The focus of this study is how student teachers experience the curriculum during their time at college. In particular it seeks to investigate student perceptions about teaching and learning at the National Teacher Training College and their views of tutors, their peers, and the teaching profession. Thus, it provides an opportunity to explore images of teaching and how teacher educators are shaping future teachers through their interactions with them. The data was collected from diaries kept by a small group of student teachers as well as a questionnaire. It was triangulated by other studies done as part of the MUSTER project. As the data was based on a small sample, the conclusions should be regarded as tentative, but they provide some interesting insights.
On the whole, the students are pleased to be at college and are still planning to be primary teachers. Training had made them more aware of the complexities of teaching but had had little impact on attitudes to teaching in general. They valued the professional components of the course, but felt there was a lack of a practical focus. They rated the bridging course highly, as they found the academic aspects of the course difficult, especially science, but there was a need for still more support in English language and study skills. Respondents gave some examples of good teaching from the tutors but also many examples that were less than satisfactory; few tutors are modelling good learner-centred teaching methods. Assessment practices revealed little coordination between subjects and there was some evidence of cheating. The diaries suggest that students' relationships with lecturers are not very good and they are not perceived as good professional role models. Overall, at this stage many students seemed to be struggling to keep up with an overloaded and demanding curriculum, with less than adequate support from tutors.
Sussex, UK: Centre for International Education, 39 pp.
Discussion Paper 24. The experience of training: a study of students at the National Teacher Training College in Lesotho.