10 SES 09 A, Research in Teacher Education: Cultures and Methodologies
General description on research questions, objectives and theoretical framework
Most of educational stakeholders agree that quality teacher education improves the quality of learning and teaching processes. Quality education as described by the World Education Forum in 2000 “includes learning to know, to do, to live together, and to be” (Global Campaign for Education GCE 2012:6). According this report of the GCE 2012, “up to three quarters of children in the lowest income countries have not learned to read and write after two or three years of schooling”. The fundamental reason for such a deficit in quality education as viewed by the GCE and Education International (EI), is the “severe lack of well-trained, well-supported teachers”. The Education for All Global Monitoring Report (EFA/GMR 2005) highly advocates that “if we value education, we must value teachers”. This description can also somehow apply to Cameroon educational system, especially in its private teacher education sector.
The Cameroonian educational system essentially reflects the socio-political setup, where power structure is mono-logical, a top-down approach (Kokemohr 2014). Formal education, with its historical colonial antecedent (Njimoluh 2010), has also helped to reinforce this pattern in the modern Cameroonian context. The teacher knows “all” and the learner memorizes the lesson, which is then reproduced at a given time in examinations resulting in certificates (Kokemohr 2018). The whole concept of knowledge as a shared commodity (Berger/Luckmann 2005) which can be debated by both teachers and students is alien in this culture, and consequently, teacher training appears to be a top-down process of “knowledge” dispensation, where the teacher basically transmits what he/she knows.
Since 2005 IPSOM (Instittut Supérieur de Pédagogie pour Sociétés en Mutation, today Faculty of Sciences of Education - FSE) has been training secondary school teachers of English, French, Mathematics, and History/Geography based on innovative-learner-centered pedagogy. In many ways, this new dynamic of teacher education based on social-constructivist principles, though promising (because successfully implemented in a pilot primary school), has been challenging both teachers and students who might be learning to build knowledge together (Kokemohr 2014). From this preliminary consideration, my doctoral research lies on the claim that trainees, trainers and administration staff come into the pedagogic reform projects of IPSOM/FSE with complex socio-cultural backgrounds which could be significant in the way they act/interact to construct the realities of the projects. The interest of the study relies on the attempt to investigate on how socio-cultural backgrounds of the educational actors imply quality teacher education in Cameroon. The study advocates that educational, pedagogic and didactic reform projects could be fundamentally based on actors’ socio-cultural backgrounds, rather than being simply an implementation of educational principles proved to be effective somewhere (most from western context of education). In other words, it is an attempt to think educational reforms also internally (according to the Cameroonian contexts and problems transculturally reflected) by paying attention to the socio-cultural background of the different actors in interaction. This would be discussed in my work interrogating the pedagogic reform principles (interculturally developed for IPSOM) aiming to transform or change ubiquitous form of lesson to singular (Kokemohr 2014; 2018) form of lesson (mono-logical process of teaching-learning to a diversity oriented-teaching-learning process).
How to take advantage of these challenges (Bähr et al. 2019), is a question triggering a theoretical and empirical reflection based on the Bildung as a Transformative Process (Koller 2010; 2011; 2017; 2012, 2018) and on micro linguistic endeavor, describing frame of orientations of socio-cultural background which could be interpreted as Bildungsvorhalt opening rooms for transformation or change of self and one’s relations to the world (Kokemohr 1989, 2014, 2018).
Data used for this study consist of a transcript of discussion with five teachers of a private high school in Cameroon (a college). The material is in both French (original) and English languages (simplified translation). For my dissertation, I use directly the French original transcript and translate or explain some of the micro linguistic elements into English. This choice is motivated by a will of considering the original language structure as source of meaningful interpretation which, once translated into English, could lose some of their socio-cultural context meaning. The case is analysed in view to reconstruct some biographical frames of orientations in an attempt to answer the question: how do they construct their individual frame of experiences of having become teachers? The second research question seeks to find out if there are conjunctive spaces of experiences? This is investigated by means of comparison of these biographical frames of orientations of the target population. The third working question is how might some possible transformation/change processes identified be interpreted in the sense of transformative processes of Bildung (Koller 2017) and Bildungsvorhalt (Kokemohr 2014; 2019 In: Bähr et al. p41-103)? These questions are worked out using documentary interpretation of narrative interviews (Nohl 2010, In: Bonsack et al. 2010:203) and biographical research in the sense of Bildungstheorie (Koller 2018:152). This paper presents a summary of the actual results of my empirical analysis and interpretation of the target transcript.
I attempt a micro analysis of some language features such as metaphors, rhetoric, deictic, word choice and collocation in the discourse to reconstruct a deep view on how the identified conjunctive spaces of experiences shape actors’ everyday life (somehow a reconstruction of habitus in terms of Pierre Bourdieu). Since my study (doctoral thesis) unfolds within the field of reform of teacher education, a step forward is attempted so as to reflect on how the actors use their deeply engrained socio-cultural backgrounds (or habitus) to embrace or to engage in innovative change of their pedagogic interactions and their relations toward each other (teachers-learners relations in this specific case) and toward the world. The study therefore intends to identify, describe and reflect on how significant might teachers’ socio-cultural background (prior, during, and after their training in IPSOM/FSE) be in shaping their everyday pedagogic activities. Moreover, the endeavor is to reconstruct the transformative biographical process of these teachers so as to reflect on how this might imply the quality of their education and their pedagogic actions in schools. The study might then be opening a window on a current discourse on quality teacher education in Cameroon, especially within the private teacher education sector.
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