One of the priorities of heads of school is to monitor the teaching learning process in their schools. Monitoring involves actions envisaged by the head to ensure that things are going according to the objectives set at different levels and at different points in time and also to see to it that things are revolving according to plan and in line with the target set. The purpose of monitoring is, as such, to increase efficiency and improve effectiveness of the system in place. Since teachers and heads are input variables in a school, the head, as an instructional leader must support and facilitate any initiative conceived by teachers. In their laudable endeavour to hold regular working sessions to discuss about their problems relating to the teaching and learning of science with their classes, the teachers of the upper classes deserve, at the very outset, the heartfelt congratulations of the head teacher for the conception of such an idea to impart a quality education to the pupils. This constitutes the first encouragement. If several or a few teachers have decided, the head teacher must make full use of his negotiating skills to involve all the teachers of the upper classes and convince them to embark on the project of their fellow colleagues as such a project can help them better teach since there will be sharing of ideas and dissemination of good practice. Another form of encouragement will be to clarify and elucidate any doubts, misgivings, misconception and apprehension. Teachers must also be assured by the head teacher that there will be no barriers and they will all enjoy the same rights and think that it is not the initiator’s projector but rather a school project. Every teacher must be encouraged to come prepared with ideas, criticism (positive), problems and possible solutions for sharing. All teachers participating in the working sessions must be encouraged to be open to criticism. Numerous facilities can be put at the disposal of these teachers. The staff room or any other room available with proper and sufficient amenities would meet their needs. The assistance of school clerks who will provide them with relevant teaching materials and reference books from the school library and that (assistance) of caretakers who will arrange tables and chairs for working sessions will no doubt motivate the teachers to work and develop their potential. Arrangement for refreshments and cakes from the hawker’s fund can also be made by the head teacher. Moreover, permission for local visits must be granted to whet teachers’ interest and arrangements for their replacement when they are taken up in meetings or when they are busy in field work will further egg them on to preserve for finding solutions to their science problems. As regards academic leadership provided to those teachers, headteachers must help teachers to plan and conduct discussions set precise objectives and find means to achieve them. Here the specialised expertise in the teaching of science of the head and in the sharing of his/her experiences will be tremendously beneficial to the project initiators. Again the experience of the head teacher will help in devising and preparing teaching aids and adopting the appropriate methodology that will prompt pupils’ assimilation and understanding of topics in science. Research work must be encouraged but too much intervention must be avoided. After all ownership of decisions and resolutions must be allowed to the initiators.
The issues considered for the initiative are of different types and nature. The headteacher must see to it that the preparation is well done and the objectives are well set so that everything is working according to plan and in line with the goal. With the help of the teachers involved it must be assured that the objectives for each lesson are clear, not many numbers and they suit the purpose of the lesson. Science demands a lot of practical experiments which pupils must perform in pairs. The head of the school must ensure that pupils avail themselves of practical lessons with the necessary modern and relevant materials and equipment. In the absence of a science laboratory which is too costly, the school should at least try to procure some materials and equipment to sustain pupils’ interest. Besides, teaching aids must be used to stimulate interest. The best type of follow-up that can be used for such an initiative would be monitoring th working sessions and checking what had been decided there are tried and implemented. This can best be done by use of performance indicator which is quantifiable, which provides information about different aspects of an education system and which is also realistic because the information collected is based on the current conditions existing in the school, which may impinge on the ‘health’ of the school. The performance indicator also describes the teaching behaviours. When so much time, effort and resources ( human, physical, financial) have been expended in the initiative, the need for improvement is avidly expected. This is gauged through evaluation and assessment. The head teacher makes suggestions and gives advice on the modifications that can be brought about. Results are discussed and the interpretation of same results will lead to judgement and decision-making. Pupils’ performance is noted and corrective measures taken where the need is felt. It is incumbent on the head teacher to provide every essential support and all facilities for the feasibility of the project initiated. In doing so, the mustering of various assessment tools must not go unnoticed. It is also important for the head teacher to watch the degree of teachers’ involment once the initiative is triggered, the extent of consistency among teachers, the climate in the school for teacher pupils’ reaction and the well-defined division of labour. The variety of teaching strategies, the efficient and accurate record keeping and good communication system between the head and the teachers, the head and pupils and between teachers and pupils are important ingredients that add to the effectiveness and efficiency of any project embarked on. Teachers are the school’s most precious resource. In their attempt to hold regular working sessions to seek solutions to their problems relating to the teaching and learning of science, they should first and foremost solicit the help of the head teacher. The latter, with his experience and expertise must unconditionally accede to the teachers’ request because the project is entirely meant for the pupils. Besides, it is through the teaching of the staff that the head can achieve the school’s goals. Hence, the head must provide the support that teachers need and motivate them to work and exploit their potential. D.Lutchmun Other related articles are posted on http://mimishandshuna.com/jhuki/?cat=4