Researchers involved in the Transforming the pedagogy of STEM subjects report a number of positive developments with the project.
The project, enabled by funding through the ESRC-DFID Raising Learning Outcomes in Education Systems (RLO) programme, explores how students’ learning in STEM subjects in Ethiopia can be improved through approaches to teaching and learning that focus on dialogical discourse and argumentation. The research has also been successful in qualifying for additional funding through the ESRC Impact Acceleration Accounts – these accounts are designed to accelerate the impact of research by supporting Research Organisations to take up knowledge exchange opportunities.
In addition to the teachers who are participating as part of the original sample for the research, a further 60 or more physics teachers – women and men from rural areas - have also been trained. This follow up activity, funded through the ESRC Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAA), has made it possible to give three days training in dialogical teaching to the additional teachers and to provide them with a full set of teaching resources.
The project also has additional funding to strengthen the network of researchers and institutions involved in the research. Currently, nine Colleges of Teacher Education and the educational authorities in three regions of Ethiopia, are working with Addis Ababa University and Durham University to carry out the research. Academic and administrative representatives from these institutions will participate in three working seminars in order to learn more about the planning and organizational aspects of educational research. The aim is to build the capacity of the Ethiopian institutions to apply for their own funding to continue running collaborative research projects.
The project is also linked to a PhD programme at Addis Ababa University: five PhD students, recruited from a number of Colleges of Teacher Education, will strengthen the research capacity within these institutions.
Transforming the pedagogy of STEM subjects has established a project website aimed at teacher education institutions and schools in Ethiopia. The website provides information about dialogical teaching in STEM subjects and will present the research findings as these become available. Teaching material from the project will be available as downloadable resources once the intervention periods are completed.
Finally, a phase of data gathering is currently underway and is due to complete in June 2017.