Friday, July 08, 2011
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also Education Minister, visiting pupils of Sekolah Kebangsaan Ulu Lubai in Sarawak with his wife, Puan Sri Norainee Abdul Rahman. The school is one of the country’s high-performing schools.
THE Professional Learning Community (PLC) concept is designed to improve teaching practices through the implementation of the “Lesson Study” approach.
The approach is a professional development process where teachers systematically improve their teaching practices in order to provide a positive impact on student learning.
It is one of the initiatives under the Education National Key Results Area (NKRA), with the aim of improving examination results. Towards this end, four major subjects have been identified for this programme, namely English, Mathematics, Science and History.
Education Ministry deputy director-general for policy, Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof, says 289 teachers under the Bands 6 and 7 subject grade average nationwide and 99 district education officers have been assigned to attend four-day workshop sessions on the Lesson Study programme.
“There are four expected target results (ETR), which are to increase the quality of teaching; improving the student’s attendance, improving the student’s behaviour and improving the student’s results.”
The PLC is implemented via the top-down method and supported by a monitoring and supervision system.
Khair says the programme is easily implemented by teachers with the support of their headmaster and colleagues.
“The PLC encourages teachers to apply the best teaching practices in delivering their lessons. Thus, sharing these best teaching practices will make teachers aware of what is good for their students.
“The Lesson Study (LS) requires teachers to work together. We believe that teachers are best positioned to determine strategies and ways to improve the students’ learning outcome. The LS process also engages ‘knowledgeable others’ to further improve the system.”
The PLC Lesson Study is implemented over several stages.
In the first stage, teachers are exposed to the LS method. This is then followed by implementation of LS at the school in two separate cycles, with monitoring done by the Teacher’s Education Division.
“It is hoped that the teachers will pick it up from here and make LS a part of their strategies to improve teaching-learning.
“In PLC Lesson Study, the teachers allow their colleagues to observe their teaching methods. Thus, the teachers can learn by watching how a colleague teaches.”
Teachers have been very responsive to the method and eager to try it out in their respective schools.
“Even though not all are willing to accept this method, they are open to ideas that can improve students’ performances.
“While they understand that this approach will not show results any time soon, they are optimistic that it is good for them in the long run.”
The main concern for now is time, as the teachers find it difficult to have time together. The heavy workload and other administrative duties have reduced the time available to participate in LS.
“From what we have seen and observed, plus the feedback obtained from teachers, we can say that if a teacher is passionate about teaching and is interested in the learning of her charges, he or she will be very receptive to this new idea.
“PLC is a teaching community; thus everyone attending the course is already a community by itself. From this, teachers can get help from others if any assistance is needed.
The PLC Portal will be the medium for the community to discuss and share their best practices, lesson plans and problems. All of these positive elements will add a positive impact to the improvement of schools.”
Khair says it will be difficult to gauge its impact in the short term, but believes that in the long term, the Lesson Study approach will be part of the school culture and change the mindset of teachers in Malaysia.