In the bid to widen our reach and secure quality education for children, The Foundation For Tomorrow made an addition of two schools this financial year (2021), Ilkurot and Leganga Primary Schools in Arusha and Meru districts respectively. This was in addition to 11 other primary schools, whose teachers were previously reached, trained and are still getting continuous professional support from TFFT through the Teacher Training program team.
A month ago, the Teacher Training program conducted a “Student Centered Training”, which reached out to a total of 43 teachers from the two schools and six other members of School Quality Assurance Teams (SQUAT), three from each district.
Facilitation was led by the teacher training team, whose skills and approach to the five-day workshop were directly evident of what a student-centered classroom should be. Each training day had three sessions, each ending with key takeaways that were a great reminder to the trainees and a point of recap.
In high hopes, day one always sees smiley faces, as teachers are mostly enthusiastic, yet curious about what lies ahead in the next four days. Their expectations, written and stuck on the board for reference, range from becoming more competent and confident to being able to deliver a wholesome lesson that is enjoyed by both students and the teacher.
During the training, facilitators create opportunities for teachers to practically explore different teaching techniques, both individually and in small discussion groups. Not to mention, giving them the autonomy to share valuable experience on given learning topics. This turns out to be a great learning platform, considering the context in which they teach is similar, hence making it easier to relate to the training, and eventually the training becomes more relevant. The training is always an exciting opportunity for the teachers to learn, ask questions, as well as air opinions on topics in question.
Notably, the presence of the School Quality Assurance Team (SQAT) comes in handy as they are resourceful personnel who work more closely with teachers to ensure quality lesson delivery. The TT program team collaborates with the SQATeam right from conducting the baseline study, to the entire planning and delivery of the training. We believe they have a significant contribution not only to the information they provide, but also building trust between the teachers and TFFT.
Moreover, engaging the SQAT in the training as part of the trainee group bridges the gap between them and the teachers, who most commonly see them as fault-finders than altruists when they go for inspection in schools.
As the days go by, teachers become more confident to present in front of their colleagues, worrying less about making mistakes or drifting off the rail. The training has a micro-teaching element that compels teachers to work in pairs or small groups to develop a lesson plan with meaningful lesson objectives, use teaching aids, and at least more than two participatory teaching techniques in a 20-minute lesson.
Followed by audience and facilitator’s feedback after every presentation, this is one of the most enjoyable parts of the workshop and the teachers mention that it creates lasting memories of what they have learnt throughout the workshop. It is reassuring that feedback is mostly constructive and teachers eventually learn the importance of allowing time for feedback to their students in the lesson.
We, the TFFT Teacher Training Program team, believe that as teachers are more equipped with this expertise and knowledge, they thrive more in helping students flourish in the ever-changing world, making it possible for the students to make an impact on their community.