Preparation of teachers for learner-centered instructional practice in primary colleges of education in Zambia: the constructions of social studies lecturers and pre-service final year student teachers.

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Mambwe, Robinson
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The University of Zambia
Guided by Social and Cognitive Constructivism, and by Bandura’s Social Learning Theory as well as the theoretical construct of Self-efficacy, the study examined classroom instructional preparedness of lecturers and student teachers and how their classroom instructional practices related to implementation of Learner-Centred Education (LCE) as advocated in educational policy documents and curriculum. A descriptive survey design was adopted to collect both qualitative and quantitative data. The study population included Social Studies lecturers and Final Year Pre-Service Student Teachers in six Primary Colleges of Education that included Public, Grant-Aided, and Private. Descriptive statistics and Kruskal-Wallis H test were used to analyse quantitative data using SPSS version 23, while Content Analysis using Nvivo version 10 and 12, was used to analyse qualitative data. The study established that Social Studies lecturers’ choice of instructional strategies and activities did not reflect adoption and implementation of LCE. Student teachers were also rarely engaged in instructional activities and strategies that promote higher-order thinking skills; 48.0% of student teachers disagreed to being given adequate opportunities for pedagogical practice of different learner-centred methods (LCM), 22.5% were undecided, and 29.6% agreed. Kruskal-Wallis H test also revealed a no statistically significant difference between Private, Grant-aided and Public Colleges regarding in pre-service student teachers' views on opportunities to practice learner-centred methods, χ2(2) = 0.370, p = 0.831, mean rank opportunity score of 287.51 for private colleges, 276.42 for grant-aided college and 280.74 for public colleges. Statistically, there was also no significant difference in student teachers’ sense of self-efficacy in inductive related methods; inquiry χ2 (2) = 5.028, p = 0.081, with a mean rank inquiry score of 276.91 for private colleges, 303.51 for grant-aided college and 270.63 for public colleges and problem based method χ2 (2) = 5.139, p = .077, with a mean rank problem based score of 253.62 for private colleges, 286.41 for grant-aided college and 289.55 for public colleges. Student teachers generally expressed a low sense of efficacy in inductive related methods. Peer and macro teaching was also not effectively administered due to First-Second Order Barriers and in some colleges, macro teaching was not done. Dissatisfaction among student teachers with the pedagogical practicing opportunities was also linked to teacher educators’ focus on theory, as opposed to demonstrating or modelling to student teachers. Discourse analysis of student teachers’ video-recorded lessons in Social Studies, also revealed persistent teacher-initiated interactions. Since teachers’ choice and construction of classroom instructions reflect the ways they plan, implement, and evaluate the curriculum (Hancock & Gallard, 2004), the study concluded that Social Studies lecturers’ choice of instructional strategies and activities during teacher preparation did not reflect adoption and effective implementation and preparation of student teachers for LCE as advocated in Education Policy Documents and Curriculum and therefore was not effective. Adequate modelling opportunities of learner-centred related instructional strategies and activities during teacher preparation; more capacity building opportunities on LCE to teacher educators; addressing the first-second orders barriers to LCE; and addressing existing perceptions and beliefs on LCE in teacher preparation curriculum would help the problem. The study proposes a Learner-Centred Instructional Practice, Implementation and Monitoring Framework (LCIM Model) to help in monitoring the implementation of learner-centred instructions in teacher education.
Thesis of Doctor of Philosophy in Social Studies Education.
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Psychology::Cognitive science