Teacher Interviews - Autumn 2017
This publication is a work in progress, and part of an ongoing project. More data is being collected so the results presented here are not yet intented for interpretation or sharing
About the respondents
The interview results presented here were conducted with 87 teachers, participating in the Hekima project. The respondents range in age between 22 and 60. Three quarters were men, while only 22 of the teachers were female.
Four out of five respondents teach classes between grades 1 and 6 (where students will typically be between ages 6 and 12). While 90% of the teachers had access to their own phone, of those that have to share their device, over three quarters were women.
We asked the teachers a set of questions about messages sent from a fictional character called coach Azize.
Message (not) received
A big issue with the trial project turns out to be technical: many of the teachers did not receive any messages or only a couple of them. This led to confusion over the activities that these messages were providing information on.
About a quarter of all participants received between 5 and 10 messages, while the rest received only 5 or less messages.
Another important take away is the fact that many teachers that did receive messages did not know who they were from and why they received them. A couple of teachers even indicated they were fearful of the messages.
When asked about difficulties receiving and understanding the messages, one third of the teachers indicated they had some difficulties.
While a larger proportion of female teachers didn't know who the messages were from, a smaller proportion of them had difficulties with the messages, compared to the male teachers.
Participants named various reasons for the difficulties: confusion from short or incomplete messages was mentioned several times, as was confusion over the game Simon says.
Appreciation of Coach Azize
Despite the difficulties and confusion, 70% of the participants said they found coach Azize very helpful and they could name specific details how exactly he had been helpful. Two participants, both male, said they found him more disturbing than helpful.
Female participants indicated in higher proportions than male ones that they found the coach very helpful.
Asked how coach Azize could improve, participants said they would like more messages, that focused even more on helping them teaching their class, through shared experiences and activities and by supporting them.
Some powerful responses indicate that teachers were learning to take better care of themselves, and how to substitute fun activities for corporal punishment to manage a class.
Adoption of activities
Of the 87 participants, 57 confirmed they had used the activities described in the messages in their class. About half of them did only one activity. The three most popular activities were belly breathing, Simon says, and zip zop zap.
A sizeable group of the participants that did the activities said they found the instructions at least a bit hard. Almost half of them talked about and/or shared the messages, predominantly with other teachers.
After reflection on the messages, close to 90% of the participants said they were motivated and helped by them. All of the participants said they would like to receive more messages, so even the teachers that did not feel motivated by the messages are still open to more engagement with the project.
The interviews have laid bare several challenges, foremost of them the confusion and counterproductivity that comes with unreliable connectivity. Participants regularly missed certain messages and therefore were not able to fully engage with the activities.
Secondly, too often participants did not recognize or trust the source and content of the messages ,which also meant they did not engage. And finally, the instructions for the activities described in the messages were not clear enough for many participants to understand.