REVITALISING TEACHING AND LEARNING METHODS USING ICT IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Background to the Study
Education has continued to evolve, diversify and extend its reach and coverage since the dawn of human history. Every country develops its system of education to express and promote its unique socio-cultural identity and to meet the challenges of the time. There are moments in history when a new direction has to be given to an old process in the school curricula in addition to the common scheme of studies.
Today Africa is facing an opportunity unparalleled in modern history. Strategic application of information technology to all areas of life can help Nigeria emerge as a global player. Vast opportunities exist across all sectors of economic and social activity, including government, healthcare, and small and medium size business development. However, the key to unleashing this potential is the strategic application of ICT in education. Unless the countries of Africa develop local competences and provide their people with all the required knowledge, skills and tools to compete in the global economy, they will never benefit from the unique opportunity facing Africa today. A success in this area would unleash the talents of African populations, create new jobs and increase compensation, attract foreign investment to Nigeria, prevent brain-drain and increase the GDP and standard of living on the continent. Thus, comprehensive e-transformation should be at the top of the agenda of every government in Africa. And the first step of the e-transformation roadmap should focus on e-education.
Technology and Education
In many countries evidence has clearly demonstrated that ICT can improve the quality of education. ICT has the ability to address illiteracy and improve the quality of education in all sectors of education and through multimedia capabilities such as simulations and models, and ICT can give learners access to concepts that they previously could not grasp. The use of learner management systems and administration tools can bring increased transparency to procedures ensuring that funds are channeled to where they are most needed and are accounted for. This can free up resources for new educational projects such as new schools, professional development for teachers or increased facilities within schools. Data can be transmitted through the internet using centralized administration processes and can avoid duplication of cost and effort. Through a range of Internet based applications and services all learners with some level of connectivity to the Internet can access high quality content and receive an education that is relevant
Education is the life blood of any nation or economy and so proper care and attention must be given to its delivery. Knowledge is a very important part of the equation as it is at the core of education itself. For every economy to be the best it must ensure that the best practices are employed to ensure proper teaching and learning especially in the secondary schools as it is the lowest level of acceptable education in recent times. Teaching methods are as important as the curriculum in any given educational institution, for it is the delivery style that ensures to a large extent that the learners achieve most of the learning objectives and outcome.
In recent times there has been an urgent need for teachers to revitalize their teaching methods and students their learning methods as the times are changing and technology continue to change steadily. The urgent need for this change in teaching and learning methods is noted in the higher institutions and in the labour market where students are expected to have mastered the skill of knowing how to learn and to apply what they have learnt. There is a wide divide between what students are able to do at the secondary school level and what they are expected to do at the university and later on when employed.
The traditional methods of teaching and learning calls for a drastic change in the modern age, through improved technology and innovations in curriculum and assessment. The present curriculum and assessment have narrowly defined schooling and intelligence is counted by the grade scored. As a result the schooling environment tends to be dominated by a control culture that emphasizes traditional teacher-student relationship, traditional classroom/ learning boundaries.
A new system must be adopted where learning involves the creation of a change and innovative culture that enables students to be creative, self-directed, talented individuals who become knowledgeable workers in the global market. It can be achieved by revitalizing teaching / learning methods and the school curriculum with the efforts of administrators, teachers, and learners by involving parents while designing school curriculum.
Teaching skills and learning methods must thus improve with the times closing the divide between knowing and doing. Students must be able to apply the things that they learn. Modern teaching practices empower students to investigate and develop thinking and learning skills that enable them to cope in the university and also at work.
Sad to say many teaching methods that are still in use in the secondary schools in Lagos do not empower students to be independent thinkers or learners. There is thus an urgent need for the revitalizing of teaching and learning methods that prepare students for the real world, which develops in them investigative and enquiry skills.
The Changing Role of a Teacher as a Facilitator –
Shakespeare’s dictum that – “some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them”. (Choube – 2003) The teaching Profession has a unique feature. It helps the teacher to grow in mind and spirit while engaged in it. According to social activists approach a teacher has to adapt to the role of a facilitator (Vadana Merah 2006).
• A teacher gives a didactic lecture but a facilitator helps the learner to get to his / her own understanding.
• In the former a learner plays a passive role while in the later learners plays an active role.
• A teacher tells and the facilitator asks; a teacher lecture from the front, a facilitator supports from the back.
• A teacher gives answers according to a set curriculum; a facilitator creates the learning environment.
• A teacher mostly gives a monologue; a facilitator is in continuous dialogue with the learner As Rabindernath Tagore rightly observed “A teacher can never truly teach, unless he is still learning himself, just as a lamp can never light another lamp unless it continuous to burn itself…”( Gupta-2005)
Education can therefore be revitalized when sophisticated and modern teaching and learning methods are employed. There are indeed many teaching methods available to educationist many of which in recent times have been broadly categorized into two namely; the 19th century teaching and learning methods and the 21st century teaching and learning methods.
The 19th century teaching and learning methods have in recent times been described as outdated because they do not encourage students to develop thinking skills. Amongst the 19th century teaching methods are lecturing, dictating, voluminous note copying from the board, teaching (doing all the talking, it is popularly called the sage on the stage in western countries) e.t.c. students who learn using most of the above teaching and learning styles can only achieve up to level two of the blooms taxonomy which are recall and understanding.
The 21st century teaching styles are more student and teacher friendly as they ensure that both the students and the teachers actively participate in the learning process. Amongst the 21st teaching and learning styles are the Think-Pair-Share, Cooperative Learning, use of ICT resources, Graphic Transformation and Representation, Peer Tutoring, Post Box Activity, KWL(what you know, what you want to know, what you have learnt) etc. students who are exposed to these teaching and learning methods can achieve up to Level Six of the Blooms Taxonomy.
It has been discovered that one of the ways through which quality education is maintained is through the use of information and communication technology. Evidence suggests that the use of ICT in teaching can enhance the quality of learning; make learners more independent and capable of sustaining their own life-long learning observation.