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Study to Investigate Perception and Role of Teachers,Parents,Management About Religious Education

April 10th, 2021

One’s education is not complete without a study of comparative religion or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization. The purpose of this study is to foresee the perception of teachers, parents and management about religious education at primary schools. Religion and beliefs gives awareness of our norms and values. Religious education teaches the ethics of living a peaceful and loving life. It teaches individuals, families, communities that how they should take decisions for living a better life full of peace and harmony. Patrick (2006) said that religious practice benefits individuals, families, and communities and thus the whole world.

Religious education is very important for students at early ages. It teaches them how to response others and tells them ethics of living a better life. Religion plays a significant role in history and society as well, study about religion is essential to understand both the nation and the world. It also makes great beneficence to other parts of school syllabus such as liberty, civil, crafts and disciplines for supportable development. John et al (2003) mentioned in his report that the curriculum needs to cater the child’s affective, aesthetic, spiritual, moral and religious needs in order to develop the individual’s full potential. RE plays specific role in developing spiritual and moral values of a child as well as to be aware to knowledge of God.

Literature Review
Religious education make student broad minded but it happens when teachers teaches them with these clear concepts and practices about how to practice these thoughts as well as to communicate and deal with others in adverse community. Religious Education teachers need to have in depth knowledge of content and pedagogy as well as need to have quality assessment skills to deliver effective instructions as they are the pillars of teaching process. Dinama et al. (2016)

Liagkis (2016) supported the concept that pedagogically, all instructions are determined in the curriculum sequentially but religious education teachers are responsible to deliver effective teaching to learners to make them able to practice

Geoff Teece (2009) proposed an article on learning about religion and learning from religion or religious education. In this article researcher said there is a lack of clarity in terms of learning and actually mean from the religion. Researcher also argued that the term religion is understood by applying a second order explanatory frame work that actually refers to the concept of study of religion such as rituals and myth. Religious education or religious instruction was a serious concern in education system.

To figure it out Gardner (1980) gave a solution that, not to make students committed towards any of the religion and instead of this teach about the events and lifestyles guided in different religions. The question arises after this given solution that is it appropriate to grow students up with the brought minds in sense of their beliefs in educational scenario? Or is it better not to go against the grain and follow the traditional style accordingly? The explorers of these questions were Gardner (1993) & McLaughlin & Hare (1994)

Leahy & Laura in 1997 gave their notion that religion is not restricted to be taught in inflexible environment. Religious concepts can be integrated in other subjects of curriculum to enhance knowledge (P.329).

Leahy (1998) considered that should the parents be allowed to take decision about their child’s learning method of religious education by censoring the curriculum of school but she herself deny it because it will spoil the rights of other religious groups and kill the ways for different groups producing social imbalance.

According to John M.Hull there is a part for the school in preparing pupils to take an informed and thoughtful part in a pluralistic culture. When the society contains not one but several religions, the necessity for a thoughtful study of religion becomes greater, not less. (1984, p. 48.)

While standards such as admiration, acceptance, and treating people with kindness are clearly important plus constantly have been, new public currently furthermore prerequisite to understand the causes of, and possible solutions to, complex and global issues. (Nord and Haynes, 1998, p. 36)

Ethical reflection contributes to that understanding by helping young people see that tolerance of others is not enough; that a global, interconnected world calls for harmony by others whose outcomes and futures are intertwined, and that they want to be prepared to turn, not just personally, but also collectively and politically. (Freiler, 2009, p.15)

Susan D. Holloway in his article “The Role of Religious Beliefs in Early Childhood Education: Christian and Buddhist Preschools in Japan”. Off and on in western writing the Japanese are mark out as a non-religious people apart from it Japanese are considered the faithfulness that conflict with Americans. Japanese show up more prepared to put together and meet the doctrine that often appealing Shinto at the beginning and wedding whereas the Buddhism stand with silence/external rest through in spite of circumstances that work to darken the noticeable philosophical contribution of different doctrine, definite direction of Christians ideology and Buddhism are observed that pressure the school of Japanese.

Objectives of the study:
To find out teacher’s perception about religious teaching as an aspect of education.
To identify the role of teachers for children character development.
To find out parent’s perception about religious teaching.
To explore the role of school management for teaching religious subjects in curriculum.
Methodology of the Study:
A quantitative research design was selected to conduct this study. In this study questionnaires were used as a research tool. In the educational research field questionnaires are worthily considered as a popular technique mostly used for investigating the opinions, attitudes, perceptions and preferences.

