August 26, 2015
Dr. Dorothy Nampota is explaining learner-centred approaches to the participants
Malawi has been implementing the Project of Strengthening Mathematics and Science in Secondary Education (SMASSE) through in-service teacher trainings (INSET) in South East Education Division since 2004 and nationwide since 2008. The emphasis of the INSETs is to improve the quality of teaching and learning by shifting from teacher-centred to learner-centred approach. Evaluations of the project have revealed that teachers who have participated in the trainings have acquired relevant skills and knowledge that have improved student learning. Despite this achievement, some teachers especially those in Community Day Secondary Schools (CDSSs) face challenges in applying the learner-centred approaches in their lessons, due to large classes, limited subject content knowledge, and inadequate teaching and learning resources.
Action Research is one of the new components in the current 3rd Phase of the SMASSE project. The purpose of the action research is to figure out what works and what does not in student-centred teaching and learning approach in the context of Malawi. The Department of Teacher Education and Development, Domasi College of Education and Chancellor College of the University of Malawi are the main institutions conducting the action research with some Science and Mathematics teachers in selected secondary schools. Results of the action research will be used as evidence to inform the process of incorporating learner-centered teaching and learning approaches into pre-service teacher training curriculum and improve INSET.
Dr. Mercy Kishindo (middle) is developing Mathematics lesson plans with teachers
From 24th August to 26th August, the Chancellor College research team conducted a workshop for 17 target teachers at Malawi Institute of Education in Zomba. The objective of the workshop was to impart to the teachers skills for developing lesson plans that reflect learner-centred principles. Teachers are currently conducting lessons using this lesson plan from the beginning of the 2015/16 academic year. The action research execution process is a cycle of planning, implementation and monitoring conducted three times in the year. Monitoring of lessons and of review activities done on a monthly basis are intended to provide support to teachers and assess progress on activities.
Mr. Mthengomwacha Yohane, a Chemistry teacher from Chichiri CDSS, expresses his satisfaction saying "The workshop was very fruitful, and I am well equipped with skills to develop good lesson plans. I am willing to work with the Chancellor College research project". He also awaits positive results with great expectations.