OER Researchers Visit Dunman High School
Wednesday, 20 January 2016
OER researchers visited Dunman High School (DHS) and met the Principal, Dr Foo Suan Fong together with the Head of Curriculum, Ms Khoo Geok Hwa and her colleagues on 3 August 2015 to discuss about research initiatives.
DHS has partnered with NIE on three research projects. One of them is with Assco Prof Manu Kapur who specializes in Productive Failure in Math learning. Manu has worked with their teachers since 2012. He also has conducted workshops for Math teachers as professional development.
Dr Foo and his team has been proactive in the partnership between OER/NIE researchers and his teachers. As Dr Foo said “I want my teachers to feel confident (about classroom observation), and that researchers are not here to find fault. They’re here to help us see what our strengths and weaknesses are.” Dr Foo continued, “So if all teachers' lessons are being observed by a non-evaluator and teaching expert, why not?”
Moving ahead, some areas that Dr Foo and Geok Hwa have identified as areas of research are design thinking and assessment for learning. They singled out assessment for 21st century competencies as a “great” need, as the learning outcomes are often qualitative in nature and thus, not easy to measure.
It was also clear to the teachers that there has been an impact from using the Productive Failure approach in Math lessons, although they cannot quantify it. For example, some conference delegates from the International Association for Educational Assessment (IAEA) Conference observed a Math lesson that was part of the Productive Failure project and were delighted to see how the students came up with their own problem-finding framework which the teacher then implemented.
“You could really tell the students are finding and coming up with their own problems, rather than just solving the problems,” Geok Hwa notes. “We can see the impact, and if OER would like to study this, we can consider working together.”
Dr Foo thinks that researchers can help the school by offering feedback to their teachers at the end of the project. This would fulfill the purpose of the research partnership.