Pre-service Teachers’ Perceptions on Focus discussion Groups as a Model of Context-based learning Primary Teacher education. A case of Meru and Egoji Teachers colleges

Suleiman Mwangi

Abstract


Research and policy documents in Kenya and in many other African countries have decried
low quality primary education which they attribute to low quality teacher education
(Government of Kenya-GoK- (2012) , GoK (2005), the Kenya Education Sector Support
Programme document of 2005-2010(2005), Feiman-Nemser (2001), United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization-UNESCO (2005) Dembele and Miaro-II
(2003) and Wanzare (2002). This inhibits the vision of provision of an all-inclusive relevant
and quality education particularly in Kenya as envisioned by the Vision 2030 and the MoEST
(2015) National Education Sector Plan 2013-2018. Low quality teacher education as pointed
out by Dembele and Miaro-II (2003), MoEST (2003) and GoK (2012) is mainly due to the use
of the traditional content-based pedagogical primary teacher education model that lacks
adequate learner involvement, splits learning into separate subjects and has little connection
between theory and practice. This study sought to identify the experiences and perceptions
of pre-service teachers on focus discussions groups as a model of context-based learning. A
quasi experimental research design in form of pre-test/post test longitudinal panel control
group was used. This involved a stratified random sample of 80 first year pre-service
teachers from Meru and Egoji colleges (40 for experimental and 40 for control groups). The
experimental group was sub-divided into groups of ten of equal gender proportions that held
discussions under the facilitation of the researcher once per week during teaching practice
sessions. A focus group discussion schedule, a reflective diary and a questionnaire were used
to collect data. The findings obtained revealed that the experimental group that used the
focus discussion groups as a component of context-based learning model performed better
than the control group. The findings also showed that pre-service teachers found focus
discussion groups (Cooperative learning) useful in their professional career development
though they felt the discussion groups needed more time and fewer members.
Key Words: Context-based Learning, Focus Discussion Groups, Cooperative Learning
Reflective Practice, School-based Learning, Traditional Concurrent Content-based
Pedagogical Teacher Education Model.

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