|New Teachers on the Job: The Impact of Teacher Education in Lesotho (CIE, 2001, 36 p.)|
|Chapter 6: Views of the headteachers|
The headteachers were asked to give their opinion regarding possible changes that could reform NTTC teacher education programmes. It was said that recently-graduated NQTs render support to teachers who have been long in the service and may need to be upgraded with content. This is particularly so in the teaching subjects such as Art and Crafts, Music and Physical Education, which are new subjects in the school curriculum. This view therefore points to the need for the College to weave in the content that the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) of the Ministry of Education continuously disseminates to the practising teachers. Thus, the College needs to up-date the Curriculum all the time if the completing student teachers are to fit in the school system where there are on-going changes in practice.
To those headteachers with a longer experience of working with NQTs, there seems to be a feeling that the NQTs are hardworking, very innovative/willing to try new methods and introduce new ideas, they are getting better at subject content and new teaching ideas/strategies and most importantly that they show some potential for growth in the teaching profession. The headteacher from School 1 indicated that having to work with NQTs provides one with an opportunity to compare them objectively instead of making generalisations about NQTs as though they are a homogenous group. The headteacher put it thus: "I am hopeful for more change in the future. Like I said, this is the first NTTC graduate I have, so I have nothing to compare her to".
The headteachers thought there was need for an extended probation period before the student teachers could be considered for promotion, which suggests they find the graduates lacking in certain aspects. Asked to provide recommendations for the initial teacher training programme, the headteachers indicated the need to improve professionalism of teachers in order to help NQTs became more duty conscious, committed and willing to undertake extra-curricular activities. The headteachers also recommended that teacher trainers should emphasis proper blackboard work and good handwriting. It is interesting to also note that the headteachers feel that there is need to increase the teaching practice duration. In their opinion, the longer duration might help to bridge the gap between theory and practice. The headteachers also believe that the College should strengthen the special education courses and above all, to try as much as possible to provide the student teachers an opportunity to do teaching practice in schools that have children with disabilities. Commenting on possible recommendation for initial teacher training the following was said by the headteacher of School 1 (the special school) "I learn since 1997, NTTC has a training module on special education. To strengthen their trainees on that, they should also attach them for TP to schools such as ours".