|Primary Teacher Education in Malawi: Insights into Practice and Policy (CIE, 2002, 144 p.)|
|Chapter 6: The Curriculum As Implemented During School-Based Training|
One area where the schools did better in training students was on management issues. In all the schools, students were given responsibilities in the various school committees. Some headed and others belonged to committees such as examination committees, discipline committees, sports committees, grounds and labour committees and even school development committees. In these groups students were able to learn the realities of running a school from different aspects. At one of the schools a student was acting as an advisor to the head teacher. Firstly the student was quite articulate in the English language and in his presentations. Secondly the student had stayed at the school for six years teaching in a senior class. Thirdly the head teacher was new at the school and therefore needed old hands to help her get a feel for the school culture. The head had, for example, asked the student to design and display all the information posters in the head teacher's office and he was consulted on student teacher issues.
In some schools students were asked to conduct assemblies for the whole school. This involvement gave students first-hand experience on how to go about the day-to-day management of schools. In this regard, school-based training was seen to make a positive contribution to the overall preparation of the teacher under MIITEP. However it should be borne in mind that this support was not offered as a deliberate training strategy but rather as a way of easing pressure on all the teachers by distributing duties evenly.
There are examples of students who have been accepted in the local communities and given various responsibilities. Some students worked as church choir masters, church elders, sports coaches for community sports teams and in other capacities. Such kinds of experience provided a basis for learning how to establish relations between schools and communities.
Students' records gave an indication of what they were doing in addition to the teaching itself. We found that the students had files and notebooks in which they were keeping track of what they were doing in their teaching. Most students had time-tables which indicated the class and the subjects they were teaching. We also had occasion to inspect their schemes of work, lesson plans, progress records, attendance registers, seating plans, and daily diaries. Of all these records only the daily diaries were not attended to satisfactorily.
In sum the students were kept busy teaching and attending to school matters. There was not much time to do college assignments at the school. Very few were treated as students or seen to require the schools' attention to improve their teaching. Apart from occasional supervision by the head and others, students had to survive on their own in the classroom, learning as they went.