Reimagining Primary Teacher Preparation in Moçambique

Literacy Mentoring in Hybrid Spaces as a Transformative Practice

  • Elsa Goia Instituto de Formação de Professores de Chitima
  • James V. Hoffman University of North Texas
  • Julio Ngomane Instituto de Formação de Professores de Chitima
  • Heloisa Modesto CODE
  • Misty Sailors University of North Texas
  • Alcina Sitoe Associação Progresso
Keywords: Primary teacher preparation, Literacy mentoring, Hybrid spaces, Transformative practice, Mozambique


In this article, we describe our collaborative work with the Moçambique Ministry of Education in re-imagining primary literacy teacher preparation through an initiative that promotes closer personal (literacy focused) relationships between preservice teachers (formandos) and primary-aged students during the formando’s preparation program. Our work seeks to disrupt traditional notions of Moçambique teacher preparation, which are mostly didactic and disconnected from community-based interactions with children. We are working to move toward ideologies that recognize and draw on children’s cultural and linguistic resources. Our collaboratively designed literacy methodologies call for building personal relationships, engaging in responsive teaching, promoting translanguaging, encouraging children to take the lead in their own literacies, and drawing on community resources in our work with formandos. This report will focus on a description of the literacy mentoring program we are enacting and the results of a feasibility study at the Instituto de Formação de Professores de Chitima. We will summarize the mentoring program and the findings from research, discuss our successes and challenges and the ways in which this initiative has the potential to reframe the current mode for academic coursework in primary teacher preparation, and our next steps in Moçambique. This collaborative model stands to inform a re-imagining of teacher preparation that is situated locally and grounded in practice.

Author Biographies

Elsa Goia, Instituto de Formação de Professores de Chitima

Elsa Orlando Joaquim Goia was born in Tete, Changara district. She finished high school in 1996 at Tete School in the year 1996. She has been teaching since 1999 in various primary schools. She was trained at DAPP (Development Aid from People to People) in Chiomio in a course of Portuguese Language Teaching. She now works as a lecturer of Portuguese language, its methodology, literature and also the subject of oral, reading and writing at Teachers Training Institute of Chitima. In 2015, she concluded a Bachelor’s degree in Portuguese Teaching with ability in English at Pedagogic University of Mozambique – Tete province.She was trained to work with primary school students with difficulties in reading and writing to help trainees in a project of one student one trainee by the Ministry of Education.

James V. Hoffman, University of North Texas

James V. Hoffman is professor of language and literacy studies at the University of North Texas (transitioning from the University of Texas at Austin). He is a former editor of Reading Research Quarterly and The Yearbook of the National Reading Conference. He has served as president of the National Reading Conference and as a member of the board of directors of the International Reading Association. Dr. Hoffman was an affiliated scholar with both the National Reading Research Center (NRRC) and the Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement (CIERA). He was elected to the Reading Hall of Fame in 2002 and served as president of this organization from 2008-2010. The primary focus for his research has been on teaching and teacher preparation.


Julio Ngomane, Instituto de Formação de Professores de Chitima

Júlio Ernesto Melo Ngomane has a bachelor of informatics teaching from the Universidade Pedagógica in Maputo. He has been training new teachers at Chitima IFP since 2014. His work is focused on helping the trainees to improve their IT skills as they relate to teaching. Prior to that, he worked in the private IT industry.

Heloisa Modesto, CODE

Heloisa Modesto has a degree in agricultural engineering from the Federal University of Lavras (Brazil)  and a master’s degree in human ecology from the University of Alberta (Canada), with a focus on gender and international development. She has over 25 years leading international development programs in Latina America and Africa, mostly focused on education, gender equality, and family agriculture. Presently, Heloísa is the program manager for Mozambique with CODE (Canadian NGO) where she leads the implementation of a bilateral project funded by the Canadian government to improve pre-service primary teacher education in that country.


Misty Sailors, University of North Texas

Misty Sailors is professor of literacy education and chair of the department of teacher education and administration at the University of North Texas (transitioning from the University of Texas at San Antonio).  She served as a member of the board of directors for the Literacy Research Association (LRA) and on the International Literacy Association’s (ILA) literacy research panel and the ILA’s standards revision committee (Standards for Literacy Professionals 2017). Her research centers on the professional development of in-service teachers and the preparation of beginning teachers. She has directed over $19 million in sponsored research activities. She has worked with teachers and literacy coaches in the USA, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Malawi, Tanzania, South Africa, and Mozambique.


Alcina Sitoe, Associação Progresso

Alcina Sitoe was born in Maputo, the capital city of Mozambique. While she was doing her undergraduate degree in Mozambique, she was an eighth grade teacher. By the end of her undergraduate degree, she received a scholarship to do a master’s degree in education at Sydney University in Australia in 2002. She graduated from Sydney University and returned to Mozambique and decided to contribute to education in a different way – working in non-government organizations that have their core business improving the quality of education in Mozambique and/or children’s rights.