3 How will you plan to use the selected TESSA materials in your context? [Course design]

Consideration of the complexities of your local circumstances and needs is important in establishing appropriate conditions to support the effective use of TESSA materials.

A first step is considering how to introduce the TESSA materials to your colleagues and achieve their buy-in. Achieving buy-in from your colleagues to the use of TESSA materials needs extensive discussion on repeated occasions. Colleagues need background information on the project and TESSA principles and time to explore the materials.

TESSA Snapshot

At the Kigali Institute of Education in Rwanda, all lecturers have access to a laptop but internet connectivity is not good. The Rev James Rutebuka, the Head of Primary Teacher Education and the TESSA coordinator, has organised CDs of all the TESSA materials (in both English and French) for all lecturers. He negotiated with the Institute senior management to use some Wednesday afternoon professional development/research sessions to introduce TESSA. In the following sessions, colleagues collectively explored different TESSA modules from the CDs.

The next step is to consider the format of use of the TESSA materials, how teachers’ use of the TESSA materials will be supported and how you might assess this use. This will depend on a number of factors:

  1. The purpose and intended learning outcomes of your programme or course.
  2. The number of teachers on your programme and its format (on – campus, distance learning etc).
  3. Access to technology; internet and computers.
  4. Support: the number and frequency of contact sessions and the expertise of tutors/ supervisors/ mentors.

Across the TESSA consortium we have seen three different types of use of the TESSA materials – highly structured, loosely structured and guided use. (See Table 3). This list is not exhaustive but merely illustrative of the way in which the flexible nature of the materials enables effective use in a wide range of contexts and for different purposes.

Table 4 Different types of use of TESSA materials
Form of use of TESSA materials Highly structured Loosely structured Guided use
CharacteristicsSelection of a set of TESSA activities for all student teachers to carry outLecturers select appropriate TESSA activities for their own courseDesignated time for student teachers to select TESSA activities
Teacher access to TESSA materials New teacher books which include several TESSA sections Website and printed TESSA sections Website or CDs
ExampleNational Teachers’ Institute (NTI) (Nigeria); Open University of Sudan (OUS) University of Education, Winneba (UEW) (Ghana); Egerton University (Kenya) University of Pretoria (UoP) (South Africa) Our Lady of Apostles (OLA) College (Ghana)

The following TESSA snapshots show in more details the use of TESSA materials in different contexts:

Teachers on B Ed courses at the University of Pretoria (South Africa) are required to select TESSA materials from the TESSA website to use during their teaching practice. The teachers’ use of TESSA is mentioned in the letter from the University to the school mentor encouraging schools to also look at the TESSA materials. Teachers on the programme are required to include materials from their use of TESSA, including their registration on the TESSA website, in their portfolios. They are also required to discuss their experiences during group reflections and to give a written, structured reflection at the end of the practicum.

At the Open University of Sudan, academics have undertaken a comprehensive mapping exercise with the TESSA materials against both the teacher training curriculum and the school pupil curriculum to pull together a book of TESSA activities in Arabic. Many of their teachers are located in rural areas with little chance of access to the internet or regular support from institution staff. However, distribution channels for hard copy materials are well established. This book will be used by all teachers in the third and final teaching practice of their B Ed. In 2009, the cohort numbers 53,000. In Sudan, as in many countries across pagination layout-hint="pagebreak"the world, the pupil curriculum is highly controlled and fixed, but by careful linking of the TESSA activities with the school curriculum, TESSA materials can be used ‘without alienating headteachers’.

Prof Sinada,

Open University of Sudan, 2009

In Tanzania the 500 teachers on the new Diploma in Primary Teacher Education are given CDs containing all the TESSA materials in English and Kiswahili. However, not all teachers have access to a computer outside the study centre. A small selection of TESSA materials is printed to use during the face-to-face sessions. A small number of complete sets of TESSA materials is sent to regional centres for reference. (Printing costs prohibit more extensive use of printed materials.)

At the University of Fort Hare, TESSA materials are stored on the University intranet. Teachers across the university campus can access the TESSA materials without going onto the internet

Teachers studying for a diploma through distance mode with the Kyambogo University in Uganda regularly visit their local Teachers’ College for support sessions. Few of these colleges have internet access or many computers. These teachers have print copies of a small number of TESSA sections, chosen by their lecturers, to link to specific topics.

You might want to support your teachers in finding local resources by developing a ‘resource room or area’ in your institution or study centres. Teachers could borrow materials for use in their classes and share materials that they develop. Teachers could be encouraged to put together a resource corner or cupboard in their school or classroom.

TESSA Snapshot

In Kenya, teachers in the third year of the B Ed (primary) programme at Egerton University are required to complete a project in their schools. Teachers are using the TESSA materials as a starting point for their projects. Each student teacher has been given a CD of the TESSA materials. Materials developed by teachers include a weather station, a food display and weighing scales.

2 Which TESSA materials are suitable for your teachers? [Curriculum mapping]

4 How can you adapt the TESSA materials for your context without losing their essence? [Materials adaptation]