The supervision and assessment experiences of the National Professional Diploma in Education (NPDE) field workers.
Five field workers and their coordinator of the National Professional Diploma in Education (NPDE), an in–service upgrading course for under-qualified teachers in KwaZulu–Natal, South Africa, were interviewed to find what meaning and practices informed them in carrying out their work with teachers. This study was conducted within the interpretive paradigm and was qualitative in nature. Hence, data was collected using semi–structured interviews. No attempt has been undertaken to generalize the findings as the participants were few. This study is warranted and the findings have relevance for future research. The key findings of the study are as follows. a) Guidelines for supervision – NPDE field workers and the NPDE coordinator revealed that the time frame for one day workshops was too short and this did not allow field workers the opportunity to address critical issues pertaining to the supervision process. b) Responsibility towards the NPDE students revealed that the NPDE field workers were not directly involved in choosing the number of NPDE students they had to assess and supervise. c) Professional development with regard to classroom observation – a lack of professional development revealed that fieldworkers had to rely on their own knowledge and reading to prepare themselves to supervise and assess the NPDE students. d) The role of the NPDE field workers in assessing and supervising the NPDE students – the inappropriate title was key element that emerged from the finding. e) Supervision out of class – revealed that this was done once the classroom assessment. f) Collaborative partnerships between students and field workers – partnerships formed seemed to be the key element that emerged from the finding. The partnerships formed was based on love, trust and understanding. g) Experiences of the NPDE field workers – The data revealed that field workers experiences during their supervision and assessment of the NPDE students were very enlightening.