Dr. Barnes-Story Receives 2024 SEED Award From Council on Research and Creativity

May 21, 2024

Tallahassee, FL – Dr. Adrienne Barnes-Story, a Research Specialist at the Learning Systems Institute, has been awarded a 2024 SEED Award from the Council on Research and Creativity. Work on the project titled “Large Class Pedagogy in Low-Income Contexts: Exploring Methods with Teachers in Malawi” will begin later this year.        

Increased enrollment compounded by the rapid population growth in low- and middle-income countries has required teachers to face educating an exploding population of children entering the same number of classrooms. As access has been expanded, Ministries of Education have been trying to address the concurrent challenge of quality, which critics have alleged has been greatly compromised. Teaching large classes requires a considerable amount of planning, support, and expertise that many teachers in low- and middle-income countries have not yet developed.

The Large Class Pedagogy research project will use a mixed methods exploratory approach to investigate instructional practices utilized by teachers in overcrowded classrooms in Malawi and develop profiles of teachers who can effectively manage teaching large classes. The purpose of this research is to determine what effective instructional methods are in use in low-resource classrooms with more than 80 children in order to inform later intervention research."This is a photo of a classroom with children sitting on the floor. There is a man in the background sitting in a chair taking notes. "

The research team aims to collect data at 30 primary schools, with at least 30 Head Teachers (principals) and at least 300 teachers and develop a pedagogical guide for teachers. The long-term goal of this line of research is to engage in a student-level outcome pilot study to test and update the methods described in the pedagogical guide and then use an open-access publishing mechanism to disseminate the guide widely, allowing teachers from all low- and middle-income countries to freely access the resource.

Ms. Jennie Robinette and Dr. Brenda Wawire from LSI, as well as three graduate research assistants from the FSU College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences will support Dr. Barnes-Story in conducting this project. The award period will be August 1, 2024 to September 30, 2025, with the research team directly involved for 12 months.

“By identifying the most effective methods for large class pedagogy, we can better support teachers across the world who face this situation,” said Dr. Barnes-Story. “I’m pleased that FSU’s Council on Research and Creativity understands the value of this line of research.”

For 55 years, LSI has delivered systems that measurably improve the learning and performance of organizations and individuals in Florida and globally. Our experts' advanced research provides state-of-the-art methods and a clear path for implementation. To learn more about the STEP Activity or LSI, please visit LSI.FSU.edu for information.