A critical study of the teaching home science in selected teacher training colleges in Kenya
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Several studies done on the teaching of Home science in primary schools (Male 1988, Karingithi 1988) Showed that Home Science teachers were not using appropriate methods when teaching. Yet they had all been trained in teacher training colleges. Several glaring observations indicate that poor performance in Home Science by primary school pupils was most likely due to inadequate preparation of teachers during training. The purpose of this study was therefore, to critically examine the teaching of Home Science in selected teacher training colleges in Kenya. The study dealt with a variety of themes derived from the basic research questions. These included: Demographic and academic qualification of tutors and students, contest in Home Science Syllabus, Methodology, Micro-teaching, Teaching practice, Evaluation of Students' performance, Resources and facilities and pedagogical problems in teaching Home Science. All these issues were intended to give an insight into the programme that prepares teachers for teaching Home Science in Primary Schools. The study was limited to four colleges only. These were Thogoto, Kikimambogo, Kamwenja and Machakos. The sample was randomly selected by assigning a number to each of the six classes of second year P1 students in the participating colleges. The numbers were written on pieces of paper and put in a container. The researcher then picked one paper at random and the number on the paper indicated the selected class for the study in each of the colleges. In all, 149 students and 11 tutors from the four colleges participated in the study. The data was collected using two questionnaires, one for the students and the other for the tutors. Additional data was obtained from resource and facility checklist and past examination papers set by the colleges and Kenya National Examination Council (K.N.E.C.) The data was then analysed and the results presented in table form depicting frequency distribution and percentages. The results of the study revealed that: (a) Students enrolled in colleges lacked sound Home Science background which hinders effective training as primary Home Science teachers. (b) Tutors teaching Home Science in colleges were qualified academically and professionally but were trained to teach in secondary schools and not in teacher training colleges. (c) Tutors were not given induction courses on joining the colleges and were not in serviced in methodology of teaching Home Science to teacher trainees. (d) The teaching methods frequently used were the teacher-centred methods like lecture, assignment and demonstrations. Student-centred methods like guest-speakers, seminars and visits were rarely used. (e) Methods of preparing students for teaching were inadequately done. (i) Teaching Practice duration of three weeks per session was inadequate. Students were not effectively supervised during Teaching Practice in order to overcome their difficulties in teaching Home Science. Supervision during Teaching Practice was done by any tutor and not necessarily Home Science tutor, therefore, specialized guidance in Home Science was not offered. (ii) Micro-teaching sessions were too few and too over-crowded to be effective. (iii) Home Science tutors never used the neighbouring primary schools for Home Science demonstration purposes. (f) Evaluation in colleges was mainly done for obtaining grades for continuous assessment and not for diagnostic purposes. Practical aspect of Home Science was not adequately examined and was ignored during teaching. The frequently used type of questions were multiple choice and guided essay questions. Past papers were frequently used for preparing the student for examination. (g) Resources and facilities in colleges were inadequate and often not available. The resource centres in colleges were not effective enough in guiding the students and tutors on methods of improvisation. (h) The students stated that they were adequately prepared to teach certain topics like Foods and Nutrition and Child Care theoretically but as to form a criteria for certification of competent Home Science teachers. (i) Tutors should be specifically trained to teach in colleges. Therefore, B.Ed. (Primary Option) and M.Ed. (PTE) degree programmes should be expanded. (j) Scope and time allocation in the primary and college Home Science syllabi should be improved. (k) Evaluation of Home Science for teachers' certification should be the responsibility of the colleges themselves. They are better placed to judge the good and promising teachers. (l) Home Science practicals should be examinable in colleges. (m) Resources and facilities must be adequately provided if Home Science is to be effectively taught. The Colleges, Ministry of Education and Parents should join forces and provide equipment and resource materials needed. These recommendations are not exhaustive, but they highlight the crucial areas of the study. Finally an attempt was made to give suggestions for further research in some aspects of Home Science teacher education.