All posts by Alvior, Mary G.

Dr. Mary Gillesania Alvior has a PhD. in Curriculum Development from West Visayas State University. She earned her Master of Arts in Teaching English Language at De La Salle University, Manila as a scholar of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in the Philippines. She is a retired senior faculty of the Graduate School at the Palawan State University and a former Director of the Curriculum and Instructional Materials Development Office. From August 2013 to June 5, 2016, she worked as an English instructor at Jubail University College - Female Branch. She had also an opportunity to be a member of the committee that evaluated and developed a PYP English curriculum for all the sectors under the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, namely: Jubail Technical Institute, Jubail Industrial College, and Jubail University College (male and female branches). Currently, she works as a lecturer at the St. Theresa International College, Thailand.

The What and The Why of OBE

This article explains the nature and features of OBE. It further explains the differences among outcome-based, outcomes-based, and the outcomes-based teaching and learning (OBTL). If you are a  teacher or a student in tertiary education, this article is for you.

To adequately address the needs of education in the 21st Century, schools must be OBE. But what is OBE? Is it outcome-based or outcomes-based? Is there a difference between the two? Since OBE is used in different ways, it becomes very confusing (Biggs & Tang, 2007).

The Nature and History of OBE

Many think that outcomes-based education and competency-based education are the same. But that is not the case because the competency-based education is only an example of OBE.

Outcomes are bigger than competencies, and when we say competencies, they are referred to the skills (narrow competencies) that the school would like to develop among the students, so competency-based education is commonly used in vocational and technical education.

To avoid confusion, let’s discuss the three types of OBE.

The Three Types of OBE

The first type is the Outcome-based Education (the singular form). It was proposed by William Spady in 1994 to have an individualized program for disadvantaged school students, which he called as the outcome-based education. He used “targets” for each student so that he/she can achieve some success, and these targets include values components (outcomes). As a result, several Australian State Education Departments adapted the Spady Model, but not all the values components (outcomes) were taken to respect other cultures and religions.

The second type is the plural form or the Outcomes-based Education. This term originated from the Accountability Movement in the USA (the Ewell and Managerial Models). Of this type, outcomes are at institutional level, and this is the type of OBE that exists in higher education. The academic institution must think and decide the kind of outcomes that they want their graduates to possess upon completing a particular course or degree program. The chosen outcomes must consist of the averaged student performances and other kinds of institutional outcomes that are required by the accrediting bodies. Now, how can the institutions be an OBE compliant? The outcomes statements must be institutional. It is proper that an institution must have institutional outcomes first. If the institutional outcomes are clear, then the program or course outcomes can be crafted based on the institutional outcomes. Likewise, the number of program and course outcomes should be limited only to 5 or 6. If there are too many, it is impossible to align the teaching/learning activities and assessment tasks to each program/course outcomes and to attain those outcomes.

The aims of the outcomes-based education are to meet the accreditation requirements or quality assurance and to address the needs of stakeholders like employers and policymakers. Thus, many universities around the globe are required to submit themselves for accreditation and quality assurance because it becomes mandatory to countries that are signatories in the Washington Accord and Bologna Accord.

The third type is the Outcomes-Based Teaching and Learning (OBTL from Dearing Report, 1997). Outcomes are defined specifically to enhance the teaching and assessment to avoid a mismatch between what we test and what we assess. There are three essential features of OBTL.

Three Essential Features of OBTL

First is the Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs). To have ILOs, there must be an outcome statement. According to Biggs & Tang (2007), this is a statement of how we would recognize if or how well students have learned what is intended they should learn, not a prompt list of topics for teachers to “cover” in a curriculum which simply means that the students have learned what we want them to learn and do. However, there are occasions in which the students are so advanced and intelligent. They are capable of doing things that are not part of the ILOs. As teachers, what should we do? Are we going to punish the students by deducting some points from their grades? No, because good teachers always allow it. Thus, students are not only assessed (tested) on what they can do. They can also be assessed on the “unforeseen outcomes (unintended) but desirable ones.

Secondly, teaching should be done to increase the potential of most students to achieve those outcomes. How can we do this? Let the students engage in learning activities that directly link to achieving the intended outcome. They need to be active learners by not giving too many lectures in class.

Lastly, there is a need to assess how well the outcomes have been achieved. In this feature, traditional test in an invigilated exam room is not the best way in assessing outcome. So, avoid using paper and pencil tests like multiple choice, true or false, matching types and others. Some of the best ways to assess the outcomes are through authentic assessment, and performance-based assessment which can be done manually or with the use of technology (digital or online assessments) that are valid and reliable.

With the paradigm shift (from time-based to outcomes-based), the changing scene in higher education is being felt around the world, along with the factors affecting the teaching and learning process.

Three factors affect the teaching and learning process. First is the levels of engagement with the level of learning activity required to achieve the ILOs in particular content and context.

In the traditional classroom, students are only asked to memorize, take down notes, describe and explain (low level). But in the 21st Century Education, students must be taught on how to relate, apply and make their own theories (theorizing) which are high levels of engagement.

An example of this is the problem-based learning. Likewise, it is suggested that to achieve the ILOs, the learning activities must be ranged from describing, explaining, relating, applying, and theorizing to make the students become active learners (Biggs & Tang, 2007).

Next is the degree of learning-related activity that a teaching method is likely to stimulate. This concern is more challenging to the teachers because there’s no such thing as the best teaching method. It is better for the teachers to have a good repertoire of teaching methods and strategies and try which could be beneficial to the majority of the learners.

The third factor is the academic orientation of the students. Here, the students must be motivated well. If the academic orientation of the students is not right, then it is hard for them to achieve the high level of engagement.

I met many students who were forced to study by their parents a particular course or degree. They only came to class for attendance. They didn’t even care if they would get failing marks. The worse scenario is if they would tell you that it is ok to pass and not to get high marks.

