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Phase 1: 2009-2011

An intensive two year research study was undertaken with Ukombozi School1 in Manzese Ward, in Dar es Salaam. The study engaged in a research and development initiative with a ‘typical’ urban primary school where the teacher-pupil ratio is roughly 100:1 with a distinct lack of teaching and learning resources. The school is situated within a high density and heterogenous community that faces many challenges, particularly poverty and high unemployment. The main focus of the study was on the teaching of English, while the overall purpose was to improve the quality of teaching, learning and leading throughout the school. The research documented the pedagogical practices and the role of school leadership from a whole school perspective. The research examined specific questions:

  • What are the dominant patterns of teaching English lessons throughout the school from Standards 1-7?
  • What are the teachers’ reflections, individual and collective, on these dominant teaching patterns?
  • What cost-effective and sustainable strategies can be used to inform better practice and to enhance such practices through appropriate and context sensitive leadership strategies?

A strong collaborative partnership was established between CCE and the school. Data were collected over two academic school years (January – December 2009 and 2010). Qualitative and quantitative data approaches were employed and consisted of classroom observation, video taping of teachers’ teaching English in Standards 1-7, participant observation, and interviews.  A collection of video clips of English classrooms from Ukombozi Primary School is available via the University of Cambridge Streaming Media Service. Click here to view.

A series of professional development participatory training workshops were held which enabled teachers to reflect on practice and to explore new pedagogical methods. There is growing evidence that pedagogies are being altered and that teachers’ confidence and morale have improved, school leadership is more proactive, and a ‘can do’ attitude is much more evident. Click to view screen recording of a training workshop.

A dissemination workshop was held in February 2011 with a wide range of educational stakeholders to discuss the initial findings and to establish collaborative partnerships and networks with the Ministry of Education, NGOs and donors.

Montage of Headteacher and Standard 3 and 5 classes, Ukombozi School

1 Further information on Ukombozi School