by Jessica (BNF Education Staff)
At Borneo Nature Foundation (BNF), our Education Team always strives to find ways to improve and innovate in order to deliver quality teaching-learning process inside and outside the classroom.
We’re lucky to have a team that is always keen to learn about the up-to-date education issues as well as the teaching methods. Considering the importance of these two assets, knowledge and skills, the team members are always encouraged to get participate in various training and workshops that will provide them the opportunities to learn hands-on practices of teaching and classroom management.
Recently, the Education Team was invited to attend the Teaching Training programme that was hosted by Bina Cita Utama (BCU) School from 7-8 January 2019. The aim of the training was to facilitate the teachers to improve their teaching in developing learners critical thinking through engaging ways. With this knowledge, the team is expected to be able to inspire, ignite the imagination and instill a love of learning about nature into the children they teach.
Barbara Kerr who led the training has over 40 years of experience as a teacher. Barbara explained that the function of education is to teach one to think independently and to think critically. During the training, the team was introduced to the concept of reciprocal teaching. Reciprocal teaching refers to an instructional activity in which each student becomes a teacher within a small group.
To give us an example of this type of teaching Barbara gave us a newspaper article to read. At first, we looked at the visuals and skimmed the text as we predicted what the piece is about. Then as we read we were encouraged to ask questions about the article whilst also clarifying ideas and words as a group. As we read we also summarised what we had read and predicted what we expected to come next. This tutorial showed us the four areas of reciprocal teaching in practice. These four areas are: predicting, clarifying, question generating and summarising.
Barbara then explained that all teachers can use reciprocal teaching method to teach their students. Teachers may choose to use components of reciprocal teaching as a variation of a guided reading session. This practice requires the children to read more independently than they would do in a structured guided reading session as it involves a lower level of teacher involvement and a higher level of student independence. Through these active discussions and questioning the children build their reading and oral language confidence as well as greatly improving their retention of the material.
This training really helps the team members to build reciprocal teaching strategies into every education program that BNF have. We believed that students can learn best through collaboration, play and experiences with others. When we learn something new in this way we make that information more memorable and concrete in our brains. That’s what makes the concept of reciprocal teaching so powerful.
We are looking forward to having another opportunity to collaborate with Bina Cita Utama. By collaborating with BIna Cita Utama, the team is expected to better spread the vision and mission to educate children to love nature.