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University students in Buea Municipality, South West Region

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Teacher education is the bedrock of the quality of the educational system of every country. For this quality to be realized, it is important to constantly monitor the stages (theoretical, teaching practice, research project) involved in teacher education. This study sought to investigate teaching   practice in the 21st Century by the University students in Buea municipality in the South West Region. More specifically, the study sought to

a) Bring out the experienced of university students during teaching practice.

b) To find out how university students view teaching practice in the 21st century.

c) To evaluate the challenges faced by the university students during teaching practice.

d) To develop a model for teaching practice in the 21st century. The research methodology used was a survey of the opinions of 30 student teachers selected through the simple random sampling technique. The subjects completed a self-response questionnaire made up of open and closed-ended items. Data analysis was done using the Statistical package for the Social Sciences to obtain frequencies, and simple percentages.

The results obtained from the finding revealed that Drawing of lesson plan was a big challenge to university students teacher during teaching practices in secondary school, also it was found that lack of confident by university student hinder them from facing a large class room during teaching practice.  Based on these findings, recommendations were made to guide relevant practice, policy and research.






1.0 Introduction


In all countries and educational systems, teaching practice is an integral part of the initial training of teachers. Cameroon is not an exception. Many schools have been created, first by missionaries and later the government, to train teachers for various levels of education. The University of Buea was created as a consequence of the Higher Education Reforms of 1993.

The Faculty of Education is one of its establishments with the following as mission: to prepare educational personnel in order to promote excellence at all levels of schooling, as well as undertake professional training and advanced studies in educational sciences. In addition, it is supposed to conduct and develop appropriate research and carry out outreach activities in line with the three traditional missions of a university which are teaching, research and service in various forms to the community (outreach) (University of Buea Website).


To achieve this mission, the departments of Educational Foundations and Administration, Educational Psychology and Curriculum Studies and Teaching were created. The department of Curriculum Studies and Teaching (CST) has outlined the following specific objectives in its brochure: train development-oriented teachers of quality for secondary grammar schools, teacher training institutions and higher levels of schooling; promote pedagogic excellence at the secondary school level, and carry out outreach activities to improve the teaching and learning process.


At the end of the training exercise, it is expected that the student teachers would have appropriate competences in the dimensions of knowledge, skills and professional attitudes.  Each of the departments of the Faculty has a training model that has three main components: coursework, teaching practice or internship and research project.


The aim of this study is to elicit the views of University students about teaching practice in secondary schools and their experience in teaching practice in the 21st century. Furthermore, to evaluate the challenges faced by university students during teaching practice. Another objective is to develop a model for teaching practice for the university students. The study is made up of five chapters. In addition to a brief introduction, chapter one comprises of the backgrounds of the study, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, objectives, research questions, delimitations and definition of main operational terms. Chapter two focuses on literature review, Chapter three deals with the research methodology, chapter four with the data analysis and presentation of findings, and in the final chapter the findings are discussed and recommendations made as well as suggestions for further study.


1.1 Background of the Study


The background of the study is organized into four parts: historical, theoretical, contextual, and conceptual backgrounds.


1.1.1 Historical background


Cameroonian scholars (for example Shu, 2000; Tchombe, 2000, and Tambo, 2003) has traced the developments of formal education in Cameroon, alongside the evolution of efforts to train teachers beginning with Christian missionaries and later joined by the government. Formal education, according to them, was introduced in Cameroon in 1884 by Joseph Merrick of the London-based Baptist Missionary society and later encouraged by other missionaries, such as the Basel Mission, the German Pallotine Missionaries, and the Roman Catholic mission, among others. Their main mission was evangelization. Interest in basic education was considered a strategy to serve this purpose. In 1851, Alfred Saker opened the first seminary for the training of catechists and teachers at Bethel. In 1889, the Basel Mission opened another seminary to train catechists and primary school teachers in Bonaku, Douala and in 1907, the Catholic mission did the same. They opened a seminary in Sasse, Buea. Many churches and schools were later on created by these missionary bodies and seminaries created to train their catechists and primary school teachers. For example, the Sasse seminary trained teachers who will teach children German, Arithmetic, Geography, History and General Sciences. The first government teacher training college was created at Kake, Kumba. It is important to note that the mission seminaries and the government teacher training college in Kake were created to trained primary school teachers. There was a need to train teachers for secondary education, grammar and technical/vocational education. Today, there are many teacher training colleges, especially for the training of primary school teachers.


After independence, the government, in response to the needs for the training of secondary school teachers, created the Ecole Normale Superieure (ENS) in Yaounde for the training of teachers of secondary grammar schools. The ENS later became the first institution of the Federal University of Cameroon later opened in 1962 (presently known as the University of Yaounde I).

In 1967, the government opened an annex campus of the E.N.S. in Bambili to train Anglophone secondary school teachers. In 1979, the Advanced School for the Training of Teachers of Technical Education (E.N.S.E.T.) was opened in Douala. In 2007, the government opened the E.N.S. Maroua. All these teacher training institutions have as their main mission the training of quality teachers for the educational system of the nation. Besides specialized institutions created to train secondary school teachers, the government created the Faculty of Education in the University of Buea in 1993, although its graduates are not automatically integrated into the public service as is the case with graduates from the ENS, it is also important to note that these institutions are not able to supply the number of teachers required by the educational system of the nation. As a consequence, there has been heavy reliance on university graduates with first degrees who master knowledge of various disciplines but do not have pedagogical content knowledge or knowledge of the foundations of education.


1.1.2 Theoretical Background


This section briefly examines the main substance of three theories that are considered relevant to this study, systems theory, Bandura theory “social Learning theory” and the Behavioral theory of Reinforcement. The theories are examined in greater detail in chapter two.


