7b ii). Examine the concept of in-service education in the teaching-learning environment.
Acquisition of New Knowledge
For many years educational administrators in this country thought that only primary school teachers needed In-service education because they were not well academically prepared. Graduate teachers and others involved in teaching secondary schools and college level were regarded specialists. This view has changed in recent years with new development taking place in education. We can see this change in view of the following evidence.
- Programmes of one term or one year duration have been organized by overseas agencies for experienced serving teachers to attend advanced courses abroad for the teaching of Science, Mathematics and English etc Many teachers have benefited from the scheme.
- Locally organized in-service programmes of one month or longer have been organized by the Ministry of Education in conjunction with the Kenya Institute of Education and the public universities which train teachers. Graduate teachers attend courses of this nature in subjects of their specialization. For instance the Social Science Project, Science and Mathematics, Geography, Kiswahili, etc.
- In-service Education programmes for trained teachers of normal children have been organized in various colleges. Trained teachers of normal children can obtain specialization and qualifications as teachers of handicapped children after attending an in-service education course at High ridge Teachers’ College. For instance, P1 teachers of normal children are recruited for in-service education course for the handicapped.
- Teachers of Art, Music, Drama and P.E. etc can obtain more knowledge and techniques through organized in-service education programmes. The introduction of 8.4.4 system of education in Kenya in 1985 prompted the Ministry of Education Science and Technology to organize P.E and other subjects in secondary schools. Similar in-service courses were also organized for other subjects taught in secondary schools.
Familiarization with Curriculum Development
Changes in curriculum are dynamic, particularly with the increase in knowledge in demand and supply by society or relevancy in curriculum content. To familiarize teachers with curriculum development, changes, seminars, workshops, and conferences are organized at the district or national level. In many cases, some of the work in curriculum development changes are channeled through circulars, demonstrations and government documents from the inspectorate to the schools. Heads of schools are expected to make such information available to teachers. In well-organized schools, seminars or meetings are organized for members of staff to discuss new changes in curriculum.
Training of examiners and markers for public examinations falls under this category. It is done by the Kenya National Examinations Council.
Familiarization with Principles of Organization and Management.
Many teachers are appointed to head schools without prior training in organization and management. Appointments to head schools are usually made on the basis of a teacher’s academic qualifications and some appointments to headships. A lot of work that is necessary for school organization and educational management cannot be done during the pre-service training. It’s after working in the schools for sometime that a teacher gains insights and familiarity with the basic principles of organization and management. Some teachers become fortunate when they work in schools where head-teachers may be assigned roles of departmental heads, deputy head-teachers or guidance, and counselors. To function properly and project educational services, some form of instruction in organization and management is essential.
In some countries such as the United States of America, a special qualification is required of all people who aspire to become head-teachers or principals.
The Ministry of Education Science and Technology in Kenya, often organizes seminars, workshops and meetings to familiarize head-teachers with essential principles of educational management. Such courses have become popular to teachers who got appointed to headship with a limited knowledge in educational management.
Why do teachers participate in In-service education?
Teachers participate in in-service education for various reasons. In some countries like the United States of American teachers can be assured of immediate direct benefits like salary increase, when they complete participation in in-service education course successfully. In Kenya, this happens but in a different form. In the next section we shall examine some of the reasons which make teachers to participate in in-service education programmes in Kenya.