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Whole Brain® Participatory Action Research to Enhance Professional Development of Academic Staff in Higher Education

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dc.contributor.author Dlamini, Christinah
dc.date.accessioned 2022-12-07T09:24:12Z
dc.date.available 2022-12-07T09:24:12Z
dc.date.issued 2019-08
dc.identifier.citation Dlamini, C. (2019). Whole Brain® Participatory Action Research to Enhance Professional Development of Academic Staff in Higher Education en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/175
dc.description.abstract Literature on academic professional learning states that professional development improves the quality of instruction and learning by enhancing knowledge and the skills of teaching. Professional development changes lecturers’ methods of facilitating learning. Like any other country in the 21st century, Zimbabwe faces the pressure of the establishment of universities and a pronounced multiplicity of academic programmes. The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development in Zimbabwe has the responsibility to improve quality in higher education. As an education practitioner I had taken cognisance of the existence of a gap in the professional development of academics at the exemplar higher education institution where most lecturers were inexperienced novices in facilitating learning, assessment and practitioner research. I made the decision to adopt the Whole Brain® Teaching and Learning Model by Ned Herrmann to transform our teaching practice. The model calls for innovative methods of facilitating learning that are directly associated with the whole brain. To address the above decision, I adopted participatory action research to monitor our practice of facilitating learning. In a community of practice, 10 novice lecturers between 35 and 50 years of age who had taught in higher education for 10 years and less implemented the Whole Brain® Teaching and Learning Model in their classes. The study’s aim was to promote a scholarship of instruction and learning in the higher education setting with constructivist and self-directed experiential thinking through the Whole Brain® Thinking and Learning Model. I formulated the primary question that is epistemological in nature: How can my fellow-lecturers and I as a collective use the Whole Brain® Thinking Model to transform teaching in higher education in Zimbabwe? A mixed-methods approach (MMA) was used to obtain multiple opinions and perceptions and to exploit all the thinking preferences in Herrmann’s 1996 four quadrants. Two questionnaires, two examinations and lesson observations were used to obtain quantitative data while interviews, focus group meetings that were video - and audio-recorded were used to solicit qualitative data. A concurrent triangulation approach was used in the study. The HBDI® data was used as baseline study to determine our thinking styles. The students’ perceptions of our teaching practice were obtained through the respondent questionnaire and interviews. We evaluated our learning opportunities through the lecture observations, mid-semester and final examinations. At the end of the two semesters the data collected was analysed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Quantitative data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 23 (SPSSv23) while The Herrmann International (2018) provided data for our thinking preferences. The qualitative data was analysed using deductive thematic analysis. Results from the HBDI® report affirmed the diagnosis of our thinking preferences; the10 participants’ thinking preferences were diverse. This diversity helped us understand that students think and learn in a variety of ways. Literature shows that there is a correlation between Whole Brain® Theory and student learning. The awareness of diversity guided us in planning learning opportunities that accommodated the diverse learning styles of our students. Various methods of facilitating learning were implemented in our lectures. The results showed that lecturers inspired students by their enthusiasm for work (73%); lecturers initiated learning by providing opportunities that reflected real- life situations (70%); lecturers promoted cooperative learning (71%). Students also contributed to their learning by developing a greater sense of responsibility (66%). We varied the type of questions asked in our lectures; the most commonly used question was the probing one (40%). The knowledge questions from Bloom’s taxonomy were predominantly used (48%). Media integration was part of the methods used and the use of computers was preferred (36%). When assessing students’ work the results revealed that most lecturers used quizzes and tests and assignments as assessment strategies. The results of the two examinations that were selected for the study were skewed towards the A and B quadrants, i.e. the cognitive and psychomotor levels. The affective C quadrant and the creative D quadrant were not well represented. The observation was that methods of facilitating learning and the skill of setting Whole Brain® examinations were still lacking and participants were expected to continue seeking further innovative ways of improving learning opportunities and assessment of students’ work. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Whole Brain® Model; Participatory Action Research; Learning preferences/styles professional development; novice lecturers, community of practice. en_US
dc.title Whole Brain® Participatory Action Research to Enhance Professional Development of Academic Staff in Higher Education en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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