Mohammad Naeim Maleki

Heart University

 

First of all, I would like to thank all the people involved in having the workshop on OBE-SCL. I am satisfied with the transparent process in which the candidates went through. After submitting our CV, portfolio, and other necessary documents, some of us were shortlisted and had the interview. The list was further shortened and the best candidates were selected. That is to say, disregarding the candidates’ gender, major and years of teaching experiences, the potential candidates were selected. At the end, the professors who had the abilities to perform well in the workshop were sent to UTM in Malaysia. We were trained about OBE-SCL and assessment by some professors from UTM.

Since my major is TESOL and I had studied about SCL during my stay in the USA as a Fulbright scholar, I was familiar with student-centered learning methodologies. For example, I had used “jigsaw activities” in my classes where students had many kinds of interaction patterns in the class, providing students with an opportunity to present individually and in groups about a learned topic.

I had always been curious about finding a system in which SCL could be implemented and students could be trained as critical thinkers. With OBE, I believe this would be possible. Although I was involved in a committee investigating the challenges and opportunities for implementing outcome based education system in a college in Japan few years ago, I was not familiar with the concept of OBE.  Attending the advanced OBE-SCL training workshop in UTM gave me the chance to that clear and well-planned PEO, PLO, and CLO will be very helpful in implementing OBE system in order to have a successful student-centered classroom environment. In preparing the PEO, PLO, CLO, the alignment between them is also paramount important. This way, the higher education can somehow guarantee that the alumni would find appropriate jobs upon their graduation as this has been a crucial challenge in the context of Afghanistan.

In this program, I also found systematic assessment a significant tool in increasing learners’ motivation, teachers’ understanding of their methodologies, and possible learning materials for students. As teachers, we need to consider students’ knowledge, attitudes, and skills when assessing them. Furthermore, the assessment should be developed in a way so that it measures the outcome of the course.

Actually, what surprised the trainers in the workshop was the fact that majority of the information which was discussed were new for most of the trainees. In addition, although the trainers tried a lot to have us understand the material, some trainers seemed tired and did not communicate toward the end of the program. On the other hand, the main sources that we had access to during the workshop were the workbooks and the slides that were given by the trainers which mostly helped us in finding out answers to some of our concerns. Besides, I surfed on the internet for some unknown concepts and further examples of new concepts. Since we were given the slides after the trainers’ presentations, I found the workbooks more useful. We had access to workbooks in our rooms and had a clear plan on what to study. In fact, I would suggest that the slides or some resource should be given to the trainees in advance. This way they could get ready and will not be overloaded with new information throughout the workshop.

Aside from learning about OBE-SCL and assessment in teaching and learning, I found building network with teachers whose goal and responsibilities are the same as you, very significant. I believe having this workshop was the start point of learning, implementing and teaching OBE-SCL in our career as university teachers.

What I found frustrating about the workshop was the behavior of some of the trainers who tried to position themselves superior and ignored responding and communicating with trainees. For example, at the end of the workshop the trainees were giving some presentations and the trainers were supposed to provide the trainees with feedback so that they are ready to present these presentations in their universities in Afghanistan. However, the trainers did not give any feedback and were busy with their phones at the end of the class. I personally did not find it professional. Aside from this drawback, this workshop provided me with the expectations I had regarding learning the things related to OBE-SCL.

Primarily, my goals in attending this workshop were to enhance my knowledge regarding OBE-SCL and to discuss the challenges and opportunities on the way to implement this system in a context where these concepts and methods are new.

Overall, the workshop was productive and I learned things that I deal with in our everyday classes. In order to fully implement this system, I have already talked to the teachers in the department and faculty where I teach. I have been noting that this system is from the MoHE and we need to know about it and implement the system in our classes. I plan to give them a workshop on OBE-SCL in the winter.

I believe, successfully implementing OBE-SCL, the MoHE should go through different phases. At first, there should be a vast program in awareness raising through some seminars, conferences, and training workshops for decision makers at the ministry level and at the university level. Secondly, the significant and outcome of the program should be clearly explained to teachers and administrative in all universities around the country. Then, some champions should be trained in order to train other teachers in their universities. So far, I think, these three phases has been done in some universities. The next phase should be the evaluation of the current facilities and equipping the classrooms and other learning centers so that the implementation of OBE-SCL could be feasible. Later on, the implementation of the OBE-SCL should be mandatory gradually. This could be done by developing a bylaw considering the laws and regulations of MoHE.

Finally, it is obvious that bringing change would take time. What we can do to start is to ask the teachers to change; you may face some resistance though. I think, in order to encourage the lecturers, we need to educate them about the advantages of the new system; then they will be curious about the program and will attend the workshop. Therefore, it is important to let them know about the program and convince them that this is the MoHE’s plan for high education in entire Afghanistan.

 

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