Questionnaires constitute an important and popular technique that is widely used to study the attitudes, opinions, perceptions and preferences in the field of educational research. Muijs (2004), Reid (2006)

Oppenheim (1992: 100) described questionnaires as: “The questionnaire is an important instrument of research, a tool for data collection. It is considered a set of questions arranged in a certain order and constructed according to specially selected rules”.

[Creswell (2008), Cohen et al (2007), Raid (2006)] all categorized questionnaires information as there are three types of data that may be collected about respondents through using questionnaires including Factual, Behavioral and attitudinal. Demographic characteristics of respondents are covered in factual questions; behavioral questions are used to investigate about the actions, habits, and experiences of participants; and to know about interest, belief, values, opinions and attitudes investigator uses attitudinal questions. In this study research tool is consisted on two elements from mentioned categories including factual and attitudinal questions.

Three questionnaires were designed for each category of respondents. Respondents of the study were teachers, parents and management belongs to primary schools of Karachi. Total number of statements was 10 for each category of respondents. 30-40 minutes time duration was decided to fill questionnaires after the pilot study. Closed ended statements were used in questionnaires and respondents were asked to give their point of view by chosen rubrics of Likert Scale (Strongly Agree, Agree, to some extent, Disagree, and Strongly Disagree).

1. Pilot testing of Questionnaires
Oppenheim (1992: 48) mentioned this “everything about the questionnaire should be piloted; nothing should be excluded, not even the type face or the quality of the paper”. 50 respondents were selected for pilot testing of questionnaires (20 teachers, 20 parents and 10 management staff). Piloting the questionnaires was aimed to ensure the layout of questionnaires, to cater the language difficulties, to check instructions needed to improve and to improve validity and reliability of questionnaires. The feedback received through pilot testing provides the clarity about statements of questionnaire, layout, instructions and validity as well.

2. Sample selection
Teachers, school management of primary schools and parents of primary grade children of Karachi, Pakistan were selected as a population of this study. Sample was selected district wise; there are 6 districts in Karachi namely Central Karachi, East Karachi, South Karachi, West Karachi, Malir Karachi and Korangi Karachi. By using convenient quota sampling technique 4 districts out of 6 were selected including East Karachi, South Karachi, Malir Karachi and Korangi Karachi. Total 200 sample size was selected for conducting this study. 50 samples were intended to select from each district approximately. For desired sample primary schools were selected through searching on internet and developed communication with concern authorities of all schools for asking their willingness to fulfill research needs.

3. Data collection procedure
Researcher visited schools district wise one by one and distributed 250 questionnaires to participants more than actual sample size to get maximum return rate. 30 out of 250 participants did not return their questionnaires. 220 participants returned questionnaires on time.20 questionnaires out of 220 were excluded due to incomplete responses. So finally researcher got desired sample size 200 out of 250. Remaining questionnaire responses was 40 (principals, wise principals), 100 teachers and 60 parents selected collectively. Whereas, 10 (principals, wise principals), 25 teachers and 15 parents were selected from each district.

5. Analysis of Data:

SPSS version 21 was used for data analysis procedure. 5-Likert scale responses were converted into numeric scale 1-5 to enter the data in SPSS. Through using SPSS researcher calculated the frequencies and percentages. After calculation, result is presented through generating graphs showing frequencies and percentages of responses of each category.

Analyzing the findings of research questionnaire statements is given below.

1. Management Category

Statement

Frequencies & Percentages

Strongly

Disagree

Agree

To some

extent

Disagree

Strongly

Disagree

Religious education defines Virtue, Grace, Law and Sin.

14

35%

22

55%

4

10%

-

-

-

-

Religious education is a part of each individual’s statutory learning pathway.

16

40%

20

50%

4

10%

-

-

-

-

Religious education gives importance to moral values in life.

17

42.5%

18

45%

5

12.5%

-

-

-

-

The school should have no role in the religious formation of the child.

-

-

9

22.5%

8

20%

15

37.5%

8

20%

It should be the priority to have a religious education in the school.

5

12.5%

19

47.5%

8

20%

8

20%

-

-

Religious topic in curriculum enhances the explanation of the spiritual side of life.

5

12.5%

24

60%

6

15%

5

12.5%

-

-

Content is related to the student’s life during teaching.

8

20%

23

57.5%

9

22.5%

-

-

-

-

The curriculum is adopting instructional approaches to meet student’s religious need.

8

20%

20

50%

12

30%

-

-

-

-

Curriculum is supporting their responsibility to educate children through sharing resources.

6

15%

24

60%

10

25%

-

-

-

-

There are authorities in school to access overall effectiveness of religious practices.

-

-

23

57.5%

17

42.5%

-

-

-

-

2. Teacher Category

Statement

Frequencies & Percentages

Strongly

Agree

Agree

To some

extent

Disagree

Strongly

Disagree

Religious education gives importance to moral values in life.

