Content Guidelines

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Looma: Content Guidelines

Contents

Objective of Guidelines,

Nepal Culture & Values, Teaching Environment (Facilities and Physical Environment, Teachers, Teaching Approach)

Content Plan: Align with teacher professional development for successful adoption of Looma

Content Guidelines

Generation 1: Teach the teacher and gain support Teacher training guidelines Generation 2: Teacher-student partnership Generation 3: Student-centric learning; teacher facilitation

Objective: Provide a framework for the creation of educational content that supports the adoption of Looma in Nepal


Country Culture and Values

We need to understand the culture of any country, region or culture where Looma will be used. This may vary from country to country, or even across regions or tribes in a country. There may also be significant range in teaching skills, physical environment and resources when there are private schools.

In Nepali culture, education is not seen as a means to learn a skill which could lead one to a more productive/lucrative profession, but rather as an indicator of social status, or class. Education is not actually seen as a means to a better status, but rather it is the end goal itself. To be educated is a symbol of class. Therefore, many educated people in industry will adopt the mentality that since I am educated, I shouldn't have to do the work; some other lower class individual should have to to it.

Socio-cultural orientation against a teaching career (Nepal’s) social and cultural orientation is such that the best and the brightest Nepali minds are discouraged from pursuing teaching as a career. Those who do extremely well in the SLC are expected to choose a career in science, technology, or business. The teaching profession, especially in the primary and secondary levels at public schools, is often viewed as a last choice, if one at all. This contributes to the significant existing gaps in knowledge and capacity available at public schools.

In Nepal (and lots of Asia), students are not permitted to ask the teacher questions. Questions are viewed not as inquiry into subject material but rather questioning the authority of the teacher's knowledge. This is compounded with the fact teachers may not know the answer to a question which would lead to serious embarrassment.


Teaching environment in Nepal

The following comes from Teach for Nepal (teachfornepal.org), who provides teacher training and teaching in schools from grade 6 and above. They have deployed 49 Fellows in public schools in Lalitpur and Sindhupalchowk Districts from 2012 - 2014.

In 2014, 72% of students from the public school system failed their School Leaving Certificate (SLC) examinations. Two-thirds of all children in Nepal attend public schools, and every year a significant majority of these students fail to graduate from secondary school. About 70% children drop out of the school system. Over 90% of students who fail the SLC fail in Maths, English, or Science. At grade four, 25% of students cannot count double digit numbers.

Lack of sufficient resources  Most public schools are under-resourced and struggle to both get and retain teachers. In schools where the government has not allocated enough teachers, or in remote areas where teachers do not want to live, primary school teachers have to teach secondary level students. As a result, teachers are overburdened and the education of students appearing for the SLC is being compromised by teachers who are not qualified to adequately prepare them to excel in the board examination.   In many parts of the country where quality education isn’t even an issue, education for the girl child isn’t a priority. To encourage more girls to stay in school, female teachers have a pivotal role. They can be the much needed role models to these girls.

Shisir Khanal, CEO of TFN (Teach For Nepal), underlines the need for inviting more female teachers in the vocation. He states, “Overall, in the school system, there are only 34.3% female teachers in Nepal. And at the secondary level in government schools only 13.8% teachers are female.”

Facilities and Physical Environment

What follows is a generalization of what exists in public schools. In private schools, resources are much better, but not necessarily at the level that exists at western schools.

Schoolroom The typical rural schoolroom is a stone or concrete building, often with dirt floor and no window covering. The class may be 50 or more students. There may be benches, possibly desks, but often the students sit on the floor. Many classrooms have little/no ‘disposables’ (paper, pencils…). Textbooks are provided by the government.

Library Many community schools lack a proper library and, if there is any, it exist only in secondary schools. Primary schools usually do not have a library except in a few schools where it is supported by external agencies.

Computers Most rural villages will not have even a single computer for children to use after class. In private schools, the children may have computer clusters or pads, and then the idea of making some looma content which is intended for single student use would be good


The Teachers

The teaching profession, especially in the primary and secondary levels at public schools, is often viewed as a last choice, if one at all.  While older teachers may have bought their position, the younger teachers are genuinely passionate about education.

