Implementation of outcomes-based mathematics teacher education syllabus in two Colleges of Education in Southern Province, Zambia

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Mungalu, Arthur
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The University of Zambia
Since the Outcomes-Based Mathematics Teacher Education Syllabus (OBMTES) was introduced at Junior Secondary Teachers‘ Diploma (JSTD) level in 2016 not much is known regarding how it is being implemented, a scenario which would make it problematic to attribute continued poor competence in mathematics to implementation of poor ideas, or to the inability to implement good ideas in case of Outcomes-Based Education (OBE). Conversely, it would equally be difficult to associate improvement in mathematics results to a well-implemented innovation, or to some extraneous factors. This study sought to assess the implementation of the OBMTES in colleges of education in Southern Province of Zambia. The study employed a qualitative approach and used a case study design to address the purpose of the study. Situated within the diffusion of innovation theoretical lens, the study sought to address the following objectives: determine mathematics lecturers‘ understanding of the OBE, establish lecturers‘ practices in mathematics classrooms in view of OBE and to explore the views of trainee teachers on lecturers‘ practices. From a population of 24 lecturers and 120 students, four lecturers and 40 students were selected purposively by looking at the years of service at college level. Interviews were employed to establish mathematics lecturers‘ views and understanding of OBE while lesson observations, document analysis and focus group discussions (with trainee teachers) were used to establish lecturers‘ practices. All data collected was analysed qualitatively by generating themes in line with the objectives of the study. The findings indicated that lecturers were not adequately capacity built in paradigm shift - OBE. Their knowledge of OBE was based on reading curriculum documents such as the curriculum framework, 2013 and the syllabus. This meant that the initiation phase of the diffusion process of the OBMTES was not conducted as required. Beyond that, lecturers exhibited peripheral knowledge of OBE; their comments on OBE were not backed by an understanding of OBE premises and principles. This meant that lecturers‘ practices would not be rooted in the OBE premises and principles – the basis for implementation of OBE. Moreover, there was lack of alignment between policy and practice – there were little shared meanings between lecturers‘ views on OBE and their practices. Lecturers consistently used teacher centred approaches to teaching with traces of learner centred methods. Assessment for learning was a missing element in assessment practices while limited assessment procedures were applied. Furthermore, it was established that inadequate capacity building, limited time and resources impeded the successful implementation of the OBMTES. The study recommends that sufficient time and resources must be allocated towards building capacity among educators regarding curriculum change in order to build understanding. Additionally, educators who attend capacity building workshops on curriculum change must draft and complete a multiplier effect proposal upon which certification would be done. Moreover, lecturers should model lessons that are learner centred in order to show how learner centred methods of teaching may be used to teach particular concepts in real time. Further research should be conducted in all study areas in general to ascertain the level of implementation of OBE. Keywords: Outcome, Outcomes-Based Education, curriculum implementation, classroom practice.
Mathematics--Study and teaching--Zambia , curriculum implementation