Beginning teaching : the recruitment, selection and expectations of trainee teachers in Tonga : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Education in Education at Massey University
It has been over a hundred years since schools were established in Tonga, yet the Tonga Teachers' College is only forty years old. Thus teacher training is still in its early stages of development. Although there has been little change within the college over this period, it is moving towards growth and development in both its academic and professional capacities. The following thesis discusses the implications of teacher recruitment, selection and training within an education system aimed at raising the quality of its standard of education. Before attempting to discuss teacher education in Tonga, the social, political and physical contexts within which education operates, must be considered. These conditions have moulded the present form of teacher education. After considering these factors in Chapter Two, Chapter Three reviews the history of the Tonga Teachers' College, in relationship to Tongan social history, its aims and objectives, curriculum content, professional development, student intake and staff appointment. This chapter includes a comparative study of teacher education in some South Pacific countries in which similarities and differences in teacher education programmes and developments are discussed. General trends and methods are highlighted when comparisons and contrasts are made with teacher education in Tonga. In Chapter Four, the researcher considers teacher recruitment in Tonga. The writer proposes that teacher recruitment should be treated as an innovative means of improving the qualities of teacher trainees. Viewed from this perspective, new developments may be quickly and effectively implemented. Vocational preferences of senior secondary school students are examined to determine whether these students place teaching highly in their career priorities. Case studies of secondary school students and untrained teachers are compiled to discover the criteria used for the recruitment and selection of teachers and to provide in-depth information about these groups, from which teacher trainees are recruited. Chapter Five contains a discussion or the expectations which teacher trainees place on their training programme, followed by consideration of the methods of training and then finally discusses evaluations made of the training programme. Case studies of second year students at the Teachers' College and. of probationary assistant teachers are used to elaborate on the extent to which some of these expectations may or may not have been realised. Chapter Six contains the writer's reflections on some problems encountered with procedures and method carried out during the research project. This is followed by a concluding commentary on the results of the study and recommendations, aimed at improving teacher education in Tonga, are made.