Education transformation inMalaysia is a retaliation of placed third bottom and ranking 52 out of 65countries in Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2012administered by Organization for Economic Corporation and Development (OECD).PISA 2012 also showed Malaysia was below the global average score inMathematics, Reading and Science. Malaysia Education Blueprint(MEB) 2013 – 2025 is the manifesto of education transformation in Malaysia.
Oneof the main components in MEB is closing the enormity of the gap betweenstudents studying in urban cities versus those in rural areas. MEB 2013 – 2025 stated that more thantwo-thirds of students in the majority of under-performing schools in Malaysiacome from challenging socioeconomic backgrounds. Transforming education is notonly in Malaysia but it is a global movement. Transforming in the sense that allchildren deserve a great teacher so that they are able to maximize theirpotential and excellence is expected from every student, regardless of theirbackground.In our education utopia weexpect all teachers aware that a classroom is composed of different learnerwith different learning abilities, learning styles and different intelligences.
Conjointly, we expect teacher to be all time ever ready to accept theresponsibilities and take it positively to meet student’s diversity. In reality, teachers arestruggling around the world, fighting on what they believe in teaching everyday.Still, there are teachers punishing students by looking at the students unfortunatebackground, looking at the family’s problem and use the problems to blame thestudent’s incapability in being success. Seeking the status andcorrelation of teachers’ beliefs, practices and attitudes are important forunderstanding and transforming educational processes.
The are closely linked toteacher’s strategies for coping with challenges in their daily professionallife and to their general well being, and they shape student learningenvironment and influence student motivation and achievement (OECD, 2009). TheTeaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) conducted by OECD examineteacher’s beliefs, attitudes and practices and compares teachers, schools andcountries. In this study the conceptual frameworkis shown in Diagram 1 below. The assumptions are teachers’ beliefs will affectsteaching attitudes and classroom practices, hence there is direct affect ofteachers’ beliefs on classroom practices. Diagram 1.1Conceptualframework of the study 1.1 Research Objective Achievement gap between school in thesame district is the main concern of the study because all of the teachers arequalified teachers but the gap between high achievement and low achievementschools are prominent and become one of the main issue in any performancedialogue conducted in the district.
The aim of this study is to determine thedistinction in teachers’ beliefs, teaching attitudes and classroom practicesbetween teachers in high achievement and low achievement schools. 2.0 LiteratureReview One’s beliefs influenceworking and learning, and teachers’ beliefs about learning and teachinginfluence their instructional decisions and practices. Most of the studies thathave been conducted agreed that in general education studies, teaching is acognitive activity and that teachers’ beliefs greatly impact theirinstructional decisions in the classroom (Shavelson, & Stern, 1981;Tillema, 2000). Many studies have explicatedaspects of teaching practice which affecting the classroom learningeffectiveness and student achievements.
Borg (2003) suggests, “teachersare active, thinking decision-makers who make instructional choices by drawingon complex practically-oriented, personalized, and context-sensitive networksof knowledge, thoughts, and beliefs”. But the challenge is are teacherscapable in making effective professional instructional decisions and practices. According to Johnson (1994)educational research on teachers’ beliefs shares three basic assumptions: (1)Teachers’ beliefs influence perception and judgment. (2) Teachers’ beliefs playa role in how information on teaching is translated into classroom practices.(3) Understanding teachers’ beliefs is essential to improving teachingpractices and teacher education programs. 2.
1 Teachers’ Beliefs Different researchers gavedifferent definitions for beliefs. For example, Pajares (1992) reviewed aliterature of beliefs and reported that beliefs were defined in most studies asa ‘conceptual tool’. He defined belief as an “individual”s judgment of thetruth or falsity of a proposition, a judgment that can only be inferred from acollective understanding of what human beings say, intend, and do”.
