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Design and evaluation of a professional development programme to support activity-based biology teaching and learning in Tanzanian secondary schools

Design and evaluation of a professional development programme to support activity-based biology teaching and learning in Tanzanian secondary schools
Design and evaluation of a professional development programme to support activity-based biology teaching and learning in Tanzanian secondary schools
This study aims to design, implement and evaluate a professional development programme for biology teachers in Tanzania. The proposed activity-based approach to teaching supported by the 5Es instructional sequence (adapted from Bybee et al., 2006) is new in the Tanzanian secondary schools context. Consequently, this study addresses the following research questions.

1) What are the characteristics of an effective professional development programme that adequately supports learning and teaching of biology in Tanzania?
2) How can a professional development programme be practically designed and implemented to enhance Tanzanian biology teachers’ pedagogical knowledge and skills?
3) What impact does this professional development programme have on teachers’ pedagogy and students’ learning of biology?

The study included 675 students, 35 teachers, 7 student teachers, and 3 experts in the field of science education. A design-based research methodology involved both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods and analysis. Teachers’ reactions to the professional development workshop were positive. They were satisfied with the content and follow-up coaching activities. The new knowledge and skills helped teachers to support students through interaction with materials and discussion in small groups to acquire meaningful learning.

Findings of classroom observations, teacher interviews, student evaluation questionnaires, and focus group discussions showed that the adoption of the newly developed excitement stage in the 5Es instructional sequence was useful and relevant to teachers’ instructional approaches. It supported them to move away from overly didactic practices to activity-based and student-centred teaching and learning approaches. Student focus group discussions indicated positive opinions about their teachers’ adoption of the new approaches. Students reported differences from their regular classes, which served to enhance better understanding of the taught concepts. These positive changes included, more student involvement in the lesson activities and teachers being more supportive and open to questions.

This study has confirmed findings from previous research about the important role of curriculum materials as a component of teachers' professional development experience. In addition, findings of the study demonstrated that the 5Es instructional sequence provided teachers and students with opportunities to practice effective science teaching and learning approaches. It is hoped that this approach is adopted more widely in Tanzanian secondary schools, so that future students may experience success and be inspired to continue their studies of science.
University of Southampton
Maro, Wadrine
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Maro, Wadrine
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Grace, Marcus
bb019e62-4134-4f74-9e2c-d235a6f89b97
Byrne, Jennifer
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Maringe, Felix
87437772-d86d-4d6e-9553-53884eb7d1da

Maro, Wadrine (2013) Design and evaluation of a professional development programme to support activity-based biology teaching and learning in Tanzanian secondary schools. University of Southampton, Southampton Education School, Doctoral Thesis, 373pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This study aims to design, implement and evaluate a professional development programme for biology teachers in Tanzania. The proposed activity-based approach to teaching supported by the 5Es instructional sequence (adapted from Bybee et al., 2006) is new in the Tanzanian secondary schools context. Consequently, this study addresses the following research questions.

1) What are the characteristics of an effective professional development programme that adequately supports learning and teaching of biology in Tanzania?
2) How can a professional development programme be practically designed and implemented to enhance Tanzanian biology teachers’ pedagogical knowledge and skills?
3) What impact does this professional development programme have on teachers’ pedagogy and students’ learning of biology?

The study included 675 students, 35 teachers, 7 student teachers, and 3 experts in the field of science education. A design-based research methodology involved both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods and analysis. Teachers’ reactions to the professional development workshop were positive. They were satisfied with the content and follow-up coaching activities. The new knowledge and skills helped teachers to support students through interaction with materials and discussion in small groups to acquire meaningful learning.

Findings of classroom observations, teacher interviews, student evaluation questionnaires, and focus group discussions showed that the adoption of the newly developed excitement stage in the 5Es instructional sequence was useful and relevant to teachers’ instructional approaches. It supported them to move away from overly didactic practices to activity-based and student-centred teaching and learning approaches. Student focus group discussions indicated positive opinions about their teachers’ adoption of the new approaches. Students reported differences from their regular classes, which served to enhance better understanding of the taught concepts. These positive changes included, more student involvement in the lesson activities and teachers being more supportive and open to questions.

This study has confirmed findings from previous research about the important role of curriculum materials as a component of teachers' professional development experience. In addition, findings of the study demonstrated that the 5Es instructional sequence provided teachers and students with opportunities to practice effective science teaching and learning approaches. It is hoped that this approach is adopted more widely in Tanzanian secondary schools, so that future students may experience success and be inspired to continue their studies of science.

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More information

Published date: March 2013
Organisations: University of Southampton, Southampton Education School

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 350762
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/350762
PURE UUID: 54992ba5-b0c1-4a98-8354-df0f37451e36
ORCID for Marcus Grace: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1949-1765
ORCID for Jennifer Byrne: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6969-5539

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 09 Apr 2013 13:11
Last modified: 20 Nov 2019 01:39

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Contributors

Author: Wadrine Maro
Thesis advisor: Marcus Grace ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Jennifer Byrne ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Felix Maringe

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