Professionalism in Mathematics teacher education and its influence on teacher practice in Liberaia: a case study of two rural Teacher Training Institutions.
Gallah, George Patrick
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The aim of this study was to establish the relationship between mathematics teacher professionalism and mathematics teacher practices in Liberia, using the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institution (KRTTI) and the Zorzor Rural Teacher Training Institution (ZRTTI) as case study. The study was guided by the following objectives: To establish the relationship between basic mathematics teacher professional education and teacher practices in KRTTI and ZRTTI, to examine the relationship between on-the-job mathematics teacher professional education and teacher practices in KRTTI and ZRTTI, and to find out the relationship between mathematics teachers’ continuous professional development and teacher practices in KRTTI and ZRTTI. Using a sample of 124 teachers and 24 administrators, the study employed a combination of both quantitative and qualitative research methods. The quantitative approach used was a self-administered questionnaire and the qualitative approaches included use of interviews and an observation guide. The study made the following findings: A teacher’s professional education does affect his/her practices on the job. This means teachers who have basic professional training exhibit better practices than those who do not. Another finding of the study was that there is a significant correlation between on-the-job teacher training and teacher practices. This suggests that a teacher with better on-the-job training outshines another without such training as far as teacher practices are concerned. Additionally, the study found that continuous professional development of teachers has a very significant positive relationship with teacher performance practices. This implies that teachers who engage in continuous professional development are best suited to showcase better performance practices as compared to those who do not. Based on these findings the study concluded that basic professional education, on-the-job training and continuous professional development are factors affecting the performance practices of teachers in ZRTTI and KRTTI. If these areas are properly attended to, our teachers and students will keep pace with the current standards of others in the world. It is therefore recommended that the Government of Liberia (GOL) and her partners support every effort aimed at the professional development of teachers nationwide in order to ensure a vibrant educational system. Our education system needs to change over the coming decades to meet new economic, social and cultural challenges. The GOL, along with her partners needs to provide professional training and research scholarship to teachers and teacher educators as well as build high quality learning environments for our students imbued with up-to-date research facilities to upgrade teachers’ professional practices.
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