Professional Studies: The Zimbabwe Teacher Education Curriculum Burden Bearer?
Mavhunga, Pharoah Joseph
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This study sought to probe the organization of the teacher education curriculum in Zimbabwe with particular focus on the Professional Studies section. The study was prompted by observations that new components were constantly added to the Professional Studies section without anything being removed, thereby congesting the section and threatening effective curriculum implementation. Data were gathered by the researchers through visits made to one Secondary Teachers’ College in 2007 and two Primary Teachers' Colleges in 2008 on Academic Examining. Ethnographic techniques that included observation, document analysis and group discussions were used for data collection. The data so gathered were analyzed using the qualitative approach. Findings established that the Professional Studies component appeared to be the most unstable and most loaded curriculum component as compared to other academic components such as the Main Subject/ Academic Study and the Theory of Education sections which lecturers in Professional Studies described as ‘sacred cows’ because they are rarely ‘interfered with' whenever curriculum change and or innovation is muted. This has led to the perception that Professional Studies is an amorphous curriculum component that is somewhat blurred in terms of definition. As a result, it does not seem to command as much respect and commitment among students as other academic sections of the curriculum, a situation which is detrimental to effective implementation of the teacher education curriculum. The study recommends that a curriculum review be carried out with the view to rationalizing, streamlining and reorganizing the three academic components of the teacher education curriculum in Zimbabwean teachers' colleges.