The department offers this subject to all the students at the college. It is a subject that educates the students on the professional parameters that inform a practising teacher.
Professional Studies is one of the core subjects in the Teacher Education Curriculum. The subject is meant to act as a binding agent between theory (which is done in Theory of Education) and theory (done in the subjects as Main Study 1 or 2). As the glue of the two, Professional Studies endeavours to marry theory with practice so that the pre-service teacher is guided accordingly.
As a take-off point, Professional Studies looks into the Ethics of the Teaching Profession. It also looks at the Principles of the profession, the justification of teaching as a profession.
2. PRINCIPLES OF THE TEACHING PROFESSION
Professional Studies rests on five key pillars. These are as follows:
(1) The teacher has an obligation to shape the nation’s learners to pursue knowledge and skills as a way of helping them to be useful citizens.
(2) The teacher has a joint responsibility with the parent in helping the learner reach their maximum growth. The teacher has to establish a mutual relationship with the home of the learner.
(3) The individual teacher as part of the school community has to shape a good and conducive environment with the larger community for the benefit of the learner. The school has to forge a co-operative and friendly relationship with the community.
(4) There should be mutual respect of other teachers by the teacher. An excellent collegial and reciprocal relationship among staff in an institution tends to benefit the learner.
(5) The teacher has to respect the rules and regulations as laid down by the employer. The Employer-Employee relationship has to be observed and maintained and monitored at all times. The relationship has to be kept smooth and in good faith at all times by and for both parties.
Ethical Conduct of teachers are taught and expected to be life blood of the teacher. The ethical considerations are drawn from Statutory Instrument 1 of 2000. These are the prescriptions and proscriptions of the profession.
The Prescriptive Aspects
- Etiquette –the teacher’s conduct, dress and manners shall be exemplary.
- A teacher shall seek maximum educational advantage for his/her learners.
- A teacher shall regard all learners as people entrusted in his/ her custody and shall not take advantage of their status as pupils.
- A teacher shall control his temper even under extreme provocation.
- A teacher shall support a professional organisation or union.
- A teacher shall do anything in their power to defend and enhance the reputation of the teaching profession.
The Proscriptive Aspects
- A teacher shall not take advantage of the young learners entrusted in his/ her care.
- A teacher shall not speak ill of other teachers to the learners, parents and other teachers.
- A teacher shall not in any circumstance pretend to know and proceed to teach what s/he does not know.
- A teacher shall not divulge the examination or test material to any learner or any unauthorised person.
- A teacher shall not appear before a class, in a drunken state, slovenly dressed or smoke in class.
Research at Hillside Teachers’ College is one of the five pillars of the College Strategic Development Plan. Research is central to the college’s present and future growth. It is embedded in all the college activities. It is regarded as the panacea to all our challenges be they of an academic, administrative and social nature. Research at Hillside Teachers’ College is taken from three angles:
(a) For the college to move forward in any aspect of development, research is undertaken to come up with informed decisions. This is across the board.
(b) Research projects are done by students with the supervision of lecturers. All pre-service teachers are expected to undertake a research project in their major subject. This is one of the requirements of the diploma course (section four in the Professional Studies profile).
(c) Research is also done by lecturers. At this level, research comes in, firstly, when lecturers research in their subject areas for their lecture presentations and also when compiling research papers for presentation in professional research conferences. The idea behind this form of research being that of publication of such work in reputable journals. This form of research serves a twin purpose of academic and professional growth for the member involved and for the advancement in frontiers of knowledge. The college is in the process of launching a College bulletin and a journal for the publication of both students’ and lecturers’ research projects and papers.
In conclusion, research is seen as a solution to all the problems that can bedevil the college. As such, it is done for the college for academic and professional advancement for both the student and the lecturer. We endeavour to nurture a culture of research on a cross-cutting basis. The college values research as an indispensible ingredient in the production of quality teachers who will serve the nation and region with distinction. On the part of the lecturer, it aims at empowering him/her to produce papers for publication. This is a capacity building initiative.
4. SYLLABUS INTERPRETATION
This is one of the critical areas in Professional Studies. A teacher who is not competent in this aspect runs the risk of leading learners in the wrong direction. This aspect is also a critical component in curriculum design and implementation.
