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close this bookThe MUSTER Synthesis Report - Researching Teacher Education: New Perspectives on Practice, Performance and Policy (CIE, 2003, 237 p.)
View the document8.0 Summary and Overview
View the document8.1 Introduction
View the document8.2 Data Sources
View the document8.3 Characteristics of College Staff
View the document8.4 Tutors' Views and Perspectives
View the document8.5 Concluding Discussion

8.0 Summary and Overview

This chapter37 focuses on the college teaching staff, and provides some answers to the questions:

Who becomes a college tutor, how and why?

What induction and professional development programmes are available for them?

How do they perceive their work, with particular reference to their views on how young teachers acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need?

What needs should be prioritised for staff development?

37 An earlier version of this chapter is published in Stuart 2002

8.0.1. Summary of findings

Characteristics and career patterns of college staff

· We found no clear career path for tutors, and most joined the college as a promotion from school teaching rather than out of an intrinsic interest in training. Consequently most were middle-aged or older and the gender balance reflected that of the local teaching force. Many primary tutors were themselves secondary-trained, and this trend was more marked among the younger recruits. Qualifications varied, often in line with the country's wealth, so that in Malawi and Ghana some had only Teaching Diplomas, while in Trinidad and Tobago many had Masters degrees.

Professional Development

· Very few tutors received specific training for their role, even when this involved a reorientation to primary education. No college studied had either formal induction or professional development policies in place. Some departments had informal support programmes for new colleagues. In-service mainly consisted of workshops organised by Ministries of Education wishing to disseminate innovations, though in some systems individuals had found opportunities for short courses or degree-level study. In general, tutors trained as they had themselves been trained.

Perspectives on their work

· While perspectives differed between countries, and between individuals, particularly among the most qualified, we found also many similar themes. In general, neither individual tutors nor the colleges as institutions had very clear conceptual models of how students learn to teach. Generally, training teachers was seen in terms of transmitting knowledge and skills, which the trainees would then apply uniformly. Tutors' views of the 'good' primary teacher, especially in the African sites, stressed personal and affective characteristics rather than cognitive and instructional abilities. They saw themselves as producing teachers who would deliver the curriculum effectively, rather than as developing professionals who would use their own judgement to solve problems. In line with this view, trainees were often treated like high school pupils rather than tertiary-level students.

· The intellectual horizons of many college staff seemed narrowly embedded in the local world-view. Though the discourse often showed borrowing of ideas from high income countries, there was little evidence that new concepts were being thoughtfully adapted to the local context and used to develop more effective ways of training.

· However, in spite of perceived heavy workloads and poor conditions of service, we found many hardworking and committed individuals, some of whom had developed their own ideas about teacher training, and who found intrinsic satisfaction in the job. There appeared to be neglected potential for development at both the individual and college levels.

This chapter begins with an introduction highlighting the dearth of studies in this area, and details how the data was collected. The following sections describe first the characteristics and career paths of the tutors, and second their views and perspectives on their jobs. The data is drawn from the four smaller sites only, as in South Africa the MUSTER research was carried out in University Departments of Education.