<div class="title-block" style="border-bottom-color: #b56b79"><h1><img class="title-image" src="http://www.heart-resources.org/wp-content/themes/heart/images/education.svg">Curriculum, Learning and Teaching</h1><div class="post-type-description"></div></div> – Health and Education Advice and Resource Team http://www.heart-resources.org Providing DFID staff and other development actors with health, education and nutrition knowledge and expertise from around the world Fri, 02 Mar 2018 13:10:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 Assessment of literacy and foundational learning in developing countries http://www.heart-resources.org/assignment/assessment-literacy-foundational-learning-developing-countries/ http://www.heart-resources.org/assignment/assessment-literacy-foundational-learning-developing-countries/#respond Sun, 04 Jun 2017 17:42:13 +0000 http://www.heart-resources.org/?post_type=assignment&p=29775 Read more]]> This review examines the quality and range of tools used to measure literacy and foundational learning in developing countries. It covers the assessment of language and literacy skills in children from age 3 to 14 and includes assessment tools from studies published between 1990 and 2014, rated as ‘Moderate’ or ‘High’ in methodological quality.

There are several assessments that have been successfully implemented at scale, including tests of symbol knowledge, reading accuracy, reading fluency and reading comprehension. Language characteristics and cultural factors significantly affect how pupils respond to test items. It is therefore important that assessments should always suit the context in which they are administered in order to ensure that the data they produce is valid and reliable. The way that results are communicated influences the actions that will be taken as a result. Reporting is therefore an important stage in the assessment process. The Systems View of Reading highlights the importance of assessing multiple skills simultaneously to reflect the way that children learn.

It is important that learning measures are designed in a way that ensures that the results they produce reflect the skills that they pertain to measure in a reliable manner. To do this, careful consideration needs to be given to whether theories and approaches developed for other languages, school systems and socio-cultural contexts can be applied to the local population. Efforts should be made to develop affordable tests so that the benefits of assessment can be felt by a broader group, including the poor and marginalised. Further to this, assessment tools should be placed in the hands of teachers to enable them to develop a better understanding of what is happening in their classroom and what they can do to improve it. This direct feedback can help in a way that at-scale assessment cannot. This being said, the mechanisms by which teacher-led assessment can lead to better practice and improved learning needs to be better understood.

The main report can be downloaded here.

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Education technology map: guidance document http://www.heart-resources.org/assignment/education-technology-map-guidance-document/ http://www.heart-resources.org/assignment/education-technology-map-guidance-document/#respond Wed, 05 Apr 2017 13:11:44 +0000 http://www.heart-resources.org/?post_type=assignment&p=29749 Read more]]> This report serves as a user guide for a mapping exercise of research on the use of technology in low-resource environments. It should be read in conjunction with the map itself: an excel sheet titled ‘Education technology evidence database’. The map and user guide are intended to be resources for all those in the sector seeking to engage with the evidence regarding education technology. For the purpose of the exercise, education technology is understood to encompass all areas of education programmes and policy where technology may be used to help improve the effectiveness of interventions in achieving educational outputs and outcomes.

The map includes 401 resources. Some observations about the collection:

  • There is a major emphasis on observational studies (278), followed by quasi-experimental studies (81), experimental studies (23) and secondary studies (six).
  • Of the studies with a stated geographical focus, 365 are located within one country and only 22 are multi-country studies.
  • Overall, the evidence has a dispersed geographical base, with seven regions contributing more than 20 studies. However there is a complete absence of research from much of Central Africa.
  • No one particular technology has particular prominence within the map: mobiles, laptops, desktops and tablets each have less than 50 studies.
  • The most frequently occurring intervention / input areas are in relation to curriculum and pedagogy (263) and teacher training (139). The most frequently occurring outputs are teacher ICT literacy and use (262) and student ICT literacy and use (223).
  • The most frequently occurring outcomes are related to teaching quality (194) and student educational achievement (135).
  • The map does not assess the quality of evidence in the resources. However, more than half of all the studies self-reported a positive effect (219) and less than 10% reported a negative effect (35).