Systems Theory

The system theory was developed by Ludwig von Bertanlanffy (1956). It was developed as a reaction to piecemeal approaches of studying organizations, phenomenon and solving problems. According to the theory the analysis of an organization or attempts to solve problems can be approached from a systemic perspective. A system is made up of parts that are interrelated. Each part has certain functions to perform in order to ensure that the whole is maintained at desired levels.


This theory is very relevant to this study because the training of would-be teachers in the Faculty of Education requires many components and many actors. For example, the training of teachers has been broken down into coursework, teaching practice and a research project. Only students who perform well in all three components are considered to have met graduation requirements. Each component or actor has an important contribution to make to ensure the effectiveness of training. Against this backdrop, teaching practice and cooperating teachers constitute important components whose effectiveness is critical to the ability of the Faculty to achieve stated objectives of teacher training.


  1. B) Social Learning Theory

Bandura (1977) emphasizes learning via observation and imitation. According to him, students learn through observation and imitate ion of others. Those performing the behavior and are observed are called models. These models who are mostly their elders are either in school (Teachers or senior students) or at homes (parents and or neighbors). Students who learn through modeling learn easily and effectively because they keep trying to imitate until they are perfect.


Bandura also looks at learning by paying attention to the environment of the learner. He says the environment also plays an important role in the cognition and behavior of students. Thus, cognition influences environment, environment influences cognition and environment behavior. In the case where the environment is not conducive, the teaching and learning process becomes difficult and students are tempted to cheat in exams for fear of failing.


1.1.3 Contextual Background


The training of teachers takes place within a rapidly changing context. This section presents contextual variables that are related to this study. It comprises the purpose and objectives of secondary education, its problems and environmental factors that are putting pressure on education at this level and also driving the need to pay greater attention to the preparation of would-be teachers. This study is being carried out within an environment of greater demand for secondary education and the recognition by the government that teachers are critical to the quality of the educational system and its graduates. The importance attached to education is contained in the formal purpose and specific objectives of secondary education in Cameroon.


The mission, purpose and objectives of secondary education are laid down in the Law of orientation of Basic and Secondary Education in Cameroon (Law No. 98/004 of 14 April, 1998).


According to Section 4 of this law, the general purpose of education shall be to train children for their intellectual, physical, civic and moral development and their smooth integration into the society bearing in mind prevailing economic, socio-cultural, political and moral factors. On the basis of the general purpose, Section 5 stipulates that the objectives of education shall be:


1)To train citizens who are firmly rooted in their culture but open to the world and respectful of the general interest and the common will of others;


2)To inculcate the major universal ethical values which are dignity and honor, honesty and integrity, as well as a sense of discipline into pupils and students?


3)To promote family life;


4)To promote national languages;


5)To develop creativity, a sense of initiative and the spirit of enterprise in to learners.


6)To cultivate the love of effort and work well done, the quest for excellence and team spirit.


7)To provide physical, sport, artistic and cultural training for the child.


8)To promote hygiene and health education.


For these objectives to be effectively achieved, quality teachers are needed. More specifically, Section 37:1 of this law describes teachers as guarantors of quality education. The objectives of the educational system and its expectations for teachers can be partly guaranteed if teacher training institutions are of the best possible quality.


The shortage of teachers at every level, has led to the employment of unqualified persons, a situation which prevails more in the private sector. At the primary level of education in Cameroon in the 2003/2004 academic year for example, the ratio of pupil/teacher ratio was 52.6 per teacher and there were 51.4 pupils per class. The estimated need to meet up with the shortage in teaching staff is 25000 teachers (Sector Wide Approach/Education, 2005: 53).


In an attempt to seek solutions to the challenges that plaque the Cameroon education system, the government, in 1995, organized a National Education Forum. It was aimed at making proposals for the formulation of a new educational policy for Cameroon so that it may evolve a new educational system that would enable it to meet its twenty-first century challenges (Mbella-Mbappe, 1995). The forum was expected to make concrete suggestions that, when implemented would help in solving the many educational challenges faced by the country’s educational system in general and the secondary sub-system in particular. Some of the resolutions of the National Forum became the substance of the law of orientation of basic and secondary education (Law No. 98/004 of 14 April 1998). The law lays down the guidelines for basic and secondary education, identifies its purpose and objectives in Section 4 and 5 respectively.


On the aspect of teachers, Section 37 of Law No. 98/004 describes teachers as principal guarantors of quality education. In this capacity, they are entitled, within the limit of the means available to suitable living conditions, as well as to appropriate initial and continuing training. Also, Section 39 of this same law states that teachers shall be bound to teach, educate, provide educational guidance, promote the quest for scientific knowledge, carry out assessment and be of moral rectitude; they shall abide by the instruments in force, in particular, the internal regulations of the establishment where they teach. All of these are in line with increasing calls for good governance, which among other things require people who are competent in what they do.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The aim of teaching practice is to produce good teachers that have acquired experiential knowledge to practicalise. Even though students are thought how to teach, they also have their various experiences and challenges. This study will be looking at the extent to which university students experience teaching practice in secondary schools and to evaluate the challenges and developed a model for teaching practice in the twenty first century, for university students and some recommendations.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

1.3.1 General objectives

The general objective of this study is to bring out the experience of the university students during teaching practice in secondary schools in the 21st century.

1.3.2 Specific objectives

The specific objectives of this study include:

To identify the elicit views of the university students about teaching practice in secondary schools.

To ascertain how university student experience teaching practice in the 21st century.

To evaluate the challenges faced by university students during teaching practice.

To develop a model for teaching practice for university students.

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