The Future of Science Teacher Education in Tonga
The purpose of this research was to explore and document existing policy and practices contributing to the debate of science teacher education in the Pacific. The study took on a pragmatic approach for a mixed research, drawing from the positives of both the qualitative and the quantitative approaches using the kakala/kakala research frameworks guiding the methodological framework. Being a mixed research, the data collection method involved three elements: one-on-one semi-structured interviews with senior Tongan education officials, document analysis and a teacher questionnaire targeting science teachers. All the interviews were conducted in English and recorded using a digital recording device and transcribed by myself as the researcher. All the science teachers who participated in the questionnaire returned a signed consent form to confirm willingness to participate maintaining anonymity. In order to answer the research question, the study examined the significance of the fibre (fau)used in the kakala weaving process, extracting from the Kakala/Kakala research frameworks the metaphoric conceptual relevance of the fibre (fau) which holds the kakala providing it structural support. Hence the conceptualisation that, the three strands of fibre that holds and maintains the education system in Tonga can be attributed to; (i) strong cultural values, (ii) a clear and definitive education policy framework (Catherwood & Levine, 2004), and high teacher self-efficacy. The self-efficacy of Tongan science teachers is measured for the first time and reported in this study as high to very high on a Likert-type psychometric scale adapted from (Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2009) to fit the Tongan context. The study also discusses challenges and teacher perceptions of being a science teacher in Tonga and the implications these challenges might pose in future.