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Sociology of Education: Teaching Methodology in UK and Poland


In accordance with established laws in the UK children of between 5 and 16 years receive compulsory education. This is the same case in Poland especially after undergoing reforms in the education sector. In the British system secondary education is programmed to last for seven years. (Schoolzone)

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The proposed research will entail use of a mixture of methods to investigate how methodology affects learning in both British and polish schools. The research will address both learner centered and teacher centered methods and is expected to draw heavily on the learning environment in the various selected schools.


From a general point of view PISA assesses the extent to which there is acquisition of knowledge and skills by 15 years old students to enable them fully participate in the society. The major focus is on the scientific skills. The methods of teaching or instruction adopted by teachers is critical in determining the level of acquisition of scientific skills and knowledge. (Marton, F)

Simply telling students that they will need certain knowledge and skills some day is not a particularly effective motivator. A preferable alternative is inductive teaching and learning. J. Engr. Education, 95(2), 123–138 (2006).

Secondary education in OECD countries has undergone major changes in terms of structure for the past ten years. This has been geared towards improving on quality and needs of the knowledge society.

Effective ways and methods of teaching must not only be based on the proper educational theory (educational psychology, developmental psychology, science education),but they must also be given support by experimental empirical work especially for the science subjects. (Sanford 1985; Johnstone, 1991)

Inductive methods of instruction have a great impact in learning because such methods begin with content and experiences which likely to be familiar with the students.This is postulated primarily in the works of Piaget whereby an individual’s reaction to experiences lead to learning.

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In practice effective teaching involves a number of practices which promote better acquisition of knowledge and skills. Such practices entail showing concern, respecting and motivating the students to develop a commitment to learn.

Teaching in small group lessons encompasses a variety of strategies of teaching whereby two or more students are together to fit into place.

This is very important l for promoting students’ learning, because it gives them a chance to improve their self-confidence, widen interpersonal skills, enhance, team work, express views and critically think. In this type the learning by contract can be utilized to jointly be in agreement on the general rules of behavior amongst students involved, the learning aims and results of a session or course, the evaluation process and criteria of the course and the timetable for the achievement of tasks and activities. (A learning contract is a outline of learning that is agreed upon between students and their teacher with each one of them agree to carry out certain duties and responsibilities. For instance, the students agree to surrender assignments on time, and the teacher agrees to return marked answer scripts within a specified timeframe.) (Gowdy EA 1996 pg 21)

Teachers have to employ a variety of methods of teaching in small group tutorial. They remain open-minded and exercise flexibility about using as wide a range of methods as possible.

Use of one method is monotonous and can impact negatively on students’ learning. The best criteria for selecting one or more of the various methods of instruction depends on how a teacher sees their appropriateness for a certain session or group, their prospective for student participation, and their expediency for the physical environment in which the meeting is conducted.( Oakley, B 2004)

The lecture is an important method that facilitates student learning. It remains the most commonly used teaching method in most high school. Generally it has been seen as essential for speedily providing information that students would require before they can learn independently and can successfully be involved in classroom discussion.

While the lecture method may be helpful in dissemination of information, seems to be less useful than other methods for initiating thinking.

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Schools do not encourage teachers to make use of the traditional lecture as their sole teaching methodology. In this kind of lecture students take on a for the most part passive role and are given little or no chance for active learning.

Students do not participate in in-depth processing of information, thus missing out on the chance of finding it. (Terenzini, P.T 2001)

Tutorials can also be utilized to enhance the interaction between the student and the teacher. The tutorial comes out as a meeting between a teacher and a student to assist the student bring out his or her needs, evaluate his or her progress and consider development in terms of learning

Experiments and demonstrations form a critical part learning as they help the students to acquire scientific skills. (Shatzer JH 1998 pg 73)


The field work will form the empirical component of the anticipated research will be carried out wholly in the selected schools.The projected timescale of the research will run concurrently with the school calendars. The expected knowledge gathered from the research will provide evidence on the impact of teaching methods on learning.

Research questions

The research aims at providing answers to the following top-level questions

  • What methods of teaching are used by teachers in high school?
  • What is the challenges teachers encounter in using the methods of teaching?
  • What is the impact of teaching methods on learning?

Research methodology

The study would involve data gathering techniques namely; Questionnaires, interviews and observation. Participating schools would be selected for visitation using a random sampling technique while considering geographical dispersion, type of secondary school, location in rural or urban and the socio –economic characteristics of the students. Because of anticipated refusals plans have to be made for requesting cooperation from the targeted schools. A “properly integrated methodology” (Morgan, 2007, p.73) might well set out to design ways in which qualitative analysis of transcripts from semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders in an appropriate sample (Teddlie and Yu, 2007) of institutions would be used, with the data being organized with the use of tools like nVivo for the purpose of analysis.


Terenzini, P.T., Cabrera, A.F., Colbeck, C.L., Parente, J.M., and Bjorklund, S.A., “Collaborative Learning vs. Lecture/Discussion: Students’ Reported Learning Gains,” J. Engr. Education, Vol. 90, No. 1, 2001, pp. 123–130.

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Shatzer JH. Instructional methods. Acad Med 1998;73 (9):538–45.

The System Of Education In Poland. Web.

Schoolzone Community, Web.

Morgan, D. L. (2007). Paradigms Lost and Pragmatism Regained: Methodological Implications of Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Methods. Journal of Mixed Methods Research 1, 48.

Teddlie, C. & Yu, F. (2007). Mixed Methods Sampling: A Typology With Examples. Journal of Mixed Methods Research 1, 77

Gowdy EA. Effective student focus groups: the bright and early approach. Assess Eval Higher Educ 1996;21:185–9.

Marton, F. and Säljö, R., “Approaches to Learning,” in F. Marton, D. Hounsell, and N. Entwistle, eds., The Experience of Learning, 2nd ed., Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1997.

ENTWISTLE, N AND RAMSDEN, P (1983) Understanding Student Learning, London, Croom Helm, 248pp, MARTON, F. HOUNSELL, D AND ENTWISTLE, N (1997) The Experience of Learning, (Revised Edition) Edinburgh, Scottish Academic Press, 273pp, ISBN 7073 0749 X.

RICHARDSON, J. EYSENCK, M AND WARREN PIPER, D (EDS.) (1987) Student Learning: Research in Education and Cognitive Psychology, Milton Keynes, SRHE and Open University Press, 228pp, ISBN 0 33515600 2.

De Caprariis, P., Barman, C., & Magee, P. (2001). Monitoring the benefits of active learning exercises in introductory survey courses in science: An attempt to improve the education of prospective public school teachers. The Journal of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 1(2), 1-11.

Piaget, J., The Psychology of the Child , New York: Basic Books, 1972.

Bruner, J.S., “The Act of Discovery,” Harvard Educational Review, Vol. 31, No. 1, 1961

Oakley, B., Felder, R.M., Brent, R., and Elhajj, I., “Turning Student Groups into Effective Teams,” J.

Student Centered Learning, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2004, pp. 9–34, Web.

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