Call for papers for a special issue, Teacher Education through Flexible Learning in Africa and other Developing contexts (TETFLE) open journal

Posted on March 21, 2022

Teacher Education through Flexible Learning in Africa and other Developing contexts (TETFLE) open journal

Call for papers for a special issue


Editors of the special issue

Prof Geesje van den Berg, Department of Curriculum and Instructional Studies, College of Education, University of South Africa, South Africa

Prof Charlene Du Toit-Brits, Faculty of Education, North West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Rethinking flexibility, openness and lifelong self-directed learning in teacher education in emerging economies

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused unparalleled disruptions and changes to education, forcing teachers and learners to rethink their teaching approaches, and allowing for greater flexibility in design and delivery that goes beyond the on-campus/online dichotomy. As a consequence, teacher education, with specific reference to the developing contexts, is faced with new challenges related to the design and application of new pedagogical approaches, the rapid development of information and communication technologies for diverse student bodies, as well as growing expectations related to the need for 21st-century and self-directed learning (SDL) skills. These challenges pose demands for better learning environments such as more informal, comfortable and self-directed spaces that spread beyond the formal classroom where students can work alone or with their peers (Valtonen et al., 2020). Such flexible, open SDL environments focus on interactive pedagogical approaches, ensuring teaching presence and student support.  These flexible, open SDL environments need to endorse the natural growth of self-confidence, initiative, persistence, self-determination and life satisfaction. Although we do not eventually control our lives, we are each in charge of our own life. Rethinking teacher education in Africa is imperative as the success lies in the capability to participate in lifelong SDL, which necessitates flexibility, openness and lifelong self-directedness in learning opportunities, where students can take initiative, demonstrating independence in learning.

While flexible and blended approaches are increasingly implemented, access remained a significant issue, and laid bare the harsh realities of the digital divide. Emerging economies, which are grappling with measures for greater access and opportunities for self-directed online learning, must carve a path to create a clear route for the next generation of adopters of online and distance teaching and learning (Lockee, 2021).

We agree with Naidu (2017) that current online learning approaches are directing flexibility, openness and self-directed teaching and learning, but that these concepts come with their challenges – among others, issues related to student access and success, quality and student support.  These issues need ongoing research to make the necessary improvements to the benefit of all students. 

The emergence of new pedagogical approaches, technologies and learning needs, as well as changes in students’ personal situations, will constantly challenge the requirements for open, flexible and SDL environments that provide suitable facilities and support for active student learning. This is a tremendous time of opportunity and innovation, sparking an endless amount of reimagination on all levels of teacher education. Against this background and related opportunities for research, the guest editors believe that the proposed edition will be able to share knowledge on educational issues that affect Africa, in particular, as well as similar developing contexts, which is in line with the journal’s purpose, as stated on its website.


  • Rethinking teaching practice models
  • Lifelong self-directed learning
  • Quality assurance in teacher education
  • Learner support
  • Professional development and academic support
  • The use of educational technology
  • Research methods in teacher education
  • Rethinking theories and models in teacher education
  • Blended approaches to teaching and learning
  • Open education and open educational resources (OERs)
  • The principles of social justice and Ubuntu to underpin teacher education in Africa
  • The indigenisation of teacher education
  • Self-directed assessment


Naidu, S. 2017. Openness and flexibility are the norm, but what are the challenges? Distance Education 38 (1): 1-4. DOI: 10.1080/01587919.2017.1297185

Lockee, B.B. 2021. Online education in the post-Covid era. Nature Electronics 4: 5–6.

Valtonen, T. , Leppänen, U., Hyypiä, M., Kokko, A., Manninen, J., Vartiainen, H., Sointu, E. & Hirsto, L. 2021. Learning environments preferred by university students: A shift toward informal and flexible learning environments. Learning Environments Research 24: 371–388; 71–388.


Types of manuscripts sought

The special Issue seeks contributions that are stimulating, address challenging difficulties and possible solutions, are well researched and showcase innovative teaching and learning practices with evidence (e.g. preliminary) of results. It is also interested in papers that focus on moving from practice to theory – a gap in the field of distance education.


Proposal for manuscript

Send a proposal for a manuscript to [email protected] 

The proposal should include:

  1. The title
  2. A brief abstract (a maximum word count of 300 words), including between four and six keywords. The abstract should focus on the main content of the research (rationale, conceptual/theoretical framework, design and methodology, findings and recommendations, areas for further research and conclusion). Authors are also requested to visit the TETFLE website for examples of article abstracts.
  3. The author’s name(s), affiliation(s) and contact details


The closing date for proposal submission is 25 April 2022. Authors will be given feedback on their proposal within three weeks of submission.


Manuscript submission instructions

If an abstract is accepted, manuscripts for this special issue will be submitted through the TETFLE online submission system. When submitting your manuscript, please include a note in the Comments field that you wish it to be considered for the TETFLE special issue on "Reimagining African teacher education". Carefully review the author’s guidelines and submission preparation checklist, and prepare your manuscript accordingly. Information about the peer review process and criteria is also available on the platform.


Planned publication date


Call for papers

15 March 2022


Submission of abstracts

25 April 2022 (closing date)


Manuscript submission

31 July 2022 (closing date)


Accepted manuscripts to be published

February 2023

Published by Thabo Masenamela

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