Teaching from the Heart for the Heart!

Participants of the University of Dar es Salaam PedaL training play a part in a simulation process.

This message reverberated among teaching staff of the University of Dar es Salaam as PedaL pitched camp at the University for six days in the new year; from 20-25 January 2020.  PedaL is a training programme that introduces intentional and integrated interventions in design, context, processes and content of teaching and learning aimed at maximizing learning outcomes among students.

The University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) convened the PedaL training for its academic staff at the White Sands Hotel in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The training attracted 74 academics (47 Female, 27 Male) from the University as well as two of its constituent colleges: Dar es Salaam University College of Education (DUCE) and Mkwawa University College of Education (MUCE) which is located in Iringa, 488 km out of Dar es Salaam.

A highlight of the training was the official launch of PedaL at the University in an event graced by Professor Bernadeta Killian (Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research) who represented the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. William A. L. Anangisye. In her address, Professor Killian emphasized that the University of Dar es Salaam shared PedaL’s vision of transforming teaching and learning in university programmes on the continent. She drew an intricate connection between PedaL and the philosophy of tertiary education in Tanzania; ‘Education for self-reliance’.

Professor Killian also stressed the importance of holistic teaching and learning for the advancement of research capacity building and knowledge production. Other University leaders present recognized the long-standing relationship with the Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR) through the collaborative Master of Research and Public Policy (MRPP) programme which pioneered pedagogical innovations that have been systematized through PedaL.

The teaching staff who welcomed PedaL with enthusiasm undertook training in all the six modules of the training programme. Inclusiveness and values stood out in this training. First, the number of female academics outnumbered that of their male colleagues and debates around gender issues were deep and passionate. Then, a mixture of ‘Swahili ’and English was used to deliver the training brought to life the importance of home-grown solutions in capacity building. Expressing the power of values, the academics acknowledged that pedal had empowered them to teach holistically from the heart for the heart. Summing up the experience, Dr. Beatrice Mkenda, Senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of Dar es Salaam, stated thus; ‘In the past, I missed all training bearing the name “pedagogy” and I wanted to give it a chance. I am glad I did. What an eye-opener! No regrets at all!

PedaL was introduced at the University of Dar es Salaam in July 2018 and has undoubtedly made a mark. On May 6-8, 2019, PedaL won an award for the best innovation in education and social sciences during the University of Dar es Salaam 5th Research Week. PedaL has also informed a policy on pedagogical training that will enhance the capacity of each and every member of the teaching staff at the University to innovate and deliver exceptional learning moments in their classes. The goal is to produce holistically grounded graduates able to who are not only able to find employment easily, but also to create opportunities for themselves and for others, and to participate actively as patriotic citizens transforming the socio-economic and political dimensions of their country.