Download the interactive database map here.

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#TeachersMatter! Celebrating teachers worldwide at the Global Education and Skills Forum http://www.heart-resources.org/blog/teachersmatter-celebrating-teachers-worldwide-global-education-skills-forum/ http://www.heart-resources.org/blog/teachersmatter-celebrating-teachers-worldwide-global-education-skills-forum/#respond Tue, 04 Apr 2017 10:34:13 +0000 http://www.heart-resources.org/?post_type=blog&p=29727 Read more]]> On 18 and 19 March 2017, together with around 1,500 people from around the world, I attended the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai. The Forum provided an exciting platform to celebrate the importance of teachers around the world. Organised by the Varkey Foundation, it was also a stark reminder of the difficulties that some children face in realising their right to an education, and the lengths they will go to for this. We heard from two Chibok girls giving first-hand experience of the horrific effects of Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, reminding us that 195 girls have still not returned three years on.

The Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre at the University of Cambridge was one of the organising partners of the Forum, playing a role in supporting key stakeholders who were brought together in ‘alliances’ in eight key thematic areas to develop ideas for action over the coming year. Supported by myself and three students on our Education, Globalisation and International Development MPhil programme, the alliances are all co-chaired by experts, covering the areas of: assessment for action; climate change; girls’ education; global citizenship education; partnership models for universities; public-private partnerships; post-conflict and peace; and teachers.

Kaitlynn Saldanha, one of the MPhil students at the event, noted: “Supporting the Alliances was a tremendous opportunity to champion the role of research and evidence in policymaking and practice while (re)orienting some of the world’s leading practitioners, policymakers, and academics around concepts of equity and inclusion. Thrilled to continue learning from and collaborating with these leaders in partnership with the Varkey Foundation in the months ahead.”

The Forum culminated in the Global Teacher Prize ceremony. This was memorable for its celebratory atmosphere with the scene set by Bocelli’s opening, followed by Bear Grylls parachuting in with the trophy. The importance of the prize was recognised by its announcement from the international space station, and the video message to the winner from the President of Canada, Justin Trudeau.

But actually the most memorable part of the two days was the inspirational speech by the Global Teacher Prize winner, Maggie MacDonnell. Maggie was awarded for her work in a remote, inaccessible Inuit community where gender abuse and suicide is rife. Her enthusiastic approach to working in these difficult conditions to support young people, in giving them confidence, and in tackling some of the problems they face, is striking.

As MPhil student, Garrett Rubin, put it: “It was wonderful to see Maggie MacDonnell, a teacher from a remote Inuit community in Canada, win the Global Teacher Prize. As with last year’s winner, the Palestinian teacher Hanan Al-Haroub, the Varkey Foundation has again used the prize to recognise and amplify stories and voices from some of the world’s most marginalised and underrepresented communities.”

Jack McMahon summed up the occasion: “It was a privilege to meet people from all walks of life including CEOs, ministers, professors and teachers to engage with issues of equity and marginalisation in education. I won’t forget the moment Maggie MacDonnell, the winner of the Global Teacher Prize, stood on stage with her award in one hand and shouted ‘TEACHERS’ which the whole audience responded at once with, ‘MATTER!’ #teachersmatter.”

In addition to the winner, the 10 shortlisted finalists were also impressive as role models within their communities, and now globally too. I was particularly struck by Michael Wamaya from Kenya teaching ballet in Nairobi’s slums, breaking down stereotypes and providing unique opportunities to disadvantaged children.

The Global Teacher Prize is an inspiration and will certainly inform the framing of my BAICE Presidential address at the UKFIET conference in September.

Dr Pauline Rose is a Professor of International Education at the University of Cambridge and Director of the Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre

Twitter: Pauline Rose – @PaulineMRose

This blog was originally posted on UKFIET on 3 April 2017. Reposted with permission.


