Active Learning in Ethiopian School Context: Widely Phrased, Poorly Practiced


Active learning and student-centred teaching methods are growing trends all over the world. New teaching styles are brought in to replace traditional methods like lecturing and rote-learning. In Ethiopia, educational sector has been bringing in more active and student-centred learning since the introduction of the new education policy of 1994. However, the process has been very difficult for the teachers. The roots of rote learning, copying and lecturing are based in Islam and Orthodox Christian schools (Ferede & Haile, 2015; Semela, 2014), and these traditional lecture methods, in which teachers talk and students listen, still dominate most classrooms (Serbessa, 2006). The aim of this study was to clarify the reasons, why teachers in Ethiopian context feel it challenging to use student-centred teaching methods, and to explore how the practical arrangements, such as material or cultural surroundings, constrain or enable usage of student-centred methods. The theoretical framework of the study is a theory of practice architectures and the theories about active learning. The data have been collected by group discussions, interviews, videotapes and field notes. The findings of this study show that existing practical arrangements at the schools 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. In order to launch active learning methods successfully in Ethiopian school context, major changes are needed in these arrangements and in teacher training as well.

Author Information
Kati Keski-Mäenpää, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2018
Stream: Teaching Experiences, Pedagogy, Practice & Praxis

This paper is part of the ECE2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon