Main Article Content
English is an important language in Tanzania and the world over. In Tanzania, it is a compulsory school subject in primary and lower secondary (i.e. Forms I to IV) education and a compulsory medium of instruction in secondary tertiary levels of education. However, several studies have consistently reported on low levels of English competence among students in secondary schools in Tanzania. The situation is more evident at the language transition class (Form I). This study aimed at mitigating the challenges encountered in learning English in Form I classes. The study established a School-Based Professional Development (SB-PD) program to improve competence in English among Form I students. Six (6) English teachers and thirty (30) Form I students from three secondary schools in Dodoma Region were involved in this study. The referred teachers formed a learning team and participated in a series of activities which were facilitated by researchers from the University of Dodoma (UDOM).
The teachers worked together in developing short stories and other lesson materials, using them in lessons, observing and receiving feedback from colleagues. The teachers’ competences developed during the program were assessed using interviews and observation of students’ learning focusing on teachers’ adoption of effective pedagogical skills. The main question which guided this study was “Which school-based professional development program is likely to enhance the teachers’ competences in developing exemplary short story lessons for effective learning?” The findings indicate that English language teachers gained knowledge and competences in English content and effective pedagogy for teaching English. They were also able to develop and implement short story lessons using the current competence-based syllabus. Therefore, the learning team formed by the teachers was able to strengthen its teaching competences.