2.1 Getting to know the TESSA materials

TESSA provides resources for teachers to use in their own classroom to support active learning and improvements in learning. These materials have been written by teacher educators from different countries in sub-Saharan Africa and are designed to help teachers by:

  • developing their understanding of teaching and learning
  • encouraging them to think about their role in helping learners to learn
  • developing their understanding of how learners learn
  • exploring different ways of organising and working in the classroom.

The TESSA materials are Open Educational Resources (OER). This means they are free to be used by anyone either online, or downloaded and used offline/printed. They can be adapted, modified or integrated with other resources in any form.

The TESSA materials are organised into five curriculum areas (as shown in Table 1 below): Literacy, Numeracy, Science, Life Skills and Social Studies and the Arts. These have been linked to the revised Zambian school curriculum. Each curriculum area has three modules and each module has five sections or units. So altogether there are 75 sections.

There are five sections in Module 1 of Life Skills, and each section follows the same pattern. Table 1 shows the first section in the Personal Development module. The focus in all sections is on developing teachers’ understanding of teaching and learning and improving their classroom practice.

In the TESSA materials there are activities for teachers to do in their classrooms to help them develop their teaching skills. These activities can be used by student teachers during school experience in order to learn about teaching, or by lecturers to provide examples of classroom teaching. School-based activities link theory and practice and encourage teachers to think critically about what is happening in their classrooms.

The resources have been adapted to match local needs, culture and surroundings in a range of national contexts across sub-Saharan Africa and are available in four different languages (Arabic, English, French and Kiswahili).

Table 1: The five TESSA curriculum areas

Further details of the 75 sections are in the Summary Curriculum Framework on the TESSA website.

Key resources: Supporting all the TESSA sections is a series of Key Resources [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] , these provide support on cross-curricular issues such as ‘Working with large classes’ or ‘Using group work in your classroom’ and are referred to across all the module areas. The resources can be easily located on the TESSA website and are a very good starting point for your student teachers to engage with the project. We suggest you print out the Key Resources to take with you on your school visits. They are also very useful as a material for your seminars.

Audio resources: ‘Story Story’ short dramas: Enriching the TESSA text materials is a collection of audio resources. These can be found on the TESSA homepage under the audio resources button. The dramas show scenes in and around a local school involving teachers, learners, parents and other members of the community. For each drama, there are questions for the student teachers to consider and discuss –these are ideal for use in your seminars.

Tool 2: Introducing TESSA

2.2 Explaining a TESSA section