Leadership support for school-based professional development for primary school teachers: the use of TESSA OERs in schools in Kenya.

Four million extra teachers are needed across Sub-Saharan Africa by 2015 if the Millennium Development Goal of universal access to primary education (UPE) is to be met (COMED/ADEA 2011). In addition there continues to be urgent need to improve the quality of teaching of existing teachers in primary classrooms. There is not sufficient capacity to meet those demands through teacher training or continuous professional development (CPD) courses at Higher Education Institutions (HEI)s and teacher training colleges. In many countries in Africa, particularly but not exclusively in the rural areas, in-service training or CPD outside the school is difficult for teachers to access or to finance. In any case, the school itself has increasing importance as the locus of professional development for teachers. School-based CPD can focus directly on teaching practices and the practicalities of improving the quality of teaching. There is a substantial literature on the benefits to sustainability and long-term change of professional development which arises directly out of classroom practice. The Open Educational Resources (OERs) created by the Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa (TESSA) community have been developed to help teachers improve practice, and they lend themselves to this type of school-based professional development. However, leadership is critically important for this kind of school-based teacher education. Without the direct and strategic support of school leaders, it is difficult to organise and sustain this kind of CPD. This paper explores the ways in which Egerton University, Kenya, is working directly with headteachers, deputy headteachers, subject panel heads and teachers in collaborating schools to encourage them in their use of school-based professional development using the TESSA OERs. This paper conceptualises and discusses the kinds of leadership practices which are in evidence and which are helpful to increasing and sustaining this kind of school-led teacher education.

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