4.1 Introducing student teachers to the TESSA materials

The first step is to become familiar with the TESSA materials and TESSA pedagogy yourself as a lecturer and School Experience Supervisor. If you are not familiar, work through Tool 2 ‘Getting to know the TESSA materials' and Tool 3 ‘Active learning’.

When you are familiar with the resources you can introduce them to your student teachers. Student teachers should be using activities and case studies from the materials during their school experience. TESSA preparation should always involve student teachers experiencing the TESSA activities in a practical way before trying them out in classrooms with learners. This should include:

  • discussion
  • modelling/demonstration (video clips can be useful)
  • micro-teaching.

TESSA audio materials are ideal for stimulating discussion at seminars if the equipment (including speakers) is available. Each audio clip has a number of questions at the end for teachers to discuss. You can also download the scripts to use with your trainees – they could role play one or two of the scenes.

Encouraging your student teachers to use TESSA materials takes time and discussion of the strategies on repeated occasions. Students need time to explore the materials a small chunk at a time and time to discuss the strategies in the TESSA materials with you, the school staff and / with other students in a small group.

Activity 4.1: Active teaching methods – supporting student teachers

This activity suggests one way that you can introduce TESSA to your student teachers:

  1. Ask each student teacher to choose a lesson topic. This might be one they have already taught or one they may teach in the future.
  2. ask them to go to the TESSA website [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] , find and study the materials that are relevant for the lesson topic. (Note: TESSA is not a guide to the whole curriculum, so your student teachers might not immediately find the topic in the TESSA materials. They may need to think about what comes before or after the topic or the teaching strategies they are using.)
  3. let each student present their findings on how to integrate these materials into the lesson planning to other students
  4. if possible, let the students put their ideas into practice through microteaching or in school
  5. ask questions to help them reflect on the outcomes (for this last step you might find it helpful to look at some of the ideas about reflection in Tool 12: Being a reflective practitioner)

Case Study 1 and Case Study 2 show other School Experience Supervisors approached this introduction and followed it up to provide support to the student teachers (Case study 1) and help to develop a high level of competence within a learning and teaching strategy (Case study 2).

The TESSA website hosts all the TESSA materials. However, for many student teachers access to the internet is difficult. The TESSA OER can be downloaded on to a Smart phone. Consider allowing your students to use the college WiFi (if you have it) to do this. There are other ways in which you can help teachers to have access to them:


  • through the use of CDs. Increasingly teachers can find a computer, laptop or notebook with a CD-ROM drive
  • through use of memory sticks or flash drives. Again, the TESSA materials can be downloaded to these for distribution to student teachers.

In print:

  • 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 student teachers.

Case study 4.1: Supporting integration of ideas into the classroom teaching

In one TESSA project, student teachers and supervisors were introduced to the materials at a one-day workshop at a Study Centre, before using them in their classrooms. A senior teacher educator led this orientation workshop. First, the supervisors were briefed on the TESSA materials and the expected outcomes of the workshop. Then the student teachers were introduced to the TESSA materials, schedule of activities and the expected outcomes of the workshop. Key elements were sample lessons using the new classroom activities, extensive discussion time, choosing the TESSA sections to use, and agreeing when to use the activities.

Some of the mathematics and science teachers were anxious to know how to use stories and games in teaching. The audio drama piece ‘the Maths Game’ from the TESSA materials was used as an example to demonstrate how games can be used in teaching mathematics, and the teachers read Numeracy Module 1 Section 1 and Science Module 2 Section 1 materials and their supporting resources. They discussed in groups how they would use them in their classrooms. They each selected the approach that was the closest to the contents of their future lessons and promised to incorporate a game in the lesson and to report back at the next seminar where their experience would be discussed with their peers and their School Experience Supervisors.

Case study 4.2: Student teachers using the materials to develop one competence

During a seminar, School Experience Supervisor Jonas set an activity for his group of student teachers. While the group was carrying out the activity, he withdrew student teachers from the group in pairs to discuss which strategy they were going to develop over the next 3–4 weeks. He thought that students working in pairs might support one another while trying new strategies. He asked the students to develop using the new techniques in a curriculum area they were comfortable with to maximise the chance of success. He paired Aisha with Grace, who had both chosen literacy, because he thought their knowledge of their mother tongue and English was strong. Jonas had the 3.2 Active teaching and learning methods table ready on his laptop. He scanned it quickly to determine which teaching strategies Aisha and Grace could use. The students both agreed to select the use of songs, poems and storytelling. Jonas asked them to do some research in the TESSA materials on these methods so that at the next seminar, they could firm up their plans.

During the following week, Aisha and Grace had both read the Key Resource ‘Using storytelling in the classroom’. After a brief discussion, they agreed that their learners had difficulties in pronouncing some English sounds and that they would use the activity in Literacy Module 1 Section 1 ‘Supporting and assessing reading and writing on using songs and rhymes’ to make the link between written and spoken phonemes. Aisha also liked the idea of the big print copy of songs and volunteered to make a few for her class, which she would use at the end of the lesson for relaxation (as suggested by the Key Resource), but also to reinforce sound patterns. She thought she might try this three times during the week and share her experiences with Grace by SMS or calling her. It was also agreed she would report back to the whole group at the following seminar and then decide on her next action.

In the next seminar, Aisha reported that the big print copy was a great success with the whole class. The learners had enjoyed it and made some progress in the recognition and pronunciation of the selected sounds. Grace and Aisha decided to produce a big book each, Aisha in Science and Grace in Mathematics, which they would swap after using them with their learners.

