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close this bookFace-to-face Initial Teacher Education Degree Programme at the University of Durban-Westville, South Africa (CIE, 2002, 57 p.)
close this folderChapter 4: The Teacher Education Curriculum
View the document(introduction...)
View the document4.1 The structure of the Bachelor of Paedogogics degree
View the document4.2 Content/Disciplinary based-knowledge
View the document4.3 Educational Theory
View the document4.4 Subject Methods
View the document4.5 English Usage/Afrikaans Usage
View the document4.6 Teaching Practice
View the document4.7 Teaching, Learning and Assessment

4.6 Teaching Practice

The School organised the "Teaching Practice" (TP) component of the B. Paed degree to include three kinds of engagement. All three components focussed on developing student teachers' ability to reflect on lesson design, preparation and practical engagement with teaching and learning. The first TP in year two of the degree included only on-campus tutorial sessions led by staff members. This component included students presenting mock lessons to their peer group. Commentary and critique of these lessons followed these microteaching sessions. The second involvement with TP in year three entailed the student teachers being placed for two weeks in a school close to their residence. The students were supervised by the teachers and managers of these schools in relations to a university assignment focussing on reflection on the school organisational structures and teaching strategies adopted. During the second year the small group tutorials continued on a weekly basis.

The main emphasis on TP featured in the final year of study when students were placed for six weeks in schools in a 40-km radius of the university. The students were supervised on a weekly basis by full-time and part-time members of the university. This supervision included visits to classrooms, engagement with action research projects within the school, and peer group tutorial sessions within the school. The students were organised into teams of approximately four, engaging with teaching of a particular subject specialisation. In principle a team approach of collaborative teaching was established where any student teacher would be accompanied to lessons with either a peer student teacher or his or her mentor teacher. The students were also assigned the task of identifying practical problems with the teaching and learning of their particular subject and aimed, in an action research intervention, to address the identified problem within the period of their engagement with the school. In some specialisations, e.g. English it was possible to deliberately mix the racial and gender groupings of this team.

The second dimension of the third year TP included an on-campus-based teaching practice (CBTP) component. This CBTP included weekly tutorials on Media Education, Computer Literacy and Professional Studies. The media education course focussed on the development of textual material to support the teaching and learning processes. The computer literacy embodied developing basic competence in using a computer (which many students were not able to do). The course also focused on learning to use the computer as a resource for acquiring material through electronic searches.

The Professional Studies component is a later addition to the course: it focussed on developing a discourse around generic issues around teacher identity and roles, about developing critical reflective inquiry skills, about developing integrated curriculum.

The School-based Teaching Practice (SBTP) in the final year of study grew from a six-week to a ten- week placement as lecturers and students argued for more time to engage with the dynamics of the context of schools especially when enacting out an action research intervention. Across the years this ten-week placement was offered either as a single block, or as two block session of four and six weeks duration.5 The TP component of the second and third year was trimmed into a single one-year course. The initial placement of students unsupervised by the university was removed from the curriculum. Staff felt that students were not sufficiently benefiting from the placement. Many schools were not operational at the early stages of the year and students whiled away their time there unproductively. Placement of students at other times of the year was not feasible for both the schools and university.

5 The decision for a single block session or a two block session was contingent on the stability within the schooling system. The university often had to respond to the adjusting timetables of the school calendar as several disruptions within the schooling system influenced the school's willingness to host student teachers for their TP session.