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Action research and the Covid-19 outbreak

Action researchers explore different approaches to address an immediate challenge in their context. In 2020, VVOB supports two action research (AR) trajectories for education officials in the Free State province. A cohort of volunteers from all 5 districts will run parallel to a cohort of a district management team.


We’re exploring how we can continue working with them from a distance during the Covid-19 outbreak, establishing virtual learning sessions and online professional learning communities (PLCs). Read more about the AR e-learning process here.

Learning from the past

These new groups form the fifth and sixth cohort to be set in motion by VVOB. In 2018 and 2019, more than 100 participants took part in four action research trajectories, supported by VVOB and the Departments of Education in the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. Lessons learned from these past processes allow us to keep improving our current trajectories.

Ten stories of good practice

Tshidi, George, Shirley, Caroline, Itumeleng, Veli, Knysna, Vuyelwa and Morakabi share how action research has changed their daily practice. They are respectively Deputy Chief Education Specialist, Subject Advisors, Manager of a District Teacher Development Centre, Circuit Manager, Chief Education Specialist, Learning Support Advisor and Circuit Manager. They participated in the second and first action research cohorts of the Free State province.

Subject Advisor Social Sciences, Shirley Moopeloa - 'Teachers are not afraid to approach me anymore'


Deputy Chief Education Specialist, Tshidi Hlapane - 'Where do we lose these learners?'


Subject Advisor Social Sciences, Caroline Dhlomo - 'As my research unfolded, I realised the actual reason why learners failed my subject, was bad reading performance'


Subject Advisor Sesotho, George Lithuge - ‘Some pupils wish to learn in motion, others want to see pictures. None of them should be left behind’


Teacher Development Centre Manager, Itumeleng Bekeer - ‘It’s all about asking the right questions’


Chief Education Specialist, Knysna Motumi - 'School performance has improved'


Circuit Manager, Dr. Veli Nhlapo - 'They could share their frustrations, and I discovered the core of the issues'


Learning Support Advisor and AR-cofacilitator, Vuyelwa Khanya - 'My learners now learn through play'


Circuit Manager, Morakabi Moletsane - 'I moved from being an expert to a practitioner'


Ilembe district officials for teacher development, Mthokozisi Wanda and Muzi Khoza - ‘Our newly adopted approach resulted in a sense of honesty’


Mandla Tshabalala, provincial teacher development official in KwaZulu-Natal - 'I now conduct most of my support visits together with SACE'

Sustainable impact

An eye-catching result is the mind-shift that participants experience. Throughout the process, they develop a habit of looking at their own actions and involving their school leaders and teachers to strengthen inclusive pedagogy in the classroom. This mind-shift contributes to sustainable impact.

We need to avail ourselves to these teachers. Here I am. Where are you stuck? How can I help?
Tshidi Hlapane, Deputy Chief Education Specialist

These processes happen within the project Leading and Teaching for Diversity (LT4D), building the competences of provincial and district education officials to help their schools respond to learner diversity and promote inclusive education.