IICBA Hosts a Seminar on ‘Lived Experiences of Teachers of English Learners in the U.S. and Africa: Erasing Narratives of Deficits’

On 29 May 2019, IICBA welcomed Dr. Rosaire Ifedi, Associate Professor in the Dwight Schar College of Education as Ashland University in Ohio, U.S.A. who gave a seminar to IICBA staff on ‘Lived Experiences of Teachers of English Learners (Els) in the U.S. and Africa: Erasing Narratives of Deficits’.

Dr. Rosaire explained that unfortunately, all too often negative stories of teachers and educators persist instead of positive ones. She believes that as long as deficit narratives persist and wrongly so, the measures put in place to improve teaching will be of little impact and effect. Therefore, she is working to give voice to educators by uncovering their lived experiences and is doing so through her research in the United States, Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya. She is also looking at the possibilities and determents to real teacher empowerment, an area that IICBA is also investigating through its work on a Teacher Support and Motivation Framework for Africa.

 The presentation also looked at the commonalities between teachers of English Learners in the U.S. and Africa. Dr. Rosaire stated that

“We think Africa’s problems are so different, and yes they are, but in the areas where they are different, something else needs to be done… in the actual profession of teaching, [they are] so similar.”

She continued to explain how teacher’s success is tied to student’s success; how they go together and therefore, we must tie education with students, parents, society and policy.

After the presentation, a fruitful discussion was held that discussed the debate around the quantity versus quality of teachers. Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, will need an additional 17 million primary and secondary school teachers in order to achieve universal primary and secondary education by 2030, according to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (2016). The question is how to fill these teacher posts without compromising on the quality and training of the teachers.

To learn more about IICBA’s research on the emerging patterns of a Teacher Support and Motivation Framework, please visit:  http://www.iicba.unesco.org/node/273