TALAST is a membership led association. We are constituted as a “Centre of Excellence”, within the University of Dodoma, (UDOM). TALAST has emerged out of 15 years of research and inovation into language in education. This work has led to the development of a pedagogic apporach we call “Language Supportive Pedagogy”. TALAST has formed out of this work to carry these ideas and conversations across Tanzania.
TALAST connects nationally through its website, online courses and social media. We also have “hubs” where live events take place, supported by educational institutions. We currently we have hubs in Morogoro (Morogoro Teachers College), Dodoma (UDOM and St John’s Uiversity of Tanzania) and Zanzibar (State University of Zanzibar). Our aim is to promote professional learning communities at the school and regional level, supported by the hubs.
To enable educators to harness the power of language to improve learning outcomes for all children and young people in Tanzania.
- To promotes and develop Language Supportive Pedagogy (LSP) adapted to the realities of Tanzanian classrooms
- To establish a professional learning community able to innovate theory and practice for supporting language development
- To provide professional development and Resources for the implemtnation of LSP
- To promote the voices of teachers in national debate on language in education policy
- Conduct research, including practitioner-led inquiry, related to language and subject teaching
In 2013, researchers at the University of Dodoma collaborated with staff at the Tanzania Institute of Education to design a prototype for a new type of textbook, a textbook that was designed for learners who are still acquiring the English skills they need for learning secondary school science.
Teacher educators are the University of Dodoma quickly realised that they were not just writing textbooks but were creating a new approach to teaching and learning, one which was designed for the Tanzanian context. They joined with teacher educators at St. John’s University of Tanzania and three Teachers Colleges – Butimba, Morogoro and Mpwapwa – to develop the approach further. Before taking to Language Supportive Pedagogy (LSP) to schools they tried it out themselves in their teacher education programmes. They found that by combinig techniques for language teaching with interactive ways of teaching mathematics and science they could simultaneously help student teachers to improve their English proficiency, learn more about their subject and develop skills for teaching and learning in English. Teacher educators started sharing the approach with neighbouring schools, through workshops sponsored by NGOs and projects in other parts of Tanzania and with schools, where their students were conducting teaching practice.
Other projects have also introduced LSP into Tanzania. The Baseline Programme, piloted by British Council, uses similar ideas and practices. This has now become the Pre-Form-1 programme delivered by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
TALAST has been established to spread LSP into schools and continue the development of language supportive practices, including in humanities and technical subjects. Many teachers have already improvised ways of teaching that help their students, who are not proficient in English. We believe that by coming together to share ideas and resources, we can continue to improve teaching and learning for secondary school students in Tanzania.
Many other countries in Africa that use English as the language of learning and teaching face similar challenges. TALAST aims to establish links with teachers, teacher educators and researchers who are developing language supportive pedagogies in other parts of the continent.