|New Teachers on the Job: The Impact of Teacher Education in Lesotho (CIE, 2001, 36 p.)|
|Chapter 6: Views of the headteachers|
6.5.1 Type of teacher expected: attitude
The headteachers were asked to provide views about the kind of teacher that NTTC is producing. A variety of views were expressed. On commenting about the kind of teacher the school is expecting, the headteachers felt that schools need teachers who are duty conscious, able to help children, are patient, are loving and caring to both parents and children, have parental traits, are dedicated and committed and are able to teach. These comments are similar to those expressed by the Diploma in Education (Primary) student teachers in their response to the question of the type of teacher that they considered good.
6.5.2 Type of teacher expected: attitude to work
Commenting on the issue of being able to teach, the headteachers indicated that schools expect teachers who master their content matter and have ability to communicate/teach such content effectively through use of appropriate teaching methods. The concern about ability to prepare and integrate disabled children with normal ones was also expressed. Moreover, headteachers indicated that they thought an NQT should have the following qualities: be a professional who is time conscious/punctual, creative, confident, approachable and above all sincere. The extent to which these expectations are modelled and or emphasised at the NTTC could be established through observing the College activities. For example, in observing the College tutors who teach the Diploma in Education (Primary) programme, it would seem that good timekeeping on the part of some of these lecturers as well as students is not observed. This relaxed atmosphere about starting and finishing lectures on time might have the effect of producing student teachers who are not time conscious.
6.5.3 Aims of the schools
The Headteachers pointed out that some of the aims of the schools are: to serve the surrounding community by providing good education to the children, to work hard and to strive for excellence in all that the school does, as well as aim for quality teaching and learning. In the special school, it included laying a solid educational foundation for children with special needs in order, among other things, to integrate them successfully into the normal school system. The interviewees further pointed out that schools are there to produce pupils who are to be competent and creative so that they can handle other levels of education with ease. This way, the school would strive to be the best in the area. The headteachers seem to suggest that a school that would have laid a good foundation of primary education, provided all children with education regardless of their family and socio-economic backgrounds and most importantly a school that would strive for high performance so that it can favourably compare with other schools in the area, is the type of school that they themselves want to work in. These views tend to suggest that the headteachers expect to have NQTs who would be prepared to fit well in such school cultures.
6.5.4 Orientation and/or induction
Responses on the issue of socialising newly qualified teachers into the school culture and working patterns varied. Some headteachers claimed that schools have informal structures in place. These structures enable them to orient NQTs into the school. It is this group of headteachers that claimed that they hold training workshops and assign NQTs responsibilities such as being in charge of sports, music competition, cultural events and school choir. Other headteachers indicated that it is difficult to socialise NQTs because of their negative attitudes.
The primary school system does not have a formal induction programme for teachers joining the school system. Studying the comments by headteachers who believe that assigning NQTs responsibilities is one strategy of orientation, it is apparent that these are extra-curricular activities. Those who responded that they have workshops failed to indicate the topics of such workshops.
6.5.5 Development issues
Another very critical question asked was on the changes that are likely to take place in the next five years. In essence, the intention of asking this particular question was to determine the interviewees' vision concerning the Lesotho education system given the responsibility they hold as headteachers. Gender balance and high standards were among the issues emphasised. In their own words, the interviewees had this to say: "to have at least male teachers in the school and to have a headteacher in the school"; and to maintain high pass rates, increase the enrolment rate and the number of teachers.