IOP for Africa – teaching practical physics in Tanzania

1 November 2017 | Source: IOP for Africa – teaching practical physics in Tanzania

This year IOP volunteer, Mike Branfield from the College of Richard Collyer, travelled to Tanzania to deliver practical physics teacher training in Arusha and Morogoro and work with teachers from 24 secondary schools throughout those regions.

The challenge that schools face throughout Tanzania is that many teachers perpetuate the delivery of lessons in the way that they were taught as students, which for many was rote learning. The IOP training aims to alter a teachers approach by encouraging them to let students take the lead in their own learning. The training focused on practical work and specifically the students conducting experiments. The role of the teacher throughout was to encourage their students to engage with the experiments through predicting what might happen and posing meaningful questions.  

The training is based around a two-way exchange of ideas. In addition to the IOP volunteer providing some teaching and learning techniques, teachers are also encouraged to present demonstrations that they have developed and focus on the alternative style of students contributing to the discussion. An interesting addition also came from the students who also showed their investigations and demonstrated an excellent knowledge of the science when questioned.

In addition to the training it was great to learn about what schools are doing as a result of the training we provide. Since the training in 2016 one headmaster in the Mvomero District in Morogoro has started the Mvomero Progressive Science Volunteers Physics and Mathematics Cup. This is an initiative developed by the school to raise interest in maths and physics amongst form two and four students – an excellent outcome of the training.

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