Principles for adapting playful pedagogies to context [CIES Presentation]

Efforts to promote playful pedagogies in low- and middle-income countries face many challenges. Among these challenges are the norms of teacher-child interaction that have a strong cultural basis. These norms include children’s reluctance to speak in front of adults, teachers’ desire to avoid embarrassing children and to promote a sense of fairness and togetherness in the classroom (Jukes et al, 2021a). In this paper I suggest an approach for adapting pedagogy to cultural context. The approach involves designing teaching activities to achieve two goals. Building on the work of others (O’Sullivan, 2004; Schweistfurth, 2013), the first is the cognitive learning goal of the activity. The second is the culturally appropriate social goal of the activity. This framing helps to design instructional approaches that promote learning and can be readily taken up by teachers. This approach is particularly effective when teaching activities are co-constructed with teachers (Randolph et al, 2020). In this paper I will discuss 3 studies of teacher perceptions and classroom behaviours in Tanzania that led to the development of this approach (Jukes et al, 2021b). I will also present one example of a teacher co-creation workshop in Tanzania based on the suggested approach to contextualising teaching activities. I will also illustrate the application to the contextualisation of playful pedagogies, based on qualitative research in Kenya and Ghana.