A different kind of class struggle

Teachers who want to acquire a BEd degree after their first Master’s must have other alternatives to the two-month practice teaching because they have already had real classroom experience.

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Parshu Shrestha

My friend chose teaching as her career five years ago. It was immediately after she finished her Master’s in English. Since then, she has taught in almost half a dozen colleges and plus twos. But she is a bit frustrated at present. The source of her frustration is the requirement to go to a school for practice teaching.

She passed her written exam for a teacher’s temporary license last year. And to get a permanent license, she has to pass BEd or complete a 10-month training course. She has passed BEd and now has to complete practice teaching, a practical course. Her problem is that she has no time. She teaches at a college in the morning and goes to a private school in the day where she is a full time English teacher. In most cases, a campus allows a student to choose a school near home. There is no such option for teachers.

“I have my own regular classes. Besides, I often have to take proxy classes,” my friend complained. “How can I manage to bear the extra burden of practice teaching?” Moreover, the subject she has to teach in practice teaching does not fall during the same period everyday. So her regular classes overlap with her practice teaching classes. Also, she cannot go to another school for practice teaching. That would require her to leave her job for one and a half months. It is not possible because her school cannot provide her such a long leave. Big problem.

According to records, practice teaching in the education faculty started in 1948 with the establishment of the Basic Teacher Training Centre. It was continued with the establishment of Normal School in 1953 and Tribhuvan University in 1959. It was also included in BEd which was started by Tribhuvan University in 1972. Since then, it has been continuously and compulsorily practiced.

It’s high time the university revised and re-adapted this age-old practice of practice teaching. Working teachers who have done their Master’s from other faculties should not be sent to a school for practice teaching to get a BEd certificate. Instead, programmes like professional development training, seminar, webinar, online education programme and micro-teaching should be accepted as more fruitful alternatives.

Teachers who want to acquire a BEd degree after their first Master’s must have other alternatives to the two-month practice teaching because they have already had real classroom experience. They should not be forced to carry the burden of practice teaching. But I am not against practice teaching for regular BEd students. They must have some practical knowledge after having studied so many theories of education in class. And only practice teaching can provide it to them.

Everybody knows that most of the teaching materials and methods applied during practice teaching are never used in real classes. Even teachers with an education background accept this fact. So why all this drama? Tribhuvan University should stop this practice and find a better, more practical and more fruitful way out.

source: Shrestha, Parshu (2011),"A different kind of class struggle", The Kathmandu Post,14 Dec 2011

2011-12-15 | EducateNepal

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