By: Annu Mehta- Foundation Lead, India
How a teacher training program empowered the teachers and their trainers
When I was on a volunteering trip organised by Salesforce.org in Siem Reap, Cambodia in November 2013, the teachers I interacted with were passionate and sincere young university students with knowledge of the subjects they taught. They were however most often not qualified teachers and hence not trained on the best methods to impart that knowledge.
To bridge this gap, Salesforce.org collaborated with Que Rico, a Non Profit we’ve worked with over the last three years, and Teach for India (TFI) of the Teach for All network, to develop and deliver a Teacher Training Program.
We saw a need for the project in the community we’re working with in Cambodia, gave a grant to TFI to conduct a training session to fill the gap identified, and then worked with two TFI Fellows- Archana Udayagiri and Ashish Navalakha- to design, conduct and evaluate the program.
I visited Siem Reap with Archana and Ashish for an exploratory visit in July 2014. We met with and understood the communities of teachers to be trained and their students through classroom observations and through an introductory session with the teachers. Individual and common strengths and areas of improvements of the teachers and their challenges and requirements were identified and understood. The Fellows then returned to India and worked to design an effective training curriculum based on our findings, over the next few months.
In November 2014, The Fellows returned to Siem Reap to conduct a four day training session on Effective Teaching Techniques. Twenty one teachers from three Non Profits across Siem Reap were trained.
To ensure program success and sustainability, Archana and Ashish are connected with all the teachers that participated in the program on a virtual platform. This platform is used to ask and answer questions, post tips ideas etc.
The Cambodian teachers spoke about how they were now able to plan structured lessons confidently, had a broader understanding of classroom management techniques and felt a deeper sense of purpose in their workplace.
“Thank you for teaching us for four days. I will try all the techniques with my lessons!” says Dara Meoun, a teacher at Treak Community Centre.
The TFI Fellows came away with a rich cultural experience as well – they were inspired by the resilience and grit shown by the Cambodians in the face of all the difficulties they face cheerfully every day.
“My experience working with the Cambodian teachers was truly enriching and humbling. The geography, culture, people and of course- the children- were each a new set of learning aid for Ashish and me. The resilience and hard work were the most prominent aspects of this wonderful group of people. We also learnt how to manage the technical aspects of structuring, conducting and evaluating a teacher training program, which we can now use in our own schools” – Archana Udayagiri- Fellow, Teach for India