Teachers, Curriculum and Pedagogies

This theme explores the intersections between curriculum, pedagogy and teacher practices and development with the cultural, political and economic factors that shape opportunities and constraints. In this we recognise how issues around gender, poverty, language, disability, conflict and geographical location intersect and result in marginalisation over generations.

We seek out instances where disadvantages experienced by marginalised children are challenged and overturned by policies, practices and innovative educational interventions. We work at global, regional and local levels across the Global South with Southern colleagues and employ a diverse range of approaches including theoretical analysis, rigorous literature reviewing, mixed-methods research design and qualitative methods. 

Research within this theme asks questions such as:

  • What is the relationship between teacher policy, teacher education programmes and practice on the ground?
  • What is the relationship between formal and informal education systems?
  • How can initial teacher education prepare teachers to work with children who have missed out on learning in conflict-affected contexts?
  • What curricular adaptations support accelerated learning?
  • What classroom pedagogic practices can be used to ensure learners with disabilities can equitably learn and thrive?
  • To what extent can multilingual and pluraliteracy pedagogic practices support learning to read in two or more languages?

Since 2010, several large research projects have been undertaken that fall within this theme.  We have undertaken studies that look at how teacher training, curricula and pedagogy can be innovatively adapted to meet the learning and socioemotional needs of Out-Of-School-Children in three contrasting contexts contexts of: conflict-affected Liberia from 2018-19 [see 'Research into the Curriculum and Pedagogy of the Second Chance Programme in Liberia: Dec 2018- July 2019' on the Research Projects page] funded by the Luminos Fund, led by Jo Westbrook and Sean Higgins; in Ghana on the Understanding Complementary Basic Education in Ghana (2017-18) led by Kwame Akyeampong & Sean Higgins; and in Ethiopia with a longitudinal impact evaluation of Speed Schools from 2015 to the present funded by Geneva Global. The work in Ethiopia is continuing with the 'Process Evaluation of the Ongoing Government Adoption of the Second Chance Programme in Ethiopia: Feb 2020 - June 2022' [see details on the Research Projects page], again funded by the Luminos Fund.

Studies under this theme contrast teacher education programmes across countries, such as the current 'Comparative Study of Teacher Education in India, South Africa and England: March 2018 - May 2021' [see details on the Research Projects page], led by Yusuf Sayed & Simon Thompson and the 2009-11 study on Teacher Preparation and Continuing Professional Development in Africa funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation looked at the alignment between primary teacher initial teacher education and how young children learn to read and do maths in six Sub-Saharan African countries.

We also have a strong focus on teacher educator development for inclusive pedagogies for learners with disabilities through the Inclusive Education project in Uganda, funded by Sightsavers, from 2016 to 2020, with further funding for the development of a national CPD package in inclusive education to 2022.  

The Reading to Learn Network across Ethiopia, South Africa and Uganda from 2015-2017, in collaboration with the University of Leeds and NW University in South Africa, funded by the British Academy, looked at how children learn to read in two or more languages from home to ECD to Primary school.

Building up our funds of knowledge, two literature reviews on teacher education and pedagogy have been undertaken within this theme, firstly a  rigorous review on Pedagogy, Curriculum, Teaching Practices and Teacher Education funded by DFID in 2014, and a  systematic literature review on strategies to enhance the classroom performance of untrained and undertrained teachers in development countries funded by Australian Aid in 2013. 

The research theme is co-led by Dr Jo Westbrook and Dr Sean Higgins, with engagement from Professor Yusuf Sayed, Mariam Attia, Jacqui Shepherd and other members of CIE.