In schools where the government has not allocated enough teachers, or in remote areas where teachers do not want to live, primary school teachers have to teach secondary level students. As a result, teachers are overburdened and the education of students appearing for the SLC is being compromised by teachers who are not qualified to adequately prepare them to excel in the board examination


Teaching Approach

The traditional teaching prevalent in the public schools in Nepal is the teacher dominated teaching learning interaction. This kind of teaching is teacher centric in which the teacher is acknowledged to be the source of knowledge and students are perceived to be passive recipients of knowledge. Traditional teaching rests total control of teaching and learning on the teacher. Reading is learned by the teacher reciting words and the students repeat. Math is presented as rote and algorithms, with no intuitive explanations.

Teaching and learning in community schools is thus exclusively focused on textbook contents. Simply put, curricular objectives are translated into textbooks, for which teachers are trained to teach, and even examinations are focused heavily on assessing the content knowledge.

Since students come from different social and economic background, their level of cognition is naturally different. Introduction of one textbook in each subject is therefore inadequate as well as inappropriate as it does not address the needs of graded content/materials according to student’s level of cognition.

In Nepal (and lots of Asia), students are not permitted to ask the teacher questions. Questions are viewed not as inquiry into subject material but rather questioning the authority of the teacher's knowledge. This is compounded with the fact teachers may not know the answer to a question which would lead to serious embarrassment.


Content Plan

There are two types of Looma content needed: one for students and one for teachers.

Teachers only: For Looma to be adopted by the teachers in Nepal, teachers need to be trained to use it. Creating a professional development curriculum that teaches how to use Looma with the same vision as of the student content.

Students and teachers: Each content area should follow a general pattern, so that the program is the same, regardless of content. - Utilize the existing knowledge about the needs of a typical Nepalese classroom through interviews with field volunteers, Nepalese teachers testing Looma - Create an outline the curricular needs - Generation 1 content is drawn from the curriculum already being taught; later generations can push curriculum and pedagogy - Create content based on standardized testing subject matter, if teachers and administrators are putting emphasis in this area.


Content Learning Guidelines

For the acceptance of Looma in Nepal, teacher and government support is key and it can be accomplished by initially providing enhanced, yet familiar content and curriculum. Per Christine Stone suggestions, have content emphasis that supports the government curriculum and does not introduce new material or radically different teaching methodologies. Creating child-friendly content that arouse and inspire children, though, is still needed.

As suggested by Ana Zamost, content is also needed for the teachers’ professional development so that they maintain some role of authority within the classroom.

The general goals for the content: - Engaging for students - Engaging and non-threatening for teachers - Culturally appropriate - Language & cultural neutrality - Take advantage of modern technology - Building tools and templates as well as content - Enable ‘crowd-sourcing’ of improvements

Where possible, content should be visual and language neutral. English is acceptable and is taught in many cultures, but reaching younger, more rural students, and their teachers, generally requires native language content. All textbooks and much supplemental media is loaded on Looma.


Content Development (Instructional Design?)

Content is to be developed in three phases:

Generation 1: Teach the teacher and gain support NOTE: The majority of current content is based on this approach. Samples of Generation 2 or other approaches are to be developed to expose the teachers to more effective teaching approaches.œ

For the students: Using standard government textbooks, the basic teaching is done from the textbook. Each lesson is enhanced with “internet” media, such as videos, articles, and photos, to make the lesson more engaging. The other Looma functions such as the whiteboard, dictionary, calculator and web browser (when available) will be used by the teacher to enhance the lessons in the textbook, encouraging opportunities for student speaking and listeEngaging for students Engaging and non-threatening for teachers Culturally appropriate Language & cultural neutrality Take advantage of modern technology Build tools and templates, not just content Enable ‘crowd-sourcing’ of improvementsements


For the teacher: Creating a professional development curriculum that teaches how to use Looma with the same vision as of the student content. Recording teacher training videos on Looma is not beneficial as teacher training is usually interactively. Having an users manual or an infographic (large and can be posted on a wall) is another option. When the students (and teacher) are ready to start running Looma themselves, they can also use the infographic.


