Darya Dino k Daryan : Promoting a optimistic learning milieu in the primary school
Traditionally, girls in most government schools remain inactive in the classroom and are shy to speak and express their views. They have been given very few chances to be recognized or to participate actively in the classroom. This tendency seems to be changing in one girls’ primary school situated in an urban part of district. Most of the students belongs to the poor and lower middle class families. Few years ago, their school was in a poor physical and learning condition, but when the current head teacher was hired, she tackled the problems of the school’s including physical condition. As recently, however she is working as a mentor, she realized that trained teachers not only can make the physical situation better but also can focus on improving the teaching and learning environment. Now she sees her trained teachers promoting a positive learning environment in their own classes and also supporting other teachers as they learn new strategies. As out of fifteen, six female teachers including headteacher in the school have been trained under the professional development component of STEP. She depicted that “after I participated in STEP programme, I realized that teachers can easily improve the way the classroom looks, but they must work hard to change the processes of teaching and learning.” The whole school now has a welcoming and pleasant feel. The head teacher conducts ongoing sessions for untrained teachers to continue the process of improvement. Lately she has talked about increasing the variety of learning materials in the classroom. As a result, each class now has a learning corner with materials like flash cards, pictures, models, and drawings made by teachers and children together. Activity-based teaching is used by all the teachers. These new approaches have increased children’s interest in school, reduced absenteeism, and decreased the perceived gap between teacher and student. Students are more confident and are willing to talk and share in the classroom. Teachers have modeled good social skills through their positive behavior, a change that is equally as important as the change in pedagogy in creating a positive learning environment.
This is a little effort of a thirty nine years rural Pakistani female head teacher Daryan at Daryan dino District (old name of Sukkur), who had showed change thrust upon her personal and professional growth and organizational development. Memon & Pardhan, (2001) supports her thrust that “the quality of education highly depends on teachers’ capacity building in terms of intellectual and professional growth, development and empowerment. As according to Wasley (1991, p20) “Empowerment of teachers is a desirable ingredient of School Improvement. Empowered teachers have ‘the autonomy to make decisions about curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment’. They also take on new roles such as team leader, action researcher, curriculum developer, and a trainer (Boles & Troen, 1992). This paper argues that the headteacher Daryan Khatoon is well placed to exercise curriculum leadership within the collegially run primary school; her role lays emphasis on interpersonal relations. Over all in this paper the authors’ will discuss the changing role of a teacher leadership, which extended beyond the classroom, through professional development programmes under the project titled the Strengthening Teachers Education in Pakistan (STEP). Programme is funded by the Canada International Development Agency (CIDA) in support of the Government of Pakistan's Education Sector Reform (ESR) efforts.