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The ethics of research on teacher effectiveness: Why we should be supporting teachers, not questioning their ability to teach http://www.heart-resources.org/blog/ethics-research-teacher-effectiveness-supporting-teachers-not-questioning-ability-teach/ http://www.heart-resources.org/blog/ethics-research-teacher-effectiveness-supporting-teachers-not-questioning-ability-teach/#respond Wed, 16 Nov 2016 14:50:09 +0000 http://www.heart-resources.org/?post_type=blog&p=29697 Read more]]> The Global Goals have set targets for ‘quality education’ on the one hand, and for measurement and monitoring on the other hand. Teachers, teacher training, and what happens inside classrooms, are likely to be the topic of research in the coming years.  This blog has been driven by our sense of injustice that teachers seem to get the blame for social ills and educational failures in many countries. Within Young Lives, we focus on children’s experiences of school, but what about teachers? Teachers can be powerful influencers shaping children’s lives for good, and we need to pay attention to them too, if children are to have an education that creates curiosity and a hunger for learning in a rapidly changing world. While it is clear that teacher quality is one of the most important components of a good-quality educational system, this does not mean that teachers are responsible for all of the failures which happen within that system. In order to improve education systems, we need to understand the pressures and challenges teachers face, and what inspires and motivates them.

Talking to teachers: preparing for the Young Lives School Effectiveness Survey

In October, we held a group discussion with secondary school maths teachers in Hyderabad, India, as part of the preparation for the second wave of Young Lives’ School Effectiveness Survey. We wanted to ask teachers for their feedback on an assessment of ‘teacher professional knowledge’ which may be included in the survey, and to find out whether they had any concerns about taking part in this type of assessment.

The group discussion was very positive, overriding initial worries from our side that there might be a negative reaction to a ‘teacher test’. In fact, participants were keen to join in a conversation about the assessment, and about specific questions within it. It was clear that they were not concerned that being asked to complete a test suggested that we doubted their competency; instead, they enjoyed the chance to demonstrate their knowledge within their area of specialism.

This example represents a very specific context in which teachers might discuss assessment. These teachers had been invited to attend a meeting to share their views as experts, and had done so readily. Their feedback was that other teachers would be likely to be equally willing and able to complete this assessment, assuming that the questions were relevant and framed in a manner which respected their expertise as professionals. But the context of this feedback is important. In a large-scale survey, assessing teachers involves approaching them in their place of work and asking them to complete a competency assessment – a very different scenario to a small-scale focus group, with different implications for teacher morale and research ethics.

What happens when teachers become the focus of research?

A review of evidence by Naylor and Sayed (2014) suggests the best way to research teacher quality is to collect direct measures via classroom observation – usually the most authentic, reliable and robust methods. But this is expensive. The alternative is to test teachers’ competencies – by giving them the same test as students, or evaluating their corrections of student work, or by assessing knowledge of curriculum content.  In recent years, there have been a number of instances of schoolteachers’ competencies being ‘tested’ (in Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, the US). Such methods aim to establish a standard, but do not explore how teachers might be assisted in focusing on teaching. Tests also seem limited in that they can show a standard of teacher knowledge, but this doesn’t necessarily reflect what teachers use in practice – a teacher may have good knowledge, but if there are barriers to effective teaching, such as too many other tasks, or if teachers are de-motivated, then their knowledge may not be used. Teachers may have responsibilities – like elections and immunisation campaigns – which distract from teaching.

Research on teachers needs to understand the political and economic contexts in which they work if it is to support rather than de-professionalise. Moreover, such research needs to be undertaken responsibly if it is to avoid fuelling the view that teachers are part of the ‘problem’. How can we ensure that research with teachers is undertaken ethically?

What are the ethics questions raised by testing teachers?

