As the lockdown continues at the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nepalese teachers have been taking part in learning pedagogical and digital skills in various webinars and trainings organised by various institutions and organisations. Among them, Nepal English Language Teachers' Association (NELTA), Nepal National Teachers' Association (NNTA) and Society of Technology Friendly Teachers (STFT) have regular programmes in different branches. The number of teachers who had attended the trainings focused on the digital skills continued increasing. It's realised that the skills needed to be strengthened to facilitate the curricular contents in the classrooms. Then the NNTA made a decision to start micro-teaching programmes under the banner of NNTA Micro-teaching Marathon, 2020 (the Micro-teaching). The main aim of this programme is to prepare teachers for ICT embedded teaching.
The research on impacts of micro-teaching programme
I volunteered research on the impacts of the Micro-teaching programme. I administered the survey questionnaires to the participants, presenters and commentators; interviewed the active participants and organisers; and also derived data while observing the programmes as a member of Pedagogical Bureau (PB). There was a panel discussion on micro-teaching and the findings of the research were presented as the major content for discussion. The discussion proved that this was qualitative research and worth publishing.
Micro-teaching modified version
The NNTA modified the skill focus of micro-teaching and emphasised the mixed model of curricular content, pedagogical procedures and digital skills embedded in the 15 minute long micro-teaching which is followed by commentator's feedback for 10 minutes. There are three micro-teaching presentations by teachers from different schools on different subjects.
The interested teachers show their interest in presenting micro-teaching and engage in rehearsals at the district level first. Then they present the improved lesson among the PB members. Thus the teacher-presenter is engaged in several practices for improvement. The commentators are university professors, government officials, senior head teachers and teachers who have specialised knowledge of the subject matter, pedagogy and technology.
Professional and pedagogical behaviour
The teachers are corrected for lesson planning, entering behaviour, and activities for introducing contents, practising and assessing learning. For example, the teacher enters greeting students and introducing herself. She presents the objectives and activities briefly. Then there are usually pictures or video or chanting to introduce the topic. Generally there are explanation, elicitation, demonstration, experimentation and exploration activities for better comprehension of the contents. The survey shows that 68.6 percent find the implementation of student-centred teaching satisfactory. Some qualities noticed in the micro-teaching programme are entering behaviour, engaging students, questioning for eliciting ideas as well as consciously using introduction, practice and evaluation stages of micro-teaching. Similarly, some professional skills like questioning, active listening, effective communication, prompt responding, receiving responses positively, designing various activities, addressing students' queries and speaking politely are often observed.
Laxman Sharma, the President, NNTA, claims,
The current time and situation demands teachers to become techno-smart and many teachers are using this lockdown period to prepare them to achieve this goal of teaching with new technology. The number of teachers who learnt various digital skills before and during lockdown period increased and some sort of skill acquisition was observed. We wanted to utilize those learnt skills to facilitate the curricular contents and pedagogical practices. We are using online platform to transfer digital skills of teachers to the micro-teaching lesson presentations and hoping that this experimentation will certainly teach further required skills and make the actual classroom teaching embedding ICT easier.
Rita, who regularly attends online micro-teaching sessions and has also presented a lesson and observed a lesson as commentator, finds the marathon really beneficial as her confidence level built up higher after experimentation of pedagogical and digital skills and feels self-contented with updating skills and teaching even at this critical situation.
Keshav, the chief of Pedagogical Bureau, presenter and commentator, has been reported to say that the teachers who used to be unable to make powerpoint slides or word files or excel files on the laptop or the mobile phone are now making them and presenting them through both digital gadgets.
All the respondents of the survey have said that they learnt various digital, pedagogical and professional skills and built up confidence. They listed the learning points of the marathon programme as embedding digital skills in classroom teaching, designing slides well, plan and present well staged lessons, select and design relevant teaching materials, different classroom activities, balancing pedagogy and technology, and effective questioning etc.
Due to several micro-teaching practices, the teachers' confidence level is increased. It has been taken as confidence booster. It's been useful to prepare and demonstrate mini lessons including curricular contents, subject wise pedagogy and methodology and application of digital tools properly. Moreover, the experience of micro-teaching presentation has enabled teachers for better online classroom management, like monitoring chats, operating whiteboard, annotation and responding reactions. Some other digital skills learnt in the Micro-teaching are Geo-board, Jam-board, techtonote and graphics as related to mathematical problems. It is really interesting to monitor hundreds of chat responses during the lesson. They provide huge feedback and insights for further improvement. The instant feedback of the commentator along with chat responses during and after the presentation is notable for presenters. In two months 135 micro-teaching presentations have been observed and the other districts are waiting for hosting the programme too.
The programme has helped teachers develop lesson planning, presentation, and online classroom management skills. It's a safe space for experimenting pedagogical and digital skills for the effective delivery of curricular contents in both the online and the face-to-face classroom settings.
About Gopal Prasad Bashyal
Mr Gopal Prasad Bashyal is a trainer at Education Training Centre, Palpa. He also serves as on-call trainer to the British Council Nepal. He has a Masters in Education (English) from Tribhuvan University,Nepal. Mr Gopal Prasad Bashyal has authored Optional English series (Grade 1-5), Teaching English to Beginners, ELT Handbook and The Recollections. He has presented papers at many international conferences in Nepal and abroad.He is the Senior Vice President of NELTA Province No.5.
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