledge of Students and Their learning Styles
An aspect of individuality crucial to pedagogical decisions is "learning styles" or preferences. It sets emphasis on how students learn and not on what they learn. Prior to teaching, the teacher must find out how students learn through interviews, casual interactions, students' personal profile and learning style diagnosis.
Lack of Qualified Chemistry Teachers
Science and Technology III (Chemistry), in the light of 2002 Basic Education Curriculum aims to help the Filipino learners' gain a functional understanding of scientific concepts and principles linked with real life situations and acquire scientific skills, attitudes, and values necessary to analyze and solve daily problems.
The objectives of the science program focus on conceptual understanding, acquisition of science processes or thinking skills, particularly critical and creative thinking skills and development of scientific values and attitudes. Thus, science teachers must equally posses the same conceptual understanding and competence because it is through them that the goals and objectives of the department education are being carried out. They are the ultimate means to realize the visions of education. Nevertheless, based on the latest study (DOST-SEI, 2005) and (DEPED, 2006) the numbers of teachers teaching science and mathematics with no background have exceeded the number of those with background by 14,153 (Ogena, Ester, 2006). This study shows too many unqualified science teachers in the department of education.
Thus, results of the National Diagnostic Test administered to high school students in 2002 and 2003 are no surprising. It shows that only 10% of students in science passed the competency level. Likewise the results of the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS, 2003) show that the national Mathematics and Science mean scores in 1999 and 2003 were very much lower than the international mean score (bottom 25% of students); and, one of the recommended solutions given by TIMSS was teacher training.
According to Ibe and Ogena (1998), teacher education does not attract the best or the highly intellectually capable high school graduates. It is the least expensive program that is accessible to the middle and low income families that desires higher education for their children. This generalization resulted from a study conducted by Ibe (1979), that more students from the lower 30 percentiles expressed preference for teacher education. This is because, education program especially for non science majors are least expensive and requires less laboratory fees. However, when they will join the teaching profession, these teachers will be forced to teach science when there is no available science teacher to teach the subject.
Proficiency in the English language is another learning barrier on the part of students as well as teachers. Science textbooks are written in English, class instructions are made in English, yet teachers maybe fluent English speakers but making use of the native accent. In 1925, one significant finding made by the Philippine Education System was that, Filipino children were two and a half years behind than American children in reading skills. This gap is simply understandable because, to the Americans English is their native language while for the Filipinos, it is their second language (Gonzales, 2004). English language is taught by Filipino teachers who as well are not spontaneous English speakers. Using correct American accent matters because the meaning of the word differs with how it is being pronounced.
Smithers and Robinsons (2005) said that rich countries like USA and Canada are also experiencing great difficulty in attracting their own race to get into chemistry and physics teaching. They also experience serious shortage of competent chemistry and physics teachers and because of this; they recruit teachers from the Philippines offering attractive salaries and other benefits; and who can refuse this very enticing offer? Hence, best teachers in chemistry and physics are going out of the country in seek for greener pasture.
What is the implication of all these reports to the educational system of the country? This leaves no choice for the department of education than to allow misfits to teach chemistry and physics especially in far flung areas.
The BEC Learning Competencies
The prescribed learning competencies present the set of desired learning goals particularly in chemistry by which teachers shall abide and structure their lessons accordingly. Chemistry is a broad subject and encompasses different areas of specializations. Below are two sets of competencies in Chemistry- BEC and the CEM competencies by which their diagnostic examination shall be based. Both competencies designed for high school chemistry are classified as General Chemistry. Thus, they include basic topics appropriate for the level of understanding of high school students that will prepare them for tertiary education.
BEC Learning Competency
The 2002 Basic Education Curriculum (BEC) of the Department of Education lays down the following desired learning goals:
Introduction to chemistry - learners are expected to appreciate the importance of chemistry, appreciate the achievements of Filipino and foreign chemists, appreciate and understand the use of different laboratory apparatus and demonstrate understanding on the mathematical concepts of chemistry.
Classifying Matter - the learners are expected to demonstrate skills in identifying chemical systems demonstrate understanding on the elements and compounds present in daily life and demonstrate knowledge of simple techniques in preparing, separating and purifying matter.
