Throughout last month, I carried out a training needs analysis at Heaven Primary School in Arusha City. Heaven is a private English school that currently serves children in nursery class through grade four. The school is operated by Sister Crispina Mnate and the St. Joseph’s orphanage in Kiserian village outside Arusha. The school consulted The Foundation For Tomorrow to provide teachers with professional development training as part of a school improvement program. Thus, the teacher training program decided to conduct a training needs assessment to prepare for a training tailored for the school. The assessment aimed to systematically identify and prioritize needs for an in-service teachers training program for Heaven Primary School, and to provide baseline information for monitoring skill development during the evolution of TFFT & Heaven Primary School’s work together.
The training needs analysis was triangulated from various sources of information, including classroom observations, focused group discussion with the school management team, and a survey of needs from the teachers. This helped us to understand and identify needs needs for the training to take place.
Observations were conducted in nine classrooms, where each teacher was observed during a 40 minute lesson. The purpose of the classroom observations was to 1) gauge the strengths of the teachers and pinpoint areas that they need improvement and help on, 2) identify a variety of teaching methods that are presently used by teachers in the school, and 3) establish baseline data which will be used as a benchmark in the evaluation of the impact and influence of TFFT’s teacher training program towards teaching practices.
TFFT’s classroom observation considers six elements of teaching practices: planning for effective instruction, learning organization, classroom management, knowledge of the subject matter and teaching style, instructional techniques, and encouragement to engage in critical thinking.
TFFT’s training needs assessment surveys were completed by the teachers so that we could figure out specific needs of the teachers apart from what was gathered from our classroom observations. The focused group discussion with the school leaders consisted of a structured conversation which allowed people to express their point of views to the group. The school manager, head teacher, deputy head teacher, and academic head participated in the discussion to provide the information for the needs of the teachers’ professional development. The ultimate goal of this training needs analysis was to aid our preparation for a tailored training for the school.