4 How can you adapt the TESSA materials for your context without losing their essence? [Materials adaptation]
All the TESSA sections have specified learning outcomes which you should consider when adapting materials for your courses. In each section the activities are also organised in a particular sequence which scaffold the teacher towards the achievement of the learning outcomes in the final key activity. It is important to consider how the TESSA materials should be sequenced to best support the teachers’ learning and to enable teachers to make connections between ideas, strategies and subjects with space for their reflections on their experiences.
Using the first activity from a TESSA section will seldom – if ever – help teachers to achieve the section outcomes fully.
However, it is possible to design learning pathways and meet learning outcomes using extracts of TESSA sections in a sequence which provides a coherent learning journey for teachers. Similarly, teachers can design their own learning pathway including one or more TESSA activities or case studies in a sequence to achieve defined learning outcomes.
At the Open University of Tanzania, new study units have been constructed around sequences of TESSA activities with some adaptation. For example, the Mathematics Method Module study guide includes a section called ‘teaching different concepts in arithmetic’. Two of these concepts are ‘fractions’ and ‘time’. Each section has been developed around a number of TESSA materials to deliver the learning objectives. The fraction section comprises an introduction to teaching fractions, three activities from TESSA (without the case studies but with the relevant TESSA resources such as fraction strips, fraction discs and comparing fractions) to create a learning episode. In the ‘time’ section, one activity and case study from TESSA are used. In each case the introduction locates the activities and examples in the context of the Tanzanian primary school. Each of these sections develops teachers’ skills in building on pupils’ prior knowledge and using local resources in a coherent learning sequence.
Miss Cindy Makoe in South Africa used the TESSA materials as the basis for discussion work on ‘shared reading’ in her tutorials with her pre-service student teachers; linking the discussions to lessons they were teaching in schools. She encouraged her student teachers to practise their shared reading before their class. Cindy requested help from the class teachers in evaluating the student teachers’ lessons on an evaluation form; these were later discussed with the student teachers.
Access to TESSA Materials
The TESSA website offers many different versions of the TESSA materials contextualised for different environments. However, for many teachers and some teacher educators in Sub Saharan Africa, access to the internet is difficult.
Nonetheless, there are numerous alternative ways you can use to give teachers access to the TESSA materials:
- TESSA materials can be downloaded onto your college, university or institution intranet and accessed by teachers on campus.
- Through the use of CDs. The TESSA website offers a tool to enable you to easily create CDs for distribution to teachers on your programmes or courses.
- Through use of SD cards. TESSA materials can be downloaded onto an SD card and view on a mobile device - a mobile phone or a tablet computer.
- Through use of ‘datasticks’ or ‘flashdrives’. Again, the TESSA materials can be downloaded to these for distribution to teachers.
- TESSA materials can be printed (use the pdf version) from the TESSA website. You can print either individual sections or whole modules for distribution to teachers.
- Alternatively the Word file versions of the TESSA materials can be used, perhaps mixing the TESSA OERs with materials from other sources to create a workbook or course book unique to teachers on your programme.