Solutions - students shall be able to understand the solution process and its relation to energy changes and molecular interaction, identify types of solutions, relate colligative properties of solutions, be able to solve problems in relation to concentration of solutions and relate solutions to the natural environment.
Colloids- Students are expected to demonstrate understanding on the properties and uses of colloids and its importance in daily life.
Gases- Learners shall demonstrate understanding on the properties and behaviour of gases in relation to different gas laws and equations, show problem solving skills using mathematical equations and relate gas laws and principles involved in some technologies.
Inside the Atom - this chapter speaks about the contributions of early scientists in the development of the atomic theory, demonstrate understanding on the structure of the atom and appreciate how these subatomic particles and radioactivity are used in technology particularly in medicine.
Order Among Elements - the learners are expected to demonstrate understanding of the properties of elements in relation to their positions or locations in the periodic table, and appreciate the importance of knowing the elements and how they are used in technology.
Ties That Chemically Bind - students shall be able to understand how atoms combine, identify the types of chemical bond and relate the properties and uses of compounds with the type of chemical bond.
Changes In Matter - appreciate the practical of phase/chemical changes, demonstrate understanding of the laws governing changes, and demonstrate the ability to use symbols, formulas and chemical equations in explaining chemical reactions.
Change, Energy and Time - demonstrate understanding of how chemical reactions occur and appreciate the importance of controlling rates of reactions in technology.
The CEM Learning Competencies
Â Â The competencies designed by the Center for Educational Measurement contains exactly the same in terms of content with the BEC version but in different arrangement. For chemistry, the following competencies are enumerated below:
Introduction to Chemistry: Demonstrates knowledge and understanding of concepts: discusses scientific method; determines number of significant figures; makes temperature conversions; enumerates safety precautions in the lab; distinguishes: substances/mixtures, homogeneous/heterogeneous systems, physical/chemical changes, exothermic/endothermic reactions, and heat/temperature.
Symbols, Formulas, and Equations: Demonstrates knowledge, understanding, and application of concepts: writes chemical symbols; balances chemical equations; translates verbal statements to chemical equations; uses mole concept to perform mole-mole, mass-mass calculations; solves problems involving molar mass/ percentage composition by weight/number of moles given the formula of a substance.
Phases of Matter: Demonstrates knowledge, understanding, and application of concepts: describes/compares the properties of the states of matter; states the Kinetic Molecular Theory, composition of the atmosphere, and the function of a calorimeter; solves problems involving the gas laws; describes the relationship between temperature and vapor pressure.
The Atom: Demonstrates knowledge, understanding, and application of concepts: observes electrical nature of matter; infers the basis of arrangement of elements in the periodic table; predicts the group number of elements using number of valence electrons; determines electronic configurations; interprets from a table the relationship between atomic mass and relative abundance of isotopes.
Chemical Bonding: Demonstrates knowledge, understanding, and application of concepts: states and explains formation of covalent, ionic, and metallic bonds; determines oxidation number of elements in a compound; relates molecular shape, polarity, intermolecular forces of attraction, and boiling points of molecules to each other.
Types of Chemical Reactions: Demonstrates knowledge and understanding of concepts: names/identifies four general types of chemical reactions; identifies reactants and products of a reaction; uses the activity series of elements to determine whether a single displacement reaction will proceed as written.
The Chemistry of Solutions: Demonstrates knowledge and understanding of the concepts: describes the nature/types of solutions; identifies solute and solvent; identifies saturated, unsaturated, and supersaturated solutions; calculates solution concentrations; defines/explains solubility and the factors affecting it; states colligative properties of solutions.
Chemical Kinetics and Chemical Equilibrium: Demonstrates knowledge and understanding of the concepts: defines kinetics and rates of chemical reactions, identifies and explains factors affecting rates of reactions; differentiates organic and inorganic catalysts; explains how a chemical reaction occurs; defines and explains chemical equilibrium and what a reversible reaction is.
Ions and Equilibrium: Acids and Bases: Demonstrates knowledge and understanding of concepts: defines and gives examples of acids and bases; explains how pH is related to the acidity of a solution; explains buffers and buffer solutions and describes functions and limitations of acid-base indicators.
