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An Introduction to TESSA

An introduction to the TESSA programme and its Open Educational Materials (
screenshot of TESSA website
© TESSA shared under Creative Commons license CC-BY-SA/ © The Open University

In 2005, The Open University secured funding to develop OER to support teachers and teacher educators in developing more active approaches to teaching and learning, in line with national policy aspirations.

A consortium of authors and reviewers was formed with representatives from 14 teacher education institutions in nine African countries. The result is a bank of collaboratively produced OER which have been versioned for different contexts and are available in four languages.

The pedagogy of the TESSA OER positions teachers as learners. The OER show teachers and teacher educators how to translate theory into practice.

They are designed to open up possibilities for educators and, through authentic case studies, show how they can make their teaching more interactive and engaging for learners. An independent evaluation report, published in 2012, found that TESSA had created a demand for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) as teachers realised the potential for change within the constraints in which they were working.

The TESSA OER provide structured learning opportunities for teachers, related to the Primary curriculum and the Secondary Science curriculum, helping them to see how active teaching and learning works in practice. There are also a number of handbooks and toolkits, explaining how the resources can be used in different contexts. Throughout this course we will be drawing on the TESSA OER to help you to develop your practice and better support the teachers and student teachers that you are working with.

The pedagogy in the TESSA OER focuses on modelling practice for teachers that consistently conceptualises learners (whether they are students or teachers) as:

  • knowledgeable individuals with a range of experiences that they bring to their learning;

  • constructors of meaning and problem solvers;

  • self-regulated, self-directed social beings;

  • intrinsically motivated if learning activities have personal meaning and cultural authenticity.

You are not expected to comment on this page, but if you are already familiar with the TESSA OER tell us about how you have used them and the impact they are making.

© TESSA shared under Creative Commons license CC-BY-SA/ © The Open University
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