Lesson study as a support strategy for teacher development : a case study of middle school science teachers in Eritrea

Abdella, Ali Suleman (2015-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Contains one part in Tigrigna.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Against the background of education reforms, this study was conducted to determine what can be learnt from using lesson study as professional development strategy in Eritrea. The core problem discussed in the study is that the instigators of successive education reforms in Eritrea expected teachers to shift their teaching from more teacher focused to student-centred approaches with little or no support provided to them. This implies that teachers in Eritrean need effective and sustainable support systems that enable them to implement the reform initiatives. In this study, the researcher uses lesson study as a strategy that could provide teacher development experiences to teachers in Eritrea that are different from the traditional one-shot varieties such as workshops, short-term orientations and training of trainer programmes which are often normally provided by the official programmes. Lesson study is a well-established classroom-based activity in which teachers systematically examine their teaching by collaboratively planning, teaching, observing, revising and re-teaching lessons. Several successes with lesson study have been reported in research in Japan, where it has been used extensively, as well as elsewhere. However, no study on teacher professional development has been conducted using lesson study as a strategy within the Eritrean context. This study is an interpretive qualitative case study that explores the effects of lesson study on science teachers’ learning and classroom practice in selected middle schools of Eritrea. It involved twenty one participants – fifteen science teachers, three school directors and three pedagogic heads for a duration of one year. Data were generated through questionnaires, semi-structured focus group interviews, observations, documents for generating research lesson events, video-recordings and photographs. The findings show that participation in lesson study cycles that were extended over a period of time was effective in enhancing the learning of teachers and changing the way they teach science in their classrooms resulting in enhanced students confidence, participation and learning. Evidence reported in this study also indicates that lesson study made a contribution to minimising teacher isolation by bringing teachers together to collaborate and share professional ideas and experiences. Moreover, the findings show the existence of a direct relationship between teachers’ interest in teacher development initiatives and the interest that the school leadership shows in such initiatives and in the extent of support they provide to the participating teachers. Though participants reported receiving benefits from lesson study, they were constrained by a lack of time, curriculum overload, large class-size, teachers’ poor living conditions, lack of suitable space, shortage of resources, students’ poor English proficiency, newness of the process and students’ negligence. This study has also contributed to extending the body of knowledge on lesson study. Finally, it is hoped that the findings of this study may be used as a guiding framework for future teacher development initiatives in the education sector or other professional development programmes in Eritrea.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie is teen die agtergrond van onderwyshervormings in Eritrea onderneem om te bepaal wat uit die gebruik van lesstudie as strategie vir die professionele ontwikkeling van Eritrese opvoeders geleer kon word. Die kernprobleem van die studie is dat die opeenvolgende onderwyshervormings in Eritrea vereis dat onderwysers hulle onderrigbenadering van opvoedergerigte na meer studentegerigte metodes verander, sonder dat hulle enige noemenswaardige ondersteuning ontvang. Dit impliseer dat daardie onderwysers ’n doeltreffende en volhoubare ondersteuningstelsel nodig het om die hervormingsinisiatiewe in werking te stel. Met die lesstudiestrategie wat in hierdie navorsing gebruik is, is onderwysers in Eritrea blootgestel aan ander ontwikkelingservarings as die tradisionele eenmalige weergawes, wat gewoonlik in die vorm van werksessies, korttermynoriënterings en opleier-opleidingsprogramme plaasvind. Lesstudie is ’n gevestigde klaskamergebaseerde aktiwiteit waarin onderwysers hulle eie onderrig stelselmatig ondersoek deur lesse in samewerking met kollegas te beplan, aan te bied, waar te neem, te hersien en weer aan te bied. Verskeie suksesse met lesstudie is al aangemeld in navorsing in Japan, waar dit op groot skaal gebruik word, sowel as elders. Tog is geen studie oor die professionele ontwikkeling van onderwysers in Eritrese verband al met behulp van lesstudie as ’n strategie uitgevoer nie. Die metodologie vir die navorsing was ’n vertolkende kwalitatiewe gevallestudie wat ondersoek ingestel het na die uitwerking van lesstudie op wetenskaponderwysers se leer- en klaskamerpraktyk in uitgesoekte middelbare skole in Eritrea. Die 21 respondente – 15 wetenskaponderwysers, drie skooldirekteure en drie onderrighoofde – is vir ’n jaar by die studie betrek. Data is deur middel van vraelyste, semigestruktureerde fokusgroeponderhoude, waarnemings, dokumente vir die skep van navorsingslesgebeure, video-opnames en foto’s ingesamel. Die bevindinge toon dat deelname aan lesstudiesiklusse oor ’n langer tydperk onderwysers se leerpraktyk doeltreffend versterk en hulle wetenskaponderrig in die klas verander het. Dit het verhoogde vertroue, deelname en leer onder studente tot gevolg gehad. Bewyse wat in hierdie studie aangemeld is, toon ook dat lesstudie onderwyser-isolasie help beperk het deur onderwysers bymekaar te bring om saam te werk en professionele idees en ervarings uit te ruil. Daarbenewens dui die bevindinge op ’n regstreekse verband tussen onderwysers se belangstelling in inisiatiewe vir hulle eie ontwikkeling en die skoolleiers se klaarblyklike belangstelling in, en ondersteuning vir, onderwysers en hulle professionele ontwikkeling. Hoewel deelnemers by lesstudie baat gevind het, is hulle aan bande gelê deur tydsbeperkinge, ’n oorvol kurrikulum, groot klasse, swak lewensomstandighede, ’n tekort aan geskikte ruimte, te min hulpbronne, swak vaardigheid in Engels onder studente, die nuutheid van die proses en studente se agtelosigheid. Hierdie studie dra by tot die uitbreiding van die beskikbare kennis oor lesstudie. Die bevindinge sal hopelik as ’n raamwerk kan dien om toekomstige inisiatiewe vir opvoederontwikkeling in die onderwyssektor sowel as in ander programme vir professionele ontwikkeling in Eritrea te rig.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/97776
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