The Teaching Practices of Teacher Educators in ADE/B.Ed. (Hons) Elementary Programs in Sindh: An Evaluative Study



Recently, teacher education in Pakistan has undergone significant changes due to various reform efforts in response to the National Educational Policy of 2009 funded by USAID Teacher Education Project. As a result of these reforms, the traditional pre-service programs such as Primary Teaching Certificate (PTC) , Certificate of Teaching (CT) and Diploma courses in education have been phased out; and new degree programs of a four-year Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) Honors and a transitional two-year Associate Degree in Education (ADE) have been implemented across the country. Further, new curricula, course guides, instructional material along with assessment procedures have been developed for newly designed degree programs in pre-service teacher education. The changing context of the pre-service teacher education programs has created a challenging situation in which teacher educators are expected to improve their pedagogical skills and apply student-centered, interactive teaching and learning approaches. While the alignment of teacher educators’ practices with the suggested approaches is of utmost importance, it has not been a focus of systematic study. No systematic study exists about the choices teacher educators make and why they make them. The purpose of this evaluative study was to fill this gap and also to formulate recommendations for supporting the teacher educators in overcoming such challenges for effective implementation. This study utilized quantitative and qualitative research methodology and investigated the teaching practices of teacher educators at the institutions offering B.Ed. (Hons) and ADE programs in the province of Sindh. The purpose of this study was to examine the current teaching practices for deviation (if any) from practices envisaged in the new curriculum. The study finds that traditional lectures, demonstration and discussion were most commonly used instructional approaches in the classrooms. Although various approaches such as jigsaw, inquiry method, discovery method, and project method were infrequently used instructional approaches, the study found evidence of the use of some interactive teaching strategies in classrooms such as brainstorming, group work and student presentation in their lessons. This could be associated with the number of the refresher courses and subject support forums organized under Teacher Education Project for the teacher educators teaching in ADE/B.Ed (Hons.) programs.

The findings from classroom observations and interview suggest that the teacher educators’ pedagogical preferences can be divided into three categories namely traditional, interactive and mixed approach. Simultaneously a significant number of teacher educators were in favor of using mixed instructional approach. The study shows that teacher educators preferred methods that they find convenient to be implemented in the classrooms. Further, the pedagogical preference of the teacher educators is also correlated to the perceived effectiveness of a particular instructional approach for students’ learning. This indicates that teacher educators choose instructional strategies on account of their effectiveness for the students of the 21st Century and that will better prepare them for final examinations. Most of all, various institutional factors such as lack of required instructional facilities, lack of protected time for planning, inadequate admission and assessment policy discourage teacher educators from preferring and implementing the teaching approaches that are suggested in the new curriculum of ADE and B.Ed. (Hons.) program. 

Thus, the study concludes that although teacher educators espoused beliefs about interactive approach to teaching; those beliefs were less reflected in their classroom practice. Since beliefs are implemented in the context, the study proposes that required changes in the teaching practices will come about when teacher educators consider their personal capacity and the overall environment of their institutions as favorable for the implementation of the new approaches of instruction demanded by the new curriculum of B.Ed. (Honors) and ADE program.
The study also raised a concern that if various reform activities that have been carried out under Teacher Education Project are discontinued with the end of the project, teacher educators might return to traditional teaching methods instead of moving forward with the interactive teaching and learning pedagogies. In addition, the study has highlighted various contextual constraints that hamper teacher educators from implementing innovative and interactive teaching strategies. It is in this backdrop that the study proposes the following recommendations.
It is regarded important to ensure sustainability of its interventions.