USE OF ACTIVITY-BASED LEARNING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA
According to another study at the University of South Carolina, where again activity-based learning was concerned with the Biology courses rather than any other subject. But the difference was there in the teaching of two groups. Here one group was taught by a lecture method. And other group was taught by using new, activity-based, method of teaching. Here the student’s learning was also compared. Pre- tests post-tests were conducted, these were marked and then analysed by the researcher. These tests were included content knowledge as well as open-ended written questions from the students. Students were asked to address a misconception in the open-ended questions. They had at the beginning of the course that was reconciled by the end. The pre test and posttest were designed by the university professors at the same time. It was given over five semesters of the same course to check the result and learning of the students.
The Result of the above-mentioned study showed the concrete ideas were better understood by the students with traditional lecture method classes. The concrete ideas were of Physiology and Anatomy subjects. The abstract ideas and concepts with activity-based teaching and techniques like evolution and biodiversity (Timmerman et al., 2010). Another field that was addressed in the study of Biology learning is Genetics. This field is very important field of Biology courses. A Genetics Concept Inventory (GCI), modeled after the Force Concept Inventory (FCI), is being developed in an effort to assess misconceptions most commonly found here. The GCI has initially 49 students only at California Polytechnic State University and consisted of 38 questions in total. 36 questions were a mixture of multiple choice questions, fill in the blanks, matching and even true/ false out of 38. The last 2 were short questions and answer. These questions were set by keeping in the view to cover a variety of topics, including components of DNA (Deoxyribo Nucleic Acid) its structure and the relation of DNA and protein, cell reproduction, and how genes are passed from one generation to another generation. These directed questions were even then posted publicly in a paper with a title “Genetics Concept Inventory” (Elrod, 2007). In this course of Biology, there is a need of to use activity-based method of teaching. As the results were desired and expected in some areas of the topics as discussed above.
The comparison of the teaching and learning on the relationship between activity-based activities and lecture-method and the student achievement had been done in the areas of Physics and Chemistry also. Since a large component of Biology is concerned with the memorization of knowledge and concepts and is not as skill-based as other science disciplines. There are some specific concepts in Biology, the students could have more benefit of having activity-based learning and teaching as compared to traditional learning by lecture method. Researches had been conducted on high school students as compared to the college level students. Most studies had been taught using inquiry throughout the course. Because there is no inquiry curriculum for Biology was yet introduced, it would have been better to use the method all the year and in every lecture. That is why old method of teaching / learning was adopted.
2.14 THE OBJECTIVES OF ACTIVITY-BASED METHOD
If a teacher set objectives before his her teaching, the teacher can achieve the goals by using Activity-based teaching. This method is very helpful in teaching any subject. Teachers by their own experience can observe and make pairs or group of the class in his/her classroom. The teacher can use jigsaw technique in their classes.
Students also participate in Whole School Improvement Program (WSIP). They acknowledged the improvement in teaching/learning processes as a result of participating in it. They said, “After Whole School Improvement Program our teachers are providing us opportunities to work in groups, interact with each other, and clarify ideas from each other and from teachers”. The activity-based teaching enhanced students’ learning and teachers felt satisfaction. Nizamuddin said, “I am using the strategy of activity based teaching. I am feeling physical and spiritual satisfaction in this teaching because students are learning more while working in different activities”. Participating in Whole School Improvement Program, there are two approaches of teachers to teach in their classes. These are teacher-centered approach and student-centered approach. They were using activity-based teaching approaches where students are actively participated and engaged in doing different activities and learning by doing on their own. This is a student-centered approach of teaching.
In the Activity-based learning /teaching, classroom observations and teachers commented and confirmed that students like Salima Begum and Babar Khan are learning better than their learning before. They take the responsibility for their own learning / teaching and support their colleagues in group work and other activities which lead students to social development. Activity- based teaching leads towards students’ involvement and interest because while manipulating activities in the classroom students are involved constructively with the teaching/learning process. It is a dire need for the teachers to plan their lessons daily and develop different resources for their teaching.
2.15 LESSON PLANNING AND ITS EFFECTIVENESS
The importance of lesson planning is undeniable. An effective teaching / learning the Lesson Planning is very critical to enhance students’ learning in their classrooms. Therefore, teachers must develop plans for their lesson for effectiveness teaching and learning. As Vaidya (1971) said, “through successful planning of lesson, we can help to train our pupils in … questioning, defining problems ….and use their previous experience to think about it” (p.163). In WSIP (Whole School Improvement Program) lesson planning has been given great importance and attention to move from lecture-based teaching methodology to activity-based teaching methodology to improve the quality of their teaching/ learning of their students. A teacher, participant of WISP, mentioned that he learnt how to develop a lesson plan in activity-based program. But he could not know about the objectives and he was not giving importance to involve students in activities and divide time considering the importance and length of activities must be kept in mind. WSIP helped him to realize the importance of learning / teaching time in the classroom.
The purpose of valuing lesson plan was to devise innovative and attractive activities for the students in the lesson planning. As Singh (2004) described, “lesson planning prevent wastage of time and energy of both the teachers and the taught” (p.117). Futher Vaidya (1971) explained, “We plan lessons because we can present material in a logical, systematic and effective way, keeping in mind, at the same time, the mental development of those for whom we plan to teach” (p.164).
The definition to improvement as a change not only in a process from one mode to another, but it also connotes a change towards a higher quality of education. In the same way they caution that ‘quality is a question of value judgment’ and that “from the history of education we can learn that what has been labeled School Improvement is often the articulation of specific social and political interest” (p.139). The point that is to be noted here is that the initiatives must have the embedded mechanism of either utilizing these social and political aspects of learning to ensure the problems are solved and schools move on a right directions for its outcome. Any school improvement program attempt has main feature to take into an account if it wants to be successful.