Averting, Fending off and Deflecting Learning Gaps before Entrenchment: Promising Student Support Strategies used by Teachers in Selected Zimbabwean Schools


  • Chrispen Chiome


Learning gaps; accelerate learning; solidify pupil understanding; struggling students


This research examined promising transformative student support strategies employed by teachers in thirty-six schools that succeeded in fending off, averting, and deflecting learning gaps before they became entrenched. They helped struggling students to stay on track thereby accelerating learning. The research was a mixed-methods multiple-case study that targeted schools with mentors who mentor trainee teachers. These schools succeeded in closing the learning gaps after Covid 19. Thirty-six teachers one from each school completed an open-ended questionnaire. Eleven of these were interviewed. The research participants were purposively selected. The study unearthed that to avert, fend off, and deflate learning gaps, promising practices employed included assessing students to determine the learning gaps, encouraging learners to talk about their concerns and struggles, building deeper relations with learners, implementing evidence-based learning programs, targeting the needs of each learner, building relationships,  providing learners with opportunities to be co-constructors of knowledge, exposing learners to ambiguity and complexity in a supportive environment, using mistakes as excellent vehicles for improvement, and modernising the teaching and learning environment through scaling up technology-based activities. The research recommends transformative solutions that include thorough assessment, building connections, accessing knowledge, skills, motivation, and a supportive environment as a starting point in averting, fending off, and deflecting learning gaps before entrenchment.



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