What is the difference of getting a grade of D and A+? A student with a grade of D can also find a job or even become more successful in life.  As teachers, it is our duty to motivate them as much as we can, but if the problem lies in their academic orientation, what can we do?

In a nutshell, OBE has different meanings. First, it means outcome-based education. It is for school level (vocational or technical). Second, it refers to the outcomes-based education which is for the tertiary level (bachelor or university). Finally, it means outcomes-based teaching and learning (OBLT) which addresses the teaching and learning at the classroom level and how to make an excellent classroom teaching. The classroom level may refer to all levels, primary, secondary, vocational or technical, undergraduate and graduate levels. Therefore, if you want to achieve teaching excellence, each teacher must do the OBLT.

OBE in general is viewed as what the students can do, and not what the students know.

References

  1. Biggs, John and Tang, C. (2007). Teaching for quality learning at university, 3rd Edition. USA: Mc Graw Hill Education.
  2. Davis, Margery (2003). Outcome-based Education. Retrieved from http://www.jfn.ac.lk/OBESCL/MOHE/OBE-Articles/Academic-documents-articles/6.OBE-Davis.pdf on December 19, 2015
  3. 21st Century Schools (2008). What is 21st Century Education? Retrieved from http://www.21stcenturyschools.com/What_is_21st_Century_Education.htm on December 5, 2015
Cite this article as: Alvior, Mary G. (May 24, 2016). The What and The Why of OBE. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from http://simplyeducate.me/2016/05/24/obe-what-why/

Discourse Analysis of 20 Newspaper Advertisements

This article intends to orient MA students, language researchers, among others about Discourse Analysis. It describes commonly used metadiscourse strategies and markers in the newspaper advertisements in the Philippines. Please read as to how advertising companies use discourse analysis to influence readers into buying their products.

According to Ken Hyland, metadiscourse is essential to advertising because it focuses on the aspects of a text that organizes the discourse, engages the audience and signals the writer’s attitude. As a central pragmatic construct, metadiscourse allows one to see how writers seek to influence reader’s understandings of both text and their attitude towards its content and the audience.

The use of metadiscourse strategies and markers helps companies earn much through advertisements. Below are 20 examples of advertisements from newspapers in the Philippines, which were analyzed and interpreted using discourse analysis.

Discourse Analysis of 20 Newspaper Advertisements

1. Alaska

The advertisement uses a celebrity. Gary Valenciano and his daughter endorse Alaska Powdered Filled Milk. The copywriter uses emphatics like more important and most nutritious.

The ad says that growth gap is more important than generation gap. Since kids experience a slow-down in growth after the toddler years, they must be given Alaska, which is the most nutritious powdered-filled milk.

The use of person marker as “natin” or our is also a metadiscourse which the copywriter used to influence the target reader to buy the product. In this case, Gary V. emphasizes that not only his children need Alaska but also other children and thus, he is trying to get the attention of the parents.

Aside from being interpersonal, this ad is also textual. The use of endophoric marker is visible. The picture of Gary V. and his daughter is put in the middle. It is bigger than the rest of the ad. Gary gives his daughter Alaska and she loves to drink it as manifested in her smile. She is also holding a glass of Alaska milk.

It also uses a directive when he says: “Ngayon nila kailangan ang tulong ng superior nutrition ng Alaska.” (This is the time they need help from Alaska – the most nutritious powdered-filled milk).

2. Jollibee

What is being endorsed in this ad is not really Jollibee as a fast food but its particular product Swirlybitz. This is manifested by a small logo of Jollibee placed at the right side bottom of the ad. The picture of Swirlybits is much bigger than the logo. And the font size of the text is also bigger.

The copywriter uses personal marker yourself and an emphatic delicious which fall under interpersonal. It means that a reader is enticed to taste the delicious mix of swirling vanilla ice cream with bits of chocolate and cookies.

The ad also uses endophoric marker by showing in the picture how delicious and creamy it is. However, the copywriter does not forget to tell where this product could be found and it is in Jollibee. The speech act used is directive when it says, “Treat yourself…”

3. Brand’s

The ad shows a picture of the product. Since it has the essence of the chicken, one can see the two feathers which show that he can do or perform better by using this product. The use of your as person marker and scientific studies from renowned institutions as emphatics help the reader understand the value and the credibility of this product and thus motivated him to buy.

In addition to that, the phrases “have no preservatives, cholesterol-free, all-natural and caffeine- free,” all written in capital letters and bold-faced can get the attention of the reader. The reader is challenged to perform better and that speech act is known as a directive.

4. French Baker

The metaphor is used in this advertisement, “Freshness takes over Sucat”. This is a kind of evidential which means that French Baker opens its branch at SM Sucat.

Also the person marker “you” are used to showing interpersonal relationship between the product and the reader. For textual, it is not only the use of metaphor but also the product and the outlet in forming coherent texts.

It can be seen that the copywriter does not emphasize “French Baker is now open at Sucat”; however, he tries to connect the metaphor to the pictures of bread, pastries and the outlet itself. Then, the reader’s schema now works that these are available only at French Baker by showing the smaller font size of “French Baker opens…” as compared to the “Freshness takes over Sucat!” and the use of smaller logo at the bottom.

The speech act used is also directive when it says “whether you’re shopping … French Baker provides the perfect place”. Emphatics such as fresh, pleasurable, perfect are used.

5. Equal

A very palatable fruit salad is shown in the ad. And the text says, “For sweet cravings during the Christmas season.” Equal targets a specific customers – the diabetics! So the copywriter tries to tempt a diabetic to eat sweet stuff this season without making the level of their blood sugar high and it is only possible by using Equal.

You, or your (person markers) and many doctors recommend it (emphatic) are used in persuading the readers.

