Content Production and Open Licensing Experiences of TESSA (CIES 2015)
In order for Africa to provide universal education to all children, universities and teacher colleges need to graduate more teachers and better prepare them to engage students. One of the major barriers these institutions face is a lack of resources for teacher training. TESSA’s solution was not to build more colleges for teacher training or ship a bunch of textbooks from Europe or North America. Instead, TESSA designed materials to help teachers engage students in the classroom.
The materials are published under Creative Commons copyright licensing, making them available free of cost to anyone with an internet connection. Each unit is related to a specific lesson drawn from the elementary school curriculum. The real goal of these materials is to share techniques the teacher can apply to their teaching strategies, such as how to: a) use questions in a classroom setting, b) organize group work, or c) engage students in class discussions. Adaptability is a key element of TESSA materials, since African learning environments are by no means homogeneous. The content templates allow educators to include regionally relevant examples, names, and geographical features to adapt materials to their own concepts. So far, they have been adapted for 12 different contexts and have been translated into French, Arabic and Swahili.
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