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Developing teaching and learning in Mozambican higher education: a study of the pedagogical development process at Eduardo Mondlane University
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis analyses the implementation of a student-centred learning approach at the Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM), in the context of the current curricular reform. The main objective of the thesis is to gain understanding of the implementation of a student-centred learning approach and how the innovation is related to the acquisition of teachers’ pedagogical competence at the above mentioned university. A sociocultural approach and more specifically Cultural Historical Activity Theory is used as a theoretical framework given that it provides a view of learning as a context based social activity. A qualitative approach based on document analysis, classroom observations and semi-structured interviews with different actors in the process of teaching, learning and teacher training was used. The findings of the three studies carried out and presented in four articles in the thesis show that the lecturers do not feel ownership of the curriculum reform introducing the new pedagogical approach, and revealed a conflict of interests in the process of implementation of the reform. Students appear to be unclear about the significance of the new approach and they cannot judge if it is correctly implemented. Contextual factors such as a high number of students in the classroom, poor infrastructure and inadequate access to educational resources also affect the students’ performance in their learning. The university teachers expressed a need for training and the creation of adequate material conditions in order to be able to apply the innovations. However, signs of positive attitudes towards this approach were also revealed by the informants, which demonstrates the existing potential of the reform. It was found that the role of the teacher is crucial in making students active, motivated and self-regulated. Moreover, the students’ active learning depends on several factors, such as contextual, social and psychological aspects of the process. In relation to the acquisition of teachers’ pedagogical competence, a comparative study of the official documents of Eduardo Mondlane University and Umeå University explicitly shows a focus on the development of pedagogical competence for all categories of teachers. However, due to significant differences in historical pre-conditions, cultural contexts and educational artefacts the findings revealed many differences in the corresponding collective activity systems. In conclusion, the thesis indicates that the implementation of student-centred learning at UEM depends on the availability of good educational infrastructure and also the development of human resources. Furthermore, less hierarchical communication at the university could accelerate the process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2014. , 34 p.
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar i pedagogiskt arbete, ISSN 1650-8858 ; 56
Keyword [en]
Cultural Historical Activity Theory, curriculum reform, higher education, student-centred learning, teacher professional development
National Category
Social Sciences Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-93954ISBN: 978-91-7601-130-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-93954DiVA: diva2:752005
Public defence
2014-10-30, N410, Naturvetarhuset, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-10-09 Created: 2014-10-02 Last updated: 2014-12-12Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Introducing a student-centred learning approach in current curriculum reform in Mozambican higher education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Introducing a student-centred learning approach in current curriculum reform in Mozambican higher education
2012 (English)In: Education Inquiry, ISSN 2000-4508, E-ISSN 2000-4508, Vol. 3, no 1, 37-48 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM) in Mozambique is introducing new participative forms of pedagogical practices into the process of its current curriculum reform. This article presents a case study of the introduction of a student-centred approach at one department and discusses some of the lecturers’ perceptions and experiences concerning the process. A qualitative study was carried out based on classroom observations and interviews. Activity theory was used in the analysisof the results. The findings show that the lecturers do not feel ownership of the curriculum reformintroducing student-centred learning. They express a need for training and the creation of adequatematerial conditions to apply the innovation. The findings also reveal contextual factors affecting student engagement in learning. In the conclusions, reflections are presented concerning the place of the generic values of learner-centeredness in the academic culture of the UEM.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet, 2012
Keyword
activity theory, Mozambican context, student-centred approach, university pedagogy
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
educational work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-53350 (URN)
Available from: 2012-03-22 Created: 2012-03-22 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
2. Inner tensions in changing pedagogical approaches in Mozambican higher education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Inner tensions in changing pedagogical approaches in Mozambican higher education
2014 (English)In: Comprehensive Journal of Educational Research, ISSN 2312-9421, Vol. 2, no 5, 60-69 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The paper discusses tensions in the process of implementation of student-centered pedagogical approaches in Mozambican higher education. A qualitative study was carried out based on document analysis, classroom observations and semi-structured interviews at one selected university. The analysis of this data was based on an activity theory approach which connects psychological, cultural and contextual perspectives. Data collected in this study showed that the teachers did not feel ownership of the innovation and the students revealed difficulties in taking responsibility for their learning. Traditional ‘punitive’ assessment culture and the Mozambican ‘poverty context’ influenced pedagogical practice. Younger teachers appeared to have more interest in the innovation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Knowledgebase Publishers, 2014
Keyword
activity theory, curriculum reform, student-centered learning, university pedagogy
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
educational work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-88790 (URN)
Funder
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Available from: 2014-05-15 Created: 2014-05-15 Last updated: 2015-03-27Bibliographically approved
3. A comparative analysis of university pedagogical centres’ activities in Mozambique and Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A comparative analysis of university pedagogical centres’ activities in Mozambique and Sweden
2014 (English)In: A Nordic perspective: on the cultural and the activity approach in theory and practice / [ed] Hans Knutagård, Britt Krantz och Marie Jedemark, Kristianstad: Kristianstad University Press , 2014, 65-73 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Many universities around the globe consider raising the pedagogical competence of their teachers to be an important task. The common way of approaching this task is the creation within the university of a specialised centre in charge of staff pedagogical development. This study attempts to provide an analysis of activities conducted by two pedagogical centres situated in two dramatically different contexts: one of the poorest countries in the world (Mozambique) and one of the richest (Sweden). A qualitative study was carried out based on a comparative policy document analysis, on-site observations and semi-structured interviews with two staff members from both centres. Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) provided a theoretical framework for the analysis. The collective activity system is taken as a unit of analysis that connects psychological, cultural and contextual perspectives (Engeström, 1999). We found that the official rhetoric of both universities explicitly focuses on the development of pedagogical competence for all categories of teachers. Therefore, as was expected, similarities were identified in the object and expected outcomes of the centres’ activity. However, due to significant differences in historical pre-conditions, cultural contexts and artefacts used for mediating activities in the two centres the findings revealed many differences in the corresponding collective activity systems. The study suggests that the implementation of pedagogical training at a university should carefully consider contextual, social and cultural factors shaping collective activity systems and if necessary construct compensatory artefacts to ameliorate possible frictions in the developmental process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Kristianstad: Kristianstad University Press, 2014
Series
Kristianstad University Press, 2014:01
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-93951 (URN)978-91-979422-6-3 (ISBN)
Note

