Objectives of the study:
To examine existing teacher education curriculum in terms of relevance, objectives and processes.
To assess the ongoing process of teacher education curriculum in terms of identifying gaps.
To assess the ongoing process of teacher education curriculum in the context of professional requirements of future teachers.
To prepare profile of teacher educators in-terms of needed competence in the changing context.
To analyze the stakeholders perceptions of present day teacher education programme.
Sample of the study:
In respect of sample of student teachers, a 50 percent of the total enrollment of students of the two colleges (N=120) was selected with the help of simple random sampling technique.
In respect of teacher educators, no sampling technique was resorted to as all teacher educators (N=12), who were available at the time of present study, were interviewed.
Three categories of stake holders were identified viz. Headmasters/principals of practicing schools, faculty members of SCERT and teachers of practicing schools. The later two categories of stake holders were B.Ed qualified. In respect of faculty members of SCERT, all those who had obtained B.Ed were identified and selected. A list of the same was procured from the Head, SCERT. Since only 8 faculty members were B.Ed, no sampling was employed in their selection. Besides, two teachers each from Islamia Training College and P.G. Dept of Education were also included in the list. They were purposively selected. In respect of teachers from Practicing schools, two teachers- B.Ed qualified and serving their schools for the last two years or so- each were purposively selected from the ten practicing schools- all identified by the B.Ed colleges for the purpose of practice teaching. Altogether twenty school teachers were thus interviewed. Besides them, all headmasters/ Principals of the identified practice teaching schools(N=10) were interviewed.
Interview schedules for student teachers, teacher educators and the three categories of stake holders were prepared draft of which were developed by the NCERT at its workshop. However necessary changes in the draft were introduced to suit local conditions. Data were collected with the help of interview for which the respondents were approached personally and interviewed individually.
Method of the study:
Teacher Educators (TEs)
The majority of TEs were middle aged (41 years and above) persons, belonged to General Castes, were Hindus by religion and earned a monthly salary of Rs. 19000/- and less. Female TEs were largely urban-bred, had nuclear families and had schooling in urban areas. They were all married against three-fourth of male TEs . The TEs were qualified and more females than Males had PhD. The majorities had 11 and above years of teaching experience and females outscored their male counterparts. The majority of TEs were not professionally trained; females showed greater participation in seminars and conferences and they were academically more active. Academic activities of TE were by and large confined to classroom teaching, they took little interest in research publications-papers and books. More female than male TEs had research publications, however more males than females had publications in popular magazines. Except one female, TEs were yet to conduct research projects. But they had guided M.Ed and PhD research. Majority of TEs were never engaged in innovative activities like curriculum development and text preparation, but had participated in the preparation of teaching-learning materials. Numerically, male TEs were more enterprising in this respect. More male than female TEs were members of professional bodies, all TEs had participated in and organized extra curricular activities, the majority were computer-ignorant.
As regards availability of academic help, the majority of TEs availed of help and assistance from their colleagues, whether it was their department, college or other university. However, it was only sometimes. The availability of infrastructural support was poor, not available in time and facilities like stationeries, typing, financial assistance, seed-money etc. were hardly available. Occasions of and opportunities for academic discussions with colleagues were rather limited. The majority of TEs had joined Bed. Teaching voluntarily by choice. However female TEs joined the fraternity as they could not find job of their choice.
The Perceptual Canvass:
The majority TEs considered scientific temper and development of basic values and positive attitude as important contents which for school teachers. They viewed development of professionalism and teaching skills and ability as indispensable qualification for teacher educators.
Importance of ICT in learning for school students, information enrichment and augmentation of classroom instruction in-respect of school teachers and improvement in teaching competencies in respect of school teachers and improvement in teaching competencies in respect of teacher educators were held important components by the majority of TEs. In-order to teach students from cross-section strata of society, ability to inspire and provide for emotional support were seen important prerequisites. They also considered personal as well as professional characteristics important for school teachers as well as teacher educators to work as professionals. Professional experience and knowledge were considered as add-on in this respect.
