An investigation into teachers' experiences of in-service training and professional development in Rwanda

Rutaisire, John (2012) An investigation into teachers' experiences of in-service training and professional development in Rwanda. Doctoral thesis (EdD), University of Sussex.

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The purpose of this research is to investigate teachers' experiences of in-service training and professional development in Rwanda. It focuses on a programme for untrained secondary school teachers which aimed to equip them with the knowledge, skills and values in line with current government policy. It was concerned with whether the teaching and learning approaches used in the training programme were learner-centred, and the impact on teachers' professional identity. This is viewed against the backdrop of the assumptions that professional development improves the teaching and learning process and that teaching and learning improves with increased professional development provision. These dynamics are analysed from the perspective of the teachers' views and some observed practices, the theoretical principles of teacher professional development, and the policy guidelines of the Ministry of Education. As such, the research employs a qualitative methodology.

The study has revealed that the training programme was presented, whether deliberately or by default as a course for upgrading teachers' status, and as a way of providing the superficial characteristics of a successful professional training. It has highlighted the challenges of the technical application of a model rather than identifying the needs and conditions for teacher engagement with their students in order to improve their own classroom performance. This is reflected through the overestimation of the trainers' capacity and the underestimation of the teachers' experiences, the lack of mastery of content, and the non-recognition of teachers as teaching and learning resources. There are also issues related to communication and interaction between the actors in the training programme which was a crucial factor that reflected the power relations between the trainers and the teachers. The teachers were being regulated by the terms of engagement set by the trainers instead of a collaborative effort. It highlights the restrictive nature of the assessment system, and interrogates the differences in the understanding of what teaching and learning is or should be, and what actually took place in the training of the teachers and of the students in the secondary school classrooms.

The research has highlighted some issues which are not necessarily of a professional nature, but which nevertheless are of significance to the understanding of teacher professional identity. The teachers associate identity formation with the social developmental issues of qualification, status, recognition, and self-esteem. This has implications for the policies of the Ministry of Education viewed against the needs and conditions of the training of the secondary school teachers who are drawn mainly from rural schools. There are concerns about whether the programme appreciated the conditions in the schools, or whether the primary mission was to upgrade the qualifications of the teachers and not necessarily the upgrading of knowledge and skills. Finally, the research contributes to the illumination of both literature and methodology for future studies on the subject of teacher professional development, and to the current debate on its benefits and impact on professional practice in Rwanda.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1705 Education and training of teachers and administrators
L Education > LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa. Oceania) > LG401 Africa > LG545 Rwanda
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2012 08:54
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2015 14:09

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