A study on the observation and practical teaching session in the Certificate in Pre-school Education Programme

P L Niroshami Randima Rajapaksha
The Open University of Sri Lanka
Nawala, Sri Lanka

The Certificate in Pre-school Education (CPE) offered by the Department of Early Childhood and Primary Education in the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) is a professional programme for students who are interested in early childhood education. This study attempts to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the five-day training sessions on observation and practical teaching which have been newly introduced into the programme. The total population for this study was the students registered in the year 20112012; and stratified random sampling was used to select 189 student teachers who used Sinhala, English and Tamil as their language medium. A questionnaire was mailed to the 189 students, and interviews were held with 37 of them. The study identified several strengths of the observation session, which helped students to understand pre-school childrens' behaviour and how to interact with them, and to develop observation skills. The training session supported the development of skills related to teaching and learning, such as planning lessons, conducting activities, preparing teaching aids and interacting with children. However, some weaknesses were identified, especially among the Tamil-medium students. The study makes some suggestions for minimize these weaknesses, and recommends that further research should be conducted on these new sessions in all language mediums to enhance their quality.