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close this bookFace-to-Face Training in a Conventional Preservice Programme: A Case Study at Edgewood College of Education in South Africa (CIE, 2002, 36 p.)
close this folder5. The Teacher Education Programme and its Evaluation
View the document5.1. The teacher education curriculum
View the document5.2. Student choices in the curriculum
View the document5.3. How is the curriculum offered?
View the document5.4. Evaluation of the Teacher Education programme
View the document5.5. Models of teaching and learning
View the document5.6. Assessment

5.1. The teacher education curriculum

Curriculum design at Edgewood College of Education was shaped by two influences: national policy for teacher education and university requirements. Up to 1996 the Edgewood College of Education operated in accordance with the requirements of curriculum choices specified in 'The Green Book for Teacher Education' and a requirement from the House of Assembly (Whites). Although the Green Book specified the requirements for teacher education there was still freedom for colleges to do different things. The Senate largely determined the Edgewood curriculum.

Using the freedom offered by the regulations, the University of Natal and Edgewood devised an innovative degree, the B. Primary Education. This degree has been offered since 1983 and was offered on both the University of Natal and Edgewood campuses. The subject specialisations were taught in the university disciplinary departments and Education and Professional Studies components was taught by staff from the university education department and Edgewood College. In this model there was a sharp disjuncture between theory and teaching methodology. Since 1990, the course has been offered and taught by and at Edgewood College of Education. In 2001 the University of Natal will incorporate Edgewood College of Education.

Since 1997 the degree was constructed in accordance with the Committee for Teacher Education Policy (COTEP) requirements. In this curriculum, which was offered entirely at the Edgewood campus, there was much more integration of methodology into the disciplinary areas. Table 6 indicates the structure of the COTEP B. Primary Degree at Edgewood College of Education.

Table 6: Structure of the COTEP B. Primary Degree

FIRST YEAR

SECOND YEAR

THIRD YEAR

FOURTH YEAR

Professional Studies

Professional Studies

Professional Studies

Professional Studies


Education

Education

Education

Practice Teaching

Practice Teaching

Practice Teaching

Practice Teaching

Elective Major 1

Elective Major 1

Elective Major 2

Elective Major 2

Communication English, Zulu and Afrikaans

Communication English, Zulu or Afrikaans





Moral & Religious Education


In this COTEP curriculum students took the two major subjects (i.e. up to undergraduate level 3) of Educational Studies and Professional Studies. The subject discipline areas were offered to an equivalent of undergraduate level 2 credit. The fourth year students, who evaluated the curriculum, have followed a COTEP curriculum.

The COTEP curriculum has now gone into abeyance and the Norms and Standards for Educators (NSE) framework was gazetted in February 2000. At the end of 1999, the college used the third draft of the NSE curriculum framework to re-design the curriculum. >From January 2000 Edgewood4 offered a Norms and Standards Education Curriculum for its first year programmes. Table 7 reflects the structure of the NSE B. Primary Education curriculum.

4 In 2000 there are only two colleges in the country who are offering a Norms and Standards Education Curriculum. They are Edgewood and Free State College.

Table 7: Structure of the NSE B. Primary Degree

FIRST YEAR

SECOND YEAR

THIRD YEAR

FOURTH YEAR

Educational & professional studies

Educational & professional studies

Educational & professional studies

Educational & professional studies

Communication Studies
a. English
b. Computer Literacy

Communication Studies
a. English
b. Afrikaans or Zulu

Communication Studies
a. English
b. Afrikaans or Zulu

Communication Studies
a. English
b. Afrikaans or Zulu

Primary Education Studies (either JP or SP bias)

Primary Education Studies (either JP or SP bias)

Primary Education Studies (either JP or SP bias)

Primary Education Studies (either JP or SP bias)

Subject Specialisation5

Subject Specialisation

Subject Specialisation

Subject Specialisation

Another Subject Specialisation




Studies in the Learning Areas of the School Curriculum6

Learning Area Studies continued (integration of areas)





Optional modules in Early Childhood Education or Remedial Education

Optional modules

Practice Teaching

Practice Teaching

Practice Teaching

Practice Teaching

5 Two subject specialisations from the three groups must be selected in the first year of study (no more than one from each group).


Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Computer Science Education

History

Art & Culture

Geography

Mathematics

English

Technology Education

Sports Science

Natural Science Education

6 The compulsory school curriculum contains 8 learning areas. Students study these in the first two years of the degree.

At Edgewood in 2000 the first year students follow a NSE Curriculum and 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students follow a COTEP curriculum.

