September 30, 2016

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TCSF Field Testing Consolidation Workshop

           Dr. Myo Win

Yangon University of Education


Teacher Competency Standards Framework (TCSF) field testing consolidation workshop was held in Park Royal Hotel, Nay Pyi Taw for three days from 26 September,2016 to 28 September,2016. UNESCO education specialists and TCSF working group members acted as facilitators for this workshop. It was attended by responsible personnel from Ministry of Education, Development Partners and data collectors.
The purpose of this workshop is:
– to present the findings from the field testing
– to consolidate and discuss analysed data collected through case studies of classroom observations and key informant interviews
– to consolidate and analyse the findings to inform further improvement of the framework
The Myanmar Teacher Competency Standards Framework (TCSF) has been developed since October, 2015. The main objective of this framework is to establish an agreed set of teacher competency standards to improve the quality of teachers and teaching in Myanmar. The framework consists of four domains: professional knowledge and understanding, professional skills and practice, professional values and disposition and professional growth. Each domain has minimum requirements and competency standards for teachers’ professional development. To implement this framework, the core working group was organized in October, 2015. The UNESCO experts and working group members worked together to get the first draft of TCSF framework. To ensure that the frame is useful for Myanmar’s education system, it was field-tested during September, 2016. Such research tools as classroom observation, teacher self-appraisal, interview, etc were used for the field-testing. The field-test involved seventy-six (76) test case sites, each selected purposively and for convenience to include participants from all states and regions, teacher education institutions and basic education school providers – government, non-government, monastic, ethnic, private and secular education. The sample also covers all stages of schooling – Kindergarten, Primary, Lower and Upper Secondary. Teacher educators and M. Ed students from Universities of Education and teachers from Education colleges volunteered to conduct this field test. To discuss field testing experiences, this workshop was held for three days.
On the first day, UNESCO education experts and working group members from Yangon University of Education, Sagaing University of Education and University of Development of National Races first discussed the findings of the field testing.
On the second day, data collectors and researchers were awarded certificates of appreciation. Discussion was focused on feedback from data collectors on the field test exercise experience. All members were divided into ten groups. The discussions of these groups were as follows.
– The respondents requested to give more time to study TCSF in detail. As they did not have sufficient time, they could not study the self-appraisal form thoroughly.
– There were so many questions for the respondents to answer.
– Mini workshop for basic education teachers should be conducted to be familiar with TCSF.
– Some headmasters and teachers were very interested in TCSF and actively participated.
– Some teachers from rural areas were afraid of being punished if they were found to be unqualified.
– They thought that TCSF was opposite to current situation.
– Most of the respondents did not understand the contents in the self- appraisal.
One of the self-appraisal forms is based on Likert Scale. According to this form, one statement is given. The respondents have to choose one out of four alternatives.
A. Strongly agree B. agree C. disagree D. strongly disagree .Give reasons for your choice.
– According to the findings of some data collectors, respondents chose one alternative without thorough knowledge. But they could not give the reasons for their choice. This is the research tools’ weakness.
– Some classroom observers’ finding was quite interesting. As the headmaster had already known that his school was going to be observed, he asked the teachers to teach the students in advance. So the result is not as reliable as expected.
– Some data collectors were warmly welcomed by the headmaster and teachers but some had opposite experience. Some data collectors had to go to private schools. Some headmasters from private schools said that they were not responsible for this TCSF. It was found that some were not interested in this field test.
– Some teachers were worried about being interviewed or being observed. They thought that if they could not teach well, they would be taken action.
– Some teachers did not read the questionnaire which was sent in advance. Without interest, they responded the questionnaire.
– One data collector had difficulties in using language. The school she had to observe was Mon school. So the results were not as reliable as expected because of language difficulty.
– Many teachers did not understand such terms as ethical use of ICT, scarce education resources, learning context etc.
Data collectors were trained for two days before field testing. The questionnaire was written in Myanmar. There may be some weaknesses in translating from English to Myanmar. In fact, this TCSF is very important for the improvement of Myanmar education. On the second day, Dr. Myo Thein Gyi, Minister for Education, came to the workshop. He also pointed out the importance of TCSF. He said that some 2 year education colleges are going to be upgraded into 4 year degree education colleges. In developing curriculum framework for these colleges, it must be based on the TCSF framework. Moreover, this framework is also in line with education law.
In the evening section of day two, minimum requirements and indicators in Domain A and B were discussed. Data collectors presented their findings – strengths and weaknesses in these domains. On the third day, the domains B and C were discussed. In the evening section of the third day, discussion was mainly focused on reaching consensus among members on revisions to competency standards, minimum requirements, indicators and practice examples.
It should be said that the workshop is fruitful, for feedback from the data collectors is very useful for the improvement of TCSF framework. It is natural to find some difficulties in changing present situation into new situation which is not familiar with the present one, especially in education reform. The pioneer of this TCSF framework is UNESCO education specialists. They worked together with Myanmar working group so that the framework will be more in line with Myanmar culture. Field testing clearly pointed out some mismatches between theoretically expected outcomes and practically authentic results. Therefore, there are some recommendations for the improvement of Myanmar Teacher Competency Standards Framework.
The preliminary findings from the field test provide evidence that the intent of the framework is appropriate and acknowledged by many stakeholders. However, the current version requires revisions to simplify the content and language to make it more useful and meaningful. Broader consultation and discussion should be conducted to develop an understanding of how the framework may be implemented within Myanmar’s system of education and the capacity development requirements for on-going implementation. As the framework is to be implemented for use as a professional developmental tool, more extensive implementation trials and validation surveys are required.
Reference: Handouts used in workshop



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