Discussion Paper 34. Face-to-Face Training in a Conventional Preservice Programme: a case study at Edgewood College of Education in South Africa.
This paper explores the pathway of face-to-face training in a four-year programme to become a teacher. It does so through looking at the programmes at Edgewood College of Education - an ex-White college that is well-resourced and has been functioning with relatively little disruption and closure.
The college has been under-utilised, operating with fewer students than it had been designed for. Because there are no student bursaries for teaching, the students who attend are those that could afford tertiary education. The student population is largely white, female, most have come straight from school and they are enthusiastic about the teaching profession. The academic staff is largely white and female with about half of them being over 50 years old. Most staff have high school experience and very few have any primary school experience. The student-staff ratio is lower than the national norm.
The college has offered an innovative curriculum over the last decade and is now following the Norms and Standards for Educators curriculum. To cope with implementing the new policy changes, the teacher educators had various staff development workshops to interpret the policy documents. There are concerns about the scope and coverage of disciplinary knowledge in the NSE curriculum and how these issues are to be resolved at the different phases.
The college offers many curriculum specialisations. There is no evidence that the offerings at the college are in accordance with a strategic plan for teacher education in the province and in accordance with teacher supply and demand projections.
In general students were positive about their teacher education programme and thought that the programme modeled the competences required by teachers in the classroom. However, there is concern that these teacher education programmes are designed with a particular type of school (privileged) in mind. Teacher educators and students rate the teaching practice component as the most useful part of the teacher education programme. Yet teaching practice was seen as a discrete and separate part of the curriculum which was not linked to the college curriculum. There is a need for a teaching practice policy to ensure that there is consistency of quality.
It is concluded that while Edgewood offers a quality and efficient training system, the cost of training teachers is very high. The further concern is that although the state has invested a large amount of money to train teachers they have not utilised the resource effectively.
Sussex, UK: Centre for International Education, 36 pp.