Pedagogy- Insights from the The pedaL program

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PedaL Launch event- Pedagogy.
Polly Okaron at PedaL launch- Pedagogy.

Polly Okaron at PedaL launch- Pedagogy.

Polly Okaron recently attended the Pedagogical Leadership in Africa – PedaL launch, held by the PASGR– Partnership for Social & Governance Research.  Pedagogy is the method used for teaching. Technology is one of the pedagogical methods.

She wrote some insights from the workshop:

Pedagogy of Hope

Learning begins from integrating the African wisdom into the teaching and learning experiences: Examples of African wisdom:

  • By crawling a child learns how to walk
  • By trying a monkey learns how to jump
  • You learn how to cut trees by cutting trees

There is need for the African Universities to rethink about how teaching and learning occurs  in line with our wisdom, values for the generations to come.

A lot of focus has been directed towards the Biological sciences but now, the social scientists can now smile when programs geared towards improving how learners learn are brought on board:

Key Areas of Focus

  • Research
  • Higher Education
  • Professional Development

Through the pilot universities, the PedaL program aims at having an exciting and the impactful classroom experience with the following aims:

  • Designing the model,
  • Training the faculties in the universities,
  • Integrating  the model in the courses undertaken,
  • Creating the community of practices and owning the model

Learning institutions must own the model by creating a community of practices and practitioners among the teaching staff. This is possible if we embrace the aspect of collaboration. ‘I am because we are’-Ubuntu Ideology is gaining more attention. We can only get better through partnering with those who have made it in the area of pedagogy. This can be spearheaded by building the culture of Research and Development.

We should have academic staff exchange programmes for peer learning. This is so as to share the best practices that have worked in the classrooms as partners in learning to know and do. This will encourage publications of the learning experiences as opposed to publishing.

There should be filling in the gaps between the industries and universities because it takes approximately 9 months for a graduate to catch up in the working environment and the outcome of university education should be ‘industriousness and not for industries’. Learners should be trained for skills specific not for employment in specific industries but impart skills that will fit in the job market as a whole.


Some of the challenges in pedagogy have come about due to some of the universities experiencing high student population while others are have low student population due to the reduction of the government funding for higher education. On the other hand others have high number of the teaching staff, this leads to high wage bill that take of the health insurances. This competes with the allocation that should have been set aside for Research and Development.

The biggest concern is what role the learners play in pedagogy improvement. The students as the teachers of tomorrow will pass down a grasped concept to their peers and the generations to come. Despite the efforts being made by the learning experts, the learners are expected to explore the opportunities in their challenges. This is because the learners are part of the human-ware that can manipulate the resources we have to ensure learning is enjoyable. The learner should keep on re-evaluating themselves by asking this: ‘Who I am I and Am I who I am?’ This will help in the identification, nurturing and self realization of their passion, purpose and gifts.

The teacher’s role seems quite obvious but we have these: Following the learners and teaching in the environment they enjoy most because ‘Teaching is not telling’. As much as learner’s performance has been of focus over the past decades, motivation for the teacher is another point of focus. The teacher should self evaluate themselves over time. The learning experience should not be predictable as it will easily turn into a routine.

For both the teacher and the learner, Learning how to Learn is one of the competencies each one should have in order to be able to grow the skills we have received without depending on each other. Feedback about the learning session and their personal views about their teachers, as a core aspect should be carried out after every learning experience. This can be done the last minutes of each lesson. Other lessons where conducive, the sessions can be a one-on-one format. The feedback should also be shared to the teachers so as to get their responses. For objectivity the assessment questionnaires must have the right questions. The teacher and the learner’s biggest role becomes optimization of the learning opportunities.

In conclusion, For there to be a smooth change to the pedagogy of hope, there should be a paradigm shift where there is mindset change from Early years to avoid blockage by the learners at higher levels.

About the author: 

Polly Okaron is our Quality Assurance lead and also heads our Content Team. A teacher by profession, Polly is passionate about children empowerment through education. You can read more posts by Polly here. With more than 4,900,000 users, Eneza plans to expand to 50 million by 2022. 

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