Creative Education, 2010, 1, 7-10
doi:10.4236/ce.2010.11002 Published Online June 2010 (
Copyright © 2010 SciRes. CE
Initial Findings on the Pursuit of Excellence in
Teacher Training
Sor Heoh Saw
Office of Teaching and Learning, INTI International University, Nilai, Malaysia.
Received December 30th, 2009; revised March 2nd, 2010; accepted April 5th, 2010.
This article reports the initial findings of a study carried out to evaluate the effectiveness of an academic skills training
programme that prepares new university college teachers for teaching. Videotaped recordings of training, classroom
observation of teaching and student evaluation of teaching were carried out and the results were analyzed to evaluate
the effectiveness of the delivery and the activities for one of the module in achieving the stated objectives of the module.
New teachers found the two activities in the Module 1 useful and were able to apply what they learned through these
activities in their classroom teaching. The activities carried out supported the achievements of the intended outcomes of
the module. However the new teachers demonstrated different levels of competence.
Keywords: Teachers Training, Higher Education
1. Introduction
Since Dearing’s Report [1] universities in UK have ac-
knowledged the importance of preparing new teaching
staff with basic teaching skills as part of the quality as-
surance for teaching and learning. The commitment of
the institutions is demonstrated by the setting up of units
responsible for ensuring quality teaching and learning [2].
These units conduct training on teaching and learning,
promote good practices and carry out research in teach-
ing and learning. Studies carried out [3] have reported
evidence of a range of positive changes in university
teachers in the training group, and in their students, and a
contrasting lack of change, or negative changes, in un-
trained teachers from the control group. Many institutions
of higher learning in Malaysia have collaborative ar-
rangements with UK universities to franchise their de-
gree programmes. Likewise, these institutions are ex-
pected to provide training to their new teachers. They
have also set up units to provide initial training to new
teachers and more advanced trainings in specific areas
relating to teaching and learning [4].
2. Description of the Programme
The Academic Skills Training programme consists of
nine modules. The topics covered by these modules are
classroom presentation skills, teaching methods and
techniques, teaching and learning theories, assessment
and evaluation, and microteaching. All newly appointed
teachers are required to attend and complete the Aca-
demic Skills Training Programme before they commence
teaching. Those with formal training and qualification in
teaching can apply to be exempted from the programme.
The objectives for each of the nine modules in the
programme are:
1)Classroom Presentation Skills—Module 1
Participants will learn how to start a lesson effectively
using set induction. To guide the teachers and the stu-
dents in a lecture, clear and precise instructional objec-
tives are needed. Participants will also learn that to teach
well in a class, they have to plan their instructional
events that include the teaching media needed to bring
the message across to the students.
2) Classroom Presentation Skills—Module 2
PowerPoint can be an effective instructional medium if
the teachers know how to tap into its power. This module
also touches on how to search for useful information in
the Internet and use it to support classroom teaching.
Participants are also introduced to the use of Learning
Management System in supporting teaching and learning.
3) Teaching Method and Techniques—Module 3 and
Module 4
Participants will learn the importance of active learn-
ing and ways to implement active learning in their
classes. The process of active learning is then related to
some of the common teaching methods currently used
Initial Findings on the Pursuit of Excellence in Teacher Training
such as small group discussions, lectures, brainstorming
and tutorials. The important technique of questioning
effectively is discussed with emphasis placed on wait
times and the use of different levels and types of ques-
tions in relation to Bloom’s taxonomy.
4) Teaching and Learning Theories—Module 5
Participants will learn how the theories of behaviour-
ism, cognitivism and constructivism help in the under-
standing of the process of learning, and their implications
to teaching. The theory of multiple intelligences and its
relationship to learning styles is examined with regard to
implications to the teaching and learning situations. Par-
ticipants will be able to relate the ideas gained from the
learning theories as important guides in the structuring
and implementation of effective teaching methods.
5) Assessment and Evaluation—Module 6 and Module
Participants will learn how to use the marking scheme
to ensure fair assessment of learning outcomes. Assess-
ment can also be used to support and improve teaching.
