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University interventions in improving the teaching of science and mathematics in community day secondary schools in Malawi: assessment of the impact

Saiti, Alice

Abstract:

Alice Saiti’s paper assesses the impact of university interventions in improving the teaching of science and mathematics in community day secondary schools in Malawi where the shortage of qualified teachers is a major problem. The majority of science teachers have only a primary school teaching qualification and an academic qualification equivalent to the O-Level. It is against this background that the Faculty of Education at Mzuzu University undertook an intervention, the Secondary School Teacher Improvement Programme (SSTIP), to provide the teachers with content and training in pedagogy in a bid to improve their performance. The Intervention Process included a needs assessment to determine the areas in which the teachers required the most help, and the development of a curriculum for the programme that included science and mathematics content at a level slightly higher than the level that the teachers themselves taught, methodology courses, an emphasis on cooperative learning, and the use of continuous assessment to evaluate a large number of capabilities, skills and areas of the content. The conclusions from the study suggest that universities have expertise that could be used to improve science and mathematics teacher performance, even where the teachers cannot be accepted into conventional classes. In cases where teachers’ content knowledge of the subjects is poor and the method of teaching very traditionally authoritarian, a short spell of exposure to a higher level of thinking with hands-on experience of progressive teaching methods can have a dramatic effect. By improving the knowledge and pedagogic skills of a few very weak teachers in many schools, pupils in a wide area benefit from teachers with a broader understanding of their subject and improved ability to inspire learners.

 

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Title of Paper: University interventions in improving the teaching of science and mathematics in community day secondary schools in Malawi: assessment of the impact
Conference Name: The Contribution of Higher Education to National Education Systems: Current Challenges for Africa
Conference Date: 2007-10-21
Conference Location: Accra, Ghana
Published as Proceedings: no


Date:2007
Document Type:Conference Paper (Not Peer Reviewed)
Subject Area:Teaching and Learning
Country:Malawi
Keywords:Science, Mathematics, Teacher Education, Universities, Secondary Schools, Malawi, Policy, Programmes, Curriculum


File Size:85 KB
Rights:Permission to use this paper was granted by the Association of African Universities (AAU)
Date Added:26 May 2008


Saiti, Alice (2007). University interventions in improving the teaching of science and mathematics in community day secondary schools in Malawi: assessment of the impact Presented at the conference on the Contribution of higher education to national education systems: current challenges for Africa, Accra, Ghana, March 2007