Three Stages in the Sructure of Institutional Education in Bangladesh

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Before 2010, there are three stages in the structure of institutional education in Bangladesh i.e. primary, secondary and higher education. Primary education was a five-year cycle from grade I-V and secondary education was comprised three year junior secondary from grade VI-VIII, two year secondary from grade IX and X, and two year higher secondary from grade XI-XII. Higher secondary is followed by higher education in general, technical, technology and medical education streams with four/five year graduation. After passing Education Policy 2010, primary education has become a cycle of eight years from I-VIII and secondary education is comprised two years secondary from grade IX and X, and two years higher secondary from grade XI-XII. The secondary education sub-sector in Bangladesh is quite large. According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics (BANBEIS), the number of secondary school is 18500 having 238158 teacher and 7398552 students in the year 2006 (BANBEIS, 2007). From this year 2010, students sit for Junior School certificate at the end of grade VIII to get admission in secondary school, started from IX. Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSC) at the end of year 10. They sit for Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examination at the end of year 12. SSC reflects 10 years of education starting from year 1 to 10. HSC plays a vital role in students' life since it prepares the learners for higher education. Till present, both of these high stake examinations emphasize students' memorization skill and the power to reproduce them in examination hall.

According to the language of instruction, the schooling system of Bangladesh can be divided into two systems -Bangla medium schools and English medium schools. English language courses are mandatory for students studying in schools of both systems. Proficiency in English has become mandatory for success in both studying and working since English is currently the undisputed language of science and technology. In business and industry, workers are increasingly expected to develop proficiency in English. English proficiency is now required for most professional employment. "Being nationally competent in English is one necessary condition if Bangladesh is to move up the long curve of economic growth from its low starting point" (Imam, 2005, p.474).

The Government of Bangladesh started making changes in ELT policies to improve English language teaching in the country since it was clearly evident that students' English language skill could not be improved with the existing ELT policies. The Government and the international agencies have invested increasingly large amounts in last decade for the expansion and improvement of English language teaching and learning provisions. The English Language Teaching Improvement Project (ELTIP) was among the initial projects that aimed to improve the quality of English Language teaching in secondary and higher secondary education in Bangladesh. It was co-funded by the Bangladesh government and Department for International Development (DFID) of United Kingdom and was run by the British Council and NCTB. ELTIP introduced communicative textbooks in the year 2000 up to the higher secondary level in Bangladesh. The new curriculum stressed the need for students to learn to communicate in English rather than to just master the structure of the language. Although the policy and the textbooks changed to a communicative method in the year 2000, the pictures of English language classrooms still reflects the traditional teaching style. Teachers still stress the development of reading and writing skills for the purpose of getting good results in examinations (Hasan, 2004). Rahman (1999) states "Notebooks and guidebooks are a lifeline to most learners and the negative backwash effect of the examination on teaching and learning strategies complete the cycle of monolithic pattern of knowledge and education" (p. 109)

Bangladesh has experienced pressures for school- reforms since the beginning of 1990's. The problems in Bangladesh's school system are multiple and the most worrying problem is its low quality and efficiency. Socio-economical problems, political chaos, conflicts and corruption undermined sound governance in schools. So, the declining quality of secondary education is significantly explained by weak educational governance, stringent inadequate physical facilities, lack of adequate accountability and incentive mechanisms, checks and balances for teachers and administrators, poor teaching quality and students' evaluation (ADB 2006; NCTB 2006; World Bank 2005). There are serious lack of subject-based trained teachers and teaching materials at secondary stage (ADB 2006). Increasing teacher-student ratios has become major problems at many urban schools. The teachers have a little scope for any in-service professional training. Moreover, they are significantly under-paid in comparison to non-teachers who possess similar human capital and other observed characteristics (Asadullah 2006). So, the educators' professional commitment, work morale and motivation are low. High level of absenteeism among educators and learners, the early dismissal of classes, learners roaming the streets during school hours, teachers not preparing for their classes, the absence of effective teaching and learning, and the frequent conflict between teachers and principals are the causes which have a disruptive effect on schools ( UNESCO 2006). Poor academic performance, ineffective evaluation of students, poor or nonexistent relationships between school and home has become the norm at most of the schools (Ahmed et al. 2006). In many schools the classes are too big, classrooms are unsuitable and the physical resources are inadequate. So the pupils do not understand lessons, do not get any help, as if they have themselves to blame. The students advance without adequately mastering the objectives for the given year and continue on to next grade unprepared for the more advanced studies. Furthermore, schools are isolated from families and communities. Information about student and school performance and teaching quality is not always made known to parents and the school management. The guardians are not aware of these because of lack of awareness, interest and partially because of non-existent or dysfunctional Parent Teachers Associations (PTA). This denies stakeholders an important tool to monitor schools. However, academic supervision of secondary schools is almost non-existent to mitigate the problems at school level (Dewan et al. 2004)

