Literacy Teacher Professional Development in Two Africas

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Abstract

Two separate professional development opportunities for teachers in Africa, one in Egypt and one in Zimbabwe, conducted in the summer of 2016 are the basis of this study and a broader examination of comparative and international education. Discussed in detail are the commonalities and distinctions between the contexts of the sites, the approaches to teacher development, the teacher and student populations, the foci of the professional learning, and the outcomes. The authors immersed themselves in the local cultures, provided literacy instruction/workshops, and systematically examined their own learning from the experiences. When capturing their perceptions about these experiences, the researchers evoked tensions between their theoretical and practical understandings about teaching/learning, which subsequently liberated their own teaching practices as they broadened their educational horizons. This report contributes to the understanding of literacy practices in a global context. Lessons learned from developing, delivering, and evaluating the two professional development activities may be generalized to the planning of professional development by educators in domestic and international contexts. Furthermore, the authors, who are teacher educators at a large state university, share what they learned from their experiences in these global settings and what new understandings they brought back to their home institutions.