This project evolved from the efforts of foreign lecturing staff at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. It was found when they first started teaching pre-service teacher education courses, that the language of instruction, although English, was not universally known at a sufficient competence level that all students could understand what was being discussed. The combination of large class size and differential culture expectations, found the lecturing staff themselves in a dilemma of how best to communicate effectively with their students. The following research objectives had to be addressed: 1. Increase collaborative Learning through quality learning teams; 2. To enhance academic outcomes of individual members of the quality learning team; 3. To inculcate a constructivism culture within the quality learning teams; 4. To enhance both learning and instruction strategies; 5. To encourage and increase motivation of both the quality learning team and each of its individual members; 6. To increase student achievement and create a positive student attitude of quality learning teams and their individual members; The formulation of a strategy whereby small groups (maximum of 5 students) took an independent assignment, worked as a "Quality Learning Team", reported back to the class and then with a combination of jigsaw and team presentation styles, a very satisfied, if somewhat initially frightened, group of students emerged. The departure from hand feeding, which was firmly put to one side, resulted in a more independent reflective individual. Team leaders were quickly established, friendships firmly made, trust in ones peers established, relaxed interdependency accepted as the norm, respect of ones peers accepted, leading to the emergence of highly motivated 'Teams' and individuals. The eventual consequence was all of these changed strategies created extremely motivated students for the most part and for those students whose learning style was not suited to this sharing experience they became very reflective, introspective and, after much soul searching, the majority of those doubters came on board. The combination of portfolio assessment and this style of learning eventually produced classes of students who clearly understood the concepts and practices of education. More importantly they enjoyed learning - they had fun. To confirm the hypothesis pre-survey and post survey questionnaires and random student interviews took place. This was confirmed further by freely written comments from students on the post survey questionnaire. Staff involved in the project also contributed their views. A follow up survey was made of those graduates from the initial pilot groups, many of whom were making valiant attempts introducing such innovative methods into HK schools when the culture of those schools was firmly entrenched in a hybrid Hong Kong style of rote learning, memorisation and examination cramming. A high proportion of the respondents of the surveys indicated that they had learnt more using this strategy than traditional methods of teaching and learning. Less than 1 % found the strategy unacceptable for their learning style. The strategy was adopted for subsequent courses and has proved equally successful in fermenting a deeper understanding of the issues and concepts of the courses being taught. Pilot groups were formed and it was clearly evident in the portfolio presentations at the end of the semester that the groups with quality learning teams had gained a deeper appreciation and understanding of the issues in the assignment and module being taught.
|Publication status||Published - Nov 1999|