Of course, the use of picture (endophoric) helps a lot in stimulating the appetite of a diabetic. It is still directive by saying, “Now, doesn’t that make for a sweeter Christmas?” The reader is asked to use Equal.

6. Visine

This ad uses a cartoon to illustrate how cool is Visine. This is also intensified by putting the word COOL to the face of the caricature and the two Os are used as his eyes. The copywriter is very artistic in persuading the reader that Visine is cool and can wake up tired eyes.

When I asked the media director of a well-known advertising company, why this ad uses a cartoon instead of a model, she said: “Probably the company made some cost-cutting…paying a model or celebrity is more expensive or costly.”

Also, if it is a model or a celebrity, the word COOL cannot be placed on the person’s face! Otherwise, it will become hilarious and unbelievable!

This ad also uses a person marker you. Again, a directive is used when it says, “try and wake up tired eyes.” The person is requested to use the product and emphatics are also used like new, soothing and cool.

7. Anchor

The ad shows how curious the kids are. They discovered many things and so they are prone to get more germs.

In the picture, we can see a boy with a dog and it seems that both of them have just finished licking the ice cream. In effect, the boy gets the germs.

The copywriter establishes a situation wherein parents could not control and, therefore, could not protect their children. In this vein, they are persuaded to buy Anchor because it has with Nutri-care that can protect kids from germs.

The “you” is also used to establish an interpersonal relationship and the endophoric marker (picture) for textual. The speech act used is directive, a command when it says, “give him Anchor.”

8. Lux

The copywriter does not use person marker. Instead, he uses emphatics like new, revitalize, breakthrough, innovation and more beautiful. These move the readers (women) buy what is being offered because they feel that Lux is necessary for today’s modern world.

The picture shows the three different variants of Lux and since each one has a description, a reader may choose which one is best for her. Therefore, the copywriter also uses emphatics and endophoric markers.

9. Marks and Spencer

The person markers our and you (implied) are used to convince the reader. Aside from person markers, the copywriter also uses emphatics like sinful, tempting, luscious, drizzled with, more and very. Not only the emphatics are used but also the irresistibly delicious cake in the picture. The adjective sinful is used to emphasize how tempting the cake is.

And since the target customers are sexy who do not like to get fat, he uses a speech act – directive, when it says, “give in to our….” It means that they need not argue because they will only taste it for this season and thus, they will not really get fat. What matters is, they have tasted it.

10. Popeyes

The use of much bigger font size for “now open” and “popeyes” gets the attention of the reader at one glance. The you (implied) and emphatic world famous are the metadiscourse markers used by a copywriter.

He also tries to convince the reader by providing a picture of a chicken and a drawing of a man and a woman. The man shows his love for the woman by giving her flowers and there is a banner which shows the love for chicken. It means that Popeyes’ chicken is delicious and crispy and one will love it the way a man shows his love for the girl. Again, the directive is used for love that chicken and visit us.

11. Astring.O.Sol

It can be seen that the bottle is filled with ice. But of course, it is not literal. The ad shows how cool the mouthwash is. It is as cold as ice and there is a word chill as the emphatic marker. Now, the copywriter also tries to connect the word “cool” to dining places. The “cool” for dining places does not mean that the place is cold as ice but what the copywriter is trying to put across is that these places are cozy and have a good ambiance.

The person marker “you” (implied) and emphatics like “cool” and “chill” are used. The directive is more of a request than a command because it is only an invitation when it says, “experience instant …”

12. Bocaditos

“As pizza as pizza gets” is a kind of evidential. It shows that Bocaditos chips taste like a real pizza. And also the use of emphatics little and big.

The reader’s schema works that having Bocaditos (pizza flavor) as a snack is like having a slice or a whole of pizza. Aside from that, it is cheaper than to buy a pizza.

So if a reader wants to eat pizza and has no enough money for that, he can buy Bocaditos. Interpersonal and textual metadiscourse are used.

13. Silka Papaya

At the first glance, one cannot see any interpersonal marker but if one will move his eyes at the bottom, he can see in the black background the phrase nature’s radiance. Radiance is emphatic. The copywriter uses endophoric marker by interrelating the picture with words.

The picture of a nude woman or her torso is radiating as manifested by white color surrounding her entire body and the use of yellow-orange as the background. This ad tells that if one will use Silka she will have a whiter, silky skin.

14. Cellasene

The ad shows three models who are nude. And there is a banner at their buttocks which says, “The naked truth!” The naked truth is an idiom and it is under evidential. Evidential is used to develop intertextuality.

In this ad, the three models are connected to the idiom and to the product itself. If one will take Cellasene, she will have a sexy body – no cellulite on the buttocks, hips and thighs.

Since it uses hedges like “may,” the copywriter is still successful in persuading the customer although it weakens the statement. He is able to do it by using the models and the idiom which are much bigger in size. There is a tendency for a reader not to notice the word “may” because she is already deceived by the picture and the idiom.

A directive is used when it says, “take 2-3 capsules a day and see the difference.” The person markers such as you and your and emphatics like clinically-tested, breakthrough, top selling, firmer and ideal are also used.

15. Hugo

The model is alluring, trying to seduce her man and she can do it by using Hugo. The person marker “your” persuades woman that they should wear this perfume to get the attention of their crushes or to attract their men. This ad also has an endophoric marker – a model who looks so seductive by using this perfume.

16. Sunsilk

The ad is trying to compare Sunsilk to another shampoo. At the top are the different bottles of shampoo with different colors and then, there is a text “clear” at the bottom of the bottles. Then, at the right bottom of the page is the bottle of Sunsilk crystal shampoo and there are bubbles as the background. The bubbles are very clear and one can see the flower inside each bubble.

Then, there is a caption, clear and nourishing. The copywriter lets the readers decide which is actually clear. Based on the picture, the answer would be Sunsilk.

The emphatics used are crystal clear, only one, full-bodied and beautiful. The use of the different bottles and Sunsilk is known as an endophoric marker.

