Source: Teaching and Teacher Education 51 (2015) 38-46
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study examined how primary school teachers were trained to teach early reading and mathematics in six Sub-Saharan African countries (Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda).
The authors selected four teacher training colleges in each country on a geographical basis (rural, urban and peri-urban) and in Tanzania one of the four colleges was also selected to represent the increasing numbers of private teacher training colleges. They also selected six schools in each host district of the participating colleges, specifically where newly qualified teachers (NQTs) were employed.
The authors videoed observations of lessons in reading and mathematics taught by the NQTs.
The authors then interviewed 39 beginning teachers to stimulate discussion around the knowledge, understanding and specific practices the NQTs used in their teaching, and how and from where this specific knowledge base or competences was derived.
The authors found that Tanzanian primary teachers were most inclusive.
They found that newly-qualified teachers saw various explanations for their learners' difficulties.
It was found that the participants had positive overall attitudes towards their learners.
These positive feelings seemed to include all, with little evidence of teachers potentially marginalizing learners through low expectations of their ability to learn.
The data also demonstrate that the current structure of schooling could however provide more support for inclusive pedagogy.
The data reveal that some lessons are repeated during school hours and some children are taught after hours to catch up. The authors argue that this form of differentiation may be more flexible, and less likely to trigger a child dropping out of school than repeating a grade, but raises the issue of who is allowed to stay behind as some children might be needed at home (girls) or to work outside the home (boys).
The authors conclude that despite the constraints of class size and curriculum, the findings show that these Tanzanian NQTs are willing and able to learn how to teach inclusively.