5 How will you use the selected TESSA materials with your teachers? [Teaching and Learning]
For many teachers, learning through and from their classroom practice will be unfamiliar. The point of the TESSA materials is to help teachers actually do the TESSA activities in their classrooms/on teaching practice. So just giving teachers the copies of TESSA materials is not going to be enough. You need to prepare the teachers for classroom use of the materials, and help them reflect on their experience of use.
Preparation for use
TESSA preparation should always involve teachers experiencing the TESSA activities in a practical way before trying them out in classrooms with pupils, and this should include:
- modelling/demonstration (video clips can be useful)
- micro teaching.
It is also essential that those working with teachers in their classrooms (tutors/supervisors and so on) are familiar with the TESSA approach and materials.
The TESSA audio materials are ideal for stimulating discussion at workshops if equipment (including speakers) is available.
In one TESSA project in Nigeria, teachers were introduced to the TESSA materials at a one-day workshop at a State Centre, prior to the use of TESSA materials in their classrooms. A senior teacher educator at the National Teachers’ Institute (NTI) led this orientation workshop. The supervisors were first briefed on the TESSA materials and the expected outcomes of the orientation programme, after which the teachers were taken through the aims and concept of the TESSA materials, schedule of activities and the expected outcomes of the orientation programme. 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. In the sample lessons, two different activities, for example, ‘Mapping the Local Environment’ and ‘Exploring Social Networks’, were used to demonstrate how to use the classroom activities in the TESSA materials. In Kaduna State, the mathematics and science teachers were anxious to know how to use stories and games in teaching. The audio drama piece titled ‘the Maths Game’ from the TESSA materials was used as an example to demonstrate how games can be used in teaching mathematics.
At the University of Education, Winneba, in Ghana, lecturers working with Early Years teachers discuss the TESSA materials in small group seminars, looking at how the materials can be adapted for use with this age group of pupils. Following the discussion, the group of teachers then observes the lecturer teaching one of the TESSA activities in a local school. The teachers then comment on the lesson and use the ideas to adapt other TESSA activities for their own context. If it’s not possible to observe in a real school setting, the teachers watch a video clip of the lesson during their seminar.
Use of the materials
To support teachers in using the materials in their schools it would be helpful to give your teachers the TESSA :Working with Pupils handbook.
Reflection on use in teachers’ own classrooms
Simply selecting the relevant TESSA sections, building them into a learning pathway into your curriculum/materials, and requiring teachers to try out the activities in their classrooms is not enough to bring about real improvement. Teachers need further support to help them understand and reflect fully on their classroom experiences with different sorts of activities. This could be through your teachers sharing their experiences:
- in tutorials/contact sessions
- in discussions with mentor/supervisors/ head teachers/inspectors
- through communication with a tutor by email, or
- through group discussions through online conferencing, or a teleconference.
Teachers can be helped to reflect constructively by sharing both good and bad experiences in a non-threatening way. Describing is a good starting point for reflection, but teachers also need to be encouraged to think about why things happened the way they did, and what they will take from this experience into their future practice.