35

35%

51

51%

14

14%

-

-

-

-

Religious education is a part of each individual’s statutory learning pathway.

40

40%

49

49%

11

11%

-

-

-

-

Religious tradition cannot survive without recalling the chain of memory.

30

30%

48

48%

16

16%

6

6%

-

-

4 Strategies to Become a Transformative Educator

March 10th, 2021

When you are assigned a class and students arrive, do you view yourself as a teacher, instructor, or educator? Is your role a function, one which completes tasks and responsibilities, or do you aspire to accomplish more with your students? Do you consider the instructional strategies you use now to be transformative in some manner, or would you like to somehow transform the students you teach?

A person enters the field of education as a profession, either full-time in a traditional academic institution or as an adjunct (or part time) instructor. A traditional full-time professor may likely be responsible for conducting research, teaching, and publishing scholarly work. An adjunct instructor may teach in a community college, traditional college, or an online school. When someone teaches students within the field of higher education, he or she may be called a facilitator, instructor, or professor. This is important as you won’t find a job title with the word educator in it.

Does this mean that everyone who is a teacher, professor, instructor, faculty member, or adjunct, is also an educator? What I have learned through my work in higher education is that everyone who is in one of these roles is doing their best to teach and guide a learning process, whether they are involved in undergraduate or graduate degree courses. However, someone who considers themselves to be an educator is a person who goes beyond the role of teaching and seeks to lead a transformational learning process. I have learned myself that becoming an educator is not an automatic process. It takes time, practice, and dedication to become an engaging and transformative educator.

A Basic Definition of a Teacher

Teaching is generally associated with traditional, primary education. Classes at this level are teacher-led and children as students are taught what and how to learn. The teacher is the expert and directs the learning process. A teacher is someone highly trained and works to engage the minds of his or her students. This style of teacher-led instruction continues into higher education, specifically traditional college classrooms. The teacher still stands at the front and center of the class delivering information, and students are used to this format because of their experience in primary education. The instructor disseminates knowledge through a lecture, and students will study to pass the required examinations or complete other required learning activities.

Within higher education, teachers may be called instructors and they are hired as subject matter experts with advanced content or subject matter expertise. The job requirements usually include holding a specific number of degree hours in the subject being taught. Teachers may also be called professors in traditional universities, and those positions require a terminal degree with additional research requirements. For all of these roles, teaching is meant to signify someone who is guiding the learning process by directing, telling, and instructing students. The instructor or professor is in charge, and the students must comply and follow as directed.

Here is something to consider: If this is the essence of teaching, is there a difference between teaching and educating students? Is the role of a teacher the same as that of an educator?

Basic Definitions of an Educator

I would like for you to consider some basic definitions to begin with as a means of understanding the role of an educator. The word “education” refers to giving instruction; “educator” refers to the person who provides instruction and is someone skilled in teaching; and “teaching” is aligned with providing explanations. I have expanded upon these definitions so the word “educator” includes someone who is skilled with instruction, possesses highly developed academic skills, and holds both subject matter knowledge, along with knowledge of adult education principles.

• Skilled with Instruction: An educator is someone who should be skilled in the art of classroom instruction, knowing what instructional strategies are effective and the areas of facilitation that need further development.

An experienced educator develops methods which will bring course materials to life by adding relevant context and prompting students to learn through class discussions and other learning activities. Instruction also includes all of the interactions held with students, including all forms of communication, as every interaction provides an opportunity for teaching.

• Highly Developed Academic Skills: An educator must also have strong academic skills and at the top of that list are writing skills. This requires strong attention to detail on the part of the educator must include all forms of messages communicated. The ability to demonstrate strong academic skills is especially important for anyone who is teaching online classes as words represent the instructor.

The use of proper formatting guidelines, according to the style prescribed by the school, is also included in the list of critical academic skills. For example, many schools have implemented APA formatting guidelines as the standard for formatting papers and working with sources. An educator cannot adequately guide students and provide meaningful feedback if the writing style has not been mastered.

• Strong Knowledge Base: An educator needs to develop a knowledge base consisting of their subject matter expertise, as related to the course or courses they are teaching, along with knowledge of adult education principles. I know of many educators who have the required credit hours on their degree transcripts, yet they may not have extensive experience in the field they teach. This will still allow them to teach the course, provided they take time to read the required textbook or materials, and find methods of applying it to current practices within the field.

Many schools hire adjuncts with work experience as the primary criteria, rather than knowledge of adult learning principles. When I have worked with faculty who do have studied adult education theory, they generally acquired it through ongoing professional development. That was my goal when I decided on a major for my doctorate degree, to understand how adults learn so I could transform my role and become an educator.

