|Face-to-Face Training in a Conventional Preservice Programme: A Case Study at Edgewood College of Education in South Africa (CIE, 2002, 36 p.)|
This case study was conducted at a time when teacher education and the college were in a state of transition. While there are many issues that are anomalous at this particular point in time, the anomaly can be useful in highlighting important issues in the development of teacher education programmes in South Africa. Further from this case study we can raise issues that will be important as the as teacher education programmes are incorporated into universities and technikons. I would like to raise the following issues
9.1. The political economy
· The data was collected during the time of transition in the college sector. This illuminated the issue that a number of decisions were made because of political considerations. It would be interesting to track how the political tradeoffs affect the quality of the teacher education programme.
9.2. Provincial plan for teacher education
· A teacher education programme prepares teachers largely for the state education system. Therefore the decisions about what teacher education programmes are to be offered should be made with education planners in the provincial department of education. This planning must be done on the basis of teacher supply and demand in specific subject areas. As the teacher education programme moves to the university, with its autonomy, an interesting question is how will the university negotiate a planned programme for teacher education in line with provincial requirements.
9.3. Who become teachers?
The non-provision of bursaries for teaching by the KwaZuluNatal provincial ministry means that in future who becomes a teacher will be linked to material class issue. In South Africa the class and race issue are closely linked. Without bursaries it could mean that in future it will be mostly White students with access to resources who will be able to afford to become teachers.
9.4 The teacher educators
· The teacher educators at Edgewood College are mostly White. This means that they have a particular experience base. This has implications for the teacher education programme offered that is preparing students for a range of different school experiences.
· Most of the teacher educators have a high school teaching experience and have not implemented an OBE curriculum in the classroom. The lecturers provided interpretations of the OBE curriculum that were different from each other. This has implications for the quality and credibility of the programme offered.
· To effectively implement the new Norms & Standards for Educators curriculum, teacher educators need to be strong curriculum developers. What are the criteria for the employment of staff to effectively implement the curriculum and what staff development programme (retraining) is offered to the staff?
· What kind of training do teacher educators need in order to train teachers in accordance with the seven roles that teachers are supposed to assume in the school? Edgewood staff spent many hours on staff development internalising the latest curriculum documents. The NSE curriculum means a large amount of work for staff to design the learning programmes for student.
9.5 Organisational structure
· What kind of organisational structure will support the effective delivery of the NSE curriculum? The philosophy of the NSE curriculum is one of integration, and traditionally teacher training organisations have been organised by departments.
· What kind of organisation/institution will support a teacher education programme that encompasses the principles of NSE, offers enough curriculum choices and is cost-effective? The viability of a teacher education programme at an institution means negotiating the issues of quality and costs. This may mean having a large number of teacher trainees in a single institution to achieve the goals of an NSE curriculum in a cost-effective manner.
· The schooling system is divided into the Further Education and Training and the General Education and Training phases. Within the GET there are the foundational, intermediate and senior phases. The offering of Bachelor of Primary and Bachelor of Secondary Education does not seem a good template with the new division of the school system into different phases. How are qualifications to be offered so those teachers are suitably trained for the different phases?
· With teacher education programmes becoming part of the higher education system, there is a danger that the university will respond better to the needs of the senior phase of GET and the FET phase.
· In the senior phase of GET and in the FET phase there is a strong emphasis on disciplinary knowledge and universities will be able to offer that. But the emphasis in the foundational and intermediate phases are different - what kind of teacher programme needs to be devised to train teachers for these phases?
· The college offers a curriculum, which models the competences required to be a teacher. This requires small class sizes and is therefore an expensive programme to implement.
· What type of school does the college prepare students for? Does the national curriculum support students to teach in different environments? The old system of education coped with diversity in unacceptable ways. How is the new system of teacher education coping with the diversification of interests?
9.7. Teaching practice
· There is a need for the teacher education organisation to have a teaching practice policy (in terms of number of lessons to teach, which will be observed, what is expected of students during teaching practice) that is communicated to all staff, students and participating schools.
· Teaching practice needs to be integrated with other activities in the college and should not seen as an isolated activity from other offerings on the teacher education programme.
· All the evidence points to the important role that the schoolteacher plays during teaching practice. How will the teacher education institution enhance the role that the schoolteacher plays during teaching practice?
· Which schools should teaching practice be done in? Should it be in schools which provide examples of good classroom practice or an average South African school with all its problems?
9.8 Cost of the teacher education programme
· While there is no doubt about the quality of the programmes there is a concern about the cost to achieve this quality. The cost of the teacher education programme at Edgewood College of Education is very expensive. This is not sustainable.
· The state has paid a large sum of money to train teachers but the state does not utilise the resource.
9.9. Outcomes-based Education
· The students who had OBE PRESET training found it difficult to implement the OBE curriculum in the schools. Each teacher educator has a different understanding of OBE and gives students different messages. If this group of students, who went to a well-resourced college, mostly went through good schooling, and had teacher educators who are qualified though giving mixed messages, have difficulties implementing an OBE curriculum, what is the situation in the other colleges?