Using Distance Education to Improve Teaching in Namibia: Teachers' Views on an Inservice Training Program.
Teacher education in Namibia is likely to involve more participants and more expenditure in the future. Analysis of the substance and character of teacher education programs as seen by the teachers are very important for the public. This study is a compilation of the thoughts of almost 70 teachers enrolled in a distance teacher education program. Their views are captured in conversations, observations, interviews and on questionnaires. Voice is an important aspect of the study, for both content and tone. The actual words of teachers have been quoted directly and at leng·h, so that they may speak for themselves, as they are seldom able to do in many official documents. In an analysis of data certain aspects were closely analyzed to draw some conclusions. Teachers, almost without exception speak of the value of learning from other teachers in their study groups and gaining new insights and understanding of learner-centred approaches from attending face-to-face tutoring sessions. They also speak consistently about the opportunity the program provides for learning and sharing experience with other teachers. Of much concern to them are: study materials, support and encouragement from their school principals, critical evaluations and feedback from program administrators, the duration of the program and chances for further education. For me, the study has served as an insight into this reform effort and has led to a series of deeper questions about how teachers respond to initiatives designed to affect teaching practice.