Teacher competence and children's participation in kindergarten classes: a case of central division of Kampala.
Development of children's competences depends greatly on how they are involved in learning activities during the learning process. Different studies suggest that children, especially in low income countries like Uganda in many instances stay in class passively as teachers do all activities on their behalf. Children aged 3-5 years were found to show lack of participation during class time even when they were given materials to use. It was not clear whether this practice was by design or it was as a result of teacher competences. The purpose of the study was to find out why children participation in kindergarten classes is not satisfactory yet teachers are competent. The objectives of the study were; to discover the methodology teachers were using to promote children participation, to assess the role of teacher's content knowledge in promoting children participation and to find out the relationship between teacher competence and children participation. The study was conducted in Kampala Central Division among 395 respondents. The study used the cross-sectional survey using questionnaire, interview guide and observation protocol. Simple random sampling and Purposive sampling were used for the study. Quantitative data was entered into the computer using SPSS programme while qualitative data was analyzed using frequencies, percentages, correlations and cross tabulations. The main findings of the study were that teachers are competent enough to promote adequate participation in their classrooms. Children do not participate in class because of other factors such as pressure from parents on teaching reading, writing and arithmetic, lack of support from the administrators, lack of teaching aids to mention but a few. However, teachers need Professional Development to polish their teaching skills and methodology to have participation in their classrooms. Teachers have the qualifications needed to teach young children though they lack concrete knowledge on Participation. Kindergarten classes are dominated by academic work which includes written exercises in books and few hands on activities. In conclusion, the study observed that there is a weak relationship between teacher competence and children participation in Kindergarten classes. The study recommends that teachers need to modify their teaching methods in order to accommodate and promote children participation. The government should support building of solid structures and systems within and outside schools to encourage and support Professional Development. Parents should be educated on the benefits of children participation and active involvement during classroom time.