Characteristics of effective teacher education in low-and middle-income countries

What are they and what role can EdTech play?

Executive Summary

Even though teacher education programmes have the potential to improve pupil learning outcomes, the impact of these programmes has varied widely in LMICs. A lack of understanding of the specific characteristics that underpin the success of teacher education programmes can lead to poorly designed interventions. Current evidence does not allow researchers to conclusively identify the specific drivers of impactful teacher education programmes (Sims & Fletcher-Wood, 2018). However, a range of reviews has identified design principles that can potentially promote improved learning outcomes while the existing evidence base develops. This paper analyses a range of literature reviews to identify characteristics of effective teacher education. Specifically, the paper recommends that programme designers:

  1. Encourage teachers to focus on their pupils’ learning;
  2. Share effective practices with teachers using modelling;
  3. Acknowledge and build on teachers’ existing knowledge, views, and experiences;
  4. Focus on developing practical subject pedagogy rather than theoretical general pedagogy;
  5. Empower teachers to become reflective practitioners and structure teacher education around practice-based cycles of trial and refinement;
  6. Incorporate peer support;
  7. Ensure teacher education programmes motivate teachers;
  8. Prioritise school-based teacher education;
  9. Schedule regular, ongoing teacher education;
  10. Provide supporting teaching and learning materials;
  11. Ensure support from school leaders;
  12. Create a coherent policy environment.

The use of educational technology in teacher education programmes has generated mixed results. Importantly, EdTech cannot fully substitute for in-person teacher education. Instead, EdTech should be used to build on the above characteristics and should be embedded within a framework of good practice in teacher education (Lawrie, et al., 2015). For example, instant messaging services can facilitate peer support and video recordings can stimulate critical reflection.

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