4.2 THE SCOPE
A syllabus is a plan which states exactly what the learners should learn or experience at school in a given learning area. It is a document that prescribes what the government would like the learners to experience in the schools as spelt out in the curriculum framework. In a nutshell, a syllabus, therefore is a document that contains all the topics for a particular course and class level. It summarises the aims, or goals, content to be covered, suggested approaches to teaching a particular subject and course level, for example, Zimbabwe Junior Certificate, Ordinary Level and Advanced Level. The teachers are expected to teach from the syllabus and examinations are subsequently set from the syllabus.
Syllabus interpretation therefore, is a process of unpacking the syllabus, analysing and synthesising it. It is a process of making sense and finding meaning of the syllabus. This aspect prepares the student teachers for effective syllabus interpretation and implementation. Syllabus interpretation focuses on:
The national vision as spelt out in the curriculum
- The syllabus aims and objectives
- The content, knowledge, skills and attitudes, that is competencies
- Facilitating the breaking down of content into teachable units
- The nature and scope of the content,
- How it is organised
- The methods of delivery; and
- Evaluation and assessment.
A scheme of work is the teacher’s interpretation of the syllabus and a working plan that a teacher develops from the syllabus (Kasambira, 1993). Gwarinda (1993) points out that the scheme of work is the logical and sequential or step-by-step arrangement of subject matter to be taught and learnt, drawn from the syllabus.
When a topic is taken from the syllabus, the student teacher is taught how to structure the topic so that it is split into sub-units covering certain related material which can then be taught in a certain order, to be covered in a relatively longer period of time, usually over a term.
4.3 LESSON PLANNING
Lesson planning is equally critical in the process of unpacking the syllabus. A teacher should be very competent in designing and implementing the lesson plan. A lesson plan is a written account of the preparation for a lesson that shows in summary form, how the lesson is supposed to proceed. It is the immediate translation of the scheme of work into action. In a nutshell, a lesson plan is a short, carefully developed outline of a lesson, designed to help the student teacher to achieve the objectives of a specific topic or sub-topic. It is the responsibility of the Professional Studies department to equip the pre-service teacher with the necessary skills to craft lesson plans for their respective subject areas and classes.
One of the skills a teacher in-making has to learn is marking. This exercise is all about error diagnosis and remediation. It also serves to provide feedback to the learners.
6.0 TEACHING METHODS AND APPROACHES
It is a point worth emphasising at this stage that there is no single best method of teaching. Good and effective teaching is always a result of using several methods of instruction during a single lesson. Pre service teachers therefore are exposed to several teaching methods for a given teaching –learning situation. Some of these methods include but are not limited to the following:
- The problem solving method( problem-based learning)
- The project method
- The seminar or discussion
- The lecture and many more
7.0 EDUCATIONAL MEDIA AND TECHNOLOGY
Basically, it is an agreed position that every lesson presented in class should be accompanied by some form of media for the instructional process to progress smoothly and effectively. To that end pre service teachers are exposed to ways by which they can produce, modify and improvise where necessary, in the preparation and production of educational or instructional media. It is also imperative for 21st century teachers to embrace ICTs in the preparation of their lessons and media formats.
Instructional media encompasses all the materials and physical means an instructor or classroom facilitator might use to implement instruction and facilitate the achievement of instructional objectives. Media therefore, plays a central role in the delivery of instruction. Some of the roles of media in the teaching-learning process are, but not limited to the following:
- Enhancement of retention and transfer of knowledge and support learning through examples and visual elaborations
- Stimulation of the learner’s memory thus making learning more permanent
- Provision of avenues to increase collaboration between students as they interact with media during the learning process.
The college has a vibrant media room which provides requisite material and equipment for use by students as they design and prepare their media. The aim behind this aspect of the course is to produce teachers who are highly competent and can improvise as they use media in their teaching.
FIVE Subjects constituting the Professional studies :
- TEACHING METHODS AND GENERAL TEACHING SKILLS
- RESEARCH METHODS IN EDUCATION
- EDUCATIONAL MEDIA AND TECHNOLOGY
- EDUCATIONAL MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION
- GUIDANCE AND COUNSELING IN EDUCATION