Reflection on the Practicum Process
As a student of Future Generation Graduate School, Cohort 2017, I have attended series of practicum courses, identified a problem, design and plan the research, selected methods and tools of data collection, came up with findings, and produced a report. The report at each level is shared on Mahara and it was enriched through a good deal of inputs from all viewers. Details of the practicum process is as follows.
Series of Practicum courses: The practicum work started by attending series of relevant courses throughout the four semester of the graduate program. The courses are PRC 681: Practicum design and planning; PRC 604: Research methods; PRC 682: practicum implementation; and PRC 683: Synthesis and Integration. At the end of each course a particular product was required and gets a go ahead by the relevant course teacher before it is posted to Mahara. Being built on these foundations, this writer has been able to identify his practicum problem, wrote statements of the problem, developed the underlined theory of change (UTC), selected the research methods and developed tools for data collection, and went on for data collection.
Review of literature: In the light of the problem, this writer consulted various local documentations and relevant publications. Among others, the reports of the local education offices, the Education for All 2015 report for Ethiopia, and other relevant publications such as journals, education reviews and research reports were consulted. Most of these publications were secured from the JStore on Moodle for the fact that access to similar publications in my place of work was not possible. May be for the future, the Future Generation Graduate School/University of the World/ need to create partnership with selected Universities in the country, hence access to latest research products to students will be possible.
Field data collection: First of all, the data collection tools were piloted in two nearby schools to Adola town and reviewed. The data collection tools were printed questionnaire for teachers, school directors and members of Parent Teachers Association (PTAs), separate focused group discussion (FGD) guides for students and parents, and interview checklist for local education officials. The field work commenced after training two enumerators: Mr. Meseret Beyene for Adola Rede Woreda/District and Mr. Wako Roba for Gorodola Woreda/District. As per plan, data for this research were gathered from two districts in Guji zone, namely; Adola Redde and Goro Dola. From the two districts, six schools 30 % of the primary schools available were selected. These are Chenbe , keltageda, Odabuta and Samaro from Adola Rede and Goro Derara and Mucho from Gorordola District. Data sources from the schools community were 16 persons; 6 School Directors, 9 teachers, and 1 School management committee members selected purposefully depending on their professional qualification (5 diploma holders and 11 degree graduates), at least one year service in the schools, and willingness to give out information. Local education officials of the two Woredas, and a total of 200 students were used as data sources, 10 students selected per grades 5 to 8, and 40 per school. In some schools the number was not ten per grade. Moreover, 60 active parents were involved, 10 parents per school.
Report writing: Once the literature review is in place and data is secured then the report writing bit continued. To be honest, as long us much of the work has already been completed throughout the previous semesters, this time around the report writing was focusing on just few topics. Those are literature review, presentation and analysis of findings, and conclusion and recommendations. section. Uploading on Mahara: Along with the previous posts, the report consisting of the chapters mentioned above were posted on Mahara as part of this writers e-Portfolio. May be this writers e-Portfolio section, for some wired reason, can't accept pictures and video posts and hope with the help of IT people from the Future Generation Graduate school it would be possible to do so in the later days of the program.
As I have witnessed, the Future Generations Graduate School Practicum/research component is very innovative, comprehensive, meaningful and keep the learner free from last minutes anxiety. The very design to start the practicum course from day one helps the learner to think about it from the beginning and enriches his/her idea from various encounters with other courses as well. The learner has plenty of time to think over the problem, the theory of change, design the research, select methods and tools, and conduct it in the field. In the course of the program, with the support from various professors, fellow learners and through literature reviews the researcher has the chance to revise the work over and over again. The research work is nicely paced every semester so that the student will not feel stressed and rush at the eleventh hours. Also the posting on Mahara will bring inputs from all interested to read and provide. On my own progress, I have enjoyed all the above benefits of the program hence, I am confident to say that I have been able to contribute the work I displayed on Mahara. This work can be referred by any development partner who is interested to bring change in my community. I am also confident that donors to my organization, IIRR, will be willing to fund this work further and I will lead its implementation to create a model and share with others for scale. Finally, the support of many professors for this work needs to be acknowledged. From the start to the end, the support of Dr. Dan was remarkable, with a lot of persistent efforts he guided me well. In the middle, Dr. Jesse joined the team and he helped me move forward in the process. At all this stages, the support of my teacher and advisor Christie can't be acknowledged enough. She was a great help to me not only through her guidance technically but also through her relentless effort to encourage and keep me on track when I was lagging due to overflowing commitments in office and at home. At last, inputs and comments of my fellow student is worth recognition. Thank you all.