Support and retention of school-based distance learners. First year experience of the Licensed Teachers Programme in Tanzania

Ng‘umbi, Michael Wilfred (2009) Support and retention of school-based distance learners. First year experience of the Licensed Teachers Programme in Tanzania. ["eprint_fieldopt_thesis_type_phd" not defined] thesis, Institute of Education.

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The recent expansion of secondary education in Tanzania, as a result of the Secondary Education Development Programme (2004-2009), has brought about some philosophical and practical issues surrounding teacher preparation and recruitment. One such issue has been on how best and cost-effectively teachers could be prepared and retained in schools, at the period of high teacher demand. This study addresses issues related to learning how to teach and retention in teacher education programmes organised using the distance learning mode. The study attempted to explain the relationship between factors related to student teachers‘ background, teacher education institutions, and schools on the one hand; and retention on the other; among student teachers of the Licensed Teachers Programme (LTP) in Tanzania. Special interest was paid to the role of schools in supporting school-based student teachers. By using a mixed model approach to research, the study collected data from 221 respondents of a student questionnaire, followed four (4) case studies and maintained contact with 59 of the questionnaire respondents through short text messaging to explore student support and student persistence behaviour. Additional data were collected through interviews with LTP coordinators and through reviewing various programme documents. The data were then analysed in relation to student retention at the end of the first year of study. The study has established a gap in perceptions on school-based teacher education (SBTE) between the Government and teacher education institutions (TEI). While the Government has demonstrated SBTE in its teacher education programmes, TEIs have persisted in using the theory first, practice later approach. The limitations of the teaching practice assessment model of teacher preparation could be addressed by developing mentoring and collegial relationships at school level, which appear to be more promising in both learning to teach and student retention. Similarly, distance learning (DL) appears to have many infrastructural challenges such that students are most likely to lack some basic materials and equipment necessary for DL. There is a need to address issues such as timely distribution of study materials, more effective communication systems with DL students, more effective face-to-face sessions, more supportive regional study centres, and investment on accessible DL technologies. These issues have constantly featured in the student survey, case studies and SMS and emails. Students‘ appreciation of the DL mode is still low, thus affecting retention. The study has discovered various school-based support measures for distance learners, ranging from contextual and moral support, such as suitable school facilities and a welcoming school head and community; and teacher professional development such as teacher development meetings; to some iii specific support for DL studies, such as book donations, peer tutoring and assisted travel to study centres. The study discovered that student teachers were most likely to drop out of the programme when they lacked contextual and moral support. Other forms of support had less effect on retention. The study proposes a field-based model for teacher education that calls for a significant shift of policy and practice on teacher education. The new model requires a shift from the Teaching Practice model to school-based mentoring; as well as a greater investment in technology-based student support. Partnership between the central Government, teacher education institutions, local governments and schools is a key strategy in the new model. Partnership will particularly bridge the existing gap in practice between the Government and institutions of teacher education.

Item Type: Thesis (["eprint_fieldopt_thesis_type_phd" not defined])
Subjects: 900 History, geography, (& biography)
Divisions: Faculty of Law > Faculty of Law
Depositing User: Users 6 not found.
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2011 06:50
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2013 10:00

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