An investigation into the orientation process of new teachers: It's constraints and possible benefits in selected primary schools in Choma District

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Munkombwe, Conrad K.
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University of Zambia
Adapting to a new society or environment is a valuable process for new teachers, as for all human beings, since it is both a kind of excitement and a worry to enter a new environment for all individuals (Jarvis and Algozzine, 2006:11). The first year of teaching has been described as a time of survival for the beginning teacher, one of the most difficult and critical periods in a teacher's career. Research into the experiences of beginning teachers has pointed to a discrepancy between teacher expectations and the reality of the workplace. Research has further revealed that new teachers often learn by trial and error without a systematic feedback or instructive conversations with more knowledgeable colleagues (Achinstein and Barret, 2004:717). This therefore motivated the researcher to investigate the orientation process of new teachers in selected primary schools in Choma District. The purpose of this study was to investigate the orientation process of new teachers, its constraints and possible benefits to new teachers in selected primary schools in Choma District. The study was guided by the following objectives to: 1) find out how the orientation process was conducted in selected primary schools; 2) identify the constraints faced by schools in the execution of teacher orientation; and 3) establish the possible benefits of teacher orientation to the new teacher. The study adopted a descriptive survey design in which both qualitative and quantitative methods were used. Purposive sampling was used to sample the Senior Education Standards Officers, Education Standards Officers, head teachers and new teachers. Questionnaires and interviews were used to collect data. A total of 106 respondents were selected for this study. The sample included 75 new teachers, 3 Senior Education Standards officers, 3 Education Standards officers and 25 Head teachers. Qualitative data were analyzed through thematic approach while quantitative data were analyzed using Microsoft word Excel 2007 where the data were presented in form of pie charts, bar charts and frequency and percentage tables. The findings established that there was no standardised policy on new teacher orientation in primary schools. The challenges to new teacher orientation such as lack of cooperation among teachers and lack of administrative-will among others were established. The possible solutions to the challenges such as need for administrative-will and need for a standardised policy to new teacher orientation among others were revealed. The possible benefits to new teacher orientation such as educating new teachers and improving teaching among others were established. Based on the findings, discussions and conclusion, the study made the following recommendations that: a) MoE should start providing refresher courses to Head teachers in the management of new teachers. b) MoE should introduce new arrangements for the induction of new teachers into the profession. c) MoE should introduce a Standardised new teacher orientation policy. d) The Standards officers should start monitoring the schools to check the applicability of the new teacher orientation programme.
Master of Education in Adult Education
First year Teachers , Teacher Orientation-Choma, Zambia