by Claire Miller
Faculty in the College of Education and Stellenbosch University in South Africa have been awarded a $300,000 Grand Challenge for Development grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development, World Vision and the Australian Agency for International Development for a project designed to develop a research-based literacy curriculum and a professional development model for teachers.
College of Education faculty members Amy Seely Flint, Mona Matthews and Peggy Albers, with Stellenbosch University’s Renee Nathanson, make up the research team for Project Partnerships Achieve Literacy (PAL) South Africa, an international project that includes literacy researchers, teacher educators and classroom teachers from different countries to share research-based practices for literacy development and technology use in diverse classrooms. This project was selected from more than 500 proposals worldwide and the only one to come from a U.S.-based university.
Project PAL’s research team hopes this funding will help them create technology-rich reading curricula and instruction relevant to children’s cultures and experiences. They also plan to promote on-site professional development and Internet-based webinars to inspire teachers to develop such curricula.
In establishing partnerships with local schools, departments of education and institutions of higher education in different countries, the research team hopes to offer support and resources for teachers and children in under-resourced schools and incorporate international perspectives in developing literacy lessons.
“Project PAL South Africa aligns with one of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s millennium goals, which is to expand educational opportunities for millions of children throughout the world,” Flint said. “Specifically, Project PAL South Africa invests in teachers and children by creating a generative, responsive and contextually situated approach to literacy development and achievement.”