An investigation into the academic and research literacy practices of teacher education students in Luanda-Angola.

This study focuses on the academic and research literacy practices of final year teacher education students in one of the teacher training institutions henceforth TTI nr 200 in Luanda-Angola. The major purpose was to examine the teaching/ learning process especially with regard to the assessment procedures throughout the course work and the type of alignment between those assessment procedures and the final assessment which is the production of the final research report. The study is based on the postmodern qualitative paradigm. The researcher chose phenomenology as the main strategy for the research. The main assumption was that the best way of approaching the truth about a specific phenomenon is through exploring the experiences of the people involved in that phenomenon, in this case the academic and research literacy practices of teacher education students. To this end, the stories, experiences and voices of the participants constituted the medium through which we explored and understood the reality embedded in the teaching and learning of the trainee teachers’ academic and research skills. The research site was the teacher training institute, TTI nr 200 where teacher education students are being trained. Interviews were used as the main research instruments, together with questionnaires, classroom observation and textual analysis. Interviews provided rich and valid data that gave me solid material for building a significant analysis as participants’ views, feelings, and actions and revealed participants’ expectations (Charmaz, 2006:65). Purposive sampling was used to select both students and lecturers. Because of the participants’ heterogeneity and experiences, groups were selected on the basis of some defining characteristics that made them holders of the data needed for the study. Lecturers’ groups were divided into two groups, one comprising those who are teaching content subjects such as academic reading and writing, research methodology I and II), and those who are teaching general subjects. Students groups were divided into three groups composed of those who have successfully finished their studies, those who are writing their research proposals and those who failed to conclude their studies but still have a chance to do so. The Deputy Director of the Academic Affairs Department, DDAAD also took part in the study. In the words of Biggs, data revealed that the course components (the curriculum, the objectives, methods, the learning activities and the assessment procedures) that constitute the teaching and learning system are not yet aligned (Biggs, 1999). The type of assessment students have throughout the course is not preparing students the production of the research report. In other words there is no relationship between the ongoing assessment and the final assessment. It was found that most of the time students use rote learning to survive the difficulties faced during course work which helps them complete the four years of coursework but not produce the research report. Another finding from this study was that research supervision practices need to be reviewed as this is the area that constitutes the main hindrance to the students’ success in completing their research reports. The study ends up with conclusions and some recommendations.