Our approach has various characteristics that differ from other teacher training programmes supported or delivered by non-governmental organisations (NGOs). This is because we believe a different approach was needed!
Different though it may be, our approach has yielded many useful lessons and promising results, confirmed through an evaluation (link to Emma review document) in 2019. The evaluation collected the views of many of our stakeholders. Here’s some of the things they said about the training and its impact (link to quotes below).
“…the ones with special education backgrounds were the most difficult to train. They had such set ideas. They kept saying, ‘what about the special needs children?’, ‘they [children with disabilities] cannot do this’, …”
“… teachers from participating schools attended the training together. Consequently, they each felt part of a supportive team and that they could ask for assistance from each other, their headteachers and the principal trainers.’
“We were all involved in developing the training modules. They had all the right people from curriculum, lecturer, specialists, everyone. We are very happy with the programme.” … “…fully localised to the Zambian context.”
“Before, we thought disability was a curse, but now we know better.”
“Before, we would just say, ‘it’s the Head-teacher’s responsibility.’ Or, ‘the Ministry must make the problem better.’ Now we understand that we have so much say and do. We know what our children and people need. We cannot sit back.”
“Having her [a school colleague as a principal trainer] as part of the trainers was good. We listened to her as she is just like us. I mean, she deals with the same issues in her school that we are going through.”
“(Previously) Cascade Training (was) used. … The same teachers were never given more than one training session as a new teacher would be selected by the headteacher to attend each new training session. This was not suitable. There was too much pressure placed on the individual teacher to deliver the training by herself with no support from her colleagues. They (teachers) only received limited knowledge in one area so were still not ‘experts.’”
“At first we were nervous about trying new things. Especially those of us who have been teaching for many years. The training made us use the new ways. We had to try. Now we see it working and use them in our classrooms.”
“I now understand that it is my responsibility to make sure the children in my community get help. We now do home visits to children in our communities and they are so happy to see us. We feel important and is makes my heart happy to help those who can’t come to school.”
“We sit down together now and plan what we are going to teach. This makes it much easier to do our lesson plans.”
We recommend you read through these comments and think carefully about what the stakeholders say. What can you learn from them? Do they suggest anything o you about how you might plan for developing your own training programme in your country setting?