Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Study Of Factors Influencing Students’ Academic Performance In A Higher Secondary School In Bhutan: Published in the 16th Volume of RABSEL

Tshewang Rabgay
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to investigate the factors affecting academic performance of the students of a higher secondary school in Bhutan. The dependent variable considered for the study was students’ academic performance, which was indicated by students’ test scores and the independent variables were students’ demographic characteristics, parents’ socio-economic status, parenting style and students’ learning and study strategy. The data were collected from 241 students of the school using two questionnaires­–Learning And Study Strategy Inventory and Baumrind’s Parenting Style’s Questionnaire. Correlation analysis, independent samples t-test and descriptive analysis were used to analyze data. The findings revealed that socio-economic factors such as parents’ education, income and occupation resulted in difference in academic performance but there was no difference in students’ academic performance based on students’ demographic variables like gender, age and living arrangements. Of the three parenting styles, namely authoritative, authoritarian and permissive, it was found that authoritative parenting results in better academic performance. The findings also revealed that students had average level learning and study skills. Recommendations were suggested to improve students’ academic performance.


KEY WORDS: Academic Performance, Socio-economic Status, Learning and Study Strategy, Parenting Style

Friday, November 13, 2015

Socio-cultural Factors Influencing Adolescent Girls’ Body Image

A Paper Presented at the 3rd Research Convention at SCE. 
Theme: Gender and Education
Abstract
Adolescence is associated with an increased concern for body image. Past studies have shown that body image concern is more in girls than boys which suggests that adolescent girls are more likely to be dissatisfied with their body than boys. Body image is influenced by many factors. This study aimed to explore the influence of socio-cultural factors-media, parents and peers on Samtse Higher Secondary School girls’ body image; and to determine the most influential factor among the three. The study also sought to find the level of body satisfaction of Samtse Higher Secondary School girls. A survey was conducted with 150 girls of the school. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics, paired samples t-test and regression analysis. The results suggested that media and peers had significantly dominant influence on girls’ body image than parents. It was also found that most girls (50.6%) were dissatisfied with their body which was further confirmed by the significant difference (p-0.000) between girls’ perceived actual body image and ideal body image. The study recommended media literacy programs for both parents and adolescents to deal with the social and cultural pressures to conform to unrealistic body ideals. The study also recommended teachers and school counselor to conduct psycho-educational initiatives in the school such as body image sessions and group discussions to teach students to accept and appreciate their body as they are and to decrease their preoccupation with appearance. 
KEY WORDS: Adolescent girls, Body image, Sociocultural factors, Media, Parents,


Friday, September 25, 2015

Kamal: A Talent In My School

Kamal is like any other eleventh grade science student in my school. He is a shy and a timid young boy. Because of his silent and calm nature, he is not an easily noticeable student in the school. He is a member of the school vocational club.

Recently the school conducted 'Club Exhibition'. The school has twenty one clubs. Kamal occupied a small space in the vocational club corner. He sat quietly with some mobile repairing equipment displayed before him. The crowd concentration shifted from one club to another but not many were interested in Kamal. The few that came thought that what was before him was merely a display of disassembled mobile phone. 

All during the program Kamal remained inconspicuous to the audience. It was only towards the end of the program that Kamal came to the limelight. Actually it was my encounter with him that caught the crowd's eye.

Kamal in the vocational club corner
The guests had already left and there was a very thin audience left. I thought we had called it an exhibition and I was walking out of the hall. As I neared the exit door I saw Kamal sitting quietly with two other friends.

"What have you got here?" I asked him.

"Mobile repair sir"

"Can you repair my mobile? Its sound doesn't work" I asked .

I thought he would not dare accept to work on a teacher's mobile. But the response was a confident "Yes sir"

I handed him my mobile and others around me started to laugh taking Kamal for granted. But Kamal started getting busy on the mobile. I told him in jest 'I hope you will not return my mobile in pieces like Mr. Bean returning a solid radio in several pieces to a customer' following which there was a huge laughter from students who thronged around to watch Kamal.

The students who were watching Kamal were anxious over what Kamal was doing. They thought he was on a risky venture of handling a teacher's phone.

Just then a lady teacher walked past and asked me "What's going on here?"

"He is repairing my mobile" I said.

"He will only get your mobile spoiled" she remarked and walked away giving a fleeting glance at Kamal.

Kamal heard the comment and he blushed but his hands never ceased to be confident.
Kamal working on my mobile

At one moment I was skeptical of his ability. I wished I had not given him the mobile. By then he had dismantled the phone completely and I could only watch him.

But his hands were deft and he exuded confidence over what he was doing

Still skeptical, I asked the other two boys sitting next to him who were equally quite. "Do you think he can really repair my mobile?"

"Yes sir. He can. He is really good at it sir." That gave me some reassurance.

Kamal had identified a problem with my phone. He said "sir, there is a disconnection here" He pointed to something very tiny which I couldn't make a thing. He  worked meticulously on it and got it fixed. 

Watching among the crowd was another teacher who also had problem with his mobile phone. He stepped forward and handed Kamal his phone. He had multiple problems - the camera, screen and dial pad. Kamal got all of them fixed just in few minutes. He won the crowd's heart.

Fascinated by his capability, I asked him "Did you do any formal training on repairing mobile phones?" 