Mentor was the name of a Greek mythological character who was a wise trusted adviser or counsellor. Mentor is set out to educate Telemachus to support. Mentor is such a word that is often used by politicians, sports people, actors and other performers to describe the person whom they chose as a role model. Mentoring is a process whereby skills change. When mentoring is first introduced in UK, it has become a business and policy makers' buzzword. New form of mentoring is imported from USA in the late 1980s; it was initially viewed somewhat suspicious in the UK as 'another flavour of the moth' (Parsloe, 2000, p77). The following definitions give an indication of the wide variety of interpretation of mentoring.

One of the earliest British writer David Megginson (1979) wrote

Mentoring is an essential aid to staff development…which calls for a perspective that looks for future possibilities. This requires a level of trust missing from the judgemental line management relationship where discipline has to be maintained and performance assessed.

Clutterbuck (1998) describes mentoring is one of the most powerful developmental approaches available to individual and organisational. Certainly the spread of planned mentoring programmes, first in the USA, then in Europe and Asia-Pacific. British Secretary of State Secretary for Education in 1992, announced that schools were to assume the role of teacher training which was previously organized, assessed and validated almost exclusively by lecturing staff in higher education institutions , he effectively create a new workforce- the school Mentor. For the trainee to become a 'professional' the mentor has to move on, too, by constantly creating opportunities for drawing out the mentee's potential to teach. Only then mentoring can be consider to be truly educative and creative.

What is mentoring?

Mentor is an experienced person who is willing to share his/her knowledge with someone less experienced in a mutual trust. A of parent and peer, the mentor's primary function is to be a transitional figure in a individual's development. Mentoring includes coaching, facilitating, counselling and networking. (Clutterburk, 1991)

Mentorin, , is a role which includes coaching, but also embraces broader counselling and support such as career counselling, privileged access to information, etc, ( Landsberg, 1996)

Mentoring is when you talk to a more experienced colleague about things you want to do, about career opportunities. (Harrison, 2001)

By becoming a mentor, you have the opportunity to affect the future if you share ideas your ethics and your professionalism (Waugh, 2002)

A mentor has the unique opportunity and privilege to encourage the professional and personal development of a colleague. (Dignard, 2002)

What is coaching?

Coaching is unlocking a person's potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching W them (Whitmore, 1995).

Coaching is a process that enables learning and development to occur and thus performance to improve. Parsloe and Wray, 2000)

Coaching is the art of the facilitating the performance, learning and development of another (Downey, 2001)

Coaching is where you have a person observing you in your particular area of activity and commenting and feeding back on what you are doing well, strategies for improvement and so on, and then perhaps observing you again (Harrison, 2001)

Coaching as a Professional Development

As school systems and professional developers have sought effective means for supporting the development of teachers' and school leaders' skills and cognitive abilities, peer coaching programs have flourished (Crow & Matthews, 1998). There is an abundance of literature heralding the value of coaching in business (Clutterbuck, 1998; Hall, 1976), teacher education (Jonson, 2002; Portner, 1998), and graduate education (Brause, 2002; Erkut & Mokros, 1981). Popularity of coaching in educational organisations is growing (Barnett and O'Mahony, 2002), noting it provides a flexible way to reflect on important classroom and school leadership issues, captures the realities of workplace learning, and allows for personalized feedback.

Peer coaching has a long history in teacher development (Garmston, 1987); however, far less emphasis has been placed on the value of coaching for leadership development. deHann (2005) states that managers can benefit from coaching by reflecting on their strengths and identifying obstacles to their growth and development. Several recent publications address how coaching can be an effective means for developing school leaders' talents. Robertson (2005), indicates that coaching involves two people setting and achieving professional goals, being open to new learning, and engaging in dialogue for the purpose of improving leadership practice. Despite a lack of consensus on a clear delineation between coaching and mentoring (Mertz, 2004), we agree with Warren, (2005), who provide a clear vision of the successful coach, who "provides continuing support that is safe and confidential and has as its goal the nurturing of significant personal, professional, and institutional growth through a process that unfolds over time" (p. 10)

Mentoring has been awarded a variety of descriptions to define its purpose, among them induction, supervision, staff retention, inculcating organisational culture, personal and professional development. There appears to be no singular definition, but rather a concept consisting of multiple layers of meaning, application and intent. As Gibson (2004) states, a

review of the literature on mentoring finds that there is neither a common description nor a consistent definition. Therefore, any consequent discussion about whether mentoring is a support mechanism for teaching practice is open to wide interpretation and debate.

