Zelote Loilang’akaki, Manager of Strategic Partnerships at Asante Africa, Tanzania, recently attended a LSTT workshop in Dodoma, Tanzania. LSTT project aims to address the needs of students in Form I of secondary school who are making the transition from Kiswahili-medium primary schools to English-medium secondary schools. He gives us the first hand account of this meeting.
“On 14th Nov, I went to Dodoma, Tanzania to participate in a workshop for the launch of the second phase of LSTT (Language Supportive Teaching and Textbooks) project organized at Dodoma University. It is a project by three universities: the Bristol University (UK), the University of Dodoma, and St. John’s University of Tanzania. The project is supported by Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education.
The long term goal of LSTT Phase 2 is to improve learning outcomes in Mathematics, Science and Language, by educating teachers in theory and practice of ‘Language Supportive Pedagogies’ (LSP). LSP is an activity-based teaching method that supports “learning the language” of instruction across all curriculum subjects. It builds on students’ existing language capabilities, by allowing the student to use their main language to learn language in which they are being taught. This integrates language and subject learning, recognizing subject specific language demands. Example: it has a glossary where difficult text is translated into Kiswahili. It is focused on lower secondary students in disadvantaged communities, where the main language of the community is not the language of instruction.
Most of the participants were university lecturers from UDOM and St John University. Others were schools teachers from two districts where the project is being implemented.
Asante Africa Foundation was invited as one of the partners to share our experience and learning.
Participants at LSTT workshop
Content of the workshop
The presenters talked about various topics including designing of simplified Mathematics, English and Biology books for Form 1, going beyond Science as a subject, training the teachers on using advanced books, involving key partners such as Tanzanian Institute of Education (TIE), District level Government education officials, Universities and relevant non-profit organizations. The developed books are simple to understand since they use LSP.
The LSTT has two outcomes — First, to prepare 9,000 graduates with the knowledge and skills to start implementing language supportive pedagogy in schools. Second, to enable teachers, partner institutions, curriculum developers and textbook publishers across Tanzania gain an appreciation of Language Supportive Pedagogy.
Asante Africa’s Presentation
The LSTT team wanted to understand Asante Africa’s efforts to enhance language for secondary schools and LSP. As representatives of Asante Africa, we gave a brief of our Integrated Teacher Training project, which is designed with the goal to scale an integrated, child centered educational model, to elevate quality of secondary school teaching, foster development of critical thinking skills and improved learning outcomes. We also presented the Public Debate Format (PDF), which is implemented under the ITT project. The key focus was to explain the difference between PDF and traditional debates, its implementation in 55 schools, the benefits and success stories.
The approach was appreciated, and LSTT team will explore how to adapt it in their process. (Click here detailed presentation of PDF.)
The following recommendations were made to LSTT team:
- The debate should be mandatory in the teaching process. The debates will boost students’ confidence and help them master the content and acquire the ability of expression.
- Subject clubs are vital. These clubs are where students meet and discuss subject specific content.
- The teachers and students should first have a debate among themselves, to make a trickle effect to students in their respective schools.
The question was what information should be shared and how?
What to share?
- Information/data/ reports
- Success stories, experience and learnings
How to share?
- Create a central interface where the stakeholders will have access to information
- Channels including blogs, emails and social media.
- Conduct meetings with partners and ensure key stakeholders including Government and education officials are present.”