How many students are paying attention? ( Senegal). What can you learn from visits to schools and classrooms?. The revelation of the secret and mysterious causality chains. Helen Abadzi Senior Education Specialist FTI Secretariat c/o World Bank May 12, 2010 Habadzi@worldbank.org.
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What can you learn from visits to schools and classrooms? The revelation of the secret and mysterious causality chains Helen Abadzi Senior Education Specialist FTI Secretariat c/o World Bank May 12, 2010 Habadzi@worldbank.org APEIE workshop
Project inputs Buildings Textbooks Salaries Training School grants School plans Community management Impact evidence Enrollments Dropout Repetition Skills Learning outcomes classroom activities Information processing Inside inputs get converted into information Data collection from the “black box” ?? !!
This session will present variables that can be observed Useful for you personally As well as for school surveys
How well was a treatment implemented?Find out • Physical inputs • Building, maintenance, furniture, consumables • Radios, lab equipment, maps? • Textbooks • Training inputs • For teachers, principals, administrators • Instructional delivery to students • Management committees • School budgets • School planning
Building condition may affect implementation of other components Poor mixture of cement and sand Structural problems Lack of maintenance
Teacher and management training coursesAsk: • Did teachers and principals receive the training that had been financed? • How many days? • What did they do? • Lectures, activities? • What can they remember from it? • Please ask for three items they recall • Do they use the training information in classroom or in school? • Ask: How? Where?
School feedingNutritional supplements • Do students in fact get fed what the government thinks? • Do the schools get enough? • What kinds? • How often are they delivered? • When were they last delivered? • Take a look at them, see expiration date
Management improvement componentsFind out: • School grants & budgets • What did the schools buy? Did not buy? • In what ways (if any) did the grant purchases increase the amount of learning? • Community management • How often do they meet? What % come? • What is the added value of their presence? • Buildings, money, monitoring? • Do they just approve what principal decides? • School planning • What did school decide was missing? • What did they do about it? • Do you see deficiencies that the school staff did not find?
Where are the textbooks?Look for them • Nowhere? • In the students’ hands? • In the classroom? • In the library? • How many students vs. textbooks in a class?
Instructional delivery to students How much actual teaching do you see?
Scheduling visits to schools • Sampling schools – important issues • Omitting certain schools from surveys alters the sample • If more than 5% of the schools are changed • Visit unannounced if possible ! • Perhaps not reveal to local authorities when schools will be visited
Classroom observation experiencefor you • Take a look inside classes if possible without being seen (e.g. from window) • What were they doing before you went in? • Sit down for 5-10 minutes • Take video or audio evidence • Teachers may try to teach better in front of you but may not know how! • After a while everyone may forget about you.
Which variables are worth measuring from classrooms events? Use as framework the rules of how people learn Look at: Is time spent for instruction? • Are all students engaged in learning tasks? • Does teacher know the subject? • Is teacher using methods that help students remember? How many interact with the teacher
Look around the class and think:Can the students learn the expected subjects in this class? • How many of the enrolled students present? • How many interact with the teacher, participate? • How is the class time spent? • Activities carried out? • Are students kept busy all the time? • Are students processing information or just waiting?
Problems identified in many classrooms • Instruction may not be going on • They may be unable to see the blackboard • May spend much time copying • May repeat without understanding • They may receive no feedback • Be unoccupied most of the time • Grade 1-2 textbooks may not really teach the poor how to read
How much of the time that governments pay for is used for instruction? Class: When financing is converted to information In a class hour, students must retain as much info as possible • and recall it effortlessly when needed Time use has been measured many times • Stallings classroom snapshot
Only a small fraction of the time that a government budgets isconvertedinto information
Legal teacher absenteeism:Teacher’s book from rural HondurasHow many days did this class study?
Students unoccupied, waiting for the bell to ring (most of them illiterate)
Teacher absenteeism and time use in Maputo: Schools constantly in recess
To remember and use information, students must: • Receive it • Practice it, contemplate it • Have prior knowledge on which to fit it • Read fluently to learn from books • Know the official language well! • do math fluently to solve complex problems
High-quality schools: Offer activities that create complex cognitive networks • Students recite + • read long texts+ • manipulate + • collect real-world samples + • answer questions connecting various items + • derive new conclusions from data + • solve problems + • practice for fluency + • generalize into various circumstances • Spend time in “active learning”
Signs that the students will probably remember the information • Group or even individual work with students concentrated • Activities of students reading, discussing • not merely verbally repeating • Writing material that is not simply copying • Teacher uses aids like flash cards • Teacher monitors individual student work • Gives feedback • Teacher going towards the back, • addressing individual students who did not volunteer to answer a question
Poor-quality schools:may teach items in series with few connections Students may just recite or listen… The heroes of the revolution are… The books of the bible are…. 2x2=4, 2x3=6, 2x4=8, 2x5=10…. The principles of constitutional law are…
High quality schools Low-quality schools
Student attendance and participation Determine whether students will learn
Check:How many of the enrolled students are present? • We all hear about large classes • If you go towards the end of the school year will you find them? • Students may enroll but attend rarely, particularly when they are illiterate or do not know the material. • Is there space in a classroom for everyone enrolled? • There may only be enough space for the regular students • What excuses do you get?
Students falling behind are often absent Bank documents say that classes are large… 19 of 45 students in grade 4, outside Nampula, Mozambique
Look at students’ notebooks • How much is written? Too much: no textbooks Just 2-3 pages? No classes or frequent absences
Check for “hidden dropout”:How many of the students are actually involved in a class? • Ask the teacher: is s/he up to date with the curriculum that must be taught? • If so, observe how many students actually follow teachers’ instructions, answer questions, seem involved • The teacher may say that s/he is up to date, but may be only teaching 3-4 students • Rest may be illiterate and uninvolved
“Hidden dropout?”:Teachers in Nepal interacting mainly with the front of the class
Do teachers know sufficient material to teach? • See material on the blackboard • Does it make sense? • Example: • Students who don’t know letter values cannot learn them from others’ fast reading • Rural Mozambique rura
Do these students discriminate among letters of the fuzzy blackboard from this distance?
Lack of textbooks translates into loss of time at all levels Due to a lack of knowledge and materials, teachers do very few activities But they can follow a textbook Teacher boredom:How many of us would spend 20 years in blackboard transcription?
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