Improving the quality of education is a persistent challenge in Latin America and the Caribbean. Students in the region consistently underperform in international academic assessments; and the achievement gap amongst students within individual countries reflect staggering inequalities. Students’ academic achievement is directly related to a teachers’ ability to keep students engaged by using a wide range of pedagogical practices. Therefore, an important element in addressing this learning crisis is focusing on teacher professional development (TPD).
Responding to the need of developing innovative TPD programmes, grant holders from two research projects funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) under the Raising Learning Outcomes in Education Systems Research Programme (RLO), together with in-country project partners, the Honduran Bayan Association and the National Pedagogical University of Honduras, hosted a webinar to present an innovative TPD model designed to provide teachers with the necessary support and resources to improve their pedagogical practices.
Supported by the Impact Initiative, the webinar, ‘Reconceptualising Teacher Professional Development in Honduras’ took place on 1 February 2021. The 512 participants included members from the Honduran Ministry of Education, faculty members and students in pre-service training from local Universities, Honduran teachers from private and public schools, international agencies including USAID and UNICEF, non-governmental organizations, and civil society organizations.
Six panellists presented the new model which combined the research of two ESRC-FCDO RLO research projects: Examining effective teaching in rural Honduran secondary schools and Toward the development of a rigorous and practical classroom observation tool: the Uganda secondary school project.
- Diana Pacheco (University of California, Berkeley)
- Russbel Hernandez (National Pedagogical University of Honduras)
- Erin Murphy-Graham (University of California, Berkeley)
- Alejandro Martínez (Asociación Bayan)
- Bita Corea (Fundación para la Aplicación y Enseñanza de las Ciencias)
- Edward Seidman (University of New York)
A new model to improve teaching practices
Designing innovative, effective, and relevant TPD programs that help teachers improve their pedagogical practices is critical to improving the quality of education. For this reason, TPD is at the core of the 2018- 2030 Strategic Plan for the Educational sector of Honduras (National Board of Education, 2019) which prioritizes pre-service training and in-service TPD.
The model, presented by the two RLO projects, draws from the TPD model of the Sistema de Aprendizaje Tutorial (SAT), a secondary programme in rural areas of Honduras. SAT’s TPD revolves around a permanent coaching system. This coaching system is based on the idea of accompaniment, which consists of offering teachers ongoing support and advice as they advance in their teaching careers.
The second component of this TPD model is the Teacher Instructional Practices and Processes System (TIPPS). TIPPS is an observation tool that examines the quality of teaching practices and processes in the classroom via live or video observations.
The combination of these two elements is what researchers have called “TIPPS-A” or “TIPPS Acompañamiento”. TIPPS-A consists of using TIPPS as an observation tool to provide teachers with feedback that will allow them to improve their pedagogical practices. This feedback is given within the conceptual implications of accompaniment, an approach that aims to establish horizontal relationships between the coach and the teacher as they both work towards permanent and continuous improvement. TIPPS-A is a tool that can lead to the improvement of teachers’ pedagogical practices, ultimately enhancing students’ academic and socioemotional outcomes.
The online meeting was successful in raising awareness of the new model amongst different local Honduran stakeholders including educators, researchers, educational authorities, governmental and non-governmental organizations. Flavia Paola, a public school teacher said: “I am very grateful to you for allowing me the opportunity to participate in this webinar. I feel interested and willing to acquire new knowledge, to be a multiplier effect in my school.”
It is hoped that the webinar will encourage collaborations and partnerships with institutions/professionals interested in TIPPS-A and provide the opportunity to explore the possibility of additional funding to continue with the study of TIPPS-A.
“It was an event of the highest quality due to the design, organization, quality of the speakers, and the topic... Regarding the proposal for reconceptualization of teacher professional development in Honduras, I think the TIPPS proposal is very relevant, because it is a qualitative approach and allows focusing on aspects of the classroom and its actors based on interactions. In terms of implementation, I consider that it is possible since it will be a post-pandemic contribution to strengthen the work of teachers from a people-centered perspective. Although the initiative is part of the SAT model, it can be adapted to other contexts.” Dr. Elma Barahona Henry, Research coordinator, National Pedagogical University of Honduras.
Diana Pacheco (University of Berkeley, California) one of the lead organisers said: “Through this webinar, we reached a diverse and strategic audience that we had not been able to reach before. For example, for years, our research team has been trying to find platforms to share the impact of the Sistema de Aprendizaje Tutorial (SAT), the rural secondary education system that we work with in Honduras. As a result of this webinar, for the first time, we saw a genuine and widespread interest in SAT. More importantly, we were able to share aspects of SAT that could be replicated in other contexts and could benefit the Honduran education system more broadly. We are confident that as a result of this webinar we will be able to establish important collaborations and start a much needed conversation about how important it is to provide teachers with innovative professional development programs that can help them become better educators. The feedback we received from many participants was positive and motivates us to keep working and sharing our work with key Honduran stakeholders.”
Strengthening classroom practices and processes
Access to professional development that is cumulative and continuous is critical for teachers to strengthen their classroom practice and processes. The TIPPS-A observation/feedback process offers a fresh and innovative model for how to support teachers in their ongoing improvement. The research teams now plan to conduct a study to examine whether the model improves teaching practices and teacher perception of self-efficacy and improves student academic performance and social and emotional well-being.
If you are interested in this TPD model and would like further information, collaborate with the research teams or provide funding for this study, please email Dr. Erin Murphy-Graham (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr. Edward Seidman (email@example.com).
Investigación ESRC-FCDO para Políticas y Prácticas: Enseñanza de Calidad (octubre 2020) The Impact Initiative
ESRC-DFID Research for Policy and Practice: Quality Teaching (July 2018) The Impact Initiative