Learner Centered Teaching: Our Response to COVID-19 in Marginalised Communities

Posted Thursday May 21, 2020 by Africa Educational Trust Read More »&source=https://africaeducationaltrust.org" target="_blank">

Learner Centered Teaching: Our Response to COVID-19 in Marginalised Communities

Africa Educational Trust is proud to be a member of RELI Africa – a member driven initiative working to ensure inclusive learning for all children in East Africa. RELI members build and maintain effective working relationships for cooperation and collaboration where information, data, and experiences are shared freely among members.

Members of RELI Africa were quick to respond to COVID-19 school closures across East Africa, reaching marginalized communities during this crisis to ensure that no child is left behind. We gave special consideration to children in pastoralist communities, urban informal settlements, and children with special needs and have compiled our early lessons from emerging best practice into eight key recommendations:

First and foremost, Parental Engagement is critical. Not only does it lead to holistic child developmental success as learners know they have the support they need, but it also leads to a process where children develop a lifelong love of learning. We need to consistently engage parents/guardians, acknowledge that parents too are dealing with stresses and anxieties; not all parents are literate, & some continue to work full-time.

The use of community influential persons cannot be underestimated. School Leaders, Teachers & Teaching Assistants are an important resource. They are able to speak in the language their communities best understand and have their goodwill as a result of being in their midst. Trusted by their communities, they are key frontline workers during school closures & need appropriate tools & training to support learning & well-being.

Empowered Teacher

Peer Learning is a valuable strategy. Within households, siblings should be encouraged to support each other’s learning, encourage accountability, & ensure all learners stay positively engaged. Especially when access to learning resources are scarce and need to be shared.

In order to make our learning resources accessible for all, we have created additional printed materials to accompany our radio & online learning resources. This encourages learners to keep engaged, further embeds learning and results in a more fruitful learning experience. Our printed resources also help parents gauge their child’s understanding and progress.

We have always believed in local solutions with local teams. Every village, ward, area has members of society that others look up to. We will continue to leverage these resources as our local champions to amplify key messages in languages that the communities best understand. There is an ongoing need for sensitisation on COVID-19 – Red cross members, teachers & local radio stations are all respected voices of authority who can champion these messages and help to stop the spread.

We accompany learning support with support for well-being. Increased risks to child well-being & safety while schools are closed mean that education interventions should leverage points of contact as an opportunity to monitor & appropriately intervene if necessary.

We identify and utilise community resources. From cyber cafes to community groups, consider what resources can promote messaging & activity towards children’s learning & well-being whilst maintaining compliance with public health directives

Preparation is key. In order to get maximum enrolment, we need to address #COVID19 economic, health & social hardships to get all children back to school. Moving forward, we will consider how to improve inclusion, with a particular focus on marginalised communities

Ultimately, we believe education stakeholders must work together to achieve our goal of Education For All.

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