Teacher placement & professional development
Our first international pre-service teacher placement helping with teaching English and computer literacy skills at the Shree Bhumeshwor School. In addition, one of Logged On's experts provided professional development workshops for teachers and skills training for members of the community.
- Location : Astam, Dhital VDC, Kaski District (GPS: 28.292931, 83.907624).
- Institution : Shree Bhumeshwor Lower Secondary School (grade 1 to 8 + pre-primary) - 150 students.
- Date : Feb - Mar 2013
- Project : Volunteer teaching placements at the Shree Bhumeshwor school + professional and vocational training.
- Category : Teaching, Training,
The Pathways Program is our volunteer and placement program for connecting skilled people from around the world to communities we work with in Nepal. We have built trusting relationships with local communities and work closely with them to understand how their needs can be helped filled by volunteers, particularly teachers.
Our first teacher participant on the program came from Stenden University Leeuwarden in the Netherlands in April 2013. Verena Beyrle, a student teacher and creative arts therapist at Stenden University and a registered nurse, successfully completed two months of teaching at the Shree Bhumeshwor School as a practical training placement student in education. Focusing on English and combining creative ways of expression with the use of online resources and practical arts exercises, Verena helped to support Logged On’s work in the Astam Computer Centre and at the same time developed her own professional skills.
Our CEO also spent three weeks in Astam to deliver a series of training seminars at the school for teachers and members of the community who were assisting in the running of the Centre.
On-going teacher training and support is critical to the successful utilisation of technology in education and teacher training and professional development is an approach we have identified as necessary for success. We are working with local teachers to explore the potential benefits of computers in the classroom and to evaluate and select appropriate resources for their students.
We also delivered workshops to teachers and community leaders on how to maintain the computer facility and taught troubleshooting and technical skills so they could use the centre effectively.
Our work with the school started in 2011 and over the years we have helped teachers to develop new skills and explore the integration of the computers into their existing teaching practices. The centre has provide access to more and better educational content, aided in administrative tasks such as preparing reports for the government and preparing handouts and exam papers, provided models for effective teaching practices, and provide distance learning environments such as the eTutor program.
We have divided our approach to training into three phases: 1. digital literacy skills, technical skills, and initial preparation on the use of technology in pedagogy, including how to lesson plan around use of computers for the classroom; 2. training that is directly relevant to teacher needs and appropriate in the context of teaching in rural Nepali schools; and, 3. On-going pedagogical and technical support, enabled by computers and other digital teaching devices for teachers, that responds to teachers’ daily needs and challenges.
Targeted outreach in the community was also implemented during this period to support education initiatives in the community. Lessons learned from introducing computers and internet at the school was shared as part of a larger change in the way education is conducted in the community and to provide skills training more widely. To this end, at the completion of the workshops, the CEO engaged Microsoft Nepal to conduct an intensive two week certified digital literacy training for the community at the Astam Computer Centre.
On-going training for teachers at the school is a key driver for success and future training and support programs will focus on the following key areas:
1. Building technical skills. In Nepal, teacher technical skills is necessary for successful integration of technology in teaching as there is generally no IT support personnel available. We are looking at was of simplifying this process so teachers can focus on teaching rather than dealing with technical issues. Improving computer literacy in addition to using computers as teaching and learning tools is perhaps a more important issue in Nepal compared to schools in more affluent countries.
2. Computers as education enablers. While the development of technological skills is important in the teaching and learning process, equal attention is being paid to technology as an enabler of other teaching and learning practices. We want to encourage the use of computers on a regular basis throughout teacher professional development and the teaching and learning process.
3. Using computers as tools to help teachers create more ‘learner-centric’ learning environments. Effect uses of technology where teacher can challenge students’ understanding and thinking, either through whole-class discussions, individual or small group work. Benefits can also come from challenging students to think and to question their own understanding, rather than on using technology just as a means of gathering new and additional information.
4. Use of technology to reinforce existing pedagogical practices as well as to change the way teachers and students interact. The use of technology as presentation tools (through video and graphic presentations through overhead and LCD projectors or simultaneously view the same resources on computer screens) to promote class understanding of and discussion about material in the curriculum.
5. Administration and preparation. Use of computers have been important for administrative tasks and lesson plan development, information presentation, and basic information searches on the Internet. Also, introducing and using computers to support teaching and learning can be time-consuming for teachers and prior preparation of material using computers and the internet for printing and use in the classroom have also been used to great effect.
6. Building confidence in using a wide range of digital resources. Teachers with limited confidence in using technology for lesson planning and in the classroom have express that this has resulted in their reluctance to use the digital resources we have provided. We are attempting to use technology as an important motivation tool to promote and enable teacher professional development. We have run workshops with certification on completion and involved the community to recognise the effort of the school and the individuals who have been champions in the computer centre. We have also encouraged the private use of the computer centre by teachers to access updated and additional learning resources to enable them to self-learning in his/her subject area and on alternative pedagogical techniques.