One of the factors that arebelieved to influence the implementation and establishment of new activities inthe classroom is teacher beliefs (Binghimlas & Hanrahan, 2010). Pajares(1992) claimed that the investigation of teacher beliefs is a necessary way ofeducational inquiry for research and education. The ability to identify anddescribe the influence of teacher beliefs on instructional actions would deepenand enrich our understanding of the teaching process (Aguirre & Speer,2000). Several studies have examinedthe relationship between teachers’ beliefs and their practices in theclassroom. According to Aguirre and Speer (2000), current definitions ofteacher beliefs found in the education literature focus on how teachers thinkabout the nature of teaching and learning.
In this context, beliefs are definedas “conceptions” (Thompson, 1992), worldviews, and “mental models” that shapelearning and teaching practices (Ernest, 1989). Standen (2002) stated thatbeliefs can be classified in terms of personal assumptions about relationships,knowledge and society; professional beliefs about teaching and learning; andbeliefs about change and development. Yero (2002) states, ifteachers believe a program they have been told to use is based on a solidfoundation, and if the program is based on beliefs similar to their own, theywill notice ways in which the program works. If they believe it is a waste of time,they will notice evidence supporting that belief.
A study by Lacorte and Canabal(2005), concerns the relevance of the perceptions and attitudes that teachersbring with them into the classroom. Ernest (1989) argued that the autonomy ofthe teacher depended on three factors: 1. theteacher’s intellectual contents, particularly the systems of beliefs concerningthe nature of teaching and learning;2. thesocial context of the teaching situation, particularly the constraints andopportunities it provides; and 3.
theteacher’s level of thought processes and reflections. 2.2 Teaching Attitude Two important factors thataffect teacher factors in education, pedagogy and attitude, influence much ofwhat happens in science instruction and the resulting student learning (Shrigley, 1983; Tobin, Tippins, &Gallard, 1994).
Attitude means theindividual’s prevailing tendency to respond favorably or unfavorably to anobject (person or group of people, institutions or events). Attitudes can bepositive (values) or negative (prejudice). Attitudes determine what individualwill see, hear, think and do and they are rooted in experience and do notbecome automatic routine conduct (Souza-Barros & Elia, 1997). 2.
3 Classroom Practices Teacher’s professionalknowledge and actual practice may diverge not only among countries but alsoteachers within a country. Johnson et.al (2007) in their study of teacher effectivenessand student achievement in science demonstrated that effective teacherspositively impact student learning and found that effective teaching increasesstudent achievement and closes achievement gaps for all students.
On the other side, Judson (2006)states that there are some inconsistencies between teachers’ beliefs aboutinstructional practice and their actual teaching. 3.0 Methodology 3.1 Respondents Data were collected from 75 teachers insix schools in Ranau District. Three schools are identified as low achievementschool and another three more schools are identified as high achievementschool.
Schools achievements are based on school achievement in Year 6 publicexam known as UPSR and result from Literacy and Numeracy Screening(LINUS). 3.2 Instrument and Data Collection Withthe aim of collecting data in the study, the modified and translated TALIS questionnairewas used. The items in the questionnaire was selected and translated into MalayLanguage. The questionnaire consists of two parts,first part is about respondent profile and second part is directly posed onteacher’s belief, teaching attitudes and classroom practices.
In the questionnaire, teachers’ beliefswere assessed on a six-point Likert scale, ranging from 1 = “strongly disagree”to 6 = “strongly agree”. Teaching attitude and classroom practices wereexamined by teachers’ frequency estimations on a 6-point scale, ranging from”never” to “always”. 3.3 Data Analysis Inthis study with the aim of determining the distinction in teachers’ beliefs,teaching attitudes and classroom practices between teachers in high achievementand low achievement schools, descriptive statistics for the obtained dataanalysis has been used. Datafrom the questionnaire were analyzed using the Statistical Package for SocialSciences (SPSS). Independentt-test has been used for independent samples in order to determine if there isany difference between the two groups. Statistically, the results of analysishave been presumed significant at a level of p<0.
05. Pearson correlationanalysis has been done to determine if there is relationship between teacher’s belief, teachingattitudes and classroom practices. 4.0 Finding Table4.1 show the Reliability coefficient Chronbach Alpha of variables Table 4.
