From education to health: lessons from cross-disciplinary teaching, research and development activity, in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa

Power, Tom; Long, Lesley Anne and Eyres, Ian (2013). From education to health: lessons from cross-disciplinary teaching, research and development activity, in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. In: 12th UKFIET International Conference on Education and Development: Education and Development Post 2015: Reflecting, Reviewing, Re-visioning, 10-12 Sep 2013, Oxford, UK.

Abstract

This article builds upon and contributes to work on the development of professional practices for health workers and teachers, in international development contexts. It draws upon extensive teaching, research and development, carried out by the Open University and partners, in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Although earlier studies (?) have examined professional learning in education (through school-based teacher develop- ment, supported by low cost mobile phones, and peer learning) and in health, there has not yet been an adequate consideration of the potential for cross-disciplinary development of teaching approaches, either in pre- or in-service training.
As such, this study provides additional insight into the commonalities and points of divergence between the professional learning needs of health and education practitioners, serving disadvantaged, often predominantly rural, communities. The analytical focus on opportunities for practice- based professional learning, and within this, the contribution of mobile phones to the development of professional knowledge and practice, is an- other optic through which to explore the potential of cross-disciplinary development.
Although numerous studies have identified the need for both upskilling existing practitioners and preparing new practitioners at scale, there has been insufficient attention paid to the means by which this might be achieved. There is a need to identify key characteristics of approaches ca- pable of appropriate scale, impact on practice, and value for money, whilst developing sustainable models that outlast the original donor investment. We begin to address such issues, suggesting possible foundations of a new architecture for professional, practice-based learning.

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