|New Teachers on the Job: The Impact of Teacher Education in Lesotho (CIE, 2001, 36 p.)|
|Chapter 6: Views of the headteachers|
It was reported that NQTs are attached to class teachers so that the two share a class. This means either the NQT or the class teacher is free to observe each other teaching. This is intended to provide support in all the NQTs related work activities. The main purpose of doing so, in their view, is to assist towards making NQTs improve in the school work of teaching and all its related tasks. Some examples given were:
· Teach NQTs strategies and methods used to teach the blind/teach NQTs the Braille;
· Mentor helped to provide NQTs with all support she needs in the school (For example, school and community relations, parent-teacher relations, teacher-pupil relations; professionalism as a teacher and code of conduct. The support programme includes follow-up on co-operating teachers and NQTs concerning the teaching activities they engage in. That is done through discussions, meetings, checking record books (lesson plans, scheme and record of work done and register).
However, contrary to what the headteachers said concerning the role of co-operating teachers, some NQTs pointed out that the co-operating teachers/mentors did not render adequate support. The co-operating teachers/mentors only worked very closely with them during "scheming of work to cover" and setting examination or test questions. Otherwise during normal teaching times, they did not contact them or assist them that much.
Concerning the assistance rendered by the headteachers, the NQTs thought that headteachers were generally helpful. However, none of the NQTs felt that the headteacher was the best person to offer them (NQTs) classroom support; instead the co-operating teachers/mentors were considered much more favourably than the former. Perhaps a feeling of this nature could stem from the fact that headteachers are possibly perceived mainly as administrators who guide the entire school, rather than knowledgeable about classroom teaching and learning.
Headteachers said that mentors and co-operating teachers needed training in order to play their role competently. This is because no training has been given. Head-teachers and the mentor agree on key issues to target. Thus, as the two groups rightly point out, the training of teachers who are to serve as mentors is vital. The interviewees indicated that either the Ministry of Education or NTTC should introduce a national mentor/induction programme like that of the university. Some interviewees felt that the task of training and introducing the induction concept in schools should also be a responsibility of the churches that are proprietors of schools.