As the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES), with support from the Australian Government is developing new improved national primary curriculum materials, teachers need training and ongoing support to learn how to use them. Indeed, the teachers play a key role in the implementation of the curriculum and the successful learning of students. Education research has shown that teaching quality and school leadership are the most important factors in improving student learning outcomes. For teachers and educational leaders to be as effective as possible, they need to continually expand their knowledge and skills including using appropriate resources to support students’ learning in the classroom.
Australia, through its Basic Education Quality and Access in in Lao PDR (BEQUAL) program, is supporting the Department of Teacher Education with the development of Teacher Support Pack (TSP) stand-alone modules. Provincial trainers will use TSP modules to build teachers’ skills whilst carrying out school and cluster meetings during the schoolyear They will use flexible modes of delivery such as classroom observations, learning circles, co-teaching, buddy systems and WhatsApp support.
The project started in December 2020 with the creation of the in-service Continuing Professional Development material writers’ team who will develop the TSP modules and other teacher learning resources. The writing team consists of nice diverse staff from DTE, Teacher Development Center, Teacher Training Colleges and the school level; the group is gender balanced and represents national and sub-national education staff. The writers were selected based on their collective experience in teaching, teacher support, and designing teacher training resources.
Mr Keth Phanhlack, Director General of DTE said “The TSP modules are developed to support teachers as they implement the new curriculum in their own classroom and encounter challenges. In alignment with feedback received from Grade 1 and 2 teachers who are already teaching the new curriculum, the themes of the first TSP will be classroom management, teaching Lao Language to non-Lao speakers and teaching multigrade.”
Throughout the year, BEQUAL and DTE will design and deliver a series of capacity development workshops to build up the team’s subject knowledge and teaching skills. They will also develop their ICT and writing skills to be able to produce high quality learning resources and development tools matched to teachers’ learning needs. The first workshop took place in early March. By the end of the workshop, the writers had collectively produced new learning resources to help teachers learn how to create and enrich learning with flashcards.
Ms. Douangsamone Sitthichack is a lecturer at TTC Savannakhet and part of the TSP materials writing team: “I am very happy and proud to participate in the development of the TSP materials. The team is very diverse with people from different backgrounds. We shared our different skills, knowledge and lessons learnt to design each activity and develop the best training materials for the teachers.”
The implementation of the TSP modules will start with Grade 3 in September 2021 in BEQUAL’s six target provinces (Khammouane, Luang Namtha, Phongsaly, Saravan, Savannakhet, Sekong).