17. Beefeater

It can be seen that the copywriter only uses the bottle as the endophoric marker and emphatics like bold and new. A spirit pertains to the gin that it is new and bold. Bold because it is strong – a taste which men look for a dry gin.

The background is black to give life to the bottle which is white. The letters of the phrase “a bold new spirit” are capitalized and bold-faced. However, the background of the ad is black and red is a good color for the text which may symbolize boldness. Thus, if one is looking for a bold and new dry gin, he will buy beefeater.

18. Carl’s Jr.

The copywriter tries to activate the reader’s schema of the Devil’s fork. The Devils would like to temp people and so, they are doing everything just to tempt us. By just looking at the picture, one is informed that the burgers are delicious. They do everything to make it delicious and they are serious about doing it.

Therefore, once a person tastes it, he will come back because of its taste. The person markers “our” and “you” are used and the endophoric marker which is the picture.

At the right bottom, is a small logo of Carl’s which means that you can buy the burgers only at Carl’s. A directive is more on challenge rather than request because the reader’s curiosity is challenged how delicious is the burger at Carl’s and thus, he will try it.

19. Nestle’ Yogurt

This ad is different from the other samples because the page has still a lot of space. It simply means that it is all that they want to say and to be different from others. It is not a typical ad wherein a copywriter uses a celebrity or a bigger picture of the product.

However, he is successful in his aim by using person marker “our” and emphatics like creamy, delicious, healthy, and irresistibly. Then at the middle, there is a caption below the bigger text which says, “After begging the photographer to spare just spoonful.”

This statement connotes that this product is delicious and irresistible. Also, a speech act is used to show the interpersonal function of the language, “but get this…” is a command and a kind of directive.

20. Goldilocks

Noyping-noypi, golding-goldi is a kind of evidential. It is used to make the readers memorize and recall the product. The ad also uses a celebrity and the picture of delicious pork barbecue.

The use of yellow-green as a background gives life to the color of barbecue which is brownish-red. Likewise, the emphatic marker like “sarap” (delicious) is used in showing that it is palatable and by using a celebrity like Jessa.

Now, can you identify the markers that the copywriters used to influence the readers in the discourse analysis? What are those markers? Of these markers, what do you think are most commonly used in newspaper ads?

Reference

Hyland, K. (2005). Metadiscourse. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Cite this article as: Alvior, Mary G. (September 27, 2015). Discourse Analysis of 20 Newspaper Advertisements. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from http://simplyeducate.me/2015/09/27/discourse-analysis-advertisements/

Issues on Education: The Government and the Educational System

This article is a reaction paper on the article written by Robert Arnove, Alberto Torres, Stephen Franz, and Kimberly Morse in 1996. The article is entitled, “A Political Sociology of Education and Development in Latin America: the conditioned state, neoliberalism, and educational policy.” The article seemed old and happened in Latin America, but the issues are important and relevant to other countries. In this article, I describe the situation of the Philippine educational system in relation to that in Latin America. If you are interested to know more about the relationship between issues on education and development, please read on.

As I scrutinized the article on the political sociology of education and development, I found many similarities to what were, and what are happenings in the Philippine educational system. There is a strong relationship between the kind of government and the system of education that a country can have. I expound more on the following discussion.

The Philippines, as a conditioned state, needs to protect itself from many internal and external threats; thus, placing more budget in the military than health care and social and humanitarian services like education. In effect, many teachers and other professionals flew abroad seeking for greener pasture. As a result, the country faces the brain-drain effect. Highly trained or intelligent people emigrated somewhere else. If the government is serious about addressing this problem, then it has to ally with different groups of society that would influence its actions in legislating and executing social policies.

Likewise, neoliberalism significantly affects the Philippine educational system because World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) favored the two policies of privatization and decentralization for improving educational efficiency. Neoliberalism involves prioritization of the price mechanism, the free enterprise, the system of competition and a strong and impartial state.

In my personal opinion, the World Bank and IMF are right in setting up such policies because that would lessen the budget deficit of any developing country. However, many will be suffering from those consequences particularly the poor and the needy.

Though setting such policies is favorable to the state, the class C and D of the society will become more inadequate; thus, widening the gap between the poor and the rich. World Bank and IMF are like businesspeople who would like to earn profits from developing countries.

Well, being businessmen is not bad at all. They also have good intentions but the problem is, there are many corrupt government officials who use the money to protect their vested interests rather than to invest in worthwhile projects.

Thus, quality education in the country is only for the rich who can afford to pay tuition fees in private schools. Public schools have lacked textbooks and qualified teachers who could inspire students to do better in their academics. School facilities and buildings are not well-maintained. There were strikes by teachers to increase the salary; and from the students, not to raise their tuition fees.

Nonetheless, there are non-government organizations that help the poor climb from their status or the so-called social mobility. They were taught to read and write. Moreover, it is happy to note that a Filipino is awarded for sharing his knowledge with street children thru mobile classroom.

The problems of education are perennial by nature. Maybe, initiatives should not just eradicate problems in class size, tuition fee increase, poor and ineffective teachers. There are simple ways and selfless individuals who can bring change in the society.

My wish is to have a government that can give free, quality education to every individual.

Reference:

Arnove, R., Torres, A. Franz, S., Morse, K. (1996). A political sociology of education and development in Latin America: the conditioned state, neoliberalism, and educational policy. Retrieved from https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1G1-18601143/a-political-sociology-of-education-and-development

Tips on How to Develop a Unified Curriculum for Institutional Amalgamation

Developing a curriculum for an institute or university is a complex task that needs in-depth knowledge, expertise, and collaboration. However, what if the purpose of developing a curriculum is for institutional amalgamation, would it be more difficult? The answer is, yes! Please read on to know some important points that you need to consider.

