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‘It will make me a real teacher’: Learning experiences of part time PGCE students in South Africa

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International Journal of Educational Development Volume 33, Number 5, ISSN 0738-0593 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


The province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa has a recent estimate of 8000 unqualified and under-qualified teachers. Some of these teachers have an undergraduate degree, but do not have a professional qualification. In order to become professionally qualified, teachers with a degree must complete a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), which is traditionally a programme offered to fulltime ‘pre-service’ student teachers. However, part-time students have already been teaching in schools for some years and thus are in fact ‘in-service’ teachers. They have already gained professional practical knowledge through learning on-the-job. The study aimed to investigate what kind of knowledge they had learnt through experience and how this knowledge changes as a result of their formal learning on the PGCE. The study interviewed twenty part time PGCE students who are already practicing teachers about the kind of professional knowledge they acquired through the formal programme and their perceptions of how their practice changed as a result of this learning. Most of the respondents said that they had changed their teaching practice as a result of studying for the PGCE and that pedagogical knowledge about assessment, classroom management and lesson structuring strategies were deemed to be most important. More than half reported that the programme had developed their confidence as a result of both developing personal competence and through becoming a ‘real’ teacher by dint of achieving professional status. This points to the importance of offering teachers with a degree the opportunity to become professionally qualified through a flexibly offered programme.


Bertram, C., Mthiyane, N. & Mukeredzi, T. (2013). ‘It will make me a real teacher’: Learning experiences of part time PGCE students in South Africa. International Journal of Educational Development, 33(5), 448-456. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved July 16, 2019 from .

This record was imported from International Journal of Educational Development on March 1, 2019. International Journal of Educational Development is a publication of Elsevier.

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