February 08, 2017

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The Implementation of the Myanmar Teacher Competency Standards Framework

Aye Aye Myint, Yangon University of Education & Myo Win,  Methodology Department, Yangon University of Education

 

103(5) copy

 

Abstract

As Myanmar raises the quality of education system, it needs teachers with the right values, skills and knowledge to be effective practitioners. The Myanmar Teacher Competency Standards Framework (TCSF) has been developed. The main objective of this framework is to establish an agreed set of teacher competency standards to support improvement in the quality of teachers and teaching in Myanmar. To implement this framework, the core working group was organized. The framework consists of four main areas. Each domain has competency standards and minimum requirements for teachers’ professional development. To ensure that the frame is useful for Myanmar’s education system, the draft of the framework will be field-tested. Such research tools as classroom observation, teacher self-appraisal, interview, etc will be used for the field-testing. 75 schools are included in this field testing. This framework will help to raise the quality of education system in Myanmar.

Introduction
Myanmar has commenced a process of significant changes in political, social and economic affairs.  So has in education. The role of education is expected to play in the nations’ social and economic development. As Myanmar raises the quality of education system, it needs teachers with the right values, skills and knowledge to be effective practitioners. Therefore, Myanmar needs a strong system of teacher education, with programmes that provide the theoretical foundations to produce graduates with the kinds of professional knowledge, understanding and skills associated with the role of the teacher and the process of teaching. The National Education Law of Myanmar also legislates that all teachers need to be qualified. It defines a teacher as an educator who has qualifications for serving at a specified level of education. Under the law, the Ministry and related ministries are responsible for upgrading teachers’ quality. Therefore, the government of Myanmar has prioritized teacher education in its education reform efforts, recognizing that improvement in quality of teachers is essential to quality education and positive student learning outcomes. The 30 -Year Long -Term Education Development Plan (2001-2031) also aims to uplift national education through a series of reform programmes, including the teacher education system. For these reasons, it is necessary to have a competency standard framework for Myanmar teachers.
The Myanmar Teacher Competency Standards Framework (TCSF) has been developed by a group of  national professional education experts and UNESCO education specialists over a period of eight  months in 2015-2016.UNESCO through the  Australian aid funded Strengthening Teacher Education in Myanmar (STEM) project, provided technical assistance in developing the framework. The main objective for the development of this framework is to establish an agreed set of teacher competency standards to support improvement in the quality of teachers and teaching in Myanmar. To implement this framework, the core working group which consists of 14 members was organized. The members were teacher educators from Yangon University of Education (YUOE), Sagaing University of Education (SUOE), the University for the Development of National Races (UDNR) and representatives from some Education Colleges out of 22 Education Colleges, that produce primary and junior teachers in Myanmar.
Definitions of key terms

The following definitions of the key terms were used in the study.
Competency standards: It is defined as the expectations of teachers’ knowledge, skills and attributes and required levels of performance at various stages of their teaching carrier.
Educational sciences: It refers to the theoretical foundations of education and includes intercultural, philosophical, psychological and sociological knowledge as it relates to and informs teaching practice.

The Myanmar teacher competency standard framework
The teacher competency standards framework explains what are the key characteristics and attributes of good teaching and what is expected of teachers’ professional practices at various stages in their professional development. It is a guide for policy makers and curriculum developers responsible for teacher education (pre and in-service) and basic education.  The teacher competency standards refer to the expectations of teachers’ knowledge, skills and attributes and required levels of performance at various stages of their teaching career and are organized in four domains.
A. Professional knowledge and understanding
B. Professional skills and practice
C. Professional values and dispositions
D. Professional growth
Each Domain refers to a complex combination of knowledge, skills, understanding, values, attitudes and desire which lead to effective, embodied human action in the world in a particular domain. Each domain is organized by Areas of Competence for which the competency standard is expressed as a concise statement with accompanying descriptors of the expected minimum requirements to be achieved by all teachers.
Competency standards are the expected professional abilities and skills a teacher should develop through their initial training and as they continue to grow and develop in their professional service and practice (i.e. through participation in induction and on-going in-service education and training).
Minimum requirements explain how knowledge, skills, actions and desired types of behaviours may be expressed. These requirements refer to all teachers’ professional development and cover all phases of their professional development. They also cover teachers teaching in different stages of schooling from kindergarten to grade 12 and all systems (public and private) of education in Myanmar.
Domain A: Professional knowledge and understanding
This domain encompasses the knowledge required for teaching different stages and level-appropriate subject content competency. It is necessary to understand how students learn and how they can be effectively taught in the key learning areas. Underpinning all competency standards in this domain is knowledge of educational policy, school curricula for Myanmar, its aims and objectives and developments. Under this domain, areas of competence are educational science, instructional technology, curriculum and subject matter.

