PublicationsIndex of systematic review topicsKnowledge pagesTeacher education in low-income countries
Teacher education in low- and middle-income countries

One study [1] investigated the impacts and cost-effectiveness of strategies to improve the performance of untrained and under-trained teachers (UUTs) in the classroom in low and middle-income countries. Successful interventions in the studies rated as more robust and trustworthy each included several strategies: training workshops, independent study and in-class support were most frequently used, followed by in-school support and school clusters. Two studies very convincingly demonstrated that coaching by highly qualified, experienced and expert coaches was effective in changing UUTs’ teaching methods, but raised concerns about its cost and labour-intensiveness. The keys to successful interventions were found to be:

  • the regularity of UUTs’ engagement in the strategies; the proximity to the classroom of the sites where strategies took place
  • the extent to which workshops and self-study modules were focused on discussion of practice and enhancement of subject and pedagogical content knowledge
  • the importance of well-produced resources and appropriate use of ICT
  • the quality of tutors and their briefing or training, including where possible and more cost-effectively, employing competent experienced teachers from the UUTs’ own schools in a mentor role
  • recognising that effective interventions might need to last for several years
  • gaining support for the interventions from school management and external administration
  • balancing the burden of study and workshop attendance with the UUTs’ work, family and community commitments
  • recognising the constraints to classroom improvement, including critical reflection, within the specific contexts in which the UUTs worked.

Distance education is cheaper but not necessarily most effective. It may be of value where there are large numbers of teachers to be trained in resource-poor contexts.

A further study [2] investigated as one of its sub-questions how teacher education (curriculum and practicum) and the school curriculum and guidance materials can  best support effective pedagogy. Teacher education needs to conceptualise teaching and learning as essentially a communicative and social process, needing benign and encouraging teachers who know their own students' relation to the curriculum.

1. What are the impacts and cost-effectiveness of strategies to improve performance of untrained and under-trained teachers in the classroom in developing countries? (2013)

2. Pedagogy, curriculum, teaching practices and teacher education in developing countries (2013)

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