The curriculum is the heart of the school. Touching it (in terms of revision, reconstruction, expansion, among others) would mean changes that may be beneficial or detrimental to all its stakeholders. Thus, careful strategic planning coupled with innovation and international benchmarking through research and development must be conducted first.

International benchmarking is important because of the pressing issues and trends worldwide. Many countries now are in a dilemma as to how they will cope with the changes brought about by the knowledge-based economy and the 21st-century education. Issues like institutional amalgamation, global communities of learning, accreditation, world university rankings, outcomes-based education, and the future of higher education (globalizing higher education) are today’s buzzwords. If a country or the Commission on Higher Education would like to be at par with other countries that have a world-class education, then a need for innovative curricular landscaping and architecture must be made now!

However, before any enhancement or change in the curriculum, ask yourself first: what is the primary purpose of developing a curriculum? If the purpose is to unify a curriculum for institutional amalgamation with global standards, the following tips can help you a lot:

1. Philosophy, Vision, and Mission of a University

It is important for the governing body or the authority in a university to come up with its vision and mission. For example, if a big private company owns many institutes and universities located in one place, then, there must only be one philosophy, vision, and mission for all the combined schools.

2. Outcomes-based Education, Institutional and Programs Accreditation

Institutional and program accreditations nowadays are based on outcomes. There are national and international accrediting bodies that look at the outcomes (what students can do) to address the needs of the global communities of learners in the 21st century. This means that the curriculum, particularly at the macro level must have international standards. A curriculum committee can benchmark and decide which international framework suits to their stakeholders’ needs.

3. Textbooks

In some countries, unless approved by the Curriculum Development Committee (CDC), teachers are not allowed to use textbooks or any instructional material. So, it is appropriate to select textbooks from credible publishers, preferably with international recognition, to guarantee that the books comply with the criteria set by the CDC. Some publishing companies provide books that suit the learning outcomes of the students, they can customize the books according to the preferences of their clients. Having prescribed textbooks is advantageous because it gives many freebies in terms of discounts, training and support to the administration, faculty, and students. A university can save, and at the same time, earn much money if the books to be used by all students are the same.

4. Levels and Streaming, and Exit Point

Placing students according to their levels of proficiency is also given importance in the development of curriculum. Some countries spend much money by buying licenses to assess students’ proficiency level, and aptitude test scores. Personality test scores can be included (in some cases) to place the students at their appropriate levels. Likewise, the exit point must be also determined to make sure that they already possess the outcomes expected from them when they finish their degree or course.

In conclusion, developing a unified curriculum for amalgamation will only be possible if it serves the purpose of organizations governing it, and it addresses the needs of its stakeholders. The curriculum must be developed and designed according to the philosophy that academic institutions believe in and adhere to. This view will help them craft their vision and mission, and help them come up with the curricular programs through research and innovations. However, there is no perfect curriculum. There are skeptics about it, but if the curriculum is well-planned and manned by a team of experts in curriculum development and subject areas, the proposal will succeed. It will likely to succeed if a pilot testing be conducted first, to determine its viability, prior to its implementation.

Reference:
Bilbao, P. P., Lucido, P. I., Iringan, T. C., Javier, R. B., (2008). Curriculum development. Quezon City, QC: Lorimar Publishing, Inc.

The Role and Importance of Writing Prompts

This article explains the role of writing prompts, and in what ways this can be applied. If you are a writing teacher, the article below will prove helpful in honing the writing skills of your students.

Should writing prompts be used or not? With the advent of technology and globalization, the idea of writing across the curriculum becomes popular. However, it becomes difficult for teachers to design writing prompts for students in the content-based language instruction.

Writing prompts are guides that stimulate learners to write. It may be an open-ended sentence, a question, a topic, or a scenario that generates writing. It can also be used for children and adult learners.

Writing prompts are used as a tool in order to groom the writing style of students. Prompts are actually the foundation for writing that most students do in their academic career, such as essays and research papers.

The prompt must be authentic. An example of an authentic prompt is RAFTS prompt which aims to make writing more authentic. In this prompt, students are asked to think and write from a real world person’s perspective. It also makes students think at a much deeper level of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Now, in which respect can writing prompts be used? It can be used for written assignments. According to Nunan (2009), written assignments must be carefully constructed to assure their success and their contribution to promoting the goals of the course.

There are six guidelines for the preparation of successful writing assignments (adapted from Reid and Kroll 1995) that prove helpful in reviewing the efficacy of any given assignment.

6 Guidelines for Successful Writing Assignments

First, a writing assignment should be presented with its context clearly delineated such that the student understands the reasons for the assignment.

Second, the context of the task/topic should be accessible to the writers and allow for multiple approaches.

Third, the language of the prompt or task and the instructions it is embedded in should be un–ambiguous, comprehensible, and transparent.

Fourth, the task should be focused enough to allow for completion in the time or length constraints given and should further students’ knowledge of classroom content and skills.

Next, the rhetorical specifications (cues) should provide a clear direction of likely shape and format of the finished assignment, including appropriate references to an anticipated audience.

And lastly, the evaluation criteria should be identified so that students will know in advance how their output will be judged.

Following the guidelines above can make students more engaged in the completion of their writing tasks. Thus, a great deal of thoughts must go into crafting an authentic writing prompts for the students.

References

Kroll, B. (2006). Teaching english as a second language of foreign language. (3rd ed.) (M.C. Murcia, ed.). Philippines: Cengage Learning Asia Pte Ltd.

Nunan, D. (2009). Second language teaching and learning. Philippines: Cengage Learning Asia Pte Ltd.

McCallister, C. (2004). Writing education practices within the reconceptualized curriculum.

An encyclopedia for parents and teachers, ed. J.L. kincheloe and D. Weil, CT: Greenwood Press.