Teacher educators in majority and more males than females did-not view teacher education programme favorably in its role of developing professionalism among student teachers. They identified several shortcomings. In-order to remove them, they put forward suggestions which included increasing the number of practice-teaching sessions as also revising syllabus as possible ways to make TE programme more effective. Professional training and improving the affective domain were other ways to make the programme effective. Obviously the suggestions put forward by TEs touched upon the very core of secondary teacher preparation programme and these obviously questioned the very relevance and rationale for continuing the B.Ed programme in the present format. A further probe revealed that the TEs were categorical in their belief that the existing TE programme did-not equip the B.Ed trainees with required competencies. The lacunae was mainly owing to lack of in-service training, motivation, opportunity for professional development and professional attitudes.
In the context of coverage, appropriateness and utility of B.Ed training programme, the bulk of male TEs were dissatisfied, and they also nurtured negative attitude towards course contents. Although, the majority of female TEs were favorable to the above, more than 60% of the total TEs demonstrated their unfavorable attitude. Obviously, the dissatisfied teachers, dissatisfied with course contents and syllabus, would produce dissatisfied student teachers course contents and syllabus, would produce school students with limited skills and competence. However teacher educators were unanimous in their opinion and they favored, change in the syllabus. They favored the syllabus to incorporate modern national problems, computer education and aspects of management to course contents; they preferred 50 percent weightage to compulsory papers and 25 percent weightage each to method and area papers, respectively.
A further probe revealed that specialization of teacher educators remained underutilized and work-load in the areas of specialization in respect of majority of TEs was given a go-by. The majority wanted greater work-load and more assignments.
The majority of TEs took recourse to conventional instructional methods: they employed lecture-cum-demonstration technique in class room teaching sessions. As such the majority did-not try to bring about innovation in instructional technique, though they made use of teaching aids and gadgets in instruction-whatsoever little was available to them in their respective colleges. Despite these shortcomings, the bulk reported their satisfaction with practice teaching viz. Simulation, number of students assigned, lesson planning and relationship between B.Ed colleges and practice-teaching schools. Neverthless, the bulk favored introduction of system of feedback strengthening of evaluation of practice-teaching and an increase in the number of subject/method teachers in their respective training colleges. By and large a general sense of satisfaction was pervasive among teacher educators in regard to different aspects of practice-teaching. However they were not satisfied with the way practicals were organized. They bemoaned lack of infrastructural support, equipments and materials; practical classes not being organized by subject specialists and all these taken together implementation of remedial measures.
The TEs favored the system of external evaluation, wanted some modifications to be introduced in B.Ed. Curriculum to make it more competitive and rigor in practice-teaching to be introduced. The majority therefore considered the existing TE programme unproductive. Competencies like skill development and professionalism were yet to take shape, study and textual materials were still unavailable and whatever were there, needed revision and updating. The learning activities in their opinion were hardly relevant and related to Indian context.
However there was a ray of hope; the academic environment in the opinion of teacher educators was conducive to academic activity. Of the stipulated five parameters openness and cooperativeness, pedagogical competencies, professional commitment and work culture were regarded good and very good by more than two third of male and half of the total female TEs. However, for the majority, evaluation system needed change.
Student Teachers (STs)
The sample of STs was preponderantly Hindu. The STs were below 30 years old; female STs were even younger. The majority were Dalits, unmarried and earned a monthly income of Rs. Ten-thousand and less. Parents of the STs, fathers as well as mothers, were illiterate and educated. Fathers were gainfully employed while mothers of the majority were home makers. The ST did-not have B.Ed trained siblings and members in the family. However female STs differed: a quarter of them had B.Ed trained members in the family: a half of the total had at-least one teacher in their family. Equal number of STs was graduates and postgraduates respectively.
The majority of STs were unaware of the six social and educational values that their syllabus contained. They agreed that B.Ed course contents had sufficient inputs to generate awareness among school students of newer challenges and also to meet him. However the majority were not aware of the chapters of their course which exhorted on changes in the value system. However they knew of chapters that dealt with human rights and rights of the child. Theory papers and extra mural/curricular illuminated them about his phenomenon. The course contents also made them aware of the four social problems viz. Environmental protection, population explosion, gender inequality and legal literacy. Male STs were more aware. But the majority of the total STs were ignorant of the chapters of their course that dealt with above problems. As regards awareness of scientific temper and rational thinking, the majority showed their awareness of the two as also of the chapters of their course that dealt with them. They agreed that B.Ed curriculum facilitated awareness as also development of the two values.
