Using Technology and Mentorship to Improve Teacher Pedagogy and Educational Opportunities in Rural Nicaragua

  • Anni Lindenberg The University of Texas at Austin
  • Kathryn I. Henderson The University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Leah Dur├ín The University of Arizona, 1430 E. Second Street, Tucson, Arizona 85721
Keywords: Teacher education, Math content videos, Nicaragua, pedagogical content knowledge, mentorship, teacher training, rural school reform

Abstract

This study used ethnographic methods to understand factors influencing the implementation of an educational intervention combining short math content videos with teacher trainings and mentorship in high-poverty primary schools in Nicaragua with implications for rural school reform. Educators in rural schools in Latin American face serious obstacles to improve classroom instruction and pedagogy, including lack of resources and overcrowding. Research suggests an over-reliance on input-output models in which inputs (e.g. teacher salaries, textbooks, technology, computer labs, numbers of classrooms, etc.) are expected to produce particular outputs (student retention, lowering drop-out rates, increasing graduation rates, etc.); however, studies show that regardless of the resources, much depends on effective use of resources for successful teaching and learning (O'Sullivan, 2006; L. S. Shulman, 1987). While input/output models provide insights into an educational systems economic efficiency, they do not offer insight into what actually transpires inside of a classroom (O'Sullivan, 2006). Much depends on effective training and use of these very resources. Though systemic issues in the Nicaraguan educational system produced numerous obstacles for the eleven participating 3rd and 6th grade teachers, the educational intervention model supported teachersΓÇÖ ability to be innovative and grow their practice in four ways: a) increased pedagogical knowledge; b) opportunities to collaborate and support one another as a community of teachers; c) flexibility in adaptation of the intervention model to their specific classroom context; and d) use of videos as supportive resources for content knowledge.

Author Biographies

Anni Lindenberg, The University of Texas at Austin

Anni Lindenberg, graduated with a Masters degree from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction (Language and Literacy Studies) from The University of Texas at Austin and with a Masters of Education paired with a teaching credential from The Multicultural Urban Education (MUSE) program at The University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests include teacher education, particularly how teachers and students together design literacy practices that are transformative. She has presented at The American Educational Research Association (AERA) Conference and The Literacy Research Association (LRA) Conference. She currently teaches high school English Language Arts at The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders in Austin, Texas.

Kathryn I. Henderson, The University of Texas at San Antonio
Kathryn Henderson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies at the College of Education within The University of Texas at San Antonio. Her research focuses on bilingual education, dual language learning, langauge ideology, and language planning and policy. She has presented at The American Educational Research Association (AERA) Conference, The American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL) Conference, and The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition’s Immersion Conference.
Leah Durán, The University of Arizona, 1430 E. Second Street, Tucson, Arizona 85721
Leah Durán is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching, Language, and Sociocultural Studies at the College of Education within The University of Arizona. Her research focuses on bilingualism and biliteracy. She has presented at The American Educational Research Association (AERA) Conference, The Literacy Research Association (LRA) Conference, and The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Conference.
Published
2016-01-30