Exploring experiences of the 4th year student teachers on the quality of education received during the four years of initial training at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).
This study identified the quality of education in regard to pedagogical content knowledge, personal characteristics of lecturers, and teaching and assessment strategies practices in the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), as experienced by student teachers. The study is an interpretive study following a qualitative approach, and focuses on students' understanding of their lived experiences. This is a case study of Fourth year B.Ed. students registered at UKZN in 2011 for Foundation and Intermediate (F & I) phase. 24 students were selected and had agreed to participate in the study but 15 actually participated in interviews. Student teachers argued that most lecturers employed by UKZN are good quality lecturers. There were some lecturers who were considered poor quality lecturers. Student teachers categorized poor quality lecturers as those who do not know how to teach, those who do not have experience, and those who were always away attending conferences or on sabbatical leaves. Student teachers considered an outstanding lecturer as a fully qualified person who is always on time and available for lectures and consultations. Student teachers claim to have acquired sound pedagogical content knowledge from the university. They concur that lecturers employed various assessment strategies which challenged students' higher order thinking abilities. The study revealed that the most common lecture delivery methods employed by lecturers are lecture method and reading (where the lecturer reads course materials in class). The student teachers noted that these methods were used with minimal variation. There were some lecturers who utilized resources such as overhead projectors while a few used PowerPoint presentations and some engaged students in discussion. Most student teachers regarded teaching practice as a programme which developed their teaching skills, helped them in developing confidence to address audience, and with planning and presenting lessons. But they claim that there was poor organisation of teaching practice. In the final chapter it is argued that quality as experienced by teacher education students in the 4th year is a complex phenomenon which covers especially areas of teaching practice, lecture delivery. This excludes other areas that pivotal in judging quality of high institution of education such as curriculum balance, financial resources and admission criteria.