They will also learn how to set the various types of test
questions and new assessment methods such as perform-
ance assessment and portfolio assessment.
6) Outcome-based Education—Module 8
Participants will be introduced to outcome based edu-
cation, distinguishing it from the current education. They
will learn how to redesign the current contents, instruc-
tional strategies and assessment in line with outcome
based education. The module also discusses its advan-
tages and challenges.
7) Microteaching—Module 9
Participants are assigned into groups. Each group con-
sists of between 8-10 participants. Each participant is
allocated 15 minutes in a microteaching session which is
videotaped. The group will view the videotape together
with the trainer as facilitator. The aim is to learn from
each other and not to criticise. The participants will
comment on their own teaching in particular their strong
points. The other participants are welcomed to give their
3. About this Study
This study was carried out on Module 1 which is on
classroom presentation skills. The duration of the module
is 3 hours and it is delivered using a combination of lec-
tures, video screenings and activities. Information on the
module including the objectives, activities and teaching
and learning strategies are presented in Table 1.
Table 1. Module 1 – classroom presentation skills: module information, objectives, activities, teaching & learning strategies
Module Title Classroom Presentation Skills
Module Outcomes
Participants will acquire the knowledge on:
1) how to start a lesson,
2) how to write learning objectives and outcomes, and
3) how to conduct lesson effectively.
Module Duration 3 hours
Mode of Delivery Lectures, mock classroom presentation, discussions, video, activities
No Objectives Activities Teaching & Learning Strategies
Define set induction.
Use them confidently to catch students’
attention when you start a class.
How to handle a class?
1) Get a volunteer to teach for 20 minutes
while another 5 volunteers are to act the roles
of students who talk in the class, sleep in the
class; answer call from mobile phone; ask
questions and challenge the lecturer’s answers
and do not respond to undirected questions.
2) Discuss how the volunteer handles the class
1) Classroom Presentation by a volunteer
2) Discussion of Classroom Presentation
by volunteer
3) Video on Presentation using Set induc-
4) Lectures and discussions
Define advance organizers.
Use them confidently to catch students’
attention when you start a class.
None Lecture and discussions
Distinguish between learning objectives
and learning outcomes.
Write your learning objectives and learning
outcomes for each of your lessons so that
students know exactly what they are ex-
pected to learn in your lesson.
Writing Learning Objectives and Outcomes
Each group is given one level of the Bloom
The group members are to produce one learn-
ing objective and the required number of
learning outcomes.
1) Lecture and discussion
2) Review of Written Learning Objec-
tives and Outcomes from the group.
3) Elicit suggestions from participants and
provide suggestions for improving the
written learning objectives and outcomes.
Describe Gagne’s instructional event.
Decide when to use any specific events in
your lesson in order to deliver your lessons
effectively to the students.
None Lecture and discussion
Copyright © 2010 SciRes. CE
Initial Findings on the Pursuit of Excellence in Teacher Training9
4. Sample and Method
This study was carried out for the training conducted in
the Dec 2008 session attended by 23 teachers from vari-
ous faculties, schools and centres. Out of these 23 teach-
ers, 9 of them were newly appointed teachers who had
completed all the nine modules and started teaching in
the January 2009 session. This study focussed on these 9
newly appointed teachers who had no prior training in
teaching. Four of the new teachers had less than 1 year
teaching experience while the other five had more than 3
years of teaching experience.
Participants were given a quiz at the end of the module.
They also completed a training feedback form at the end
of the module. Post-training evaluations on the classroom
presentation skills of the teachers were conducted
through classroom observations of teaching carried out
during the first semester of teaching by the new teachers.
This was to determine whether the new teachers were
applying the classroom presentation skills they learned in
the training and to evaluate their competence. Student
evaluation of classroom teaching provided a quantitative
measure on the effectiveness of the teaching in general
and the classroom presentation skills in particular.
This study also looked at the training materials given
to the participants and the video recording of the training
conducted, focussing on the activities carried out to de-
termine the effectiveness of these activities in achieving
the outcomes of the modules.