In the last few years there have been many changes in the college curricula. College teacher educators had to respond to these changes and at the moment they feel 'pretty punch-drunk'. Many of the teacher educators indicated that their pre-NSE courses were skills- and outcomes-based, so there was not a major difficulty in making the transition. In 2001 teacher education programmes, in accordance with the NSE Curriculum, will be offered at universities. This case study will not comment or critique the philosophical underpinnings of the COTEP or NSE curriculum But rather provide evaluative comments from teacher educators and students.

The goal of the primary teacher-training programme, in the NSE document, is that teacher trainees are competent to teach all the compulsory learning programmes offered in the school. Therefore all primary education students study all the learning areas and take two subject specialisations (one for four years and the other for one year). The subject specialisation that is taken for four years is credited up to the University 2 level and Educational & Professional Studies and Communication Studies to the University 3 level. The NSE curriculum recommends that at least half the credits in the curriculum be attributed to the specialist role. The NSE document does not ask for the courses for the foundational and intermediate phases to be taught separately but the college has differentiated between these two phases in the way it has offered its courses.

Observation of the structure of the NSE timetable and interviews with teacher educators indicate that the first year students have a very full timetable and the students take many courses. Analysis of the timetable indicates that (after the college shifted some courses from the first year to the second year) that there are 24 contact hours a week for the B Primary Education1 student. The general structure of the course is that there is a 1:1 correspondence between the contact and self-study time. This means 24 contact hours and 24 hours of self-study per week (total is 48 hours). Instructional time is for 30 teaching weeks a year and there is 5 weeks teaching practice a year.

Interviews with the science, mathematics and English teacher educators about the curriculum for specialists indicate that the emphasis in the different disciplinary specialisations are different. The philosophy of the college is that the specialisation must include both content and teaching methodology. In the science specialisations teacher educators have chosen to combine elements of botany, zoology, chemistry and physics and therefore offer a qualification in Natural Science. The sciences have chosen to go for integration rather than depth.

In the NSE mathematics specialisation the same course is offered to both the primary and secondary teacher trainees and all students take the FET mathematics teaching methodology course. In English both primary and secondary students take the same course, but the primary and secondary students take their teaching methodology courses separately. In the specialisation students end up with a University II credit, but with this credit they cannot proceed to a University Credit III.

The university moderates all specialisations and the moderation takes place with teacher educators from the disciplines rather than teacher educators in the education faculty. The university cannot provide moderators for the professional studies courses, especially for the junior and senior primary work.

In the student interviews they indicated that they are aware of the varying degrees of difficulty and different amounts of theory and methodology of different subjects, and said they made subject choices based on how they perceived the level of difficulty of the subject. In the Senior Primary phase, students indicate that the science and mathematics was very theoretical and in the content areas were not directly linked to school. Subjects like Computer Studies, Technology & Design are more about how to teach. The subject areas of mathematics and science education and professional studies were about how to teach good mathematics and science. Many areas have common content for the primary and high school students. An interesting curriculum question is the implication of the fact that the different subjects have different degrees of 'difficulty'. Should there be equivalence in terms of difficulty in the different subjects and in terms of depth and scope of what they offer?

In the NSE curriculum the subject specialisations incorporate both content and teaching methodology. In managing the NSE curriculum the teacher educator requires far more skills related to curriculum and curriculum development than the old curricula. No longer can teacher educators be only disciplinary specialists but they must have the skills about devising curricula and integrating subject knowledge with teaching methodology.

In the organisation of the teacher education curriculum Edgewood prides itself that it offers a wide range of choices to the students. This means that many courses at the different levels (junior primary, senior primary, secondary) are offered at the college. There is a concern that this range of choices will not be available at a university. The implication of the incorporation to the university and rationalisation of staff means limited choices for students and a more streamlined curriculum. In the college curriculum offerings in the B. Primary degree there is a separation of the Junior Primary and Senior Primary studies.

The issues about course structure and the requirements of being a teacher educator raise questions about how the NSE curricula would get implemented at a university. The NSE curriculum has many differentiations - four years, three phases, specialisations and methodologies and learning areas. There is the organisational question of how the timetable would accommodate all the subjects choices, there are questions of the skills that the staff need to have to deliver the NSE curriculum, there is the economic question of whether the subjects can be offered in a School of Education (so that there is the integration of content and methodology) and not in their disciplinary departments. With pressures of economies of scale the universities could end up offering subjects in their disciplinary departments and not in the education department.