What? Where? Why? When? Maronka Primary teacher training / resource centre

Lots to do!
This morning I received an exciting email….. funding for a new project!
A teacher development facility providing short capacity building courses for teachers without qualifications or whose skill base needs reinforcement.
40% of Sierra Leonean teachers are trained and qualified.  There is a new distance course providing the possibility of training without leaving work.  This course however is not accessible to all because of the cost and also the entry requirements, which many are unable to attain.
Courses can be designed for a variety of needs.  Some examples might include:
·      Once a week [maybe evening] sessions for Port Loko based teachers who need some reinforcement in particular aspects of their subjects
·      A week at a time [hopefully returnees would come for 1 week per term] training in different methodologies [e.g. phonics for literacy, using Bloom’s taxonomy, skills focused teaching etc]
We would expect training courses to be a mixture of:
  • ·      Observation of different methodologies, 
  • ·      Group study, reflection on what has been observed,
  • ·      Opportunities for micro-teaching to try out different things they have learned, be videoed while doing it and then discuss with the group, how the session went.
EducAid has had a primary school in Maronka for over 5 years.
The new teacher training facility would be in the village alongside the primary school.  This will mean that it is conveniently placed for access to the primary school classes for observation and micro-teaching. 
It will be easy to lodge teachers on site as we will include a dormitory facility in the new construction.
Maronka is 2.5 miles away from Port Loko the district capital.
Girls’ Safe House under construction at the top of the village
The teacher resource centre would probably be where the photographer was standing or behind the primary school building.
All of the school buildings are at the top end of the village.
View from the girls’ safe house looking down into the village.
Provision of free (or low cost – there is a debate to be had about how much people value things that they have paid even a small amount for as opposed to something free), capacity-building opportunities could significantly change the impact of the teachers on their students.  Currently, students arrive in our secondary schools from local primary schools, incapable of independent reading, writing, thinking or learning.  In the NPSE, National Primary School Exams the tests are largely meaningless, as most teachers know their students will not pass and it is totally standard practice for them to stand in the middle and read the multiple choice answers to everyone.  Nationwide, approximately 40% of students entering the BECE (junior secondary exams) pass. Approximately 17% of students entering WASSCE (senior secondary exams) pass.
Generally, students are taught not to think, question or analyse, on pain of being thrown out of the class for insubordination and trying to embarrass the teacher.
Teachers able to teach thinking skills, how to evolve and defend an argument, how to retrieve and evaluate information and so on, without feeling threatened themselves, will have a significant impact on their students and on the future of democracy in Sierra Leone.
The construction will take 3 months approximately and could be started at the end of the rainy season i.e. October or so.
With appropriate recruitment and training of staff to run the programme, we could hope to get started in the spring of 2012.

If you are interested in knowing more about EducAid’s work with vulnerable young Sierra Leoneans, please go to www.educaid.org.uk

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