This paper argues that, although there is a worldwide move from face-to-face to distance
education (DE) and open educational resources (OER) in teacher education, there is
no guarantee that DE is able to lead to the development of appropriate teaching skills
in student teachers. In the wake of the introduction of DE in teacher education at the
Mauritius Institute of Education (MIE), a group of teacher educators at MIE have been
questioning their own approaches to the teaching and learning process of teacher
education. This questioning has encouraged them to revisit their own practices through
the adoption of the problem-based learning (PBL) approach to deliver a module in
an initial teacher education course. During the implementation of the PBL process,
emphasis has been placed on the development of skills and the transformation of
students from passive learners to active participants in their own learning. The teacher
educators have investigated the implementation of PBL in their teaching through an
action-research (AR) project. The research revealed that, when implemented using a
face-to-face approach and cooperative learning, PBL was an effective tool in developing
meaningful learning among student teachers. The researchers came to the conclusion
that DE could have a role to play in the delivery of the theoretical component of teacher
education. However, for the development of teaching skills, face-to-face sessions and
PBL should be used as an effective tool to help student teachers acquire certain skills
and hence help them become more efficient in their future role as teachers.
Proceedings of the 6th biennial International Conference on Distance Education and
Teachers’ Training in Africa (DETA) held at the Mauritius Institute of Education, Réduit, Mauritius, 20-24 July 2015.
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