A number of systems and processes can be viewed as supporting teaching practices by

academic teaching staff, such as performance management systems, induction and

Orientation programmes, peer observation and mentoring (Petersen, 2007). Based on this

literature review on mentoring in higher education contexts (Petersen, 2006), a current

study on mentoring in a New Zealand higher education institution is underway using action research methodology and framed by critical educational theory (Carr & Kemmis,

1986).

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

As Carr and Kemmis (1986) explain, underpinning theory provides a rationale which can clarify meaning, arm against criticism and promote future progress. No clear theoretical framework has been mentioned in the literature about teacher mentoring. Little (1990, cited in Feiman-Nemser, 1996) found few comprehensive studies well-informed by

theory and designed to examine in depth the context, content and consequences of mentoring. Yet creating a framework within which mentoring is derived would provide, and perhaps substantiate, a more definitive purpose and process for implementation of a programme as a support mechanism for teaching practice across the institution, as well as rigorously informing mentoring practices.

A recent enquiry (Petersen, 2006) into the literature examined how much research evidence was available to substantiate or refute mentoring as a mechanism for supporting critically reflective teaching practice. It was discovered that a number of authors believe there is a need for more and in-depth research. Gradually, more research is being

undertaken in this area (Feiman-Nemser, 1996), but what is interesting is that the published research focuses only on mentoring of beginning/new teachers. A minority of authors mention - not backed up by research - mentoring as being able to meet the needs

of the more experienced teacher, however they touch only briefly on this.

By viewing educational theory and educational practice as congruent rather than different

(Carr & Kemmis, 1986), this congruency can provide a framework that establishes meaning and a clear purpose for people involved in mentoring, with regard to the process and actions which they engage in as mentors and/or mentees. Critical theory assists the

participants in critical analysis and development of educational practice as they experience it.

DEFINING MENTORING TO ESTABLISH IT'S PURPOSE

A number of authors suggest that the enthusiasm for mentoring has not been matched by

clarity about the purposes of mentoring (Feiman-Nemser, 1996; Sweeney, 2003). Feiman-Nemser questions whether mentoring is viewed by the institution as a support function or a judge of the new teacher's performance for the purpose of employment or certification, which introduces another question, "Is the purpose of mentoring to mainly support new, inexperienced teachers?" According to a number of authors, including Feiman-Nemser and Sweeney, this is a common purpose of mentoring in education.

A prevalent theme through the literature is the new teacher being assisted with class room management skills. However some authors expand this purpose to include other factors such as helping with managing professional development, managing the expectations of research and the expectations of scholarly activities (Boswell, 2004). McKinley (as cited

in Boswell, 2004) builds on this further as he talks of the mentor role "encompassing

active leadership in addition to confirmation of classroom skills and academic responsibilities" (p. 1).

The concept of a larger framework for determining the purpose of mentoring is picked up

by Sweeney (2003), who talks about 'expanding the definition of purpose', viewing mentoring as directed at creating a more professional culture, where staff are continually learning on the job, where collaboration and openness to feedback are the norm. As he

states, "creating a more professional culture is an achievable outcome of a more professional approach to mentoring" (p. 1). Kanuka (2005) reflects this, stating that mentoring programmes can help develop more collegial and compassionate departments and institutions.

Another common theme occurring in the literature is mentoring for the purpose of retention of new teachers. Although the issue of retention is not directly reflective of the

theme of this paper, retention can be a significant by-product of effective teacher mentoring and a key consideration for an organisation. Bullard (1998) and the New York 5

State Education Department (NYSED) (2005) comment on the efficacy of mentoring programmes as achieving the highest quality and personalised support in assisting new teachers to practice effectively and point out that this type of support has also consistently shown to be effective in stemming new teacher attrition.

