Exploring active learning in the early years : A case study of two teachers' practices in early childhood school settings in Karachi, Pakistan

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


Early childhood education plays a fundamental role in developing a child's personality and attitude towards life. That is why it is imperative to provide quality education in the early years in order to build a healthy and productive life for every child. Recognizing the importance of investing in Early Childhood Education and Development (ECED) some public and private institutions and organization began providing training to ECED teachers. In view of this emerging demand the Aga Khan University, Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED) continues to playa vital role in initiating and offering (ECED) Certificate in Education (Cert.Ed) Programmes for teachers all over Pakistan. This study explores the current teaching practices of AKU-IED ECED: Cert.Ed Programme graduates in promoting active learning in two private schools in Karachi, Pakistan. Within the qualitative research paradigm an "exploratory" case study approach was used to carry out this study with an aim to observe the current teaching and learning practices in two private schools and its affect on the child's holistic development. Structured and semi structured interviews and observations as tools were used for data collection. The findings of this study reveal that both the graduates of AKU-IED execute their learning from training in their classroom practices. The classroom environment provided evidence of the presence of active learning situations. Classroom space created for early learners and child friendly teaching approaches promoted active learning. Teachers perceptions of post Cert.Ed., Early Childhood Education and Development (ECED) programme at AKU-IED reflected their positive learning experiences from the programme to a shift from traditional learning experiences to new ways on how children learn; independently through choices, manipulating the material, and interaction through language with peer and by teacher support. The synthesis of this study uncovers the contribution of AKU-IED certificate programme 2008 in influencing the teachers' pedagogical skills as they brought new and innovative ideas and strategies for addressing diverse needs of students through the active learning approach. Classroom observations demonstrated that teachers engendered enthusiasm and eagerness to bring changes in their teaching practices, creating an enjoyable and active learning environment. However, the teachers were found to be restricted by the head teacher and the policy-makers of the school whose agenda appeared more towards syllabus completion and assessing the performances of the students. Besides, parents who had a similar agenda for their children to achieve high grades in order to make it to the zenith in an academically challenging world. An additional factor was that the teachers were not given the support to promote and practice active learning fully by the head teachers, who were unfamiliar with the philosophy and concepts of teaching and learning in the early years. Although, they had good intentions, due to lack of training opportunities for the head teachers they performed administrative duties well but were unable to foster and promote ECED.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library