Beyond the expected focus on informed consent, teachers should be assured of confidentiality and anonymity, and should be kept informed as the research progresses. But what happens when the findings of research testing teachers’ competencies are disseminated? In 2008, in Nigeria, teachers were tested, with shocking results – of 19,125 teachers, including 2,628 university graduates, who took a test for Primary Four (about 10 years old) pupils, only seven passed. This revelation led to newspaper reports about the ‘utter decay’ of the education system (see Johnson 2014).

This is not constructive use of data from teacher assessments. It reflects a negative view of teachers, who are often characterised as overpaid, ineffective, and even blamed for the fact they are not held accountable. The reality is that teachers may have had little or poor training, they lack resources to enrich their teaching, and many work in depressing and challenging circumstances. Often teachers are poorly paid, or not paid at all – in Nigeria, teachers often struggle to pay rent or bills because their salaries are so insecure. Yet despite all of this, some teachers thrive, and so do their students. Research needs to ask what helps some teachers thrive against the odds, as Buckler (2011) does, and how teachers in all types of schools can be supported as professionals.

Evaluation of teachers therefore requires more thought.  As a recent report from TALIS shows, the professionalisation of teachers, and the policies which can help are very context-specific. Naylor and Sayed (2014) emphasise that ‘any evaluation of teaching quality should be cognisant of other context specific factors that can influence this’ and must involve teachers in its design and implementation. Understanding context is vital to understanding teacher effectiveness.

Respecting research participants/teachers who are the subjects of our research

When writing up findings of research, researchers need to be mindful of how participants would feel when they read the report – one technique is for researchers to imagine their respondents looking over their shoulder at what is being written. Researchers need to manage this, while simultaneously maintaining analytic integrity.

Thought needs to be given to the ethics of the impact of published research, and how research may make people feel, especially if they have contributed data. Few research participants have the right of reply or the opportunity to redress the balance, unless they are very powerful. Researchers need to think about unintended consequences of dissemination of findings, and the effects their research may have on wider groups of people they study. Perhaps researchers could share preliminary findings with teacher participants, discussing solutions, and gaining teachers’ views and reflections on these.

Researchers need to balance attention to how to respect teachers, listen to and learn from them, and avoid silencing and excluding them, on the one hand, with preventing harm being done to them as a group when research is published. Teachers must be able to trust researchers, moreover, the political dimensions of the demand for data on teacher effectiveness, and the intentions that lie behind the use of such data, must be transparent (Johnson 2014).

Blog written by Rhiannon Moore & Ginny Morrow

Rhiannon Moore is Education Research Officer at Young Lives, working on the development and implementation of the School Effectiveness Survey in India.

Virginia Morrow is Senior Research Officer and Deputy Director at Young Lives. Her research interests include the ethics of social research.

The inspiration for this blog post came from Barbara Payne (DFID Pakistan) following a DFID-Young Lives write shop.

References & further reading

Barrett, A, Sayed, Y., Schweisfurth, M, & Tikly, L. (2015) Learning, pedagogy and the post-2015 education and development agenda. International Journal of Educational Development. 40, 231-236.

Buckler, A. (2011) Reconsidering the evidence base, considering the rural: aiming for a better understanding of the education and training needs of Sub-Saharan African teachers. International Journal of Educational Development, 31, 1011, 244-250.

Johnson, D. (2009) ‘More and better? – The political and policy dilemmas of teacher professional development’ in J Furlong et al (eds) Policy and politics in teacher education International perspectives.

Johnson, D. (2014) Big data and the politics of education in Nigeria. In Fenwick, T., Mangez, E., Ozga, J. (eds) World Yearbook of Education 2014: Governing knowledge: Comparison, Knowledge-based Technologies and Expertise in the Regulation of Education. Florence: Routledge.

