Marymount Teachers College To Utilize Natural Resources in Teacher Education Innovation

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Sharon Chigeza

MUTARE- A student who graduated with a distinction in teaching practice last week at Marymount Teachers College, Takudzwa Mushaike, said the incorporation of indigenous languages in the curriculum will go a long way in helping teachers tackle and solve problems they come across in the classroom setup.
“Early childhood development is all about moulding and interacting with the learners. In order for a teacher to be able to fully understand the psycho-social support to be rendered to a particular child, we first and foremost have to be able to connect with the child in every aspect of their life. I should be able to understand the child’s primary language and socio-economic way of life back home to grasp and understanding of their developmental challenges,” she said.
Marymount Teachers College is incorporating the Ndau language as part of its curriculum in line with Government policy of having official languages being taught and examined at school.
Mushaike said the idea of industrialising teacher education was a step in the right direction for student teachers as well as professionals as this would in turn provide a widened and platform for interaction between guardians, learner and teacher.
“Back in the day, teachers were held in high esteem in the communities they served and this had a positive outcome on children’s performances in school as well. The starting up of local industries or projects by schools and colleges, not only provides innovative solutions to the socio-economic problems in the community, but also provides teachers and parents with informal platforms to interact on an almost daily basis helping foster and shape behaviour changes in the children outside the classroom setup.
“Consultations days have been highly formalised and at times the parents and teacher fail to have an appreciation of the different perspectives they have with regards to a child’s development as such interactions occur almost once or twice a year, with some guardians failing to make it as such occasions,” she added.
St the graduation ceremony, the College was challenged to fully utilise the readily available resources at its disposal to aid in income generating projects as well as service the communities around them in line with education 5.0.
Student teachers have been encouraged to interact with the communities they serve, through innovative start-ups that relate to their community they train in, in order for them to be able to tackle social problems, and critically find solutions to such outside the classroom setup with their learners.
In a speech read on his behalf by University of Zimbabwe (UZ), Dean of Education, Professor Oswell Hapanyengwi, UZ, Vice Chancellor, Professor Paul Mapfumo urged the institution to create partnerships with relevant businesses and stakeholders to help the institution grow.
“This part of the country is rich in timber and fruits. The college needs to seriously think around utilising readily available resources. Forestry related industries such as saw mills and furniture manufacturing would certainly do well for Marymount. This is where you want to go into partnerships with those well established and willing companies.
“Similarly, the college should find means and ways of servicing local communities. Your student teachers should not wait until they go on work related attachment for them to interact with communities,” he said.
However, Marymount Teacher’s College has made inroads in adopting education for sustainable development projects inculcating twenty first century competencies in line with the heritage based education thrust seeing to the establishment of a honey making project.
Officiating at the teacher’s college graduation ceremony recently, MMTC principal, Petty Silitshena said the college adopted the change project under the belief that sustainability begins with the teacher whose knowledge and skill will have ripple effects on the communities surrounding them.
“We adopted this change project because we sincerely believe that sustainability starts with the teacher, whose knowledge and skills will have a ripple effect in the various communities where they are domiciled. Furthermore we have teamed up with local agencies like Forestry Commission which assisted us in the realisation of our set goals and objectives one of which is the beehive project which the Forestry Commission wrought into existence through the donation of 50 beehives. To date 18 of them have been colonised and we expect to harvest honey soon” she said.

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