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Who should be taught to teach? A Review of the Recruitment of Teacher Trainees at The Mico University College in Jamaica.

Holder, Dina S. (2015) Who should be taught to teach? A Review of the Recruitment of Teacher Trainees at The Mico University College in Jamaica. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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ABSTRACT This research is a qualitative case study which examines the recruitment of teacher education candidates at The Mico University College in Kingston, Jamaica (hereinafter referred to as The Mico). I have managed to profile the characteristics of ‘ideal’ teacher education candidates from the perspective of this institution. In addition, I have examined how the teacher recruitment programme is structured. Then, by taking the teacher education policy through the policy cycle (Bowe, Ball and Gold, 1992) from the context of influence at the macro level of government through to the context of policy text production at the Joint Board of Teacher Education (JBTE) to the context of practice at the Mico the interpretation of the policy and its implementation is evident. Thus, I was able to determine whether or not there was a gap between the policy of the JBTE and The Mico’s practices and whether or not there was a gap between The Mico’s policy and practices in terms of recruitment. The research is guided by the epistemology of social constructionism and the theoretical considerations of symbolic interactionism. The data collection tools employed were semi-structured, in-depth individual interviews with staff members and a student and three focus group interviews with students at various stages of the teacher education programme. Additionally, I perused documents such as the Students’ Handbook 2012-2014, the School’s web site, newspaper articles and The Mico’s recruitment video. The findings of the research indicate that The Mico is seeking ‘ideal’ teacher education candidates with academic competencies similar to entrants for a Bachelor’s Degree programme at the University level. Candidates should have minimum academic qualifications of 5 CXC-CSEC subjects and 2 units of CAPE / 2 A’Level passes. Applicants are accepted without the CAPE / A’Level qualifications, but have to pursue CAPE substitute courses which they should pass by the end of the second year. This high level of academic competence includes a high level of literacy and basic numeracy skills. In addition, the prospective entrant is expected to have a motivation / desire to teach, strong interpersonal skills / social skills, should communicate well and have positive values and attitudes. There are three programmes geared to attracting experienced / mature professionals. The Pre-Early Childhood programme targets early childhood practitioners, the Programme for Mature Entrants assesses the prior learning of candidates through presentation of a portfolio instead of the academic qualifications aforementioned and The Advanced Placement programme targets professionals with a Degree but no teaching qualifications. Additionally, there is also a special programme geared towards recruiting young men into the profession. The primary reason for the implementation of this programme is to encourage more young men to choose to enter the teaching profession, since the ratio of female entrants to male entrants is almost 4:1(Economic and Social Survey (ESSJ), 2012; p. 22.17). Increased attention to the recruitment of males to the profession is part of an international trend to change the perception of teaching as an occupation mainly for females. Teacher education candidates are recruited by a process involving different phases. In the first phase, their academic qualifications are assessed to ascertain whether or not they have adhered to the academic criteria according to the College’s policy, first by the Admissions Department and again at the Department level. Having passed this scrutiny, successful candidates are then interviewed. These candidates also sit a Mathematics proficiency test and an English proficiency test; both are diagnostic. On acceptance to the Bachelor’s Degree programme, candidates sit a Psychometric test which given the faculty an indication of the candidates’ aptitude. This research did not find any significant gaps between policy and practice of the college. With regard to the Joint Board of Teacher Education’s (JBTE) policy, however, the Mathematics criterion was not adhered to. The low level of passes in Mathematics, plus competition from other Universities that do not require Mathematics for entry to their teacher education programmes may have contributed to this. The findings of the research indicate that the current economic situation threatens the viability of the teacher recruitment programme. In addition, substantive partnerships between the government and the teacher education institution are lacking. The status and professionalism of teaching and the affordability of the teacher education programme are all threats that The Mico has to deal with. Educators too are influential in the decision of prospective candidates to choose teaching as a career. Whilst The Mico’s recruitment programme is quite comprehensive, they could benefit from using audiovisual advertisements, having greater visibility at education and job fairs and improving the outreach to the High Schools, especially in hard to recruit areas. Other internal issues which emerged from the data were transition issues – changing from a Teachers’ College to a University College and lack of funding for the recruitment programme.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.666633
Depositing User: Mrs Dina S. Holder
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2015 13:18
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 12:19
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/10069

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