MODERN TEACHING APPROACH (MTA): A TOOL FOR MEANINGFUL TEACHING AND LEARNING


nigerian teacher

MODERN TEACHING APPROACH (MTA): A TOOL FOR MEANINGFUL TEACHING AND LEARNING (A NEW APPROACH TO LESSON PLANNING FOR TEACHERS IN NIGERIA). A PRESENTATION BY DR. SUNDAY S. EMAH ON THE OCCASION OF ORIENTATION AND TRAINING COURSE FOR STAFF OF ECWA GOODNEWS NURSERY, PRIMARY AND JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL, GWAGWALADA, ABUJA ON 3RD SEPTEMBER, 2015.

Modern teaching approach (MTA), is simply described as a method of teaching which emphasizes that all instructional processes should be learner-centered, task-based, interactive, integrative, should ensure the use of authentic materials as instructional resources, inclusiveness of all categories of learners, adequate explanation of new concepts and use of assessment to give sufficient feedback to both the teachers and the learners.

WHY MODERN TEACHING APPROACH (MTA)?

In every sphere of life, ‘‘change’’ is inevitable and needful and in the farthest future the philosophy of change will continue to have its way on learning because the human society is dynamic. The method of teaching in formal classroom situation also changes. Since the pre-independence era till date, the educational curriculum in Nigeria has undergone upgrading thereby making it suitable for the current needs of the time.

The new curriculum in use was developed and geared towards producing individuals who could live effectively in the 21st century world, in line with current aims of education across the Nigeria society through value reorientation, poverty eradication, job creation, wealth-generation and empowering the people, using education as a tool. This new national curriculum was evolved to cater for these responsibilities. To achieve this, a proven systematic approach capable of meeting these objectives was also recommended. This is termed the Modern Teaching Approach.

This new approach is a deviation from the Traditional Teaching Approach (TTA) which is:

  • Teacher-centered, i.e. teacher as the authority instead of a facilitator.
  • Makes the pupil/student a passive listener.
  • Does not give room for the effective use of questioning skills.
  • Allows very little use of illustrations and examples.

CHARACTERISTICS OF MODERN TEACHING APPROACH

This pedagogy methodology has some unique qualities. They include the following basic concepts:

Learner-centered:

All instructional processes or activities revolve around the learner. Here the teacher diminishes while the learner mostly takes the center stage. As a teacher, you are expected to begin by identifying the prior or initial ideas your pupils/students have about the topic you are about to teach. You should allow them to carry out most of the activities during the lesson. The teacher leads the pupils/students to carry out many different activities which help them to acquire all the required skills in that subject. Therefore, make your lessons learner-friendly.

Activity or Task-Based:

Modern Teaching Approach is activity or task-based. What this means is that the approach should rest heavily on activities or task during the lesson. Since the learning environment provides real-life problems, we should base instructions on concrete local activity.

This will ensure maximum learner involvement and achievement. The activities should be challenging but not too difficult considering the ability levels of the pupils/students. Give every pupil/student room to achieve or do something. For example, in English language comprehension class, pupils/students listen to teacher’s story, or answer questions asked by the teacher. This is because we learn better by ‘’doing’’.

Interactive:

The teacher should use strategies such as grouping that will promote interaction among learners, between learners and teacher and learners and instructional resources. For example, in a class of 40 students the teacher can organize them into eight groups of five students in a group. Each group should be required to demonstrate how to perform certain tasks. Here, the teacher is required to create opportunities for individual and group work that will enable:

  • Teacher to work with the pupils/students (i.e. pupils-teacher interaction);
  • Pupils work with other pupils (i.e. pupil-pupil interaction);
  • Pupils to work with instructional resources (i.e. pupil-material interaction).
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Integrative:

The teacher should link the topic to be taught to other subjects’ curriculum horizontally. The teacher can link the topic of the lesson to the previous lesson taught at the lower level which the pupils/students have learned. Ensure that each lesson:

  • Includes as many components of the lesson as possible.
  • Is connected or linked to other subjects in the school curriculum apart from e.g. English studies.
  • Is connected or linked to lesson in the lower or higher class level(s).

