1 How are the TESSA materials structured? [Getting to know the TESSA materials]

All the TESSA materials are open educational resources; they are free to be used by anyone either online or downloaded and printed. They can be adapted, modified, or integrated with other materials in any form.

TESSA materials have been written by teacher educators from different countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The TESSA materials are organised into five module areas (see Table 1):

Literacy, Numeracy, Science, Social Studies and the Arts and Life Skills.

Each module area contains three modules, each of which has five sections (there are seventy-five sections in total). The focus in all sections is on developing teachers’ understanding of teaching and learning and improving their classroom practice. There is a progression of ideas both within the five sections of each module and within each section.

Table 1 The five TESSA module areas

Module AreaModule 1Module 2Module 3
LiteracyReading and writing for a range of purposesUsing community voices in the classroomPromoting communication in an additional language
NumeracyInvestigating number and patternExploring shape and spaceInvestigating measurement and data handling
ScienceLooking at lifeInvestigating materialsEnergy and movement
Social Studies and the artsDeveloping an understanding of placeInvestigating historyLooking at the arts
Life skillsPersonal developmentExploring social developmentCommunity issues and citizenship

Further details of the seventy-five sections are in the ‘Summary Curriculum Framework’ (Appendix 1a). [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

The materials have been written in Africa by Africans. They reflect African culture and surroundings, and are available in four languages: English, French, Swahili and Arabic. In some countries they have been further adapted to suit local needs, although the differences between the various versions are fairly small. These are Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Togo, Uganda, Sudan, South Africa, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.

Key Resources: Supporting all the TESSA sections is a series of ‘Key Resources’; these are referred to across all the module areas and cover issues such as ‘Using group work in your classroom’. The Key Resources can be accessed by clicking on the link in your country home page.

Audio resources: Enriching the TESSA text materials is a collection of audio resources. These can be found under your country homepage under the audio resources button in the left-hand navigation bar. There are several strands of audio resources including:

  • ‘Story Story’ short dramas: A series of dramas showing scenes in and around a local school involving teachers, pupils, parents and other members of the community. For each drama there are questions for the teacher to consider and discuss.
  • Teaching in Africa: A number of short clips in which teachers, pupils and educators talk about their experiences and ideas. These are intended to stimulate debate on the state of primary education and the teaching profession in Sub-Saharan Africa.