Monday, 13 August 2012

Teaching Teachers

The WebBox aims to provide teachers with tools and resources to diversify the teaching and learning methods used in the classroom. Hence, teachers are at the centre of our intervention, and teacher training a critical element. 

In designing our teacher training plan, we: interviewed teachers at potential schools to understand their needs and interests; consulted teachers that currently use technology in their classroom; researched best practices in teacher learning; and continue to incorporate feedback received from teachers, trainers and other experts. 

UNESCO’s Global Perspectives on Teacher Learning highlights numerous frameworks for effective professional development. One such framework highlights two key dimensions: core features and structural features. 

Core Features
- Focus on Content: focus on deepening teachers’ content knowledge, instead of more generic methodologies. In this case the focus is on utilizing the WebBox in the context of a Mathematics or Science classroom. 

- Active Learning: provide opportunities for teachers to engage in meaningful analysis of teaching & learning. This could include observing, being observed, feedback, leading and participating in discussions, etc.

- Coherence: must be aligned with teacher’s goals, as well as system level curriculum standards.

Structural Features

- Duration: this is an important element to consider and a longer training allows for greater focus on the content, more opportunities for active learning, and greater interaction and collaboration between teachers. 

- Form: the use of structured activities can result in more meaningful change as compared with more traditional workshop or conference style trainings. 

- Participation: groups of teachers from the same professional culture (subject, standard, or grade) participating together is more effective than training individually.

Our plan is loosely based on this framework, with the hopes of making the training both useful and effective. To view the curriculum we developed for teacher training, please click here