|The Effectiveness of Teacher Resource Centre Strategy - Education research paper No. 34 (DFID, 1999, 257 p.)|
|CHAPTER ONE : Purpose and Methodology of the Study|
2.1 Summative evaluation
The basic question that drives the summative evaluation side of the study is,
'To what extent do TRCs help to improve the environment for learning in schools and the quality of teaching and learning in classrooms?''
This question is based on the ultimate goal of TRCs - to impact positively on classroom practice. There are other 'outcomes' that can be considered. Getting additional resources into schools, raising the level of awareness of new methods and materials, increasing levels of knowledge and skills which underpin curriculum and pedagogy, generating motivation and positive attitudes are among the potential outcomes of TRC programmes and activities. These, however, are outcomes which may or may not result in improved teaching and learning. We note them when we see them, and recognize that perhaps in the long run they may yield dividends. But, in this study our central focus is the classroom, i.e. the resources and teacher behaviours that appear to be in practice as a result of the work of the local TRC.
Research questions subsidiary to the basic summative research question fall into two areas: (1) resources and materials and (2) school management and pedagogy.
(1) Resources and materials
(a) To what extent does the TRCs stimulate the creation and development of learning materials by teachers, pupils, anybody?
(2) School management and pedagogical messages
(a) To what extent are schools incorporating suggested management strategies into their operations? (e.g. a new system of recording attendance; setting up a programme of demonstration teaching, establishing subject curriculum groups)
2.2 Formative evaluation
The study also attempts to examine possible reasons for success and failure of TRCs. The basic formative questions are,
'What are the issues surrounding TRCs; how are TRCs affected by them; and how do they react to them?'
Here we are looking for constraints, and indeed positive influences, that impose upon TRCs in attempting to achieve intended aims. Some influences are external to the TRCs. They are embodied in the culture, in the education system, in the conditions in schools. Others arise in relation to the particular project of which the TRC is a part, for example, the place of the TRC in a cascade system of in-service training. And, there are features within the TRC itself that bear on its effectiveness, for example, its management patterns and personality of its staff.
Certain major issues affecting the orientation and operation of TRCs began to emerge in the literature review. They were refined and the list added to during the course of our field studies. We offer them here as research questions in order to prime readers for the discussion to come. [The order of presenting them does not reflect priority.]
· Relevance: How relevant is the content and methodologies embodied in the work of TRCs, through courses and activities, to existing realities in schools, e.g. facilities in schools and classrooms, the way teachers presently teach and underlying philosophies, factors affecting teachers and children outside of school and so on?