Bidrag från konferens: The sixth Nordic conference on cultural and activity research, Kristianstad 12-14 June 2013

Available from: 2014-10-02 Created: 2014-10-02 Last updated: 2014-10-08Bibliographically approved
4. Exploring an experience of active learning in higher education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring an experience of active learning in higher education
2014 (English)In: Journal of education and training, ISSN 2330-9709, Vol. 1, no 2, 1-14 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article presents a subjective experience of attending a pedagogical training course for higher education teaching staff at Umea University, in Sweden. A participant observation was carried out based on an inductive approach. Data were collected through reports done in form of narratives at the end of eachsession. The analysis was done by critical reflection and the narratives were selected and thematically grouped according to the activities carried out during the course. Further, the analysis was supported by relevant literature related to educational theories that sustain student’s accountability in learning and interactive classes. The results of the study conclude that the role ofthe teacher is crucial to make students active, motivated and self-regulated. However, students’ active learning also depends on other factors such as contextual, social and psychological aspects. In addition, the communication involved in the process of teaching and learning develops confidence, empathy and achievement of good academic results.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Macrothink Institute, 2014
Keyword
active learning, communication, experience, higher education, self-regulation
National Category
Educational Sciences Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-87302 (URN)10.5296/jet.v1i2.5153 (DOI)
Available from: 2014-03-28 Created: 2014-03-28 Last updated: 2014-10-08Bibliographically approved

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