Cover Image
close this bookPrimary Teacher Education in Action: A Peep into the TTC Classrooms at the National Teacher Training College, Lesotho (CIE, 2002, 42 p.)
close this folderChapter 2: Research Methods
View the document2.1 Introduction
View the document2.2 Population
View the document2.3 Data Collection
View the document2.4 Data analysis
View the document2.5 Some Limitations

2.1 Introduction

The Curriculum in Action sub-study used classroom observation as the key method for collecting data. The focus was on the four core subjects: mathematics, science, English and educational foundations. Nineteen lessons were observed in all: five in maths, English and educational foundations, and four in science. Only classes that were being taught to the new Diploma in Education (Primary) (DEP) student teachers were used.

2.2 Population

The tutors observed came from science, mathematics, English and educational foundations departments. Table 1 presents the number of lecturers that were observed according to the department in which they taught. With the exception of English, all tutors were locals. All in all there were eight lecturers who were willing to participate in the sub-study particularly in being observed. As a result, the sample size was opportunistic, which means that the researchers had no control on variables such as gender and the age groups of the participants.

Table 1: Number of Lecturers who participated in the Study by Department

Subject

Number of Lecturers and their Gender


Female

Male

Total

English

2

-

2

Mathematics

2

-

2

Science

-

2

2

Education

1

1

2

Total

5

3

8

2.3 Data Collection

Data was collected through tape-recording and note-taking. The tape-recorded information was transcribed and subsequently used to supplement the observation notes.

As far as possible, two observers observed a lesson. There were few exceptions such as the pilot observations where four observers took notes. In three of the English, two Mathematics, two science and two educational foundations lessons only one observer was present, still taking notes and using a tape recorder.

A pilot observation was carried out with a mathematics lecturer. Unlike the rest of the other lecturers who were observed teaching small groups, she was observed teaching a large group in the lecture hall.

Observers took notes on the lecturers' and the student teachers' activities including activities that were not on task. They had to record the activities at intervals of five minutes with the purpose of establishing the time individual lecturers and their students spend on each activity. They were to take notes on everything that took place in the class including those that were not on task.

Each subject was supposed to have been observed five times. However, due to some difficulties that were experienced some were observed five times while others were observed for less than five times.

2.4 Data analysis

The first task in analysing the information was to transcribe the tapes so as to supplement the notes taken during classroom observations. The next step was to study notes and/or anecdotes and then to present these in the form of cases. In presenting each case, interpretations are made specifically on issues that relate to the curriculum as documented. These included issues such as aims and objectives, methods of teaching used and whether or not teaching was related to the primary school context.

2.5 Some Limitations

Selection of staff to participate in this sub-study was difficult for several reasons. Although some tutors had indicated during earlier interviews with another MUSTER researcher that they would be willing to be observed, in the event most were reluctant. For example, a decision to stop observing one of the science lecturers was made after several attempts to visit his class; either he did not turn up, or he came in and left before the lesson was finished. Another difficulty had to do with the fact that only a few lecturers were teaching the new diploma students.