The relevance of method papers was acknowledged,as it sharpened teaching skills of STs. They in majority, and more females than males, agreed that B.Ed training instills professionalism among trainees. The majority was satisfied with practice teaching but they agree for micro teaching and lesson planning needed strengthening. By and large the bulk were satisfied with practice teaching sessions in the area of micro-teaching and lesson planning needed yet they advocated for strengthening the same. The student teachers were aware of extra curricular activities and educational surveys and they participated: numerically, more female STs showed their awareness. In the area of assigning relative weightage, female STs assigned more weightage to practice-teaching while male STs preferred theory course.
Development and internalization of different competencies were seen important by the STs and they had clearly indicated that school students ought to possess knowledge acquisition Empathy, teaching skills and knowledge acquisition were the competencies desirable for school teachers and personality characteristics and quest for knowledge acquisition were the desirable competencies which teacher educators ought to possess. Role of ICT was important as it provided better understanding of subjects, and use of teaching aids, revision of syllabus, strengthening of practice teaching and augmentation of competency of teacher educators were important inputs, perceived by the majority of STs, which would make B.Ed programme mare meaningful and relevant. However, the majority were satisfied with study and textual materials being used in B. Ed. training programme.
The shortcomings, perceived by the majority of STs, were not many and alarming, but nevertheless were indicative of the ills that engulfed the Bed training programme Lack of modern equipments and audio visual aids, inadequate number of teacher educators, old and unrevised syllabus and duration of academic session were the major shortcomings of the B.Ed programme. Although there was numerical difference between male and female TS in respect of according importance to factors enumerated above the problematic factors remained the same. The majority STs outlined the above factors as the major shortcomings and to tide over these shortcomings they wanted improvement in the existing situation.
As stated in the beginning, there were three categories of stakeholders viz. beginner teachers (BTs), the academics (ARs). Headmasters/principals(HPs).
The BTs in majority were in the age bracket of 35 years and below. They hailed from General Castes, were Hindus, earned a monthly income of Rs.5000/ and less. The majority of them were married, had literate and educated parents Their fathers were gainfully employed and mothers were homemakers. All BTs were postgraduates, and B.Ed. and the majority had four years' working experience.
The BTs agreed that B Ed. program generated awareness of national values among B Ed trainees and they transmitted this among their students. They agreed that school teachers ought to infuse a sense of competition among students. They also opined B.Ed. programme had inputs to transform ones negative attitude to positive in respect of narrow nationalism, ethnic prejudices, autocracy, technological bipolarity and individual orientation. The majority of BTs attributed this transformation to subject contents of B.Ed. syllabus as also extra mural activities of B.Ed curriculum. Besides, the B.Ed. syllabus in general and extra mural/curricular in particular, had sufficient inputs to deal with six problems viz. environmental protection, population explosion, gender inequality, legal literacy, human rights and rights of the child. However, human rights and legal literacy were the least known among the majority of BTs.
In view of globalization, the BTs considered rational thinking and scientific temper important ingredients which needed to be developed among school students. Compulsory and practical papers of B.Ed provided this knowledge to BTs
The B.Ed programme could sufficiently equip BTs to teach students from cross section strata. Method and practicals provided them with the necessary competency. The majority of BTs encouraged students to participate in social activities, particularly in literacy programme, to enable them learn through social experience. However majority of them were rather unclear about the measures and techniques to update knowledge and learning among school students. They realized the importance of life long learning for school students to enable them face new challenges.
However, the bulk of BTs resorted to old and conventional methods of evaluation of students' abilities and performance. They followed oral-question answer technique
Did B.Ed. make dent in academic competence of BTs? All were unequivocal in their affirmation; the B.Ed. training programme, particularly papers on micro teaching, educational psychology, had helped them develop their knowledge and skill as also their personality and level of commitment.