An additional perspective offered by Sweeney (1994) is that mentoring can also be a tool

for retaining excellent experienced staff [acting as mentors] as they are involved in an environment where their contributions are valued and responded to. The more noble goal of teachers feeling valued and supported in their practice can be congruent with the economic goal of retention.

Sweeney (1994) makes a direct link between the purpose of mentoring and the resulting benefits for teachers. He believes questions that need to be asked when deciding the purpose of a mentoring programme include "What is the greatest potential benefit of mentoring?" and "How can we capture that benefit for all our staff?" (p. 1). So, for an institution to establish a mentoring system with the aim to support teaching practice, it needs to be clear in deciding who will be involved and therefore benefit from mentoring. This implies that defining the purpose and place of mentoring, which can then help guide decisions about how mentoring may be embedded in the organisation.

BENEFITS

Although research-based evidence regarding the benefits and consequences of mentoring

is not extensive in the literature, numerous authors offer examples from their own perspective and, in some cases, the perspectives of mentors and mentees, which indicate beneficial results.

There is an obvious commonality within the literature with regard the benefits for the mentor. For example, the mentee can be a catalyst for the mentor's professional

development (Huling & Resta, 2001) and for stimulating the mentor's personal self-

reflection and providing an impetus for professional development (National Education

Association, 2004). Huling and Resta gathered feedback from mentors regarding how 6

they view the benefits, offering quotes such as, "Mentoring has forced me to be reflective

about my own beliefs about teaching, students and learning and teaching as a career", and

"Continued contact with mentees provides some of my richest collegial interactions" (p.

2).

These comments are reflected in Rowley's (1999) opinion that the mentor benefits by

developing multiple methods of classroom observation and employing research-based

frameworks as the basis for reflection and refining their feedback skills. However, Huling

and Resta (2001) point out that since 1986, only a few studies have actually focused on

the primary question of mentor benefits.

The theme of mentoring for benefiting the organisation is also prevalent in the literature,

emphasising the impact of mentoring on organisational culture, formal policy and the

general health of the organisation. Young and Perrewe (2004) emphasise that the

perceived value of mentoring in the organisation can be made clear through all types of

communication mechanisms, including formal policy, reward systems and recognition for

participation. They state, "An organisation's culture that fosters perceptions that

mentoring is accessible perhaps creates a feeling about possible openness, acceptance and

a sense of social support" (p. 120). Sweeney (2003) also identifies a significant result of

mentoring as "the passing of organisational values and beliefs from one generation to the

next" (p. 1). However, he does not elaborate on whether this is a beneficial result or not.

What is not evidenced in the literature are the benefits for the mentee, rather perceptions

and assumed outcomes as a result of being involved in the mentoring process. There is an

implicit assumption in much of the literature that by explaining the activities a mentee

engages in with a mentor, such as classroom observation, career development and

induction to the organisational culture, the mentee naturally benefits from such advice

and guidance. Little is offered regarding benefits as perceived by the mentee themselves.

The Literature on Impact

On this subject, a few literatures are available. Most of the literatures are written on virtues and potential of coaching and mentoring. To develop mentoring and coaching, the Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education (CUREE, 2005) has issued material to assist schools that wish to develop coaching and mentoring. According to CUREE, (2008) effective mentoring and coaching is key to professional development. CUREE also confirm that further work needs to done to measure the impact of coaching programmes.

Rodes (2004) adds evidence of the benefits of coaching and mentoring in supporting the professional practice of teachers. He refers to a number potential benefits to teachers in receipt of coaching and mentoring support. The management of support using coaching and mentoring activities by teachers may support with the transfer of teacher learning to student learning, resulting in greater impacts within the classroom and the potential to rise to student standards and attainment. Thomas et al (2004) has identified some apparent benefits and impact for teaching stuff by using his practical experience of coaching and mentoring in schools. These benefits and impacts are

Enhance personal effectiveness (work smarter, not harder)

Improved performance of student

Encouragement of reflectivity and professional growth

Improved understanding of how to motivate others

Creates more effective teams

Develops techniques for constructively challenging unhelpful behaviours, including negativity and limiting beliefs

Improve tolerance of adults and young people

Enhance energy and job satisfaction

Open creative thinking pathways

Enhances awareness of the setting of realistic goals for adults and others

According to Boreen et al (2000, P 53) "Conferring, questioning, mirroring, and reflecting all promote the beginning teacher's professional growth. By using these techniques, mentor helps new teachers see beyond the superficial fun time"

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