Domain B: Professional skills and practices
This domain deals with what teachers are able to do. The teachers’ professional knowledge and understanding (domain A) is complemented by possession of a repertoire of teaching strategies for different educational contexts to meet the needs of individual students as appropriate to different subject areas and stages of schooling. Under this domain, areas of competence are pedagogy, assessment, classroom management and learner-centered values.

Domain C: Professional values and dispositions
This domain refers to the ideas, values and beliefs that teachers hold about education, teaching and learning. It is underpinned by the values expressed in the Myanmar National Education Laws and reflects the mutual understanding by teachers and the community about Myanmar teachers. The areas of competence specific to this domain are professional ethics, service to profession and community and community leadership.
Domain D: Professional growth and development
This domain deals with teachers continuing professional growth and development. It incorporates teachers’ habits, motivation and actions related to their on-going learning and professional improvement. It advocates the importance of all teachers being aware of their role as leaders within the community and highlights the need for active research to support teachers’ classroom performance and continuing professional development. The areas of competence specific to this domain relate to reflective practices, collaborative learning and initiative for research culture.
The framework is designed for use in:
supporting teacher quality related policy design and implementation
developing teacher education curriculum, training and professional development programs
guiding teachers in self appraisal and training needs analysis, and
assisting education supervisors/ managers at various levels of the system to monitor and support teachers (pre and in-service) to develop in their profession and improve their practice.

Field testing
To ensure that the frame is useful for Myanmar’s system of education, the draft of the framework will be field-tested. Field-testing will be able to use to determine how relevant and useful the framework and the tools are for supporting Myanmar teachers and principals to better understand their professional learning and development strengths and needs. It provides an opportunity for the intended users to apply the framework within an authentic context and to provide feedback and suggestions for improvement. UNESCO education specialists and working group team leaders worked together to plan the methodology and design the data collection tools for the field testing of the draft framework,
The field testing will provide information that will make the framework more relevant and useful as a professional learning and development tool for all teachers in Myanmar.   Research tools for this field testing are classroom observation, teacher self-appraisal, focus group discussion, key informant interview and case study. The data collected will be used to form the final development of TCSF. The draft Framework is now ready to be piloted through a field testing exercise. A number of school types and teaching learning contexts will be field tested to reflect different types of schools and schooling systems where teachers work in Myanmar.75 different schools and teaching learning contexts have been included in this field testing.
As the Framework provides a core set of competency standards to be used as the point of reference or benchmark for teachers and teaching quality, it is hoped that this framework will help to raise the quality of education system in Myanmar.

References

Alexander, R. (2008), Education for All: The Quality Imperative and the Problem of Pedagogy. CREATE, Sussex University, UK.
European Commission (2013), Supporting teacher competence development for better learning outcomes. European-Education and Training.
Republic of the Philippines Department of Education (2010), National Competency Based Teacher Standards.
Republic of the Union of Myanmar, 2014 National Education Law, 30 September 2014 and Amended National Education Law, 25 June 2015.
UNESCO (2015), Teacher Policy Development Guide. Summary.
United Kingdom Department for Education (2011),Teachers’ Standards. Guidance for school leaders, school staff and governing bodies www.gov.uk/government/publications.

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