What were the perceived shortcomings of B. Ed. training? Inadequate practical and micro teaching sessions, inadequate availability of equipments and aids, old and unrevised syllabus and the duration of B.Ed programme (nine months only) were the major shortcomings that were perceived by the majority of BTs and all these needed improvement and strengthening.
(b) Academics (ARs)
The majority of ARs were middle-aged (between 41 and 50 years old) hailed from General Castes and were Hindus and earned a monthly income of Rs.10000-13000. The majority were married, engaged in teaching and had experience of development of curriculum and teaching learning materials. They were M.Ed. and Ph D. and possessed experience of secondary school teacher training programme. The ARs were professionally qualified, the majority had six and more years of teaching and training, had published books as well as research papers.
The ARs favorably viewed B.Ed. training, inclined to share the view that B.Ed. training developed among trainees the ability to work with children of cross sections. However a half of them held that in the absence of strengthening of practice teaching and KUSA, the B.Ed. training would not develop professionalism among student teacher. They also held that teacher preparation programme was required to reorient and develop focus in terms of content input pedagogical skills and attitudes and values. The majority of ARs. deprecated the coverage, appropriateness and utility of compulsory and optional papers which made the B.Ed. training programme neither adequate nor purposeful. The majority of ARs were also not satisfied with 'Practicals' and availability of study and textual materials. The bulk of ARs did not feel that the existing Bed programme in any way equipped student teachers with necessary and required skills and competence to enable them face emerging challenges in the education sector. There was perceived lack of initiative for professional development which was caused by teaching strategies and skills and lack of professional attitude.
A half of the total ARs indicated duration of course and practice teaching as the major shortcoming, another section favored revision of B.Ed syllabus and still others bemoaned the inadequate number of teacher educators.
Frequent updating, of syllabus, inter-university transfer of teacher educators, uniform syllabus, increase in the duration of B.Ed. course were some of the suggestions that majority of ARs put forward.
(c) The Headmasters/Principals (HPs)
The HPs were elderly persons, preponderantly in the age group of 51 years and above. The majority hailed from General Castes, were Hindus and all were B.Ed. qualified. The majority earned a salary of Rs. 15000/- and less, had 20 years and above working experience.
The bulk of them were favorably inclined towards B.Ed. and regarded extra curricular activities besides method subjects, helpful in developing national values among school students. All HPs opined that the B.Ed trained teachers of their schools were aware of modern challenges and they also held that methods of developing different values as also national values were deeply engrained in the B.Ed. training programme.
All HPs agreed that school teachers should prepare students to encounter emerging challenges; they expressed their satisfaction with methods of teaching used by B.Ed. trained teachers. The bulk of HPs were of the view that B.Ed trained teachers were aware of emerging social issues viz environmental protection, population explosion, gender inequality, legal literacy, human rights, rights of the child and illiteracy. The B.Ed. trained teachers often discussed these issues with their students. Majority of B.Ed. trained teachers in the opinion of majority of HPs, were able in infusing among school students a sense of rational thinking and scientific temper. The B.Ed trained teachers, the respondents held, were competent and they did not discriminate students hailing from different social strata.
Obviously therefore, there was perceptible difference between B.Ed. trained and untrained school teachers. The majority HPs reported that B.Ed. qualified teachers were more professional, they could easily negotiate with their students, and they were accomplished in task performance, they used teaching aids in classroom instructions. What emerges from the above is reflective and indicative of the utility of secondary school teacher preparation programme. To be precise, the training programme, currently in vogue, sufficiently sub-serves the purpose that the B.Ed training programme aims at.
Content Analysis, Process Observation and Practice Teaching
The B Ed. curriculum was content analyzed with respect to ten parameters at two levels a) qualitative ie analytical and descriptive, and b) quantitative i.e frequency of occurrence. In respect of the former, theory and method papers as well as extra mural/curricular activities dealt with all components of B.Ed curriculum. However when the data were quantified it was observed that two parameters were not seen at all, six parameters were seen to a very small extent while the rest two were seen to some extent.
In respect of process observation, it was found that majority of the indicators of parameters 2, 3, 4 viz. ICT based teaching-learning, development of multiple roles and use of community resources and undertaking innovations and research were not observed. Parameters one and five were appearing. Without going into details, it appeared that concerted efforts were needed to strengthen
process of teaching-learning of the secondary school teacher preparation programme.
