Presentation on theme: "Towards a renewed student internship in Ghana’s polytechnics: Through collaborative curriculum design in design teams."— Presentation transcript:
Towards a renewed student internship in Ghana’s polytechnics: Through collaborative curriculum design in design teams
OVERVIEW OF THE STUDY Background to the study Context of the study Focus of the study Aim of the study Intervention: CCD in design teams Main guidelines for design of student internship curriculum Methods Results Conclusion Recommendation
Background to the study The role of teachers in curriculum development cannot be overemphasised. Failure of educational reforms because teachers were not involved at the commencement. Teachers are better positioned to understand when and how subject matter should be taught. In this time and age the quality of tertiary graduates has become a subject of public discussion, it is imperative to involve other stakeholders in the curriculum development in order to forestall the product(s) being perceived as imposition by other stakeholders e.g. industry personnel, and thereby lacks credibility during implementation. Thus stakeholders collaborative planning where needs and interests of stakeholders are elicited become paramount.
Context of the study Internship in the hospitality management sector in Ghana’s polytechnics revealed that polytechnic- industry collaboration needs to be strengthened. Students fail to meet the required internship period of six months. Some students fail to embark on internship at all due to limited number of placements. Interns need to have experience in all sections of the hospitality industry. The need was expressed by the various stakeholders to design curriculum materials to guide student internships.
Focus of the study The study sought to determine the effect of CCD in design teams on improved curriculum materials for the renewed student internship. The main research question was Does collaborative curriculum design in design teams contribute to an improved curriculum for student internship?
The following sub-questions were formulated for the study: 1.How did teachers perceive working in design teams to improve the student internship curriculum? 2.How satisfied were the stakeholders; polytechnic, teachers, students, and industry, with the realisation of the renewed student internship? 3.Has the use of the curriculum materials, designed according to the guidelines, improved students’ internship practices and competencies?
Aim of the Study The study aimed at exploring the effect of teachers’ collaborative design of curriculum materials on student internship which was implemented during 2009 student internship in hospitals and hotels in Ghana.
Intervention: CCD in design teams Workshops were organised for stakeholders on the challenges identified in the context and needs study and possible solutions to the challenges from stakeholders with the view of improving student internship. Two teams of teachers were formed to collaboratively design curriculum materials for student internship. Each team consisted of four teachers. One team developed material for food production and food and beverage and the other material for accommodation and front office operation. The design of the curriculum materials took about eight weeks.
The curriculum materials had the following components: objectives of student internship, content description of the four core areas of the hospitality industry, practical activities the students had to conduct during internship, job rotation during internship, assessment and student supervision from teachers and industry.
Main Guidelines for Design of Student Internship Curriculum The length of time for internship, need for job rotation, support in achieving the expected objectives set by interns, installing industry supervision, and effective cooperation of supervisors with interns.
Methods The study is a single-case design in the context of the polytechnic and the case is Department of HCIM with teachers, students and industry as units of analysis. Participants: 8 teachers participated in two design teams, 66 students, Industrial liaison officer, 15 industry representatives comprising 11 hotels and 4 hospitals Research instruments: Two sets of questionnaires were administered to students. The first was administered immediately after the workshops The second questionnaire, similar to the first, was administered immediately after internship five months later.
Question items predominantly on a five-point Likert scale using responses graded: 1 strongly disagree to 5 strongly agree to determine the level of agreement to statements. Statements centred on stakeholders’ participation in internship, students’ assessment of industry contribution during internship, assessment of student competencies after internship and duration. Two sets of questionnaires were administered to teachers. The first was immediately after the workshops. The rationale was to elicit background information on teacher experience in curriculum activities. The second after internship 5 months later. Teacher instruments focused on assessment of internship, support for design teams, satisfaction involvement of stakeholders, teachers’ internship role, problems encountered, assessment criteria, type of training students experienced, competencies acquired during design teams sessions, and change of teacher perceptions about design teams.
The industrial liaison officer was interviewed after the 2009 internship concerning his role, contribution to the internship, role expectations of other polytechnic groupings regarding organisation of internship, challenges facing the unit and suggestions for improvement. Questionnaire to industry personnel (hotel industry and hospitals) centred on formalisation of links between polytechnic and industry, active involvement of teachers in student internship, teacher and industry supervision, students’ assessment, students’ performance, description of training given to students, departments served by student(s) and the impact of curriculum materials on student internship.
Checklist was used to collect data during students’ visits by the researcher in organisations. The purpose was to know at first-hand the state of interns and to interact with personnel of organisations concerning interns’ general behaviour. Student assigned role, industry training, working environment, industry supervision, teacher supervision, competencies expected and competencies achieved were the indices being investigated.
Data were analysed qualitatively and quantitatively. Data from questionnaires were analysed using SPSS. Non-parametric tests were used to determine differences in teacher perceptions (Wilcoxon) before and after intervention differences between competencies of students trained and untrained (Mann-Whitney U). The Kruskal-Wallis test and descriptives were used to determine differences expressed in views by stakeholders regarding their level of participation in student internship. ILO’s responses in the interview were audio taped, transcribed and major themes identified. Data from checklist was analysed qualitatively by use of percentages to identify the major themes
Results Generally, teachers admitted that professional commitment, healthy interpersonal relationship, mutual respect and participative decision making were virtues that were promoted in design teams’ activities. Teachers’ perceptions about CCD were very positive, and did not change significantly over the period of the study. With the support from industry and students, design teams’ activities led to the design of the curriculum materials which were used in the 2009 student internship.
The involvement of polytechnic, teachers and industry regarding student internship needed to be invigorated. The link between the polytechnic and industry was not formalised and link could be described as episodic. However, industry’s contribution to interns’ training and students’ conduct were commendable. The curriculum materials were a source of guide to both students and industry. Teachers’ inactive involvement in the internship was due to the polytechnic’s inability to provide for the required resources to complement the effort of industry. Students and industry personnel were satisfied with the job performance of students but teachers were not.
The internship was perceived by the interns to be beneficial and the acquisition of competencies in the four main domains of the hospitality industry by interns was significant. The first year students improved remarkably in their competencies in food and beverage and accommodation operation whereas the second year students in front office operation. Unlike other departments in the hospitality industry, the most restrictive department to interns, particularly the first year students, was the front office.
Conclusion The teachers having collaborated over a period of 8 weeks were positive about the CCD in design teams which resulted in marginal improvement in their collaborative skills as expressed in professional commitment, interdependence, mutual respect, health interpersonal relationship and participative decision making. The study also unearthed that involvement of polytechnic, teachers and industry regarding student internship needed to be rejuvenated. The link between the polytechnic and industry was not formalised and link could be described as weak. Industry’s contribution to interns’ training and interns’ conduct during the 2009 internship were commendable. The curriculum materials were a source of guide to both students and industry. Teachers’ inactive involvement in the internship was due to the polytechnic’s inability to provide for the required resources to complement the effort of industry. There were also some considerable improvements in internship practices. The students improved considerably in their competencies in the 4 core domains of the hospitality industry
Recommendation For student internship to achieve its intended purpose of equipping interns with the requisite skills for industry, the key stakeholders (students, teachers and industry personnel) should work collaboratively at the various stages of the internship.