Naylor, R and Sayed, Y. (2014) Teacher quality: evidence review. Office of Development Effectiveness. Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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INEE guidance notes on teacher compensation in fragile states, situations of displacement and post-crisis recovery http://www.heart-resources.org/doc_lib/inee-guidance-notes-teacher-compensation-fragile-states-situations-displacement-post-crisis-recovery/ http://www.heart-resources.org/doc_lib/inee-guidance-notes-teacher-compensation-fragile-states-situations-displacement-post-crisis-recovery/#respond Mon, 31 Oct 2016 13:43:15 +0000 http://www.heart-resources.org/?post_type=doc_lib&p=29664 Read more]]> The INEE Guidance Notes on Teacher Compensation in Fragile States, Situations of Displacement and PostCrisis Recovery (INEE Guidance Notes) were developed to address this critical challenge to quality education, and as such, provide a suggested framework for compensating teachers. They are organised around three themes: policy and coordination of teacher compensation; the management and financial aspects of teacher compensation; teachers’ motivation, support and supervision as forms of non-monetary teacher compensation. They are intended for staff within education authorities (at national, county and district levels), and for staff of donors, United Nations (UN) agencies, community-based organisations and NGOs working to provide education in fragile states, situations of displacement and post-crisis recovery.

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Next steps in managing teacher migration: papers of the sixth commonwealth research symposium on teacher mobility, recruitment and migration http://www.heart-resources.org/doc_lib/next-steps-managing-teacher-migration-papers-sixth-commonwealth-research-symposium-teacher-mobility-recruitment-migration/ http://www.heart-resources.org/doc_lib/next-steps-managing-teacher-migration-papers-sixth-commonwealth-research-symposium-teacher-mobility-recruitment-migration/#respond Mon, 31 Oct 2016 13:31:22 +0000 http://www.heart-resources.org/?post_type=doc_lib&p=29662 Read more]]> The Sixth Commonwealth Teachers’ Research Symposium brought together education researchers, practitioners and policy-makers to share experiences from developed and developing countries both within and outside the Commonwealth. This collection of papers from the event examines current trends in teacher migration, including education in emergencies, forced migration and pan-African migration, in line with the current global focus on education in conflict affected countries.

The chapter, Beyond the commonwealth teacher recruitment protocol: next steps in managing teacher migration in education in emergencies, by J. Penson, A. Yonemura, B. Sesnan, K. Ochs, and C. Chanda, asks what the issues affecting forced migrant teachers are compared to voluntary migrant teachers, and what policies are necessary to ensure their welfare.

Noting the research gaps around the role and status of refugee teachers in emergencies, it is found that teachers are significantly under-represented in the refugee population. By analysing the reasons why this is so and finding gaps in the existing policy environment and legislative framework, the paper attempts to determine the connections between the issues faced by refugee teachers, the protection of their rights and the contribution they are able to make towards increasing access to and quality of education.

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Education issue brief 5: refugee teacher management http://www.heart-resources.org/doc_lib/education-issue-brief-5-refugee-teacher-management/ http://www.heart-resources.org/doc_lib/education-issue-brief-5-refugee-teacher-management/#respond Mon, 31 Oct 2016 12:29:24 +0000 http://www.heart-resources.org/?post_type=doc_lib&p=29655 Read more]]> This Brief provides basic planning and programming recommendations for managing refugee teachers, and is geared particularly towards camp settings where teachers are being recruited directly from refugee communities. The Brief is intended for anyone who is responsible for recruitment, management and/or training of teachers in refugee settings, including UNHCR, NGO, Ministry of Education or national refugee agency personnel.

