By definition, a curriculum is a set of selected courses usually offered by schools, universities, or colleges (Squires, 2008). For this reason, to meet curriculum needs, different subjects are included in a school’s curriculum, and in most regions. There is valid literature research demonstrating that classroom teachers fail to dynamically participate in applying relevant models in curriculum growth.
As a consultant, it is imperative to pinpoint that curriculums need to include Quality Teaching Model prescribed. A case study in Saudi Arabia would be helpful in showing the benefits of quality teaching framework. Thus, from the analysis the strength of the curriculum, its misalignment, and recommendations would be fronted before concluding the topic.
Quality Teaching Model in general and Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom Saudi Arabia is located in the western part of Asia. It occupies approximately 8% of the Arabian Peninsula. Education has been the focus of its leaders since its foundation in 1932. The Ministry of Higher Education usually supports the system. Currently, the state has a nationwide education system and provides free education from the kindergarten level to the university level for every citizen. The system is categorized into four levels including primary years of one to six years, middle school of seven to nine years, high school of ten to twelve years, and tertiary (Ramady, 2010). Gender segregation is one of the major attributes of this system since males and females learn in separate classrooms at all levels.
The Ministry of Education implemented a ten-year plan, whose goal was to help students develop positive cultural educational and teaching interactions all over the world. Particularly, students in all age groups were to achieve magnificent progress in mathematics and sciences with regard to global standards and tests. There have been previous attempts to renew teaching and learning in Saudi Arabian schools by the Ministry of Education. The ministry criticized the methods used claiming that they focused on memorization and fail to assist students in development and understanding.
Consequently, the Ministry of Education established recommendations that focused on quality teaching and support for radical changes that improved teaching activities in mathematics. This approach focused on a more student-centred approach rather than the traditional teacher-centred approach. The approach also occurred, in mathematics education reforms around the world, to create a more active involvement of students in mathematics classrooms.
There are two outstanding issues facing people’s mathematics education in the world. These include the lack of student achievement and disentanglement from the subject. Naturally, this is an occurrence of concern to all systems of education especially of the overall acknowledgement that mathematics is a crucial subject in the curriculum and future careers of students. Despite many attempts to reform curriculum and teaching in mathematics education, the subject remains a mystery and source of anxiety to many students. Students are more likely to continue studying mathematics and putting in greater efforts to succeed in it. This is based on their perceived value of mathematics and its relevance to their life aspirations as much as on their ability in and enjoyment of it (Luttrell et al., 2010). However, in rare cases, the mathematics classroom’s environment includes current concerns and experiences for students; therefore, presenting a worthless theoretical form.
Quality Teaching Model is possibly the best approaching in mathematics curriculum analysis in Saudi Arabia. This framework provides a rich set of tools for teachers to use and improve the impact of learning both in the academic and social backgrounds. These approaches assist teachers in critically reflecting on their work, and elevate students’ intellectual reasoning by making teaching and learning much more applicable to their lives. Quality Teaching Model captures the learners’ behavioural, intellectual, cognitive and social-psychological stance, a prerequisite to higher performance (Brady & Kennedy, 2010). Consequently, this approach has been employed in integration with a networked-online learning environment in mathematics to create a powerful learning environment.
Current Application of Quality Teaching Model at Riyadh High School
The curriculum at Riyadh High School encompasses a variety of disciplines that address learning theories, curriculum, and teaching strategies. The students are exposed to various teaching models as parts of their studies. They are able to develop a high quality outcome since learning focuses on intellectual work and engaged students’ substantial cognition and deep knowledge. Teachers, at their professional development stage are expected to familiarize themselves with teaching strategies and students’ needs in relevant to mathematical education (Alhwiti, 2007).
Therefore, it is clear that mathematics curriculum in Riyadh High School helps students develop quality knowledge, understanding, values, and the overall intellectual quality. The students of Riyadh High School, similar to other high schools, are subject to learning mathematics on a daily basis. The contact time for this unit is one hour daily for four days a week, and students are required to learn some mathematical methods (Alhwiti, 2007).
Strengths of Quality Teaching Model
The mathematics curriculum at Riyadh High School has shown substantial effect on the overall performance. Based on Quality Teaching Framework adopted, numerous facets conjoin to improve performance of mathematics. First, there is employment of well-educated, knowledgeable and experienced teaching staff members. In the event that a teacher is under practicum (that is, a student teacher), that teacher is accorded a mentor. This provides students with a rich arena to tap into such vastness of knowledge in their midst. Moreover, the teaching staffs explicate critical thinking ability, use metalanguage, and subjective communication (Keddie, 2005). The institution has an explicit policy on utilization of language specific communication that integrates with conventional communication approaches. In such a case, students are able to not only communicate with the teachers but also communicate using subject specific terminologies.
Second, the facility makes provision for an integrative framework such that students are actively engaged in the learning process. Mathematics may not be such a practical subject especially for higher classes but active engagement during lessons and in verification and feedback (Keddie, 2005, Brady & Kennedy, 2010) on their work has become an integral part of Riyadh High School.
Third, there is an element of cultural integration with cross-cultural approach in admission at the institution. This enables students to have cultural tolerance and to learn from one another.
Misalignment of Quality Teaching Model
On the other hand, there is some level of misalignment between Riyadh High School’s mathematics curriculum and the quality of teaching in place. This is because the school’s curriculum is strictly based on textbooks as the ultimate source of teaching material for mathematics. This however, is a challenge especially for male students who detest too much theoretical learning aspects. This may explain such continued poor performance in mathematics in the institution. Students rarely get a chance to connect the theories learnt from class and the real world situation despite years of study. Textbook-oriented mathematics curriculum also restricts the teacher from establishing activities that assist students to link the mathematical knowledge acquired in class and the real world beyond the classroom.
Additionally, students are not capable of taping into their higher cognitive thinking arena with regard to mathematics. This therefore waters down a potential philosophical student’s intelligence leading to students later on engaging in malevolent acts since their creative minds are left idle.
To create a much bigger outcome from quality teaching model students need high teacher and societal support levels. To ensure higher achievement of intellectual quality and acquisition of the greatest significance, the teachers in Riyadh High School need to support their students in learning theories, and creating a quality-learning environment whenever they are implementing learning frameworks. There is need for all stakeholders in the education system of Saudi Arabia to put more efforts that help students attain higher significance levels. There should be an improved level of the quality-learning environment by employing practical activities, lessons ideas, and examples in the learning environment. Utilization of real world problems in class is imperative to capturing students’ cognitive aspects and edifies their mathematics understanding ability (Keddie, 2005).
Second, the institution should implement utilization of ICT technology especially given the fact that computers nowadays have interactive programs that can be used as an integrated learning approach (Graham, 2006). In so doing, teachers can use simulation models to exemplify on different mathematical concepts.
Third, it is important for the Ministry of education in Saudi Arabia to come up with an integrated curriculum that emphasizes on teaching students to tap into their cognitive abilities during problem solving to harness their gifting (Keddie, 2005). This will ensure that students understand and appreciate the need for critical and creative thinking in all aspects of life.
Apparently, current curriculum tends to favour girls than boys since there is a lot of literature within. The ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia should develop a curriculum that embraces gender with their proclivities. It is also good to note also that girls tend to lag behind in terms of mathematics and science-based subjects. The development of a system that emphasizes on subjects reported to receive poor performance can facilitate better performance among the students (Keddie, 2005).