Inclusiveness:

The pupils/students in your class are different from each other in many ways. Some are slow learners and others are fast learners- individual differences.

Some are eager to read whereas others are shy.

Some may have different physical challenges such as hearing impairment (auditory problem), visual problem etc.

Your pupils are from different social and language backgrounds with different challenges. In planning your lessons, you should cater for all these categories of learners. In addition, be gender-sensitive to ensure that both males and females are carried along.

Use of Real-Life Materials:

The teacher should use authentic learning materials from the learner’s environment i.e. home, school, market, etc to illustrate your points. Examples of such materials include maps, pictures, audio tapes, real objects, decodable texts, flashcards, etc. It is a good practice to ask the pupils to bring these relevant materials that can be found in their homes or communities.

Understanding or Comprehension:

In every lesson, your aim should be to assist your pupils/students to gain clear or deep understanding of the concepts (what they are taught). Meaningful understanding occurs when the pupils understand what they have learnt to the extent that it forms part of their overall knowledge. Such level of understanding makes it possible for your learners to remember what they learned and to use the acquired knowledge as their own. When lessons are associated with daily lives, the learners will retain the new knowledge gained from the lesson better and for a longer time. For example, a reading lesson (in English studies) on “crossing the road with safety” will always be relevant to daily living.

Using assessment outcome for improving teaching and learning:

Assessment is of two types. One is the assessment you conduct as the lesson is going on. This is called “formative assessment” this is assessment for learning. The other type is the assessment that is conducted at the end of the lesson. This is called “summative assessment”. This is the assessment of learning.

In carrying out assessment as the lesson is going on (i.e. formative assessment), your interest will be on how to use the result of such assessments (called feedback) to help the pupils/students overcome any difficulties that may affect their learning of the concepts effectively. In other words, you should pay attention to and use any information from such assessment to improve your pupils learning and your teaching strategy.

You should also carry out an assessment at the end of each lesson i.e. summative assessment. This will enable you find out what your students were able to learn from the lesson or otherwise. This is important because it will help you to know whether or not your instructional objectives were achieved, to decide on what line of action to take next so as to achieve success. Finally, assessment is progressive. You should use questions, short exercises and supervision to continually evaluate the extent to which students learn the desired concepts, skills and attitude in the new topic.

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FORMAT FOR LESSON PLAN BASED ON MODERN TEACHING APPROACH

This guide is designed to help you plan a lesson. The format includes all the features of a modern teaching approach as presented in the last section. We shall use a topic in English language as an example.

PRELIMINARY SECTION (LESSON INFORMATION)

  • DATE: 3rd September, 2015.
  • CLASS: Indicate the class (or grade) the lesson is meant for e.g. primary 5 or J S I
  • SUBJECT: English language
  • THEME: Continuous writing
  • UNIT TOPIC: Letter writing
  • LESSON TOPIC: Informal letter
  • TIME: 8.00 – 9.20 am
  • DURATION: 80 minutes (double lessons).

INSTRUCTIONAL/BEHAVIOURAL/PERFORMANCE/SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

These are the specific behaviours which the pupils/students are expected to demonstrate as evidence that they have learned the appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes. For example, at the end of the lesson the pupils/students should be able to:

  • State reasons why we write letters
  • Identify informal letters
  • Mention categories of people to whom informal letters are written
  • State parts (format) of informal letters.

Instructional resources:

Make a list of the instructional resources that will be required to make your teaching interesting and effective. The materials will depend on the topic, and the nature of activities. For example, instructional resources on “informal letter” could be

  • Newspaper and magazine cutting on the topic
  • Sample letters
  • Recommended text containing informal letters

PRESENTATION (CONTENT DEVELOPMENT)

The main body of the lesson plan comprises six (6) steps that could be followed in presenting a lesson. Within each step, there are three elements that should be specified. These are:

MODE: This refers to how the activities are to be organized.

It could be whole class, in small groups, in pairs or individually.

TEACHER’S ACTIVITIES: These are the actions or behaviours which the teacher is expected to carry out during the lesson. Teacher’s activities should be limited to “guiding”, “directing”, “asking”, “leading”, “providing”, “demonstrating” etc.