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Journal of education in emergencies http://www.heart-resources.org/doc_lib/journal-education-emergencies/ http://www.heart-resources.org/doc_lib/journal-education-emergencies/#respond Fri, 28 Oct 2016 09:53:58 +0000 http://www.heart-resources.org/?post_type=doc_lib&p=29522 Read more]]> In this journal, the article, Quality Education for Refugees in Kenya: Pedagogy in Urban Nairobi and Kakuma Refugee Camp Settings, examines the quality of education available to refugees in Kenya, with a particular focus on instruction. By providing empirical data about instruction in a refugee education context, the article supports anecdotal accounts and strengthens agency-led evaluations. It is based on a qualitative case study research project conducted at six primary schools, two in Nairobi and four in the Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Kenya. The article documents the instructional practices used in these schools to demonstrate the centrality of lecture in lesson presentation; teachers’ reliance on factual questions and the lack of open-ended and pupil-initiated questions; limited comprehension checks; and the absence of conceptual learning. Drawing from the perspectives of the teachers who were interviewed, the article argues that quality instructional practices for refugees are constrained by several key factors: limited resources, including low funding, significant overcrowding, and a lack of teaching and learning materials; a lack of pedagogical training and content knowledge; and curriculum and language policies. The article concludes with implications for education policy related to refugee teachers, and the content and structure of teacher training and professional development for these and other teachers working in refugee settings.

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Understanding the school curriculum: theory, politics and principles http://www.heart-resources.org/doc_lib/understanding-school-curriculum-theory-politics-principles/ http://www.heart-resources.org/doc_lib/understanding-school-curriculum-theory-politics-principles/#respond Fri, 28 Oct 2016 09:46:36 +0000 http://www.heart-resources.org/?post_type=doc_lib&p=29521 Read more]]> Comparing curriculum developments around the globe, Understanding the School Curriculum draws on a range of educational, philosophical and sociological theories to examine the question “what is a curriculum for?” In considering different answers to this fundamental question, it explores a range of topical issues and debates, including: tensions and dynamics within curriculum policy; the implications of uncertainty and rapid social change for curriculum development; the positive and negative influence of free market ideologies on public education; the impact of globalisation and digital technologies; and arguments for and against common core curricula and state control. It examines the possibility of a school curriculum that is not shaped and monitored by dominant interests but that has as its founding principles the promotion of responsibility, responsiveness, a love of learning, and a sense of wonder and respect for the natural and social world. Understanding the School Curriculum is for all students following undergraduate and masters courses in curriculum, public policy and education-related subjects. It is also for all training and practising teachers who wish to combine a deeper understanding of major curriculum issues with a critical understanding of the ways in which ideologies impact on formal state education, and to consider ways of producing school curricula that are appropriate to the times we live in.

This document may be accessible through your organisation or institution. If not, you may have to purchase access. Alternatively, the British Library for Development Studies provides a document delivery service.

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Education of refugees in Uganda: relationships between setting and access http://www.heart-resources.org/doc_lib/education-refugees-uganda-relationships-setting-access/ http://www.heart-resources.org/doc_lib/education-refugees-uganda-relationships-setting-access/#respond Fri, 28 Oct 2016 09:37:31 +0000 http://www.heart-resources.org/?post_type=doc_lib&p=29520 Read more]]> This research seeks to explore the education of refugee children in Uganda. Specifically, it addresses the multiple ways in which refugees access education and the social effects of the differing forms of education on the creation of stability for refugee children. Conditions in Uganda have allowed the development of four distinct arenas in which the primary education of refugee children is taking place.

The research findings suggest that access to education for refugees is largely determined by the setting in which the refugee lives. Access is interpreted broadly and includes not only the number and percentage of children enrolled in school but also the ability for a refugee child to access – or benefit from – the education once he or she is in the classroom. Over the course of this paper, factors affecting the access of refugee children to education are identified and evaluated. First, the financial costs of education, especially in urban areas, limit the number of refugees who can go to school. Second, the lack of qualified teachers, particularly in rural settings, impinges on the quality of education available to refugees. Third, English as a language of instruction means that refugee children must repeat classes, and they are often old socially for the level of education to which they find themselves limited by language. Fourth, immense social stability is created for refugee children in situations where there is integration of refugee and national pupils, as the context of displacement is somewhat normalised. Finally, this study examines the need for increased co-ordination of services between UNHCR, its implementing partners, and district education officials in order to improve overall access to education for refugee children in Uganda.

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