3.1 What makes the approach used in Zambia different? Copy

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An approach based on research and experience

Research shows that professional development for teachers has most impact on teaching and learning when it:

  • is concrete and classroom-based;
  • brings in expertise from outside the school;
  • involves teachers in choosing areas to develop and activities to undertake;
  • enables teachers to work collaboratively with peers;
  • provides opportunities for mentoring and coaching
  • is sustained over time;
  • is supported by effective school leadership.

This theory guides the training approach we use.

The approach taken in the Zambia programme is different from other inclusive education teacher training programmes because it:

  • Teaches core inclusion skills: The training does not just focus on disability and/or special educational needs but build core skills and confidence before tackling more specific content.
  • Prioritises practice over theory: This promotes learning-by-doing and builds teachers’ capacity to be innovative and critically reflective so that they can find solutions to the inclusion challenges as they meet them.
  • Engages learners in the training: Learners vulnerable to exclusion, including those with disabilities and their parents/caregivers, are active participants, facilitators and key sources of knowledge in the process, rather than passive recipients of help.
  • Listens to stakeholders: Throughout the approach, we listen as much as possible to what stakeholders say. Knowing what works and why, from the perspective of the stakeholders, offers important lessons that help with planning, implementation and monitoring.
  • Builds highly skilled Principal Trainers: Through training-of-trainers (ToT) workshops, the approach develops Principal Trainers who are skilled and confident. They have the capacity both to roll out the training to teachers and trainee teachers and to make on-going improvements to the training. PTs then help build capacity in mainstream schools.
  • Develops contextually relevant training materials: The training modules are all co-developed and therefore co-owned by key education stakeholders.
  • Prioritises collaboration and teamwork: Throughout the training there are mechanisms used to ensure teachers are not tackling inclusion challenges on their own.
  • Connects in-service and pre-service training: In-service teacher training is closely linked to and influences sustained change in pre-service training. This is the only way to ensure that inclusive education becomes the norm across the entire education system
  • Enables Principal Trainers to share their skills and experience more widely: Many of the PTs in Zambia now have four years’ experience and facilitate training for other organisations besides NAD. They also plan soon to ‘buddy’ with other methodology lecturers from universities and teacher training colleges to create a national team of inclusive education trainers. The PTs will support these other trainers to become confident and knowledgeable in inclusive education teaching and learning methods.

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