The contribution of SESEMAT to science teachers’ pedagogic practices in selected secondary schools in Mbale district
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The aim of this study was to examine the contribution of Secondary Science and Mathematics Teachers (SESEMAT) program to science teachers’ pedagogic practices in selected secondary schools in Mbale district. It was guided by three research questions namely; how science teachers implement SESEMAT principles in classroom practices, what are science teachers’ perceptions of the pedagogical worth of SESEMAT principles and what factors influence science teachers’ adoption of SESEMAT Pedagogic principles. The study used a descriptive survey design and employed both qualitative and quantitative approaches of data collection and analysis. The target population was science teachers who had ever attended SESEMAT workshops. A sample of five secondary schools was purposively selected and a total of sixty eight respondents participated in the study. Findings of the study showed that there were limited activities in which learners used the hands-on, minds-on strategy as prescribed by SESEMAT through the ALEI principles. Teachers had little experience with the learner-centered approach to teaching and learning science. Teachers encouraged learners in all lessons observed in this study and they also improvised instructional materials. While teachers’ perceptions towards SESEMAT were found to be positive, they were affected by teachers’ and students’ misconceptions of the SESEMAT approach, and the need to cover the NCDC national curriculum. The study further established that provision of professional support to teachers, support supervision from the SESEMAT team, teachers’ positive perceptions of the SESEMAT approach and support from school administration are the factors that promoted adoption of SESEMAT pedagogic principles. On the other hand, time constraints, inadequate instructional materials, large class sizes, inadequate physical infrastructure and teachers’ misconceptions of the SESEMAT pedagogic approach constrained teachers’ adoption of the prescribed SESEMAT pedagogic principles. The study recommends; integration of ALEI skills in the pre-service teacher education curricula for science, increased provision of science equipment and teaching learning materials, institutionalizing continuous professional development courses for all secondary school teachers, refocusing national examinations to encompass both the content and the skills acquired by learners; Schools should consider organizing school based termly workshops, school administrators need to enhance professional support to the teachers, recruit more science teachers and institutionalize a reward system to motivate teachers and learners who excel in improvisation at school.