The strategic roles and challenges of mentor or co-operating teachers in the preparation of pre-school teachers in Zimbabwe.
Siyakwazi, Ben John
Siyakwazi, Peggy Doris
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In Zimbabwe today, the partnership scheme of association in the preparation of teachers is realised through the co-operation among Ministry of Education, Ministry of Higher Education, teachers' colleges, the University of Zimbabwe and schools. The Department of Teachers Education monitors the sixteen teacher’s colleges in the country'. Among other things, professional activities are co-ordinated: syllabuses are scrutinized, examinations moderated including teaching practice and finally successful candidates are awarded a diploma by the University of Zimbabwe. In this scheme of association, partners aim at excellence and this cannot be achieved unless the partnership is strong. Teachers 'colleges and the University cannot succeed in the scheme of association without meaningful participation of the schools through the Regional Offices. It should be noted that educational quality, as measured by pupils, academic achievement, is a function of teacher quality. If what happens in classroom is largely determined by the action of the teacher and if teachers can learn to teach in more effective ways, then it is clear that teacher education should continue to be an important policy option to improve the quality of education. It is important to note that the scheme of association is instrumental in facilitating reforms in schools through teacher education. This paper focuses on preparing teachers to reform schools through teaching practice. Reports on schools reflect a decline in the academic performance of students and the problem of ineffective teaching approaches. There is indeed sickness in education, teachers are accused of being mediocre, and this is reflected in the poor results of most schools. In some cases the pedagogy is lacking in better teaching strategies. This matter of poor performance needs urgent attention, but we cannot improve the quality of education in schools without improving the quality of teachers.