You can use the TESSA materials in a range of different contexts and for a variety of purposes. They are flexible materials from which you can pick and choose or mix and match depending on your student teachers’ needs and those of the learners in the coordinating school.

Activity 4.2: Possible uses of the TESSA materials

In this activity you are going to collect ideas on how TESSA materials are used in different settings and prepare for using TESSA materials yourself.

Part 1

Consider Case Studies 1 and 2 which show how different School Experience Supervisors in different settings have used the TESSA materials to enhance their work and that of their student teachers.

Part 2

Make a list of the different ways of using the TESSA materials as shown in the Case Studies.

Part 3

Select one way of using the TESSA materials you are going to try.

  • which use of the materials have you selected?
  • why are you going to use it?
  • how will you use it?
  • what results are you expecting?
  • how will you know if you are successful?

Case study 4.3: Teaching Practice Supervisor for distance learning programme with in-service teachers

Mr Simoonga is a supervisor for a distance education teacher training programme and wants his teachers to see that learning does not always involve the teacher talking at the front of the classroom, but that different ways of doing things are better. He had been introduced to the TESSA materials at a workshop and thought the case studies provided lively scenes of different ideas for classroom organisation and different learning and teaching methods. He reflected on how best to enable his teachers to gain some familiarity with these different methods and decided on a focused approach. At one of the regular seminars for the upgrading programme, he told his teachers that in preparing for a seminar in two weeks’ time, he expected them to have done some research using the TESSA website on how using real items in the classroom could make learning more meaningful. To support his teachers, he gave them a copy of the instructions on how to access the website, copied from this Toolkit and a copy of the Key Resource ‘Using Local Materials’.

At the next seminar, he structured the discussion around what they had discovered, how they could implement the ideas in their own teaching, the sort of support they would need to seek from their colleagues at school, and what they would need to do to try one of the activities they had read about. The teachers decided they would all try one of the ideas in the next fortnight and report back and discuss their experience with their peers and their supervisor at the following fortnightly seminar. The discussion at that seminar was lively, the teachers shared their difficulties and their successes, the supervisor made sure he held back a little, listening carefully and interjecting with questions that forced teachers to explore the reasons for success (or otherwise) and that invited them to reflect on what they might do to improve on and increase their experience.

Mr Simoonga decided that he would try to lead the workshops using active pedagogy methods to model good practice to his student teachers. He also decided it would be useful to see how TESSA supported teachers in developing and scaffolding discussion. He looked up the Key Resources on Group Work and emulated the advice in his seminar.

Case study 4.4: College lecturer working on a pre-service teacher course

Miss Siame is a mathematics education lecturer at a College of Education. She really enjoys teaching theory to her students but has realised they find her lectures dull and do not always relate her lectures to what happens in the classroom. She looked for ideas to make her course more practical and came across TESSA materials which she used to investigate further. She read and annotated the materials for herself and worked out how she could use them. The case studies looked useful to illustrate the points she wanted to make in her lectures, so she decided to use some of them as appropriate examples and noticed how the interest of her students increased. Miss Siame also thought she might benefit if students approached the theories of learning in new ways by experiencing different ways of learning themselves. While reading the TESSA Numeracy Module 1 Section 1, she felt Activity 2 could easily be adapted to invite her students to reflect on how games could enhance certain aspects of mathematics learning. She therefore adapted the activity slightly and after the students played the games, she led a discussion on the value of games in learning. She had prepared the structure of the discussion so that she could make sure students would ‘discover’ the points she usually made in her lecture. This was a great success; the lecture had become a workshop where all were involved. All students left the room very happy, discussing how other games they knew would support different mathematical points. Weeks after the experience the students still mentioned it and referred to some of the learning theories that had been explored through the games. Miss Siame decided she would use more of the active methods related in the TESSA materials to involve students in their learning.

While reading through the materials, when she came to Numeracy Module 3 Section 1 Resource 4 on ‘Units of measurement’, Miss Siame thought of Edith, one of her students who found it really difficult to remember the relationships between measurement units. She printed the sheet for her and made a poster of how some of the resources linked with specific subject knowledge development. She pinned this poster on the wall of her lecture room and drew students’ attention to it. She also placed a few posters on how to access the TESSA materials in the college computer room.

Miss Siame is pleased with the way that the materials are enabling her to support her students in so many different ways in her area of specialisation. They also enable her to link theory and practice in a school-integrated way and to support the development of her students’ subject knowledge.

The TESSA materials can therefore be used in many different ways to suit the students’ needs, their level of development or the purpose of the activity considered. This requires planning on your part.

Activity 4.3: Planning to use TESSA with your student teachers

This activity invites you to plan how you will use the TESSA resources when working with your student teachers.

Read the TESSA section you downloaded again. As you read, identify the parts of the section you think would be most useful to student teachers.

  • what support do you think they would need to carry out the activities successfully?
  • how could you provide this support? Could the cooperating teacher or the head teacher give this support?
  • can you recall circumstances when you could have used this section of TESSA while working with one of your student teachers during a school visit?

Share your ideas with another School Experience Supervisor.

Mrs Kasonso
I am broadly in agreement with the statements in Table 2, but for me the case studies are really important and I use them extensively. They are like a story of a real activity in the classroom, showing how the key point can be enacted in practice. They speak to the teacher. I use the case studies a lot, selecting appropriate ones for my seminars. When I can remember one that fits the situation, I use them as examples for discussions with individual student teachers when I visit during school experience. I am also writing my own case studies.

Tool 4: Using TESSA materials with student teachers

4.2 Using the TESSA handbooks