1Results oft-test and Descriptive Statistics for Teachers’ Beliefs by Group Variables Item Cronbach Alpha Teachers’ Beliefs 4 0.909 Teaching Attitudes 8 0.932 Classroom Practices 5 0.888 4.1 Belief Table 4.2Results oft-test and Descriptive Statistics for Teachers’ Beliefs by Group Group 95% CI for Mean Difference Low Achievement High Achievement M SD n M SD n t df Belief 3.830 1.069 28 3.
856 0.955 47 -0.501, 0.449 0.109 73 * p < .05. There is no statisticallysignificant mean difference in Teachers' Beliefs between this two groups. 4.
2 Teaching Attitude Table 4.3Results oft-test and Descriptive Statistics for Teaching Attitudes by Group Group 95% CI for Mean Difference Low Achievement High Achievement M SD n M SD n t df Teaching Attitude 5.087 0.611 28 5.1791 0.
615 47 -0.384, 0.200 0.532 73 * p < .05. There is no statisticallysignificant mean difference in Teaching Attitudes between this two groups. 4.3 Classroom Practices Table 4.
4Results oft-test and Descriptive Statistics for Classroom Practices by Group Group 95% CI for Mean Difference Low Achievement High Achievement M SD n M SD n t df Teaching Attitude 4.162 0.947 28 4.362 0.655 47 -0.572, 0.
173 0.109* 73 * p < .05. There is no statisticallysignificant mean difference in Classroom Practices between this two groups.
Finding concludes that there isno significant difference between teachers in high achievement and lowachievement school in teachers’ beliefs, teaching attitudes and classroompractices. Table 4.5Differences inStandard Deviation for Teachers’ Beliefs, Teaching Attitudes and ClassroomPractices Item Standard Deviation Difference Low High Teachers Beliefs 1.069 0.955 0.114 Teaching Attitudes 0.611 0.615 0.
004 Classroom Practices 0.947 0.655 0.292 Although the are nosignificant differences in all three variables, but by comparing the StandardDeviation between this three variables as shown in Table 4.
5, classroompractices shows highest difference with 0.292 compared to teachers’ beliefs(0.114) and teaching attitudes (0.004). This affirmed through classroompractices observation by officers from district office.
4.4 Pearson Correlation Table 4.6Correlationsummary for Teachers’ Beliefs, Teaching Attitudes and Classroom Practices Group Teachers Belief Teaching Attitudes Classroom Practices Teachers Belief Low 1.00 0.106* – 0.067 High – 0.
010 – 0.131 Teaching Attitudes Low 1.00 0.595** High 0.132* Classroom Practices Low 1.00 High **Correlationis significant at 0.01 level (2-tailed) Table 4.
6 shows that onlyteaching attitudes to classroom practices show positive correlation in bothgroups. Teaching attitude will affect the teachers’ classroom practices. Italso shows that both groups showing no significant correlation between teachers’beliefs and classroom practices. Quinn and Wilson (1997) claimthat the ‘dichotomy’ of beliefs and practices may stem from the difficulty inherentin changing teacher pedagogy. The statement above explains the reason for the findingthat transforming teacher pedagogy is a major challenge in education around theworld. Teachers’ beliefs maybe the same but not in the classroom practices.
5.0 Conclusion Even though there are nosignificant differences in belief, attitude and practices between this two groupsbut this study has shown that there is a spot that highlighted the differencein the level of teaching practices. This can be a hint for the next researchfocus. Researchers around the worldhas shown co-operation among teacher to be an important engine of change andquality development in schools, this is where Professional Learning Community(PLC) stand in.
We believe that teaching practices will affect directly on thequality and effectiveness of the teaching and learning process. We do notbelieve in drastic changes in teacher’s practices but through sharing best practiceswe surmise that teachers can be lead for betterment. Eventually this study willassist Ranau District Education Office to provide effective interventions toimprove the quality of Teaching and Facilitation (PdPc) that we refer asclassroom practices of teachers in low-achieving schools to ensure student’soutcome in line with the National Education Philosophy.