Electrochemistry: Demonstrates knowledge, understanding, and application of concepts: explains oxidation and reduction reactions in terms of gain or loss of electrons; describes ways of preventing/controlling redox reactions; describes and explains electrolytic reactions and applies Faraday's Law of Electrolysis to determine states of metal/metal ions produced.
Carbon and Compounds: Demonstrates knowledge and understanding of basic concepts: identifies classes of organic compounds with their examples; describes biological processes for the body to use energy from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. (http://www.cem-inc.org.ph).
Comparing between two sets of competencies - BEC and CEM, both contains exactly the same topics as of the first seven competencies but the latter become more advanced in the next four topics. Nevertheless, a specialist chemistry teacher is expected to be more knowledgeable than his or her learners. These advanced chemistry content areas will provide background information for the teacher as he or she must understand the concepts well so that he or she can effectively impart these concepts to the learners.
B.2 National Competency-Based Teacher's Standard (NCBTS)
The National Competency-Based Teacher Standard (NCBTS) is an integrated theoretical framework that defines the different dimensions of effective teaching in all aspects of a teacher's professional life and in all phases of teacher development. This is an offshoot of the Basic Reform Agenda (BESRA) of the Department of Education, under Key Reform Thrust 2- Training and Development. BESRA, is a reform initiative of the department to provide basic competencies to everyone to achieve functional literacy for all Filipinos, in support to EFA which means, "Education For All"; a global movement led by UNESCO to attain functional literacy by 2015.
The NCBTS -TSNA Toolkit is a revised version of the NCBTS which will enable teachers to determine their strengths and weaknesses in relation to the set of standards that defines the general competence of a teacher. This toolkit is composed of 270 knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSA) items, under 80 indicators, 3 strands and seven NCBTS domains. Thus, the teacher will periodically assess his teaching performance thru this toolkit in order to continuously improve and raise his/her teaching competence towards standard. Least scored items in the toolkit shall also serve as basis of the Department of Education to include these items in their INSET. Thus, the following domains completely describe an effective and efficient teacher in the department of education, as follows:
Domain 1 - Social Regard for Learning
This is composed of two stands and five indicators of knowledge, skills and attitudes describing the teacher as role model to the learners. Thus the teacher demonstrates the following indicators: adherence to school policies and regulations, punctuality, appropriate appearance and behaviour.
Domain 2 - Learning Environment
This is consist of 5 strands and 17 indicators that describes the ability of the teacher to create a favorable physical and social environment where students are respected, regardless of gender, religion, socio-economic background, ethnicity, and where students are safe and learning is conducive given the physical environment. It also describes the ability of the teacher to create a social climate where students actively engage in learning activities without prejudice and fear.
Domain 3 - Diversity of Learners
This domain is described by the teacher's ability to determines, understands,
and accepts the learners' diverse background and experiences. This entails his or capability to select learning activities suited to the different types of learners.
Domain 4 - Curriculum
Domain 4 is focused on mastery of content and teaching pedagogy. Thus, the teacher is expected to deliver accurate and updated content knowledge to the learners with appropriate methodologies, approaches and strategies suited to the different types and intelligences of learners. The teacher is also viewed to posses' language literacy skills, communicating clearly to the understandable level of learners. Likewise, this also refers to the teacher's ability to create and use teaching materials particularly in the use of information and communication technology in teaching and learning.
Domain 5 - Planning, Assessing and Reporting
This domain measures the capacity of the teacher to develop and implement instructional plans, the use of a variety of appropriate assessment strategies to improve the teaching-learning process.
Domain 6 -Community Linkages
The teacher is able to make lessons and teaching-learning activities relevant to the experiences, values, and aspirations of the community. The teacher demonstrates involvement in community undertakings that promote learning.
Domain 7 - Personal Growth and Professional Development
This is the last domain which speaks about the dignity of the teaching profession and his or her professional growth and development. The teacher should uphold the dignity of the teaching profession by setting the highest standard of ethical and moral values and always seeks continuous improvement in his or her teaching career (NCBTS-TSNA Toolkit, Department of Education, TEDP, TWG).
