Practice is a learning process that requires prospective teachers to acquire
practical teaching experience in a classroom. The school practice process
involves students presenting and showcasing their teaching skills under the
supervision of teacher trainers. Here, they showcase instructional techniques
and receive feedback from their supervisors on lesson planning, classroom
management, student assessment and more. This is done in the final school year
of each student perusing a teaching course.
For most teacher training Institutions, students are placed in various secondary schools which their supervisors visit to collect data. The compiled information is computed to produce a final mark for the students at the end of their course. The information collected during teaching practice is usually compiled using a hard copy form and shared with the Academic Registrar. The form has sections that cater for student details, internal and external supervisory observations, general comments and awarded marks from both the internal and external supervisors.
This assessment style is a traditional method that most institutions in the country use to assess prospective teachers. The challenge with it is that the supervisor is tasked with manually filling the form and submitting it to the supervising team lead. This assessment method also involves using paper which exposes confidential student information that might get misplaced.
In the National Teachers Colleges (NTCs) today, the case is different. With the advancement of technology in teaching and learning, the NTCs have digitized this form. The form is available on the Academic Management System (AMS), a cloud-based system designed to improve the management of academic programs and activities in learning institutions.
Each school practice supervisor has access to the system. The information required to access the school practice dashboard is one’s log in details and a student registration number. According to Patrick Tunya a lecturer at NTC Muni, the system is user-friendly and eases the submission and access to results. Compared to the manual assessment method, information is filled into the digitized School Practice (SP) form and shared instantly with the concerned Officer using the Academic Management System. To Patrick, the System has reduced the load of papers and files carried to the field because using the system only requires an internet connection and an electronic gadget like a smart phone, tablet or laptop.
Kakuru Missaki a student at NTC Muni celebrates the system for the assurance it provided him during his final teaching practice. He said, “I am confident because the information gathered during my sessions in the classroom was fed into a computer and instantly shared with SP Officers and Kyambogo University”. For Missaki, completing his course successfully was an assured deal because he was certain of the safety of his marks.
Other users like Feni Alone the Academic Registrar at NTC Muni said that the system has simplified their work. He said that he no longer grades students manually. With the digitized SP form, marks are generated automatically by the various supervisors. He added that the college plans to include the Academic Management System in next year’s budget because it saves time and secures students marks.
The School Practice dashboard is part of the Academic Management System which was created in 2021 to improve human resource management, ease school practice assessments and promote e-learning in the National Teachers' Colleges.