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Educating prospective science teachers in Oman : evaluating initial training programmes

By Abdullah Saif Mohammed Al-Tobi

Abstract

This study has investigated the effectiveness of an initial teacher training programme\ud provided by the Omani Colleges of Education in preparing science teachers. To understand\ud the phenomena of this research, to give a picture as clear as possible of the topic under\ud study and to determine the information that needs to be collected, a framework was\ud established.\ud A combination of qualitative and quantitative tools (questionnaires, interviews and\ud document examination) was used to meet the aims of this study. The questionnaires and\ud interviews were designed and tailored to relate specifically to the teachers' competencies\ud that are required by the Omani Reformed General Education (the Basic Education: Stage\ud Two). In addition, the importance and effectiveness of the programme's components were\ud also investigated.\ud The questionnaires were conducted with all the student science teachers in the final\ud academic year, 2000/2001, and all the teacher educators in the departments of educational\ud studies in all the six Omani Colleges of Education. Sub-samples of student teachers and\ud teacher educators were interviewed. In addition, some newly qualified teachers were also\ud interviewed.\ud To carry out a careful analysis, a framework of data analysis was developed. The results\ud are divided into three main sections. The first section addresses student teachers'\ud competencies. The second section reports the participants' evaluation of the importance\ud and effectiveness of the pedagogical courses. The third section covers the respondents'\ud evaluation of the importance and the effectiveness of practicum aspects. In addition, results\ud that emerged from the two last open-ended questions in the questionnaires and interviews\ud and the effects of some variables on student teachers' competencies are presented.\ud This study has indicated that while student science teachers demonstrated their ability in\ud some competencies, they were deficient in the majority. In general, the results have\ud indicated that approximately 86.96% of the competencies were rated to be average whereas\ud only 10.87% of these competencies were viewed to be above average (i.e. competent). In\ud addition, the majority of responses indicated that student teachers could use some\ud experiential learning methods and some different assessment tools to a limited extent but\ud not effectively. Furthermore, student science teachers are not fully prepared to use a\ud problem-solving approach and ICT in teaching science.\ud This research has produced interesting and useful data about the student teachers'\ud competencies and the curriculum of the colleges and the manner in which it was\ud implemented. It has not only shown a serious gap between the actual needs of science\ud teachers (importance) and their preparation (effectiveness) by the colleges but identified\ud also the areas of weakness. Some factors affecting the acquisition of the student teachers'\ud competencies are addressed.\ud Recommendations have been made for the Ministry of Higher Education for the\ud development of the existing science teacher education programmes, and for the Ministry of\ud Education (in-service teacher training). Issues for further research are also addresse

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OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:3942

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