|The MUSTER Synthesis Report - Researching Teacher Education: New Perspectives on Practice, Performance and Policy (CIE, 2003, 237 p.)|
|CHAPTER 7: WHAT HAPPENS AFTER TRAINING: INDUCTION AND BEYOND|
This chapter brings together the evidence related to Arena 3 (see Chap.1) in answer to the research questions:
What are the competences, in terms of knowledge, skills and attitudes, of the graduating NQTs?
How have their attitudes and career intentions changed during training?
How do they value their training in retrospect?
What happens in their first years of teaching in terms of utilisation or washout of the course?
7.0.1. Summary of findings
· In Malawi and Ghana NQTs are 'posted' by central agencies to their schools, while in Lesotho individuals apply to schools for jobs. The latter process appears linked to a stronger sense of professionalism.
· In Ghana the process of posting is complex, ineffective and has pernicious effects on new teachers' morale. Many manage to subvert the system so that rural schools remain understaffed.
· None of the countries have a formal system of induction or probation for NQTs. Some support is given by heads, and in places by zonal or regional officers. Most advice appears to focus on management and administration rather than on developing instructional skills.
· NQTs apparently value their training as interesting and useful, but they wanted more time given to practical teaching methods. Many, especially in Ghana, felt college had not prepared them adequately for classroom realities. In school they rely heavily on notes and materials brought from college.
· Head teachers were also ambivalent about training. NQTs were generally seen as a source of fresh ideas and materials, and some were felt to be competent. But many heads thought NQTs were under-prepared, and others complained about their attitudes.
· Small scale observations comparing NQTs with untrained teachers suggest training does make NQTs more aware of their professional roles, and enables them to work more effectively within given norms and practices. But there is little evidence they contribute to change.
· Cross-sectional studies of attitude change suggest that dispositions and expectations of trainees do not change very much over the training period, and sometimes the changes are in an unlooked-for direction.
· In general NQTs did not perceive primary teaching as a desirable career. Only in Lesotho were a majority expecting to stay on at that level; elsewhere most wanted to move into secondary schools or further. Status, pay and conditions of service, and opportunities to study further seem important contextual factors.
In this chapter we present the evidence and discuss the issues under five headings:
1. How NQTs are deployed after graduation and how they are inducted into their work
2. How they value and use their training as they look back after 2-3 years
3. How others evaluate the NQTs' performance in schools
4. Evidence for attitude change
5. Career ambitions and intentions after training
Finally we discuss the issues raised by the findings.