by Dickson Hezron, Project Coordinator, OE Foundation Tanzania
Question: Who designs quests in Tanzania?
Answer: Teachers from different secondary schools in Tanzania.
All Tanzania quests are designed in Tanzania by Tanzanians, based on our educational system and the physical environment, for Tanzanian school leaders. All content aligns with the Tanzania National Syllabus and is submitted to the Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE) for approval. In Quest Forward Learning, Tanzanian teachers, who design quests, are highly trained and provided with an outstanding forum for designing the best quests for secondary schools. They devise ways to embed skills such as confidence, decision making, drawing, research, collaboration, self-control, and self-motivation, into their quests.
Quest design is an art, and requires creativity. Quests are designed in such a way that they shift the learning from the teacher to the student. The aim is to make teachers the facilitators of the entire learning process, while students use materials and become sources of knowledge themselves. The designing of quests by Tanzanian teachers is helpful in shifting the mindset and roles of students and teachers. Student-centered instruction focuses on skills that enable lifelong learning and independent problem-solving. This increases student passion and gives them ways to explore their subjects more deeply.
A quest starts as an idea, which evolves from the Tanzania National Syllabus, and is then drafted in QuestMaker (an app for designing quests). When a draft is complete, a designer shares it with his/her peers for peer review before it reaches the level of internal review by a subject specialist, called an internal reviewer (IR). The subject specialist has to check that, if the quest incorporates the Quest Forward methodology in a meaningful way, the materials are accurate and correct enough to meet curriculum standards and achieve related learning objectives. After the IR reviews and corrects the quest, it goes directly to the Global Quest Review Team, who checks if it is meaningful to both students and mentors, addresses specific goals and topics, and is written in a clear, slightly conversational style that appeals to students directly at the targeted grade level. From this point, the quest waits for TIE approval and then is ready to be used in schools.
Quest designers enjoy the exploration involved in designing. They are optimistic, focused, and eager to actively participate in the educational transformation in their country brought by Quest Forward Learning. Through designing, they are able to explore new skills and methodologies on how to improve the process of classroom learning.
Here are some testimonials from quest designers:
I enjoy being a quest designer. We explore the uses of different technological devices that are helpful to learners and teachers, advancing our professional teaching skills. Also, being a quest designer leads to a paradigm shift and a growth mindset. The attitude is changed from a negative perspective to a positive one, in the teaching and learning processes at our schools.
– Boaz Msechu, English Duest Designer
There are a lot of experiences I see by being a quest designer, and the benefits apply not only to learners but also mentors/teachers, who are improving just by becoming familiar with quests. Quests increase the rate of thinking capacity, lead to critical thinking/reasoning, enhance creativity, develop individual skills, create an awareness of different learning styles, lead students to be productive in all aspects of life, and prepare students for the future.
– Esther Naiman, Mathematics Quest Designer
Being a quest designer helps me as a teacher to gain the knowledge of how to use mobile devices and computer technologies in teaching and throughout the learning process. I now know how to choose the best resources for implementation of a lesson, the usefulness of the concept outside the classroom, the ability to use a quest for teaching, and how to guide mentors on the proper way of guiding the lesson. Quest design has given rise to innovations and creativity among both teachers and learners.
– Sarah Kisoka, Mathematics Quest Designer
Designing quests within our local setting/environment brings relevance. It provides Tanzanian teachers with a new approach to different learning processes. Designing quests provides room for the teachers and quest designers to meet and share challenges and find a way forward using new skills within their local settings.
– Mwijage Rugabela, Biology Quest Designer
We get a lot of benefits from being quest designers. We get the chance to prepare material for our own students based on our learning environments and the curriculum. The quest template focuses on the student, which is very good for teachers and our students. We teachers benefit from the new methodologies of teaching and mentoring our students.
– Riziki Mlay, Kiswahili Quest Designer
The future of education in Tanzania is moving to a higher and higher level through Quest Forward Learning. The digital forum, which connects students from different schools within the country with the same materials approved for their academic excellence, reinforces a stronger learning community across Tanzania. Let us join hands as education professionals, and continue to enhance Quest Forward Learning. This will result in positive changes for future generations in Tanzania.