University of Jyväskylä

Dissertation: 23.2.2018 Towards Student-Centred Pedagogy: Action Research with Ethiopian Village School Teachers (Keski-Mäenpää)

Start date: Feb 23, 2018 12:00 PM

End date: Feb 23, 2018 03:00 PM

Location: Seminaarinmäki, Ruusupuisto, RUU D104 Helena

KM Kati Keski-Mäenpää defends her doctoral dissertation in Education "Towards Student-Centred Pedagogy: Action Research with Ethiopian Village School Teachers". Opponent Professor Eustella Bhalalusesa (University of Dar es Salaam) and custos Professor Elina Lehtomäki (University of Jyväskylä).

This study is an action research that was planned and implemented with 23 Ethiopian Village School teachers. The action of the four year project concentrated on developing new, student-centred teaching methods instead of traditional lecturing and rote learning in one remote school. The overall aim of the study was to follow this process and the teachers’ professional development, and to explore how the practical arrangements, such as material or cultural surroundings, constrain or enable usage of student-centred methods at the school. The theoretical framework of the study consists of theories about professional development, action research, and the theory of practice architectures.

The data have been collected by group discussions, interviews, videotapes and field notes. My diary notes, samples of the Finnish teacher students’ trainee reports and photos are added to give deeper understanding about the context. Data have been analysed thematically and through the theory of practice architectures.

The findings of the study show that participatory action research helped teachers to develop new culturally suitable teaching methods based on student-centred pedagogy. It increased teachers’ collaboration, raised their motivation and supported their professional development. The analysis revealed that existing practical arrangements at the school do not support the use of a student-centred teaching method. For example, a detailed curriculum, annual tests, a high student-teacher ratio and a lack of teaching and learning materials support teacher-led teaching and make it difficult to implement student-centred teaching methods.

If the wish is for student-centred learning methods to be used in every school of Ethiopia, changes in curricula, student-teacher ratios and the examination system are needed. Encouraging and equipping teachers to do their own action research projects at the schools will support their continuous professional development.

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Kati Keski-Mäenpää
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