Is changing teaching practice the mission impossible? : a case study of continuing professional development for primary school teachers in Senegal

Miyazaki, Takeshi (2014) Is changing teaching practice the mission impossible? : a case study of continuing professional development for primary school teachers in Senegal. Doctoral thesis (EdD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This thesis reports on research into a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme in Senegal: Strengthening Mathematics, Science, and Technologies in Education Project (Projet de Renforcement de l’Enseignement des Mathématiques, des Sciences et de la Technologie, or PREMST). The literature review reveals very few examples of CPD changing teaching practices of teachers especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. However in this case, large-scale official project evaluations claim that some positive changes seem to have occurred, but give few details about the nature of the changes or how they have been brought about. This research seeks to understand the complexities of pedagogical change that teachers have gone through as a result of their participation in the CPD programmes through a more detailed investigation.

The research examines the cases of five teachers in three schools that stakeholders claim to have gone through positive changes in the last three years. The research methods include focus-group discussions, lesson observation, and interviews before and after lessons. Lesson observation was aided by video and audio recording engaging with particular actions in the lesson observed. This process allowed me to understand how teachers reflected upon their own teaching and pupils’ learning.

The research finds that PREMST helped teachers envision how teaching should be conducted, by providing a structured approach to conduct a lesson. A visible change has been brought about in the classroom because the way training is conducted is well-integrated in the learning mechanism of teachers. However, the change in teaching practice has not necessarily brought a positive change in the learning of pupils. Apparent emphasis on group work has changed the modality of lessons, but it has not changed how teachers think about teaching.

Given the difficulties involved in pedagogical change, emphasising specific skills may have been the necessary and practical first step, but changing these teaching practices is not enough. The research found that teachers still paid little attention to the learning of individual pupils. Teachers have changed their practices in terms of teaching methods used in the classroom, but the change in pedagogy has remained minimal because they have not understood the underlying premise of the new pedagogy. Unless they realise that their present manner of teaching does not enable the learning of pupils in a sufficient manner, their change is likely to remain at the level of teaching methods, not the pedagogy which incorporates the theories of learning and assumptions behind the practices.

A key outcome of the research was to identify the next step for PREMST, namely to redirect the focus of teachers from the teaching procedures to the learning of pupils, by asking them to pay attention to what pupils say or write during the lesson. The thesis concludes by describing how this is being achieved through a shift in focus on classroom practice, through a training model based on lesson study.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1705 Education and training of teachers and administrators > LB1775 Professional aspects of teaching and school administrators. Vocational guidance
L Education > LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa. Oceania) > LG401 Africa > LG551 Senegal
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2014 12:16
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2015 13:40
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/47874

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