© 2015 February 13 M. G. Alvior

Seven Criteria for the Selection of Subject-Matter or Content of the Curriculum

This article clarifies the two viewpoints of the curriculum and discusses the 7 criteria for the selection of subject matter or content of the curriculum (Bilbao et al., 2008).

The term curriculum is viewed in two different ways: the micro and the macro. The micro curriculum refers to subjects while the macro curriculum refers to curricular programs. For example, the subject biology is a micro curriculum while BS in Civil Engineering is a macro curriculum.

What do the micro and the macro curriculum contain? The following criteria discusses the content of these two levels of the curriculum.

 Seven Criteria for the Selection of Subject-matter or Content of the Curriculum

The selection of subject matter for micro curriculum employs the seven criteria below. For the macro curriculum, the subjects needed for the curricular program or course.

1. Self-sufficiency

To help learners attain maximum self-sufficiency in the most economical manner is the main guiding principle of subject matter or content selection (Scheffler, 1970) as cited by Bilbao et al. (2008). Although the economy of learning implies less teaching effort and less use of educational resources, students gain more results. They can cope up with the learning outcomes effectively.

This criterion means that students should be given a chance to experiment, observe, and do field study. This system allows them to learn independently.

With this principle in mind, I suggest that for a high school curriculum or preparatory year, there should be a one-day independent learning activity each week. However, this should be carefully planned by the teacher. When the students return, they should present outputs from the activity.

2. Significance

The subject matter or content is significant if it is selected and organized for the development of learning activities, skills, processes, and attitude. It also develops the three domains of learning namely the cognitive, affective and psychomotor skills and considers the cultural aspects of the learners. Particularly, if your students come from different cultural backgrounds and races, the subject matter must be culture-sensitive.

In short, select content or subject matter that can achieve the overall aim of the curriculum.

3. Validity

Validity refers to the authenticity of the subject matter or content you selected. Make sure that the topics are not obsolete.

For example, do not include typewriting as a skill to be learned by college students. It should be about the computer or Information Technology (IT).

Thus, there is a need to check regularly the subject matter or contents of the curriculum, and replace it if necessary. Do not wait for another 5 years to change it.

Modern curriculum experts are after current trends, relevance and authenticity of the curriculum; otherwise, the school or the country becomes obsolete.

4. Interest

This criterion is true to the learner-centered curriculum. Students learn best if the subject matter is meaningful to them. It becomes meaningful if they are interested in it. However, if the curriculum is subject-centered, teachers have no choice but to finish the pacing schedule religiously and only teach what is in the book. This approach explains why many fail in the subject.

5. Utility

Another criterion is the usefulness of the content or subject matter. Students think that a subject matter or some subjects are not important to them. They view it useless. As a result, they do not study.

Here are the questions that students often ask: Will I need the subject in my job? Will it give meaning to my life? Will it develop my potentials? Will it solve my problem? Will it be part of the test? Will I have a passing mark if I learn it?

Students only value the subject matter or content if it is useful to them.

6. Learnability

The subject matter or content must be within the schema of the learners. It should be within their experiences. Teachers should apply theories in the psychology of learning to know how subjects are presented, sequenced, and organized to maximize the learning capacity of the students.

7. Feasibility

Feasibility means full implementation of the subject matter. It should consider the real situation of the school, the government, and the society, in general. Students must learn within the allowable time and the use of resources available. Do not give them a topic that is impossible to finish.

For example, you have only one week left to finish the unit but then, the activities may take a month for the students to complete. Thus, this requirement is not feasible.

Do not offer a computer subject if there is no even electricity in the area, or there are no computers at all.

Further, feasibility means that there should be teachers who are experts in that area. For example, do not offer English for Business Communication if there is no teacher to handle it.

Also, there is a need to consider the nature of the learners. The organization and design of the subject matter or content must be appropriate to the nature of students.

So, it would be better if students in a subject-centered curriculum (with pacing schedule that must be religiously implemented every week) shall be grouped homogeneously; otherwise, many will flunk in that subject.

In conclusion, teachers in elementary and high school are not directly involved in the selection of subject-matter because there are already lesson plans made by the Department of Education. All they have to do is to follow it. However, they can also customize the lessons if their department heads or principals allows them.

As regards macro curriculum, the Commission on Higher Education sets guidelines and policies on what subjects to offer as minimum requirements for the course. Then, the Curriculum Development Committee will takes charge of the selection, organization and implementation of the curriculum with the approval of the Academic Council.

The Curriculum Development Committee headed by the Director of Curriculum Development sees to it that the selection of the subject-matter and the subjects for a curricular program be examined and scrutinized using the 7 criteria mentioned above.

But, this is not the end of the process yet! The selection of the subject matter or content of the micro and macro curriculum is only one of the considerations in designing the curriculum.

Reference

Bilbao, P. P., Lucido, P. I., Iringan, T. C., Javier, R. B., (2008). Curriculum development. Quezon City, QC: Lorimar Publishing, Inc.

© 2015 February 7 M. G. Alvior

Cite this article as: Alvior, Mary G. (February 7, 2015). Seven Criteria for the Selection of Subject-Matter or Content of the Curriculum. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from http://simplyeducate.me/2015/02/07/7-criteria-for-the-selection-of-subject-matter-or-content-of-the-curriculum/

Peer Coaching: A Sample of Professional Development Plan

This article describes how the findings of a dissertation can be applied in coming up with a plan to develop teachers professionally. Specifically, it deals with professional development for teachers using peer coaching as a tool.

Read on and find out how you can plan for your own professional development by reading the article below.

How can you develop yourself professionally? This can be done by undertaking steps which you can do by yourself.

However, aside from self-directed activity as described in my previous article titled “Reflective Journal: A Sample of Professional Development Plan,” you may also use a school-based activity to come up with your professional development plan. Among those approaches you could use is “peer coaching” since this is a common school activity applied by teachers.

