Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10889/11218
Title: Working towards a beneficial teacher professional development continuum : amalgamation of pre-service training phases for science education student teachers at the National Universtity of Lesotho
Authors: Mabejane, Maseqao Regina
Keywords: Teacher preparation
Teacher knowledge
Learning to teach
Practice teaching
Keywords (translated): Προετοιμασία εκπαιδευτικών
Γνώση εκπαιδευτικών
Γνώση για διδασκαλία
Πρακτική άσκηση εκπαιδευτικών
Abstract: The primary target of relevant education is the development of the people, the people who are responsible for the economic growth of their country which in turn would enhance the human development thus achieving the socio-economic advancement. Lesotho is not an exception to the global trends with the aspiration for development through education, science and technology. In Lesotho and elsewhere in some parts of the world where a teacher facilitates learning, s/he becomes one of the factors considered to have a significant bearing on the success or failure of education. This could be achieved through education of quality which, to a significant extent could be influenced by well trained teachers. A constant concern had been raised and reported that the undergraduate science student teachers trained at the National University of Lesotho reflected inadequacy in implementing the professional knowledge they acquired from on-campus training in their classroom teaching during teaching practice in schools. The insufficiency manifested itself in various areas and to varying degree, in areas such as subject content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge with their entailed components and general handling of the teaching-learning environment. On that premise, it was decided to look closely into the content of the courses offered in undergraduate pre-service training science education program together with the methodologies and pedagogies employed. The intention was to further establish the correlation between the offered and acquired knowledge with the practice in schools through student teachers’ actual enactment. That was done in order to discern the probable deficit in the links within the processes of training and learning in the two phases of the pre-service stage of teacher professional development. The study site was identified based on the model followed for teacher training at the National University of Lesotho comprising preparation on campus and practice in schools. Considering that site for investigation and the main research question, qualitative paradigm was employed in order to obtain intense, realistic and authentic information embedded therein. Through purposive sampling, 2 Year IV Curriculum Studies courses were identified and the responsible teacher educators then. For each course, 10 student teachers and their 20 teaching practice tutors were involved in the research study. The 2 regular practicing teachers who had gone through the system were involved to verify the view that student teachers exhibited some observable shortcomings in classroom teaching during teaching practice. Those were people who had live experiences with the situation. The general question that the research study was answering was: “What the perceptions and opinions of the teacher educators, student teachers, teaching practice tutors and regular practicing teachers were concerning the subject Curriculum Studies courses and teaching practice with regard to student teachers’ development in learning how to professionally teach in their subjects”. Their perspectival understanding of the situation was serving as the lens through which an insight into the matter could be developed. The thrust of the question was the development of the prospective teachers in learning how to teach in the subjects they would be teaching in schools. The focal concepts were teacher preparation, student teachers’ learning to teach, teacher professional knowledge, practice teaching and participants’ perspective of the whole situation; underpinned by pedagogical content knowledge, reflective practice and, theory and practice as underpinning theoretical notions. On the basis of that general question, the research questions designed focused on five areas which guided the whole study process; the research design, tools, results presentation and discussions. The areas were: 1) training course content – what? 2) methodologies and pedagogical approaches – how? 3) student teachers’ enactment – practice, 4) theory-practice link and 5) general views – teachers’ voice. The main source of data was the one-on-one semi-structured interviews for all study subjects the audio recordings of which were transcribed. For student teachers pre- and post-teaching practice interviews were conducted. The interview results for the student teachers and their tutors were coupled with their produced text reports. The reports from the teaching practice tutors provided data from the second research method, observations of student teachers’ classroom teaching (enactment of the acquired theoretical and practical knowledge). The primary data were complemented with secondary source, the already existing, available, complete documents that contained pertinent information that could provide an insight into the problem. The template analysis which is a particular way of thematic analysis of qualitative data following the basic steps in content analysis using hierarchical coding adaptable to the particular needs of almost any qualitative research study was employed. The data were collected from individual events and analyzed at that level and later through cross analysis related to similar category of participants, course, and type; and in the final analysis all results were subjected to constant comparison around the five areas and consolidated to make a synthesized comprehensive picture of the whole study situation. Through the qualitative content analysis of the resultant textual material the main findings were established. The focus was mainly the attributes of teacher knowledge, taking on board the emerging issues of relevance. The four main findings that distinctly had a perceptible bearing on the learning and practice of the student teachers which were interrelated and influencing one another to some extent were: (1) the exclusion of assessment as a topic in the course content for training. (2) the cross-cutting fragmentation in institutional structures, faculty/departmental operations and practices, university and practice schools partnership that markedly resulted in lack of coherence and collaboration in the training program. (3) limited time in relation to the program, the courses and the involved teaching-learning activities, and practice teaching. (4) teacher educators’ modeling. The discovery made was that for teacher education to be of benefit to teachers, students and ultimately the nation, cooperation, collaboration and dialogue between stakeholders was compelling. The program courses, practices and the whole training program should be more formalized, comprehensive, intensive and purposeful to enable student teachers to successfully synthesize, integrate, and apply the acquired knowledge and skills in different situations, under varying conditions in which they handled students with diverse backgrounds. The issue of fragmentation that cut across all levels of teacher education was of utmost concern and it is therefore emphasized that it should be considered seriously. The consideration could hopefully bring to fruition the required coherence, collaboration, conditions enabling teacher educator modeling of innovative teaching, inclusion of core issues for teacher knowledge and practice, and the realistic time for teacher training. Thus, the amalgamation of issues and phases in the pre-service teacher training should be worked out such that all stakeholders benefit from the enterprise which would definitely filter out to the whole nation to meet the nation’s aspirations. The study was done with a hope that the geographically, economically and culturally different context in which it was conducted, also bringing in more voices of the people with varying live experiences of the situation would inform and influence practice and policy in teacher education at various levels, extending into the general field of research in education and beyond. Thus, that would be informing the wider spectrum of stakeholders in both science education and education in general; and hopefully even in areas beyond education where people and development might be issues in question.
Abstract (translated): --
Appears in Collections:Τμήμα Επιστημών της Εκπαίδευσης και της Αγωγής στην Προσχολική Ηλικία (ΔΔ)

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