Where do the findings lead one to? Does this study sub-serve the purpose intended to be sub-served? That is, does this evaluative investigation of B.Ed. curriculum currently in vogue in Patna University answer the basis questions viz. is the existing teacher education curriculum relevant today, are there gaps required to be identified and plugged, does the existing curriculum provide opportunities for the development of professional competence among student teachers? It is arduous to put forward answers to these individual questions in concrete terms and it is equally problematique to arrive at any definite and logical conclusion. However some tentative observations can be attempted, but these would remain a hunch in the absence of corroborative empirical support: it would call for further empirical investigation
The perceptive convass and image manifest of teacher educators, student teachers, and stake holders, particularly the ARs, clearly portray their disposition towards curriculum contents of the B.Ed. training programme data are any indication, they tend to demonstrate in unequivocal terms the relative absence of relevance, utility and necessity of the course contents of the teacher training programme currently in vogue. Although unanimity among the three segments of respondents has been elusive, the majority opinion nevertheless is indicative of prevalent situation in the area of secondary teacher preparation programme.
Teacher Educators: The teacher educators did not view the B.Ed. Training programme favorably, the programme did not strive to develop professionalism among the trainees. The practice-teaching sessions, an indispensable and inalienable component of B.Ed training, were inadequate to meet the
requirements. There were inadequate opportunities for professional training and opportunities for infusing affective domain. The syllabus needed comprehensive revision and improvement as a result of which the existing teacher education programme was shown of instilling in the trainees the much needed competencies. The teacher educators also deprecated the lack of professional attitude (for B.Ed. curriculum) among management of the college and the university. Therefore they considered the coverage, appropriateness and utility of B.Ed. training programme unproductive. Added to these were other areas which invited critical appreciation of the teacher educators.: the opportunities for innovative in teaching-learning situation was starkly absent as facilities for the same was not available, the 'specialization areas' of teacher educators were underutilized owing to lack of opportunities. As a result of all these, the teacher educators were forthright in the their views: the existing teacher education programme was unproductive, competencies like skill development were yet to take shape, study and textual materials were still unavailable and whatever were there needed revision and updating.
Student Teachers: How did student teachers view the teachers' training programme particularly in respect of the questions posed above? The majority of student teachers demonstrated their ignorance of the stipulated six social and educational values as well as the chapters of their syllabus dealing with these values. They were ignorant of the chapters that dealt with changes in the value system Although a handful was aware of the four social problems viz. environmental protection, population explosion gender inequality and legal literacy, an overwhelming number of them were ignorant of the chapters of the B.Ed course that dealt with these problems. Ignorance was therefore overwhelming among them in respect of awareness of values as well as the chapters that dealt with them. Succinctly put, the' student teachers were yet unaware of the course content of the B.Ed. training programme. They agreed that micro-teaching and sessions on lesson planning needed strengthening, they favored revision of syllabus and course contents to make them competitive, they favored strengthening of practice teaching sessions as also of teaching aids; they yearned for the introduction of ICT sessions in the B.Ed training programme.
Stake Holders: How did the stake-holders view the training programme? The Academic Respondents (ARs) decried the absence of adequate sessions of practice-teaching in the absence of which the B.Ed. training would hardly develop professionalism among student teachers. They indicated the need for reorienting the teacher preparation programme in terms of content input, pedagogical skills, attitudes and values. They deprecated the adequacy of coverage appropriateness and utility of compulsory and optional papers of the syllabus and as such the training in their view was neither adequate nor purposeful. The bulk of AR felt that the existing teachers' training programme did not in any way equip student teachers with necessary and required skills and competence to enable them face the emerging challenges in the education sector. There was perceived lack of professional development, teaching strategies and skills. The tenure of B.Ed. training was short, the number of teacher educators manning the training colleges, inadequate and the syllabus outdated.
What emerges from the above is sufficiently indicative of the nature and character of teachers' training programme currently in vogue as also of the shape of teachers' training that would follow in the future.
Keyword(s): Teacher Educators, Student Teachers, Pre-service Teacher Education