B.3 Teaching Competence thru NCBTS and Performance thru Diagnostic Test
The National Competency-Based Teachers Standard (NCBTS) is the teacher's development guide towards personal and professional growth. It is a self-assessment guide that helps teachers identify their professional and training needs as well as their individual strengths in line with the seven domains of the National Competency-Based Teachers Standard (NCBTS) and as summarized in the Teacher Strengths and Needs (TSNA) Toolkit. This NCBTS-TSNA Toolkit is a modified version of the National Competency-Based Teacher's Standard initiated by Project BEAM which is more localized, comprehensible to the level of teachers, and most of all, quantitative. This modified toolkit is designed to help teachers determine their professional development and training needs. Nevertheless, the data derived from this toolkit shall not be used to rate them; rather, they will give accurate information about the teacher's competencies in the following domains and strands so that, appropriate interventions on the part of the teacher and the management shall be effected to help teachers in their professional growth and development.
Nonetheless, teachers may have the tendency to over rate themselves in some of the items because of man's innate tendency to "self-preservation" (Freud Sigmund, 1910). The term self-preservation in its simplest term describes both the set of behaviors by which individuals attempt to preserve their own existence and the physical processes that establish these behaviors. Hence, the tendency of not seeing their weaknesses can also be supported by the cognitive-psychological test created by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1995 in the United States. This is known as the "Johari Window". In this theory, it is said that there are blind spots in some areas of man's life that is not known to self but are known to others.
To sum it all, the NCBTS-TSNA toolkit may not be an effective tool towards teachers' personal and professional development if it is left alone to the teacher to see his or her own strengths and weaknesses. As most teachers tend to rate themselves maximum in terms of content and pedagogy, but their actual performance in an administered and standardized test will tell the truth about their content competency particularly for chemistry teachers in the division of Sarangani Province.
Thus, this study will be best achieved if results of the teachers' diagnostic test will be correlated with their NCBTS-TSNA scores especially in content and pedagogy.
B.4 Training Program
In-Service Trainings (INSET) are often given to teachers before the opening of classes to prepare teachers for the coming school year. However, most in-service trainings are done in mass, non subject specific but rather a combination of teaching strategies and managerial or supervisory approaches.
Thus, a good training program to answer specific problems re- chemistry content and pedagogy may cover the following areas:
Misconceptions in some difficult concepts are the most common error committed by non specialist chemistry teachers or if not, escaped by some.
Teaching pedagogy involves the strategies or methodologies of teaching and how teachers deliver the goods to the learners. Thus, some of the topics may include the following: questioning technique, test construction, and interactive learning activities.
The Art of Questioning
Effective teachers are able to conduct instruction that keeps students actively involved in the lesson. The best teachers are skilled in questioning, in helping students come to a clear understanding of the content, and in monitoring understanding (Cruickshank, Jenkins, Metcaff, 2006).
The most effective teachers establish and maintain highly interactive classrooms- classrooms characterized by student-student and teacher-student dialogue rather than simply, teacher talk (Feden, 1994; Lock and Priggue, 2002; Marzano, 2002).
Bellon, Bellon, and Black (1992) state that questioning is the instructional process that is central to verbal interaction in the classroom. The question teachers ask serve as the interface between teacher's expectations and students' response. This interface in interactive teaching is critical because it shifts the focus from the teacher to the students.
Effective questions require students to actively process information and compose an answer. Good questions increase students engagements, raise the level of thoughts, help students organize their thoughts, guide students more successfully through academic tasks and allow teacher to monitor understanding and provide feedback. In spite the obvious value of good questions, it appears that teachers seldom use questions as effectively as they could (Alexander, Jetton, & Kulikowich, 1994; Orstein and Lastery, 2000).
Most teachers' questioning patters includes giving information that unnecessary or confusing, posing more than one question at a time, or failing to specify the nature of the expected answer (Sigel, 1990; Traver, 1998).
Good and Brophy (2000) reviewed research on questioning and concluded that students learn more when teachers ask frequent questions and include a variety of questions in their lessons.
Wilen and Clegy (1986) also reported that teacher questioning is also related to increase achievements among students. Further, research on questioning suggests that teacher's use of higher order questions promotes higher order thinking skills.
Good and Effective Questions
If teachers want their questioning to be effective, they must be sure to phrase their questions clearly and concisely. Too often, teachers ask questions that are almost impossible for students to answer accurately.
