English teacher education curriculum designing: A mixed methods analysis of the programme at the University of Zambia

Thumbnail Image
Mulenga, Innocent
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The University of Zambia
The purpose of this study was to establish whether or not the English language teacher education curriculum at the University of Zambia had the relevant knowledge and skills for teaching English language in Zambian secondary schools and can produce a quality teacher of English language despite curriculum designers not conducting a job analysis as the starting point of the curriculum designing process. Ten lecturers who taught subject content courses from the School Humanities and Social Sciences and methodology courses from the School of Education were interviewed so as to find out how the lecturers in the two schools viewed the aim of the programme, the kind of students they intended to produce and the criteria that they used to select content for their courses. The interviews also included the two Deans of the respective schools where subject content and methods courses were taught. 106 student teachers who were just about to graduate and 82 former students who by then were already teaching in schools but had graduated from the same programme responded in writing to a questionnaire. The questions required them to rate themselves on their confidence to teach at the time of graduation, their coverage and understanding of knowledge and skills that were related to the teaching of English language in secondary schools in Zambia in the subject content and methodology courses that they did when they studied English language at the University of Zambia. Two cohorts consisting of 160 student teachers also wrote two tests based on the knowledge and skills that were taught in secondary school. The secondary school English language syllabus and courses for the English language teacher education curriculum provided materials for document analysis. Qualitative data was analyzed using the Constant Comparative Method to identify emerging themes and categories while quantitative data was analysed by conducting independent samples t-tests and One Way ANOVA. The results showed that the two schools which taught subject content and methodology courses had different aims about the same curriculum. While the School of Education aimed at producing a teacher of English language, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences intended to produce a graduate who would use the knowledge and skills learnt to venture in any field related to what would have been studied since they thought producing a teacher was not their mandate. As such what the school of humanities included in the subject content courses that they taught did not reflect the skills and knowledge to prepare one to teach English language in secondary school. To a large extent, this led to the poor coverage and understanding of skills and knowledge in methodology courses. Consequently, as the results indicated, students who followed this curriculum did not cover and understand knowledge and skills which were relevant for teaching in secondary schools. The poor results in the tests further confirmed that the graduates of the English language teacher education curriculum did not acquire the relevant knowledge and skills for teaching the subject in secondary school. In view of these findings, it was evident that student teachers and graduate teachers did not have sound understanding of the subject matter they were to teach and pedagogical knowledge and skills to effectively teach English language in secondary schools at the time of their graduation because the curriculum that they followed did not have the relevant knowledge and skills since job analysis was not done at the beginning of the teacher education curriculum designing process. These findings have critical implications on English language teacher education and teaching and learning of the same subject in secondary schools. The researcher made four clear recommendations which were based on the findings of the study.
Education-Curriculum-Zambia , Education,higher-curriculum--Zambia , Teachers--Training of--Zambia , Curriculum planning--Zambia