"No sir. I learnt by myself at home" he said still looking timid.

"Are all these repair kits yours?" I asked pointing at the kits.

"Yes sir"

"Do you do this at home?"

"Yes sir"

"Sir, he is well known in Daragaon, (the place where he stays)" said the other two boys near him."People give him different electrical appliances such as, rice cooker, curry cooker, water boiler, microoven, washing machine and fan to repair. Just anything sir-any electrical equipment. He fixes them all for free sir. His room looks like a electronics repair shop" 

The next day I got the following things repaired:

1. Water boiler
2. Two fans 
3. Micro oven 
4. Tubelight
5. Extension cord
6. My wife's watch

I was surprised at Kamal's unique skills. Unique because he didn't learn from any Guru but his skills are self-taught. However, Kamal admitted that he cannot repair computers and digital camera. He has plans to attend computer repair course this winter. 

When asked about his ambition, Kamal said he wants to become an electronic engineer. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

A STUDY OF FACTORS INFLUENCING STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN A HIGHER SECONDARY SCHOOL IN BHUTAN

The purpose of this study was to investigate the factors affecting academic performance of the students of a higher secondary school in Bhutan. The dependent variable considered for the study was students’ academic performance, which was indicated by students’ test scores and the independent variables were students’ demographic characteristics, parents’ socio-economic status, parenting style and students’ learning and study strategy. The data were collected from 241 students of the school using two questionnaires­–Learning And Study Strategy Inventory and Baumrind’s Parenting Style’s Questionnaire. Correlation analysis, independent samples t-test and descriptive analysis were used to analyze data. The findings revealed that socio-economic factors and parenting style are predictors of student’s academic performance but not students’ demographic variables like gender, age and living arrangements. The findings also revealed that students had average level learning and study skills. Recommendations are made to create awareness concerning parenting skills and to engage parents in adult education programs. Teachers, educationists and counselors are recommended to teach students learning and study strategies.

KEY WORDS: Academic Performance, Socio-economic Status, Learning and Study Strategy, Parenting Style

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Lone Litchi Tree In The School Speaks

I was happy and proud
Because I had my family around.
We were peaceful before
But in the year 2004
A group of men came
In their mind they had a game-
To clear us all
And it was unusual.
Why should they clear us?
Because God sent us
To be happy and free.
And I cried at them ’let be be’.
But insane men brought us down
One by one.
They were ruthless
But I was all helpless
The first to be felled was my father
Then my sisters, brothers and my mother.
When all my family was cleared
I don’t know! I was spared.
And the reasons behind
I still don’t’ understand.
I wish I was gone
Than leaving me alone.
Men are cruel
As though we have no soul,
As though we have no heart,
They pulled us apart.
Today I stand alone
And forlorn
Amidst buildings
And with men always
Sometimes my heart looks for vengeance
But I hear my father’s advice
‘Love thy enemy’
And my heart just melts.
Living with men
I have learnt so much about them
Men always want
And we always give.
They want shade and we give
They want fruits and we give
They want fresh air and we give
But what’s that to us that men give?
Stones, sticks and knives
Yet we always forgive

To be continued.............. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Farewell Madam Jigme Lhamo

When the 2011 academic year began, there was news that a new teacher who was transferred from Zhemgang Higher Secondary School would soon be joining our school. In the past Samtse Higher Secondary School had received many new teachers. But when it was Madam Jigme Lhamo things were a little different. Madam's legacy traveled fast and reached the school even before madam joined the school. We heard of Madam JIgme being an excellent teacher and we were all relishing the prospect of having Madam Jigme in our school. Much to the delight of everybody in the school, Madam Jigme joined the School on February 2011.

Ever since Madam Jigme became a part of the teaching fraternity of the school there was a different vibe in the staff working culture. There was an aura of warmth and a sense of motherhood about her which added a new atmosphere in the staff room. Madam would facilitate collaborative work environment and team spirit among teachers. No wonder madam Jigme had positive attitude and outlook towards her profession. She would place students first in anything she does and would work tooth and nail to provide best education to students. Her profound knowledge in Biology and Chemistry compounded with excellent pedagogical flair made her one of the finest and revered teachers in the school.

Madam Jigme giving a speech during the farewell dinner 
But this year the news of madam's decision to leave the school surprised us all. Madam Jigme's transfer will definitely create a void in the teaching fraternity of the school. We will be loosing a seasoned, respected and a teacher who is no less than a mother.

In the send-off dinner organized for Madam Jigme by the school, the Principal said 'We would like to have madam in the school but there is nothing much we could do to retain madam.' Addressing the staff that night Madam Jigme said 'Wherever we (referring to teachers) go we have just one role to play-to educate students. Even if I leave Samtse HSS, I will be joining a new school and will continue to educate students. For us teachers, place really doesn't matter. And my departure from the school wouldn't make any difference because we have many competnent and enterprising teachers in the school. I am sure in the hands of these capable teachers the school will only get better' We offered her so many earnest compliments but she wouldn't take any of them. She modestly said 'If I have done anything good to the school, it is not my effort alone. It is the concerted effort of all the teachers'

We wish madam fulfilling years ahead. Your excellent mind, fine work ethic, and your integrity will serve you well throughout your life. We will sorely miss you.

Farewell Madam.