TP preparation in open and distance learning: Lecturer and student views
For Teaching Practice (TP) to be productive adequate preparation of student teachers is necessary. In Open and Distance learning both practical and theoretical activities can be employed in the preparation of student teachers for TP. At the time students in intake 10 who were studying the Diploma in Education Primary (DIPED) at Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) went to seek for places where they could do TP some school heads were reluctant to offer them places as they questioned the thoroughness with which the students had been prepared for TP in comparison with students at conventional colleges. A study was conducted to determine challenges faced in preparing students for TP and the ways in which TP preparation for DIPED students was perceived as adequate or otherwise by students and lecturers. Data were generated from participants in the ZOU Midlands region only via open-ended questionnaires. The study established that students had adequate and relevant theoretical input on educational foundations and activities linked to TP such as mentoring, whose content was covered in pre-TP modules and tutorials. The one-month home based observation organised for students, peer and micro teaching were viewed as efficient in preparing students for TP although some loopholes were opined in the use of these strategies. Nonetheless, practice in the use of modern technology in the classroom and production and use of media were viewed as inadequately covered for purposes of preparing students for TP. The study recommends the development of student teacher skills in integrating ICT in their TP, inter alia.
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