We opened up a nursery teacher training college at the beginning of the year: a two-year weekend certificate programme to become a nursery teacher (a teacher of 3-6 year olds). We have the teaching curriculum, that was the easy part at least that was emailed to me from the Ministry of Education. But we are still finding our way when it comes to School Practice and ‘Display’ assessment areas. There are no details about these in the curriculum and finding information about these parts of the course is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
I finally had a conversation with the head of nursery teaching training colleges for the northern region in Gulu (we had been calling his number for 2 weeks but he lost his phone).
The conversation had many moments like this:
Me: Is there any guidelines for the School Practice? For example, what percentage of the day the student has to teach, etc.
Mr X: They have one week orientation then three weeks in the classroom.
Me: So in orientation do they only observe or do they teach?
Mr X: In orientation week they become familiar with the school environment, classroom and the children.
Me: Do they do any teaching?
Mr X: You don’t observe them in their first week.
Me: But what about teaching time?
Mr X: Oh yes, they do teach.
Me: For how much of the day: 20% of teaching time, 50%, 80%?
Mr X: A minimum of two learning areas.
This continues for a LONG TIME!
At last getting somewhere! But still more digging needed.
Then I find out about a vague mention of Display Materials with dates listed.
Me: What exactly does this mean: ‘Display of Materials’.
Mr X: You display materials.
Me: Where? In the classroom? Somewhere else?
Mr X: Learning materials but in a centre.
Me: How many displays to they need to prepare.
Mr X: A range.
Me: What does a range mean?
Mr X: The make some learning displays.
Me: Do they make 1? 5? 10?
Now Myron joins in: 20? 30? 40? (I’m excited he’s counting in tens, so I decide to count with him until we reach 100.
Mr X: A little laugh, a range.
Hmmm still no closer to finding out the answer to this one.
We have had a lot of encouraging moments since opening up our nursery teacher’s training college, but there are certainly many challenges as well. Finding any sort of guidelines for implementing parts of the course is also another challenge. It’s a certificate course, written by the Ministry of Education, examined by Makerere University, so we can’t really just ‘wing it’… although so far so good 🙂