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UR-CE embraces practicum as an innovative approach to strengthen pre-service teacher education

18 Dec 2019

The University of Rwanda-College of Education with the support of MasterCard Foundation’s Leading in Teaching Initiative (LIT) Project has introduced an innovative approach of practicum to strengthen pre-service teacher’s education. This program kicked off last academic year 2018-2019 with UR Rukara Campus first year students. Following its implementation plan, student teachers at UR Rukara Campus and UR Nyagatare Campus will conduct four visits during the three year’s duration of their studies. For this academic year 2019-2020, first year student teachers are supposed to do their first school visit for school life experience in the second trimester.

This was announced by the delegation of UR-CE faculty members entrusted with the implementation of LIT Project during practicum awareness campaign to the concerned student teachers.

A section of student teachers during awareness campaign on practicum at UR Rukara Campus

A section of student teachers during awareness campaign on practicum at UR Nyagatare Campus

Associate Prof. Wenceslas NZABALIRWA, LIT Project Academic Lead, noted that practicum was introduced at the University of Rwanda-College of Education as an innovative approach in order to reinforce the preparation of qualified and competent future teachers of secondary schools and TTCs.

” We need to take precautions when we are preparing future teachers. You cannot only have theory in the classroom. You also need to put into practice what you have learnt. Therefore, practicum is like a set of activities where students teachers have to go in the schools and classrooms and get in touch with the real life experiences in the schools,’’ he said. ‘’You are being trained to become secondary school teachers, but you can also become tutors in the TTCs. We have been visiting the schools where you will go and conduct school visits, classroom observations, because you need to be acquainted with the school life experience in the very weeks or months of your university life, ‘’ Associate Professor NZABALIRWA said.

During practicum, student teachers will be sent to schools for a time to observe experienced teachers in the actual process of teaching for the purpose of school life experience. Student teachers were also briefed on the practicum implementation plan. They were taken through the process of practicum, the steps that are going to be followed and how they are going to be assisted.

Dr. Philothere NTAWIHA who is the Coordinator of Practicum, explained the process through which practicum will take place. According to him student teachers will be guided by school mentors ; also called cooperative teachers, in addition to UR-CE lecturers who will be supervising them. They will have the opportunity to go in the school and observe how a teacher is teaching a specific subject. They will take good note of the challenges faced in delivering that lesson and strategies used to address them.

‘’When you are back from classroom observations, you will study the theory of teaching that specific subject and they will compare what they are being taught and what they have observed on the ground. And after getting the theory of teaching that specific subject, you will go back to school and put the theory learnt into practice. On the third visit you will go and teach one subject either of their combinations, while the other subject will be taught on you fourth visit’’, said Dr. NTAWIHA.

According to the Contract of the Agreement between MasterCard Foundation (MCF) and University of Rwanda (UR) signed on 21st May 2018, one of the objectives of the LIT Project is to provide quality practicum opportunities to help student teachers put theory into practice.

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Story by

NTIRANDEKURA Schadrac

Public Relations and Community Engagement Officer

University of Rwanda-College of Education

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