Research portfolio

Shihako, Mathilde (2005) Research portfolio. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

This portfolio discusses various important aspects that affect teacher education. The portfolio has become an important tool for assessment in education. The research component of the masters' course that I attended is reflected in this portfolio. To complete this course several aspects were covered. The educational reform process in the Namibian context requires the use of appropriate resources, an environment conducive to learning, active involvement of the learners and teachers who should have a better understanding of the system adopted. Teacher educators are seen as important in transforming Namibian education in the sense of breaking the cycle of authoritarianism and inequities that existed in schooling prior to independence in 1990, and that still continue to exist in many Namibian schools today. Much effort has been devoted to creating conditions in colleges of education, where future teachers experience the same kind of teaching and learning that is envisioned for schools in the country. To accomplish this a great deal of effort has been devoted to the professional development of teacher educators. This masters' course was initiated to address the shortcomings of teacher education in Namibia. The preparation of teacher educators to be willing and able to prepare teachers in a manner that is consistent with national educational goals has been a neglected element of educational reform in Third World countries (Taylor and Peacock, 1997). Nahas Angula defines teachers as critical agents in creating the reform in relation to several broad principals: access, equity, quality, and democracy. As Ebbutt and Elliot (1998) point out, these principles are defined in very broad terms and provide the opportunity for teachers, teacher educators, and administrators to translate the ideals in particular contexts through practical reflection and deliberation. The Namibian reforms are underpinned by democratic ideals, the intention being to develop broad participation in defining and developing the reform tenets in specific contexts. In Namibia it has been recognized that qualitative changes in classroom practice will only occur when teachers understand them and accept them as their own. It is also recognized that because many teachers have been educated under the authoritarian system of the past, conceptual changes are needed in the minds of the teachers for the reforms to be successful. These include a shift from the belief of teachers as civil servants who are merely to "deliver" a curriculum dictated from above, to one of teachers as reflective professionals who play important roles in interpreting and defining the reforms and in giving meaning to such values as learner-centered and democratic education, continuous assessment, and critical inquiry (Swarts 1998). In the case of Namibia, we have a situation where there is an attempt to fundamentally transform an authoritarian education system that emphasized repetition and rote learning of received knowledge to one where learners are active participants in the learning process and where the curriculum is relevant to and respectful of different cultural traditions and communities. The learner-centered philosophy that guides post-independence educational reforms in Namibia calls for breaking down the authoritarian teacher-student relationships of the past. It encourages teachers to begin instruction by gaining an understanding of their learners' existing knowledge, skills, and understandings and to actively involve them in the learning process toward the goal of preparing citizens for a democratic society. The background above will help the readers to understand the sections covered in this portfolio. In the first part, the portfolio looks at a case study that analyses pre- and post-independence teacher education in Namibia. This study focuses on the Rundu College of Education and investigates the implementation of the Basic Education Teacher Diploma (BETD) Broad Curriculum in relation to the History syllabus. This paper presents information on what led to post-independence teacher education reforms in Namibia and why the reform was necessary. The BETD Broad Curriculum advocates the principles underpinning teacher education reforms in Namibia. The analysis looks at whether the History syllabus applies the principles of teacher education reform in relation to practice in the classroom. This paper addresses the historical background of a History curriculum, which shows the importance of a contextual understanding of the theoretical framework. The second paper looks at the theories underpinning the pre- and post-independence curriculum and the reform process in Namibia, how each theory views knowledge and why a decision was taken to apply them. The third paper is a literature review that links the epistemological ideals of reform to the classroom situation. This paper provides the basis for a small-scale empirical research. The research proposal included in the portfolio emerged from the earlier studies and identifies a key area for investigation within the domain of my particular area of teaching. The identified research problem investigated is presented in the final paper of the portfolio. These research findings can be applied to different situations in different schools. The portfolio is completed by the presentation of a short reflection of the role of the portfolio in this masters' course.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Education, Namibia, Educational change, Curriculum planning, Teaching, Teachers
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa)
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Education > Education
Supervisors:Van Harmelen, Ursula and Hugo, Wayne
ID Code:2902
Deposited By: Ms Chantel Clack
Deposited On:31 May 2012 07:38
Last Modified:31 May 2012 07:38
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