Moving towards more participatory practice with Open Educational Resources: TESS-India Academic Review

Wolfenden, Freda; Adinolfi, Lina; Cross, Simon; Lee, Clare; Paranjpe, Sandhya and Safford, Kimberly (2017). Moving towards more participatory practice with Open Educational Resources: TESS-India Academic Review. The Open University, Milton Keynes.


The purpose of this academic review of TESS-India activity in three states (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha) was to seek evidence for change brought about by TESS-India in teacher education in each of these states. The findings offer informed guidance on future trajectories for TESS-India activity and support discussions with key stakeholders in each of these states.

The overarching goal of TESS-India is to support delivery of quality pedagogic change in teacher education and school classrooms. TESS-India activity is designed to meet identified professional development needs of teachers and teacher educators in each state. Thus it takes a slightly different form in each state, appropriate to local priorities and conditions. The Review focus was similarly differentiated in each state to align to TESS-India activity in that state.

The review field work was carried out by academics from the Open University UK and the Head Academic, TESS-India Country Office, between 30 January and 4 February 2017. It adopted an essentially qualitative approach to understand educators’ (trainee teachers, teachers, local teacher educators and DIET faculty) experiences with the TESS-India resources and the influence of this engagement on their pedagogic practice. Data was generated from multiple sources including analysis of key documentation, semi-structured interviews with teachers, teacher educators and policy makers, and classroom observation. Teachers, teacher educators and SRG members were sampled at different locations within each state.

The focus of TESS-India activity to date has been to strengthen the existing government (state) educational system at the elementary stage - SCERT, SSA, DIETS, DEO, DPC (SSA), BEO, BRP, BRC, CRCC, HT, Teacher, Child – in alignment with national policies, frameworks and the RTE Act. The project aims at supplementing and complementing GoI and State specific efforts and activities. Although TESS-India has produced original Open Educational Resources (OER) to support educators working in the secondary stage, as yet there is very little evidence of sustained TESS-India activity with this phase of schooling or with the TESS-India School Leader OER. The review findings are therefore focussed on activity at the elementary stage and are reported at different levels of the system in line with the TESS-India theory of change.

The report found that use of TESS-India OER is contributing to quality change in classrooms with students and trainee teachers.
• SRG members met by the review team were using the TESS-India OER and described how this use was prompting them to experiment with more interactive and participatory practices.
• Teachers observed and / or interviewed by the review team were drawing on TESS-India OER to inform their lesson planning and subsequent teaching.

Evidence seen by the review team (learning journals and learning plans) indicates that the practices being developed by these teachers are shared by other teachers in the cohort of teachers participating in TESS-India focus district activity.

However the innovation in practice and transformation in pedagogy promised by TESS-India OER is still in the early stages and the evidence is highly emergent. But, critically, through engagement with the MOOC and other TESS-India learning resources, policy makers and lead teacher educators (for example SCERT Directors) are changing their thinking about teacher professional development, moving away from cascade models to a focus on continuous professional development and learning of teachers in their classrooms with support from teacher educators/ experts, either virtually or face-to face.

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