|The Experience of Training: A Study of Students at the National Teacher Training College in Lesotho (CIE, 2000, 39 p.)|
|Chapter 2: Research Methods|
In February 1999 a questionnaire was administered to the whole first year cohort of the Diploma in Education Primary (DEP) students. The original intention was to select a small but representative group from the cohort and monitor their experience through the first half of the programme. With this in mind, thirty-two (32) student teachers were initially selected using a stratified sampling technique. However, only twenty-seven agreed to participate in the study. In selecting the sample a number of factors were considered: their COSC grades (to ensure a wide range of performance standards), gender (one -third males and two-thirds females) and the location from which student teachers came (Highlands, lowlands, urban and rural).
These students were asked to write an essay about their perception of good and bad teachers. This data was analysed and the findings reported elsewhere (see Lefoka et al, forthcoming).
For the next stage of the study, to be reported here, students were asked to keep a diary and to participate in focus group interviews. Since only 9 student teachers as opposed to twenty-seven submitted their diaries it was decided to administer a questionnaire (the 'Midway' survey - see appendix) to all the twenty-seven (27) student teachers. The intention was to supplement the data collected through diaries. However, only fourteen students responded to the questionnaire. This group appear slightly older than the average, (and perhaps had a more responsible attitude); the gender ratio of 10 women and 4 men is roughly proportional to that of the cohort as a whole.
The initial plan whereby meetings would be held between the researcher and student teachers to guide the process of diaries was not fully adhered to. The major reason was the packed student lecture schedule. In the first place, they were never available as a whole group, secondly, they only had one free period in a week which they used for library purposes. As a result only two groups (10 plus in each group) as opposed to three participated in a focus group meeting. In the group interviews, students were given the following guidance for their diaries:
1. You have to try to recall as accurately as possible all the necessary details of required information;
2. Try to keep your diary up-to-date so that its strength is maintained;
3. Write down everything that seems interesting and or unusual that goes on in the College classrooms especially in the English, Mathematics, Science and Educational Foundation courses.
The diaries were kept during Semester 2 (September-November 1999)
After the students had been at the College for 18 months, the 'midway' questionnaire was prepared and students were gathered for the purpose of explaining to them how they were expected to fill it. Although almost all students attended this gathering, they were not prepared to fill the questionnaire there and then, and only 14 out of 27 questionnaires were returned.