PUPILS’/STUDENTS’ ACTIVITIES: For each teacher’s activity, there should be something the pupils are expected to do. The pupils/students are to carry out the activities planned by the teacher, or by themselves.

The instructional steps involved in this Modern Teaching Approach are as follows:

Step I: Identification of pupils’/students’ prior ideas about the topic (entry behavior, fact finding as hitherto used).

This is a pre-investigating stage of the lesson where through previously given assignment, questioning, reviewing past lessons or intuitive knowledge, relevant information are gathered which would interfere with the new ideas. The ideas which the pupils/students bring to the class are very important in determining what they learn or failed to learn from the lesson. Because of this, you should start each lesson by trying to identify those ideas that the children already have and brought to the class. The ideas may enhance or hinder their learning of new material. You may identify learners’ ideas by using questions, an activity, a task or short story, etc.

MODE: This may be individuals, entire class or any of the grouping forms.

Teacher’s Activities: The teacher may probe, ask questions, demonstrate, show picture, match objects, etc. The purpose of every action undertaken is to arouse the curiosity of the students towards the new idea (topic).

Students’ Activities: The students by responding to the activities of the teacher will invariably be exposed to a part or the whole of the topic of the lesson.

Step 2: Explanation/Investigation/Demonstration/Participation:

This is the most misconceived aspect of the use of MTA. Most new users of the method assume that this area is only adaptable to the mathematics and sciences. But if any teacher of other disciplines looks at it from the angle of Demonstration or Participation, he or she would find it interesting. It is the step where the lesson is practicalized, demonstration of content is involved or allowing the learner to carry out the job. You should guide the pupils/students to carry out relevant activities that will help them to gain or acquire personal experience(s) and new ideas about the topic.

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MODE: This may be individuals, entire class or any of the grouping forms.

Teacher’s Activities: The teacher may carry out sample experiments alongside the students, solve sample problems, read or make corrections as students take turn to red or spell or dramatize, watch him write out the format of informal letter, etc.

Students’ Activities: The students shall, as the case may be, contribute, participate, mention, state, carry out, write down, answer questions, etc.

Step 3: Discussion:

This is the heart of the lesson. Due to the peculiarity of most of the students in our schools, it is advised that the teacher should give notes on the topics; but the notes should come after the teacher has guided the learners to summarize their observations and draw relevant conclusions from their personal experiences and ideas emanating from the activities/tasks which were carried out at the preceding stage of “activities”.

MODE: whole class/group/pair/individual

Step 4: Application/take-away knowledge/usage:

The value of the activities of new set of ideas the students have developed has to be drawn out in relation to real life. At this stage, teacher guides pupils/students to identify situations outside the classroom where the principles and/or the concepts can be applied. This includes mentioning examples and uses of the new ideas that emerged from the lesson: for example, pupils/students mention:

  • Categories of people they could write informal letters to
  • Possible content of informal letters.

The teachers should give opportunities to learners to support possible applications to the society and to them.

MODE: Group/pair/Individual

Teacher’s Role/Activities

Students’ Role/Activities

Step 5: Assessment/Evaluation:

Using appropriate techniques and instruments, the teacher evaluates the extent of attainment of the instructional objectives. This is the stage to determine the extent learning have taken place. This is the summative stage. Therefore, the teacher should evaluate the lesson based on the stated objectives.

MODE: This may be individual, entire class or any of the grouping forms.

NOTE: It is important to emphasize here that assessment should not be left entirely till the end of the lesson. There should be a “formative” process. As the lesson is going on, you should ask the pupils/students appropriate questions that would reveal whatever difficulties they have with learning what you want them to learn from the topic.

Step 6: Assignment:

In order to widen the learners’ understanding of the topic, relevant take-home assignments shall be given to them at the end of each lesson. All the pupils/students should be required to do the assignments which the teacher would mark and discuss in class. Assignments for students is not to go and copy note, but to investigate further on the topic, next topic, carry out similar experiments, read certain passages, bring some materials to class or set the laboratories/workshops/studios according to specifications.

References:

This refers to texts or sources of materials employed by the teacher while teaching the topic. References are cited to buttress authenticity of information used.

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