Tayko and Sunga (2004) said that, for questions to be effective, clear questions use natural, unambiguous language appropriate to the level of students. They are also concise, including only the words, terms and information, students used in order to answer the question. They describe the specific points should attend to, but they do not include unnecessary words or parenthetical expressions. Finally, they are directed towards academic content, or the objectives of the lesson.
"Do you teach to the test?" This was the introduction made by an unknown author in the material, "Developing Higher level Teacher-Made Tests". The monitoring and evaluation group during the pilot implementation of the 2002 Basic Education Curriculum (BEC) found out that teachers were found, indeed, to "teach to the test", and the students "study to the test". This refers to how teachers constructed their test questions. The reports showed that questions like simple recall and recognition which are low level questions are still predominant. These are types of traditional tests that do not enhance the higher order thinking skills of students. Higher level questions like analysis, synthesis and evaluation are difficult to construct because it requires time and intelligence to construct the question logically. Multiple Choice, though it is among the traditional type of tests, is extremely versatile- can measure the higher metal processes. Nevertheless, constructing plausible alternatives is a difficult thing to do. BEC also urged teachers to use alternative forms of assessment like free response or open ended questions, group work, laboratory and field observations and many others.
The recent trends in assessment do not suggest the traditional assessment technique that teachers had been using through years should ultimately be changed. In fact, these types of tests are commonly adopted and are appropriate in periodic and achievements tests. Certainly, properly constructed multiple choice tests are excellent for efficiently and objectively assessing knowledge of a large content of domain. What is needed is a balanced approach to assessment, in which appropriate techniques are administered and used in a credible way for the teacher's decision making. Just because the assessment focuses on complex thinking skills or uses portfolios does not mean it is better or more credible. The assessment technique must be matched to purpose and must be conducted according to quality standards (McMillan 1997).
Hanna and Peggy (2004) state that, the major reason for flawed test construction practice is that the kinds of test questions that are easiest to write- be they objectives or essay- measure rote knowledge, not deep processing. It is natural to take the easy road and to "crank out" items that "flow easily". However, if busy teachers do not engage in thoughtful preliminary planning concerning balance between recall type questions and items that tap complex thinking, a test is likely to give more emphasis than wanted on memory and less on such things as understanding, thinking, and applying learning to other situations.
Teacher as the Facilitator of Learning
In the teaching-learning process, two critical factors come into play- philosophy of education and psychology of learning that a teacher must subscribe to. The three philosophies of education as presented by Beach and Reinhartz, are essentialism, progressivism and existentialism.
The 2002 Basic Education Curriculum espouses progressivism as its philosophy and adopts the views of the constructivist theory of learning. The major theoretical point of the constructivist theory of learning is that, individual learners generate their own understanding. Learners construct sets of expectations or beliefs about a range of natural phenomena in the effort to make sense of their everyday experiences. These beliefs are based on previous learning and past experiences. From the constructivist view, science learning means a change in ideas rather than taking in a new idea as a separate, isolated entity. When a learner receives information, he tries to understand it by fitting it into his existing cognitive structure.. (Josefina L. Pabellon, NISMED, 2002)
Whole Brain Literacy Approach (WBL)
WBL or Whole Brain Literacy is an approach to learning proposed by Rizalina Tayko and Corazon Letz, which they described it as the third literacy. It stems from the findings of Dudley Lynch on how the brain works. They defined WBL, which they also called, "Plus Competency", as a reader/learner's ability to utilize the faculty of whole brain functioning in processing information. The brain has its parts and specialized functions. When the four quadrants of the brain connect, interrelate and interact, the brain is its functional best. (Perla Rizalina M. Tayko, et.al, 2005).
How does WBL exactly work to enhance the competency of teachers? How would the approach improve the competency of the learners? WBL explores and expands thinking learning process by using the four quadrants of the brain in every step of teaching and learning process. The objectives, the types and levels of activities of the lesson, the types and levels of evaluation and at the end of the lesson- all these must encompass the four functioning parts so that learners would be challenge to use their whole brain faculty.
The envisioned holistic learning in the Revised Basic Education Curriculum of the Department of Education, says Tayko in her book, "Learning to Read, Reading to Learn", can be facilitated using the WBL strategy.