4 Strategies to Become a Transformative Educator

I do not believe many instructors intentionally consider the need to make a transformation from working as an instructor to functioning as an educator. When someone is hired to teach a class, someone other than a traditional college professor, they often learn through practice and time what works well in the classroom. There will likely be classroom audits and recommendations made for ongoing professional development.

Gradually the typical instructor will become an educator as they seek out resources to help improve their teaching practices. However, I have worked with many adjunct online instructors who rely upon their subject matter expertise alone and do not believe there is a reason to grow as an educator.

For anyone who would like to become an engaging and transformative educator, there are strategies which can be can be implemented.

Strategy #1: Transform Through Development of Your Instructional Practice

While any educator can learn through time on the job, it is possible to become intentional about this growth. There are numerous online resources, publications, workshops, webinars, and professional groups which will allow you to learn new methods, strategies, and practices. There are also social media websites such as LinkedIn and Twitter which allow for the exchange of ideas and resources within a global community of educators.

You can also utilize self-reflection as a means of gauging your effectiveness. I have found that the best time to review my instructional practice occurs immediately after a class has concluded. That is a time when I can assess the strategies I have used and determine if those methods were effective. Even reviewing end of course student surveys may provide insight into the perspective of my students, whether or not every survey submitted was positive. Students tend to submit a survey response either when they are happy or greatly unhappy about the course. Either way, I can learn something about what my students have experienced during the class.

Strategy #2: Transform Through Development of Your Academic Skills

I know from my work with online faculty development this is an area of development many educators could use. However, it is often viewed as a low priority until it is noted in classroom audits. If an educator has weak academic writing skills, it will interfere with their ability to provide comprehensive feedback for students.

For online instructors, this has an even greater impact when posted messages contain errors with spelling, grammar, and formatting. The development of academic skills can be done through the use of online resources or workshops. Many online schools I have worked for offer faculty workshops and this is a valuable self-development resource.

Strategy #3: Transform Through Development of Your Subject Matter Expertise

Every educator has subject matter expertise they can draw upon. However, the challenge is keeping this knowledge current as you continue to teach for several years. The best advice I can offer is find resources which allow you to read and learn about current thinking, research, and best practices in your chosen field.

This is essential to your instructional practice as students can easily tell whether you appear to be current in your knowledge, or outdated and seemingly out of touch. Even the use of required textbooks or resources does not ensure that you are utilizing the most current information as knowledge evolves quickly in many fields.

Strategy #4: Transform Through Development of Your Knowledge of Adult Learning

The last step or strategy I can recommend is to gain knowledge about adult learning theories, principles, and practices. If you are not familiar with the basics there are concepts you can research and includes critical thinking, andragogy, self-directed learning, transformational learning, learning styles, motivation, and cognition.

My suggestion is to find and read online sources related to higher education and then find a subject that interests you to research further. I have found the more I read about topics I enjoy, the more I am cultivating my interest in ongoing professional development. What you will likely find is what you learn will have a positive influence on your work as an educator and this will enhance all areas of your instructional practice.

Working as an educator, or someone who is highly engaged in the process of helping students learn, starts with a commitment to make this a career rather than a job. I have developed a vision related to how I want to be involved in each class I teach and I recommend the same strategy for you. You may find it useful to develop teaching goals for your career and link your classroom performance to those goals. For example, do you want to complete the required facilitation tasks, or would you rather put in the additional time necessary to create nurturing class conditions?

After developing a vision and teaching goals, you can create a professional development plan to prompt your learning and growth in all of the areas I have addressed above. While this strategy may require an investment of time, it is helpful to remember that we always make time for whatever we believe is most important.

Being an educator is not sustaining a focus on job functions, rather it is cultivating a love of what you do and learning how to excel for the benefit of your students. Becoming an engaging and transformative educator occurs when you decide teaching students is only part of the learning process, and you work to transform who you are and how you function, while working and interacting with your students.

When you transform your teaching or faculty role and become an educator, regardless of your job title, you also transform the learning experience of your students. You provide for them the critical element necessary for real learning to occur, substantive instructor involvement and engagement. More importantly, you humanize the learning experience and you can help to nurture their developmental needs. Students will leave your class transformed in some manner, having learned something they can apply to their academic pursuits, life, and/or career. You will be transformed and so will your students.

Dr. Johnson specializes in distance learning, adult education, faculty development, online teaching, career management, and career development. Dr. J has a Ph.D. in Postsecondary and Adult Education, a Certificate in Training and Performance Improvement, and a Master of Business Administration, MBA.