| || || Tu'ifua, Tamaline Wolfgramm|
| || || An investigation of the effect of the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) model in teaching mathematics : a case study at a Tongan secondary school |
Author:Tu'ifua, Tamaline Wolfgramm
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Subject: Mathematics -- Study and teaching (Secondary) -- Tonga, SIOP model
Call No.: pac QA 14 .T6 T85 2014
Copyright:Under 10% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission
Abstract: The performance and achievement of Tongan students in secondary mathematics has been of concern for some time. In the last five years, external examination results have been declining both in the number and the quality of passes. This trend has been observed at the high school where this study is based. In the search for ways to enhance students’ learning and teachers’ classroom performance, the school decided to adopt the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) Model, a model of teaching that was initiated to enhance the linguistic needs of second language learners in schools in the United States of America (US). The model has been successfully used to provide high-quality instruction that enhances meaningful learning for students. The hallmark of this model is the quality of practices and lessons that systematically develop students’ content knowledge and academic skills while also promoting their English language skills. This is done through integrating language objectives into the content subjects. The SIOP model engages teachers across the curriculum to pay attention to the language of the subject: how it is used and how it supports and sustains learning. Developing students’ language skills is an essential element of mathematics teaching and learning. This is particularly critical for Tongan students and teachers who are second language users of English and have to learn in English. Both groups benefitted from the sheltered instruction strategies which presented mathematics in English in ways that enabled them to comprehend content and develop their English language skills simultaneously. The model required the development of language skills to be a consistent part of daily lesson plans and delivery. While the general belief at this Tongan secondary school was that the SIOP Model had made significant difference in the knowledge and practice of mathematics teachers as well as the performance of students, there is no tangible data to support this. This study was designed to fill that gap by providing professional development on the model and then investigating its effect through an in-depth study of both teachers’ and students’ experiences in mathematics lessons. The research used a qualitative design and the Case study approach to get an in-depth understanding of this phenomenon. The participants were three mathematics teachers at the school and 12 randomly selected students. Data was collected from video recording of three classroom observations of each teacher for a total of nine classroom observations, individual talanoa with the mathematics teachers, and a group talanoa with the 12 students. The eight components of the SIOP Model - Lesson preparation, Building Background, Comprehensible iii Input, Strategies, Interaction, Practice and Application, Lesson Delivery and Review and Assess - were tested in the nine classroom observations. . When asked about major challenges in mathematics learning, most students pointed to (i) the mathematics teacher and (ii) word problems. The mathematics teacher was the number one challenge and factor. Students compared different teachers and described why they preferred one over another. There was preference for teachers who took time to explain things clearly and simply. Students enjoyed engagement in mathematical activities and quizzes in comparison to boring lectures. They all enjoyed group work because it enabled them to talk freely to each other and learn from each other. Confusion and lack of understanding of word problems was a constant challenge and students felt that their teachers did not sufficiently help them in this regard. Teaching mathematics in the Tongan language and code-switching were common practices in Tongan classrooms and students agree that these should continue and proposed as reasonable practices. The SIOP Model provided frequent opportunities for student interaction, increased student engagement, enabled teachers to use clear and appropriate language that enhanced students’ comprehension, increased waiting time for students to show their work, and enhanced teachers’ classroom performances. All teachers were observed three times and over the three sessions there was notable improvement in their performances. Their lessons were recorded on video and played back to them after each session. An area that teachers found challenging was questioning skills – asking the probing why and how questions and not succumbing to the temptation of answering their own questions. Another was to minimise on the lecture style of teaching and to use more innovative strategies that involved students more. Relinquishing that control was not easy but there was obvious improvement. Other areas that were attended to included writing good level objectives, posing good thinking questions, practising ‘wait time’ to allow students to answer (and not answering their own questions), facilitating group work, providing good feedback, practising good motivational strategies and correct explanations. Altogether, the results were supportive of the ability of the SIOP model to enhance teaching and learning, primarily through enhancement of the teachers’ own pedagogical skills. The researcher is a keen SIOP practitioner who has advocated for the SIOP model as a means towards high-quality instruction to enhance meaningful learning not only in mathematics but in other subjects and disciplines. The model has been successfully implemented in some schools in the Pacific including American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, iv Hawaii, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. In all countries, mathematics is a status subject which, together with English, serves as a filter to higher education and many sections of the workforce that are highly technological. The findings of this study have important implications for improving English language skills, raising mathematical performance and achievement in other Tongan schools and the country as a whole, raising performance and achievement in other subjects, ensuring ongoing professional development of teachers, curriculum development, and teacher education.