5. Some Results of the Study
From the quiz which consisted of 10 objective questions
given immediately after the module, it was found that the
average score of the participants was 6-7 questions cor-
rectly answered.
The post training survey questionnaires asked the par-
ticipants whether the training provided had been benefi-
cial to prepare them for their teaching. The analysis of
the post training feedback showed that all the participants
found the training beneficial and helped them to prepare
for their teaching. In particular, they found that the train-
ing helped them to handle student’s behaviour, prepare
materials for lessons, apply active learning and get stu-
dent involvement, capitalise on student’s answers, iden-
tify and stop bad habits and promote best teaching prac-
The classroom observation of teaching was conducted
for each of the nine new teachers. Generally it was ob-
served that the new teachers practised what they learned
and were able to apply set induction and learning objec-
tives and outcomes in the classes. Most of them were
observed to have demonstrated the use of set induction
and learning objectives except for one new teacher with
no prior teaching experience. Those with teaching ex-
perience accomplished them very well.
The results from the interviews supported the findings
from the classroom observation of teaching that the ac-
tivities for Module 1 were useful. They were able to ap-
ply the knowledge acquired through these activities in
their teaching.
The first interviewee was a new teacher with no prior
teaching experience. He said that he found the training
and particularly the activities in Module 1 very helpful.
He added that through Activity 1, he learned how to
build rapport with students before starting the classes. He
was able to apply it in his classes. He also learned how to
capitalise on students incomplete responses and turned
them into constructive responses and correct answers. He
also found Activity 2 useful as it facilitated him in his
preparation of lessons. He added that he observed that
students often failed to see the importance of the learning
outcomes statements. He observed that it was necessary
for him to highlight at a specific point of the lessons
where the outcome was achieved.
The second interviewee was a new lecturer with more
than 3 years of teaching experience but no formal train-
ing in teaching. He found both Activity 1 and Activity 2
useful. He highlighted the ice-breaking with students
before starting the lessons as the most useful skill he
learned from Activity 1 and he practised it in his classes.
The learning outcomes were useful as they informed the
students what they can expect to learn from the lessons.
He added that he found Bloom’s taxonomy very useful
and he was able to apply the knowledge for setting final
examination questions.
A quantitative analysis was also carried out from the
data obtained through the questionnaires on Student
Evaluation of Teaching. Seven of them scored above
80% meeting the benchmark of the institution; whilst two
of the new teachers with no prior teaching experience
scored about 60%.
6. Conclusions
Initial findings showed that the participants found the
two activities in Module 1 useful and were able to apply
them in their classroom teaching. The activities carried
out supported the achievements of the stated objectives
of the modules. However the new teachers demonstrated
different levels of competence. More activities and case
studies relating to classroom presentation skills may help
to improve the effectiveness of the module.
7. Acknowledgements
The writers wish to acknowledge the Academic Devel-
opment Centre, University of Malaya for their continu-
ous support for this study and for sharing the same pas-
sionate commitment to promote best practices in teaching
through action research.
Copyright © 2010 SciRes. CE
Initial Findings on the Pursuit of Excellence in Teacher Training
[1] R. Dearing, “Higher Education in the Learning Society—
Summary Report,” The National Committee of Inquiry
into Higher Education, Her Majesty’s Stationery Office,
London, 1997.
[2] G. Badley, “Improving Teaching in British Higher Edu-
cation,” Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 7, No. 1,
1999, pp. 35-40.
[3] G. Gibbs and M. Coffey, “The Impact of Training of
University Teachers on their Teaching Skills, their Ap-
proach to Teaching and the Approach to Learning of their
Students,” Active Learning in Higher Education, Vol. 5,
No. 1, 2004, pp. 87-100.
[4] C. Farrugis, “A Continuing Professional Development
Model for Quality Assurance in Higher Education,” Qual-
ity Assurance in Education, Vol. 4, No. 2, 1996, pp.
[5] M. H. Cheng and K. C. Pang, “Teacher Socialization:
Implications for the Design and Management of Initial
Teacher Education Programmes,” Education and Train-
ing, Vol. 39, No. 5, 1999, pp. 195-204.
Copyright © 2010 SciRes. CE