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ERIC Number: ED555372
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 371
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3034-3018-3
Freeing the Hand of the Lord: Securing Constructivist Pedagogy through Professional Development in Kenyan Rural Schools
Ngundi, James
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Virginia
This study explores the use of constructivist pedagogy promoting learner-centered teaching in Kenya's rural primary schools. It explores both the school-based as well as bureaucratic hurdles to the success of constructivist pedagogy. Teacher ideologies, issues of diverse cultures and traditional beliefs, the rural context characterized by underresourced, understaffed and over-crowded schools, as well as teacher professional development are some of the lenses through which the practice of learner-centered teaching is investigated. This qualitative research uses the case-study method, focusing on the instructional practices of rural primary school teachers and data from multiple sites collected through classroom observations, interviews, teachers' journals, a focus group and situated recall, based on video clips of teachers' classroom instruction. Teachers' views on the state and conditions of their work, the official curriculum, adequacy of instructional time, and the value of extant professional development programs are examined against views espoused by Ministry officials. The study suggests that despite the promise of learner-centered teaching, and policy reforms in Kenya promoting constructivist pedagogy, the future of constructivist pedagogies is yet to be secured. It enumerates the threats to learner-centered teaching that left unresolved may lead to an inaccurate conclusion that constructivist teaching is not possible or suitable for schools outside Western traditions. The study suggests a need to re-think current conceptualizations of poverty and its assumed role in educational investment choices among rural communities. It suggests a paradigm shift in how policymakers and education officials engage with rural schools, particularly in communities where schooling has been slow to take off. To secure constructivist pedagogy, the study recommends re-thinking professional development to make it targeted, cyclical, school-based, and more responsive to expressed teacher needs rather than one that is generic, spotty, punitive, and leads to marginalization and isolation of teachers. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Primary Education; Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kenya