Andreas de Barros is a Postdoctoral Associate at MIT’s Department of Economics, where he works with Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) Africa and J-PAL South Asia. His research specializes in program evaluation and evidence-based education policy in less-developed countries.
Andy has over 10 years of experience conducting randomized evaluations and primary data collection in less-developed countries. His current projects focus on teaching quality as a key determinant of student learning, and on the potential of educational technology to improve instruction.
There is limited evidence on what drives teachers to change their teaching practices. Using primary qualitative data from 78 Zambian education personnel from the school to provincial level, we combine thematic analysis with unsupervised machine learning to identify drivers of pedagogical shifts. We then combine qualitative analyses with linear probability models to uncover their associations with teacher professional development. Our findings suggest that teaching practices are malleable, with change being predominantly driven by on-site continuous professional development (CPD) opportunities relating to team-based problem-solving, verbal discussions, and skills acquisition. Taken together, this study highlights the potential of school-based CPD opportunities as means to alter teaching practices, in a developing-country setting.