Steps in Peer Coaching to Develop Pronunciation Skills

Since peer coaching falls under the school-based category, how can you make use of this approach? As an example, here are steps in order to improve your pronunciation skills if you find that you need to develop your skill along this line:

1. Look for a partner or a friend who is good at pronunciation and is willing to serve as your coach. If you find one, set a specific time to engage in this activity on a regular basis.

2. During the scheduled time, you may discuss a particular topic or problem in pronunciation and ask for the coach’s suggestions on how to improve on it.

3. You must do the suggestions for a prescribed period of time. Perhaps, the session could last for two weeks, or maybe a month. After practicing for some time, you may request your coach to evaluate your pronunciation skills after using his/her suggested activities.

Example Dialogue of Peer Coaching

Below is an example of a dialogue between an expert (the peer coach) and a group of teachers.

Teachers: Sir, we know that you are good in pronouncing words. Can you help us improve our pronunciation skills?

Peer Coach: Thank you. Yeah, I’m willing to help you, but I am too busy. Anyway, we can schedule it during my free time. Is it okay with you? My free time is every Friday afternoon, from 2-4pm.

Teachers: Yes, Sir. We can meet you up at that time.

During the Meeting with the Peer Coach

Teachers: Sir, we have noticed that we cannot pronounce well the words with /f/. We pronounce father as “pather.” How can we pronounce the word correctly?

Peer Coach: (He can give as many suggestions as he can).

Teachers: (They listen to the peer coach and apply the suggested activities).

During the Evaluation

Peer Coach: Now, let’s try to see if you have improved your pronunciation.

Teachers: (They do the evaluation techniques given by the peer coach).

Basically, peer coaching as a professional development activity is designed to improve student performance. It is in this activity that teachers form small groups in order to share, reflect on, and refine their teaching practices to address their students’ needs.

However, in the Customized Professional Development Model, any professional activity can be used and customized to address the specific needs of the teachers. Therefore, any activity that is originally designed for students can be used by teachers to improve their own professional skills.

Reference

Louisiana Department of Education Initiatives: Best Practices (2006). Examples of Job Embedded Professional Development. Retrieved 3 July, 2010 http://www.wbrschools.net/curriculum/sip/LaDOE%20Best%20Practices.ppt

2015 January 25 M. G. Alvior

How to Apply Suggestopedia as a Method of Teaching

This article briefly discusses Suggestopedia, a teaching method developed by a Bulgarian psychologist Georgi Lozanov. Particularly, this article explains the method’s goal & characteristics, and provides sample activities for teaching. This method is commonly used in English language teaching, but I believe that this can also be used in other foreign languages like Filipino, Chinese, Korean, Arabic, and others.

The Goal of Suggestopedia as a Method of Teaching

To learn a foreign language at an accelerated pace for everyday communication by tapping mental powers and overcoming psychological barriers.

9 Characteristics of Suggestopedia as a Method of Teaching

According to Villamin et al. (1994), the nine characteristics of Suggestopedia are the following:

1. It uses the power of suggestion to help students eliminate the feeling that they cannot succeed.
2. There should be a relaxed, comfortable environment with dim lights and soft music to facilitate learning.
3. Students’ imagination is used. They can assume new names, and new identities and respond to the teacher accordingly using the target language.
4. Present and explain grammar and vocabulary words, but not discuss at length or thoroughly.
5. Native language translation is used in order to get the clear meanings of words in the target language.
6. Communication takes place in the conscious and subconscious of the learners. The former is about the linguistic message. It is where the students pay attention to a dialogue that is being read, while the latter is where the music is played as a background. Music suggests that learning is easy.
7. Teaching is done by integrating music, song, and drama.
8. The emphasis of teaching is more on content. Errors made by students are tolerated at the beginning of the lesson but in the later part, the correct forms are used by the teachers.
9. No formal tests are given, but the evaluation is done during the normal in-class performance.

Sample of Classroom Activities using Suggestopedia

If you are a teacher or mentor, you may use the following activities using the Suggestopedia method.

1. Choose a background music that will give an impression or feeling that you are in a forest. For example, the music may be punctuated by the chirping of the birds or the sounds of the leaves as they dance in the wind, or any sound indicating that the location is in the forest.

In the classroom, turn off the lights and play the background music. Then, group the students into three, and ask them to close their eyes, and let them imagine, for one minute, that they are animals, birds, trees, or flowers.

After that, ask them to create their own dialogues on how people should take care of the environment. But in their dialogues they have to remember their roles. If one assumes to be a bird, his/her point of view and dialogues should be like a bird, and not as a human being.

2. Choose a story. Practice reading the story with emotions or feeling. Then, choose appropriate background music for the story. It would be best if you prepare it in advance.

In the classroom, ask the students to relax and make themselves comfortable. Allow them to sit on the floor or lie down, and to be with their classmates or listen by themselves while seated at their desk. Then, turn off the lights, play the music and start reading the story. You may ask questions in between to check that they are listening intently to you and to keep their motivation high. In answering your questions, don’t correct the students’ grammatical errors immediately. Focus first on the content. Before you end the lesson, at the later part, you may give the correct form by repetition.

Don’t you think these are good ideas to start the ball rolling in class? If you believe so, then try Suggestopedia as a method of teaching!

References

Rhalmi, M. (2009). The origin of Suggestopedia. Retrieved 16 January 2015 from http://www.myenglishpages.com/blog/suggestopedia/#.VLjUy5X9ljo

Villamin, A.M., Salazar, E.L., Bala, E.C., & Sunga, N.R. (1994). Innovative strategies in communication arts. Quezon City, QC: Phoenix Publishing House, Inc.

2015 January 21 M. G. Alvior

A Sample of Conceptual Framework with Statement of the Problem

This article shows how a conceptual framework, along with the corresponding statement of the problem, is organized and written in a dissertation. Take a look at the example on how it is done and try to make one for your paper. You may also use this in your thesis.

