NEW PERSPECTIVES AND RE-THINKING THE PRE-SERVICE TEACHER EDUCATION CURRICULUM: THE CASE OF KENYA
Education success or failure has over the years always been correlated with teacher and student performance. When students pass or fail examinations, the credit or blame respectively often falls on the teacher. While this is true to some extent, this paper seeks to examine a much overlooked area that contributes highly to educational outcomes: the Teacher Education Curriculum. There is increasing concern about teacher preparation in Kenya (KESSP, 2007).
This paper is based on a study carried out in the Schools of Education in two universities (one public, one private) in Kenya in 2011 - 2012. The purpose of the study was to explore the nature of the pre-service Teacher Education Curriculum used to prepare the teacher for secondary school teaching. The study was carried out in the light of some of the current trends, developments and issues regarding pedagogy, content proficiency and technology in education in developing countries. These are: Inclusive education - no child should be left out; Increasing large classes at all levels of education; information communication and technology integration in education; market skill demands and teacher proficiency.
The main objective of the study was to find out the extent to which these trends and issues are addressed by the curricula in the two universities. It addressed the following questions:
Does the curriculum prepare the preservice teacher to support all learners in the classroom?
In what ways does the curriculum equip the pre-service teacher with strategies for effectively teaching large classes?
To what extent does the curriculum equip the pre-service teacher with information technology skills to be able to integrate them in teaching?
Does the curriculum integrate emerging school issues in teacher preparation?
Is there a link between the content knowledge provided at university and the secondary school curriculum content?
To what extent does the curriculum develop pre-service teacher capacity to possess deep content as well as pedagogical knowledge?
Therefore, the curriculum for each of the two universities was analysed to check if the pre-service teacher was prepared in: a) supportting ALL learners, b) handling large classes, c) integrating technology in teaching d) integrating emerging issues and e) possession of deep content and pedagogical knowledge in their teaching subjects. The main methods used were content analysis and questionnaire. The entire teacher education curriculum for the two universities was analysed. The questionnaire was used with a total of 26 lecturers from the two universities. It was used to get further insights, views and perspectives into teacher training especially regarding curriculum design, implementation and review.
Results indicated that both universities only reviewed their teacher education curriculum after an average of 8 years. Further, the university classes themselves were too large to allow the lecturer to demonstrate to the pre-service teacher the methods of handling large classes and all learners. In both the public and private university the majority (72%) of lecturers lacked the technology and the technical capacity they needed to prepare the teacher for the same. Almost all the syllabuses did not provide opportunities for assistive technology, practice, assignments and inclusion of remediation (Bwire, 2012). The above findings will be used to implement curriculum review for the Bachelor Education degree courses.