Generation 2: Teacher-student partnership

Reading is learned by the teacher reciting words and the students repeat, so illiteracy is a big problem. A story book app in which content is read one word at a time, until the teacher presses a button, would be helpful.

There is very little empirical research to demonstrate the effectiveness of student-centered teaching and the use of ICT in classes/schools for learning in Nepal to provide tested examples for teachers to adopt and use student-centered teaching along with the use of ICT in classes/schools to aid student-centered teaching.

With the wave of ICT in education all over the globe in an attempt to integrate technology into the classroom, it is only natural that the Government of Nepal has also envisioned bringing the benefits of ICT in education in Nepal's classrooms. ICT in education in a developing country like Nepal can have its benefits if it is introduced in classes/schools along with student centric teaching so that it can improve student learning and student achievements (Integrating ICT and Student Centric Teaching Learning into Public Schools.pdf)

Most rural villages will not have even a single computer for children to use after class,so the idea of content which is accessible to students without teachers is not good for now. In private schools, the children may have computer clusters or pads, and then the idea of making some looma content which is intended for single student use would be good

Generation 3: Student-centric learning; teacher facilitation

The teaching learning pedagogy that we propose to use is a student centric teaching-learning rather than the current teaching style.

Looma enables us to explore the following “modern” pedagogical concepts

Active engagement of the students Learning by doing Problem solving instead of memorization Learning in context [“why is this useful?”] Continuous assessment Building team and social skills and trust Game-based learning Fun and enthusiasm in learning Use of affordable technology to enhance learning

This student centric learning requires that the students be actively engaged in their learning. In addition to subjects being learned, there are behaviors such as initiating, participating, and sharing that expand their life skills. Other skills such as collaborating, listening, inquiring, leading, managing, organizing, risk taking also be of benefit.

The student centric learning approach should fulfill the following criteria:

Interactive: student to student, student to Looma, student to teacher, teacher to Looma Challenging: it will take active thinking by student to answer questions Team based: students are working together to complete a lesson Positive reinforcement: Learning should be fun, with acknowledgment for finishing the lessons Encourage risk taking: positive acknowledgement that they tried and encourage trying again Uses minimal learning materials: Fun: Encourages the student to continue learning because the curriculum content is engaging (videos, learning activities, results, etc.) Teacher participation: the teacher may not be the subject matter expert, so they can participate as a “student” Teacher can guide students to learn a concept with activities that involve problem solving and use of other knowledge to complete Students can practice the concept/skill by themselves Respects the local culture norms: for example, the group over individual


Lesson Content Criteria (This section needs lots of clarification; is it useful or necessary to include?)

A five step [what are the 5 steps?] lesson plan is being followed to deliver the teaching content and teaching-learning activities.  The content can consist of text, graphics, audio, games, interactive web pages and videos.  

The 5 Step Lesson Plan (is this it?): o Opening o Introduction to New Material o Guided Practice o Independent Practice o Closing

Five step lesson planning used by Teach for America and Teach for Nepal, is very much a student centered teaching learning approach as it allows the students to be actively involved in their own learning, independently and critically creating meaning for themselves. Also, the teachers take the role of guides and mentors aiding students to access, interpret, organize and transfer knowledge. This puts the needs of the learners i.e. students, at the heart of lesson planning, introducing new concepts and skills, guiding the students towards learning objectives by modeling new learning objectives for students, allowing them to master it independently rather than feeding them the knowledge as is done in teacher centered traditional teaching methodology. (Integrating ICT and Student Centric Teaching Learning into Public Schools.pdf)

The lesson content should be:

Aligned with the learning outcomes Allow teachers to teach a particular skill or concept Allow teachers to guide students to learn a concept with activities that involves both teacher and students Allow students to work in teams to solve problems and do assignments Allow students to practice the concept/skill by themselves. Provide assessments based on the learning objectives for each skill


Open Questions to be considered:

Please add your comments to the questions... 1. What kind of learning approach should be used? Project Based Learning Inquiry Based Learning Game Based learning A combination

2. Would the learning approaches depending on the grade level or subject?

3. Role of teacher training?

4. Roles of Looma, student, and teacher How does it change as the student and teacher learns? 5. What is the current lesson plan used now?