|The Malawi Integrated In-Service Teacher Education Project: An Analysis of the Curriculum and Its Delivery in the Colleges (CIE, 2000, 75 p.)|
|Chapter 4: Evaluations and Conclusions|
For the sake of completeness we will here summarise what happened after the residential block. For further details on the school-based component see the report by Kunje and Chirembo (Discussion paper 12).
4.4.1 School-based component
The school-based training component of MIITEP got off to a very slow start but by September 1999, when the research was carried out in schools, it was supposed to be fully functioning. However, it was clear that the level and quality of support in most schools was low. Heads and deputies were supervising students much less frequently than they were supposed to do, apparently from a mixture of lack of time, inadequate training, and disinclination to undertake this extra work for no pay. However, students found their advice helpful and wanted more of it. Support from qualified teachers was also sparse, and often depended on chance or an individuals goodwill. It was rare that the Head made formal arrangements for them to help the trainees, even where there were sufficient qualified teachers to do so. The latter also lacked training, and did not see it as part of their role.
External supervision also happened less in reality than in the design. Most PEAs visited infrequently, and combined supervision with assessment, in order to cover as many students as possible, rather than giving structured support towards defined goals. There was, however, one example of good practice where the PEAs visited the same student three times, and were thus able to build on what had gone before.
College tutors were not sent out to supervise any students until five cohorts had done the residential component. They were then given four weeks to cover both Cohorts 1 and 2, which meant at best one visit per student, used just for assessment. In some cases they were able to see only part of a lesson, and some students were not seen at all.
Students were able to complete most of their projects and assignments, but reported severe struggles to find the necessary time and resources, since the schools could offer little help. They found the zonal seminars very useful, particularly as it gave a chance to meet fellow-trainees and share experiences, just as they had done in college. Unfortunately, no district had managed to hold a complete series of seminars, due to lack of funding, so a number of topics were not covered.
In effect, the students continued learning much as they had before, through an informal apprenticeship, although with somewhat more supervision, and with the assignments as a continual reminder, as one put it, that they were students. They could at least now feel that attention had been paid to them, and that they were on the road to becoming qualified. Whether they were teaching more effectively is still an open question, to be addressed by another study.
4.4.2 Final Revision block
During this four-week period the timetable and organisation was similar to that during the first residential block. Departments drew up lists of topics they considered needed revision, based partly on what had not been fully covered earlier. Since few zonal seminars had taken place with Cohort 2, there was too much to cover in the allotted time. The internal Teaching Practice at the demonstration schools continued to take place one morning a week; this was for students who had not been given a TP grade while in the schools.
It should be noted that the female students who had babies were particularly disadvantaged because they were not allowed to live in the hostels. They had to find lodging outside, and commute to and from college. These added burdens consumed part of their revision time. In Cohort 2, some 30-40 women were in this position. The message about equal opportunities did not seem to have reached the college administration.