Sustaining and Scaling Pedagogic Innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Grounded Insights for Teacher Professional Development
Developing sustainable and scalable educational initiatives is a key challenge in low-income countries where donor-funded short-term projects are limited by both contextual factors and programme design. In this concept paper we examine some of the issues related to in-service teacher development in the context of sub-Saharan Africa, grounded predominantly in our experiences of over 5 years of iteratively developing, refining and evaluating an intensive school-based professional learning programme for primary school teachers. “OER4Schools” integrates interactive pedagogy, Open Educational Resources (OER) and use of mobile devices (where available). The focus of this paper is on identifying what the main factors are perceived to be in sustaining and scaling up such a programme, from the perspectives of participating teachers, workshop facilitators and the research team. Synthesising our previous research and drawing on recent work in the field, we identify the key characteristics of effective and sustainable professional learning in low-resourced contexts. Such characteristics include effective peer facilitation, school-based active learning, explicit programme structure, appropriate scheduling and resourcing, and mitigating resource constraints through use of OER. Our conclusions thereby offer insights concerning the importance and impact of wider influences on participation and engagement of stakeholders and lead to recommendations for programme design and implementation, that should be taken on board by future initiatives.
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