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Base de datos de evaluación

Evaluation report

BHG 2000/013: Progress Report Creating Active Schools 1998-2000



Author: Muratovic, H.

Executive summary

Background

The lessons learned from the first phase of the active learning initiative (1995-1997) indicated that short, intensive seminars for select teachers from different primary schools did not provide the type of sustainable intervention that was necessary. Instead of discrete events held away from the natural school environment, longer-term, more intensive programs in schools were needed. In response to lessons learned from phase 1 and given children's learning and development needs in a rapidly changing environment, in 1998, with UNICEF support, Creating Active Schools (CAS) was initiated. CAS focused on creating active learning demonstration schools where both instructional practices, and inclusive and participatory school-based management were priorities.

Purpose / Objective

The purposes of this preliminary assessment are to review CAS's growth and development from 1998-2000, identify critical lessons learned as implementation progressed, and recommend future steps and actions.

Methodology

The assessment relies on perspectives generated by counterparts, including parents and children, through individual and focus group interviews, responses to a questionnaire, and review of documents produced by counterparts and UNICEF over the past two years. This section is based on responses compiled from individual and focus group interviews conducted with administrative staff and teachers from the demonstration schools, parents, children, and other educational officials. The information was generated between June and August, 2000. Additionally, interview material was supplemented with documents produced by counterparts and UNICEF over the past two years. A full list of documents and interviews is included in the appendices.

Key Findings and Conclusions

Four (4) large primary schools and eight (8) small branch schools in the Federation have been designated as active learning demonstration schools. Approximately three hundred primary school teachers (300) participated in training seminars, practical classroom application and observation, discussion groups, joint planning and school development teams, educational materials development, and special projects. Approximately five thousand primary school children (5,000) became part of active schools and are working in partnership with teachers to create child-centered learning environments.

Planning and preparation for child-centered classrooms in all schools have been given special attention and priority. An emphasis has been placed on careful respect for children's needs, inclusion and development of objectives of/for classroom-based activities and active instructional practices. Children have become part of designing learning activities and learning environments. Children actively participate in creating the classroom environment planning, propose methods of work and participate in choosing materials to support their learning. Classrooms and schools are no longer uniform, but reflect the ideas, talents, and capabilities of their children, staff and community.

The most common instructional practices include small groups and pair work, with children working on shared tasks and activities. Classes are more flexible and use a variety of instructional methods to encourage participation and activity.

Practical application of knowledge from the classroom to the surrounding environment is encouraged, with children visiting museums, parks, galleries, and other community resources more often. In the demonstration schools, outdoor or garden classrooms have been created for use in subjects such as biology, language, literature, or a combination of these subject areas.

Teachers and children have changed their opinions regarding what constitutes "good behavior" in schools and classrooms. Teachers also indicate a decrease in absenteeism and more positive learning outcomes for more children. The number of children who take makeup examinations is decreasing. The number of pupils with good behaviour is increasing. This is a reliable sign that children attend classes more regularly and that the number of children who fall within the category of being problematic has decreased. (Attachment 4)

To this, we should add the comparative results of the evaluation of the work in primary schools in the Cantons. Of 87 schools in Tuzla Canton, Simin Han School was ranked on the fourteenth position at the beginning of implementation of the Project, in 1997/98 school year. In 1998/99, it was third. The results of testing knowledge are extremely good and the school again occupies the third position. In 1998/99, the First Primary School used to be on 12-13th position, and Tojsici School on the 50th. The results of testing pupils in 1999/2000 school year prove that the work in these Schools is improving. The First Primary School won the 4th position in mathematics and 2nd in Nature and Society.

Parents have become more a part of the learning process. Their voice is now heard and respected, based on their understanding of their children and based on their increased involvement in schools.

A "Creating Active Schools" training team has been developed to begin work with other schools. The team is comprised of school directors, teachers, and pedagogues. Other schools and their staff are beginning to visit the demonstration schools, observe classes, and participate in management team discussions. A Creating Active Schools Network has emerged, with the demonstration schools as the focal points for sharing information and experiences related to child-centered learning and school-based management.

CAS has enabled school directors, school pedagogues, and teachers to gain access to needed professional literature and educational materials to support active learning in child-centered learning environments. And, CAS has enabled schools to document and compile their own experiences for dissemination and discussion with other schools and educators. Documentation by teachers of successful classes are compiled and shared. This has increased the quality of the teaching and learning environment.

Recommendations

One of the most serious constraints is a lack of technical knowledge and experience with democratic, school-based forms of management among school directors, teachers, and the community.
- Expand seminars on active learning,
- Special educational programmes for the schools directors - how to manage the changes introduced and provoked by interactive teaching and active learning,
- Special educational programmes for teachers who teach future teachers.

Active learning calls for an increased need for the expendable material and for the procurement of teaching material, teaching instruments and aids, issuance of the school paper and bulletin, provision of the appropriate literature for teachers and pupils, and subscription to professional magazines and papers, Internet etc.

A huge obstacle to the implementation and specifically in disseminating the idea of interactive teaching and active learning is the lack of the appropriate space in school. Active learning programme calls for a different approach to the reconstruction and building of schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina (rooms with flexible walls, space for team works, documentation centre etc., close relations among educators, pupils and parents etc).



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Report information

Date:
2000

Region:
CEE/CIS

Country:
Bosnia-Herzegovina

Type:
Evaluation

Theme:
Education - Participatory Learning

Partners:
Federal Ministry of Education

PIDB:

Follow Up:

Language:
English

Sequence Number:
2000/013

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