You may be thinking about too many theories to base your study on. However, a conceptual framework in built on a theory that serves as the basis for your study. Once you have decided which theory to adopt, try to figure it out if the phenomenon, with all the associated variables in your study, can be best explained by that theory. The example below illustrates how this works.

Example of a Conceptual Framework

This study zeroes in on the professional development activities for teachers by espousing the idea that the classroom performance of teachers is a critical factor for student academic performance. The researcher based her assumption from Weiner’s Attribution Theory that external and internal factors can improve performance.

For example, students may attribute their academic performance to their teachers (external factor) while the teachers may attribute their teaching performance to in-service trainings (external factor) and perhaps, to their teaching efficacy, job satisfaction, and attitude towards the teaching profession (internal factors). These relationships are illustrated in Figure 1.

conceptual framework
Figure 1. Paradigm showing the relationships among the variables in this study.

Statement of the Problem

The purpose of this study is to provide baseline data on in-service training for English, Mathematics, and Science Fourth Year High School teachers from School Year 2006 up to 2010. Also, a professional development model for teachers is proposed.

Specifically, this study sought answers to the following questions:

1. What are the most familiar in-service training activities among teachers? And what are their insights about these activities as to: (a) applicability in the classroom, (b) importance in the teaching profession, and (c) impact on student performance?

2. What feedback do teachers have of the in-service training programs attended in terms of (a) perception, and (b) satisfaction?

3. What are the teachers’ level of teaching efficacy, job satisfaction, and attitude towards the teaching profession?

4. What is the performance of the fourth year high school students in their Subject Achievement Tests in three subject areas: English, Mathematics, and Science during the first semester of SY 2010-2011?

5. Are the teachers’ perception and satisfaction regarding the in-service training programs predictors of their levels of teaching efficacy, job satisfaction, and attitude towards the teaching profession?

6. Are the teachers’ levels of teaching efficacy, job satisfaction, and attitude towards the teaching profession predictors of their student performance in the Subject Achievement Tests?

7. What enhanced professional development model for teachers can be developed on the basis of the results of this study?

Now, you have learned how a theory is used, and how the questions in the statement of the problem are formulated. Take note that the questions in the statement of the problem are arranged according to the flow of conceptual framework. First, it has questions on inventory of in-service training activities, followed by the feedback. The next question is about teacher factors, then results of student performance. The last question relates to the development of the enhanced professional development model.

Can you make it? Yes, you can!

© 2015 January 19 M. G. Alvior

Research Studies Conducted on Teachers’ In-service Training

This article pinpoints studies conducted on in-service training events for teachers. It is written and organized as a review of related literature in the dissertation of Dr. Mary Alvior. This article provides an example of a review of related literature focused on specific variables of studies made on teachers’ training.

Sharma (2010) conducted a study about the training needs of high school teachers in government and private schools of Bangkok. The study found that teachers preferred training in diagnosing students’ learning needs, identifying students’ personal needs and difficulties, organizing instruction for enrichment, developing multi-grade teaching skills, developing learning activities on subjects, adopting problem-solving skills, developing emotional intelligence skills, publishing research papers, conducting action research, and developing total quality management skills. Hence, training for the aforesaid competencies are highly required.

 Likewise, the studies of Mizuno (2004) and Yang (2005) affirmed that teachers viewed in-service education to be more effective when the content of the training is based on their self-reported needs. They also found the important factors that can improve teachers’ willingness to participate in in-service training programs. These factors are: (1) competent resource persons, (2) involvement of trainees in the training process, (3) consultation with teachers to assess their needs, and (4) support to teachers to implement new ideas/innovations acquired in in-service training programs.

They further agreed that it is not the duration of the program but the degree of satisfaction with the in-service training events that contributes to the impact of the training at the classroom level. They likewise believed that student performance is dependent upon the teachers’ quality of teaching. Thus, it is essential to enrich teaching skills and quality of teaching, as well as to adjust their training according to their work situation.

Likewise, Yang (2005) emphasized the need for INSET providers to spend some time listening to teachers’ voice, investigating what teachers really need, and designing appropriate programs with suitable speakers before any INSET course is implemented. INSET should not be carried out in a “top-down” direction; instead, it should be built up from down to top, in which teachers may be empowered to decide which training activities are suited to them.

Indeed, teachers become satisfied with in-service training programs if their professional needs are addressed during the training. This is true in the case of teachers in the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) who were highly satisfied with their training programs (Bakar et al., 2008).

In conclusion, teachers need to continually engage in any in-service training activity in order to develop their quality of teaching. As Mizuno (2004) quotes Desforges (1995), “The best of teachers spend a lifetime learning to improve on their professional practice”.

References

1. Sharma, S. (2010). Perceptions of teachers & school leaders on competencies of teachers & training needs. Academic Leaderhip The Online Journal, Current Issue – Volume 8 Issue 4. Retrieved 16 January, 2010 from http://www.academicleadership.org/article/Perceptions_of_Teachers_School_Leaders_on_Competencies_of_Teachers_Training_Needs

2. Mizuno, C. (2004). A comparative study of teacher education in japan, korea, and australia. Retrieved 1 February, 2011 from http://www.paaljapan.org/resources/proceedings/PAAL8/pdf/pdf024.pdf

3. Bakar, R., Konting, M., Jamian, R., & and N. Lyndon (2008). Teaching efficacy of Universiti Putra Malaysia trainee teachers in teaching Malay Language as a first language. Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 16, 1-14.

4. Yang, W. H. (2005). An Investigation of English Teachers’ Perspectives on INSET Needs and Provision in Taiwan. Retrieved 8 July, 2010 from http://163.21.239.11/dspace/bitstream/987654321/3545/1/11.pdf

© 2015 January 16 M. G. Alvior