Adapting Innovative Cost-effective Student Mentorship and Practicum to Enhance Quality Teacher Education Programmes
Karugu, Augustine M.
Chege, Fatuma N.
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At the turn of the 21st Century, Kenyatta University (KU), whose niché is teacher education, had realised that the traditional Teaching Practice (TP) was becoming inadequate in the preparation of its student teachers. Firstly, was the problem of matching the fast-growing student population in education programmes with the declining staff population qualified to supervise them during TP. Secondly; the trend of rising related costs was posing considerable challenge. It was therefore necessary to interrogate the situation systematically through action research with the aim of developing innovative interventions that would help cut down financial costs and enhance quality of the TP. Literature review in this area indicated that TP could be greatly enhanced through teacher-mentorship programmes that addressed quality of graduate teachers in cost-effective ways. Consequently, in Year 2012, Kenyatta University Management mandated the Directorate of the then Teaching Practice and the Office of Dean, School of Education, to explore the viability of transforming the traditional TP through innovative approaches that entailed teacher-student mentorship programme. A pilot study was designed within the framework of Action Research and historical approaches. The pilot study was organised within partnership of KU and its TP participating schools. It was conducted in 6 purposively sampled TP zones. There were 34 duly recruited teacher mentors and their school principals as well as the KU students posted to those schools. The results of the pilot study strongly supported the intended transformation thus allowing KU to successfully implement the current Teaching Practicum and Mentorship programme.