Reviewing the learner-centred approach in the teaching of mathematics at Nkruma and copperbelt secondary teachers colleges cby Allan Musonda

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Musonda, Allan
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This study is a review of the implementation of the Learner Centred Teaching (LCT) approach at Copperbelt Secondary Teachers College (COSETCO) and Nkrumah Teachers College (NTC). In 2003, the Flemish Office for International Cooperation and Technical Assistance (VVOB) launched the Better Secondary School Trained Teachers (BeSSTT) project at the two colleges. One area the project wanted to address was the issue of teaching/learning methodologies that teachers and teacher educators used in their classrooms. It was one of the objectives of the project to promote the use of methodologies that brought about improved class interaction among the learners. As such the LCT approach was seen to be a way of bringing about this improved interaction. Therefore, VVOB trained mathematics and science lecturers at the two colleges in the LCT approach. The underlying principle of the LCT approach is that if learners are to learn then they should be involved in the learning process as opposed to being passive recipients of information from their teachers (lecturers). The purpose of this study was to review and investigate the implementation of the LCT approach at Nkrumah and COSETCO. As such the questions addressed are among others: Were the mathematics lecturers using the LCT approach? If so how were they doing it and what were the lecturers and students' opinions about the approach? This study is largely qualitative in nature. The data collection instruments employed were observation schedules, structured questionnaires and un-structured questionnaires. The study sample of eight mathematics lecturers (five from COSETCO and three from Nkrumah) was selected using purposive sampling from the population of mathematics lecturers at the two colleges. This meant deliberately selecting the mathematics lecturers for the specific purpose of investigating how they were implementing the LCT approach to which they were infroduced. Another target population for the study comprised 251 students of mathematics at the two colleges. A study sample was selected from this population using proportionate sampling. By means of proportionate sampling, the researcher found that for every sample of students selected, 63.7% were to come from COSETCO and 36.3% from Nkrumah. This study showed that lecturers were implementing or using the LCT approach in their teaching. This was reflected in the activities, which they engaged the students and themselves in. Apart from class activities another pointer to the implementation of the learner centred approach was the methods of teaching that were used in class. Both lecturers and students were in agreement that the LCT approach was in use at the two colleges and that it was much more used in methodology lectures since there students had more opportunities to express themselves in their own way. This study has established that student performance in mathematics can be affected either positively or negatively by the lecturers' method of teaching. As such lecturers should use methods of teaching that involve the students. Additionally, this study has revealed that the mathematics lecturers needed more fraining in the LCT approach. This is especially true for those lecturers who might have missed the earlier training. Even those who were trained would benefit by consolidating their knowledge in the use of the LCT approach. Apart from training the mathematics lecturers, there was need to include lecturers from other departments in the training especially those whose subjects combine with mathematics.
Teaching methods--Zambia