Research profile: Stackus Okwaput
Phd candidate Stackus Okwaput have been doing research on teacher training and inclusion in Uganda
Stackus Okwaput. Photo: UiO
What has been the topic of your phd project?
– My PhD work is about the training of teachers for implementing inclusion in Uganda. The focus is on how pre-service teacher trainees are prepared in order to develop their competencies for fostering communicative interaction in inclusive classrooms
How was your research conducted?
– I used interviews, focus group discussions, field observations and document studies as methods of data collection.
What have you found?
– The main finding is that the pre-service teacher education curriculum in Uganda is not well suited to enable trainees to develop competencies for fostering communicative interaction in inclusive classrooms. The subject content provided is insufficient, and the skills oriented provisions are not implemented in a way that might enable trainees to develop skills for performing the above role.
Why is this research important?
– Inclusion is now advocated for world wide. One of the basic parameters of inclusion is that children in inclusive classrooms should be able to interact with one another. In order to achieve this, therefore, teachers should have the competencies necessary for supporting children in that aspect. This study, therefore, contributes knowledge that may be used in order to enhance inclusion in Uganda.
What motivated you to conduct your research?
– In line with the international trends, Uganda has adopted the policy of inclusion. Teacher education for special needs education was launched in 1997 to facilitate the implementation if this process. Given that communicative interaction is important in inclusion, I was motivated to find out how trainees in Uganda are prepared in order to develop competencies for fostering this aspect in inclusive classrooms.
Where did you get your ideas and approaches to problems from?
– I had used qualitative research methods in my MPhil before. My previous experience in this approach was central in deciding what methods to use. In addition, literature, the supervisors, meetings with fellow PhD colleagues at UiO and seminars helped to shape my ideas about how to conduct the study.
What are the main challenges for your research field in the years to come?
– The main challenge is the dynamic nature of the concept of inclusion. I am not certain whether the current definition of inclusion as used in my thesis will remain as it is and whether the aspect of ‘interaction’ will continue to be a central issue in this provision. Teacher education programs in the South tend to focus there interests to subjects which they consider to be ‘marketable’.