In July and August 2020, the Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR (MoES), with the support of the Australian Government and the European Union through the BEQUAL program, will train more than 10,000 Grade 2 teachers and pedagogical advisors on how to use the new Grade 2 curriculum materials. A group of 3 Master Trainers and 25 Grade 2 teachers have just participated in the trial of the five-day face-to-face training approach and use of the training resources.
Ms Khammay Syvongxay, Master Trainer from DTE and Ms Phoutheo Yadsadahuk, Grade 2 teacher, participated in the trial and shared their first impressions.
“During the trial, we were introduced to the new Grade 2 textbooks, teacher guides and continuous professional development for teachers” said Ajan Khammay. “The materials are very useful especially the teacher resources, busy pictures and learning videos. The illustrations in the textbooks are clear and colorful, the lessons more attractive for students. The teacher guides include scripted lessons and clear guidance for the teachers to implement the activities, especially the Lao language techniques.”
Ajan Poutheo recognizes that the new textbooks will make teaching easier, especially the Lao Language lessons as “all the illustrations will be very useful for students who are still learning to read; they will be able to
tell the name of the picture and pronounce consonants and vowels even if they can’t read yet.”
During the trial, Ajan Poutheo also learnt about the new active learning and teaching pedagogical approach which has been introduced with the new Grade 1 curriculum materials in the current school year and continues in the Grade 2 curriculum materials. She is very confident that this new method will help students learn better. “The new Grade 2 curriculum focuses on active learning. The students will do more activities, they will play learning games and apply their listening and speaking skills. I think the children will be more attentive and engaged in their learning. “
The trial participants gave positive feedback on the training approach and content and emphasized that continuous professional development will play a major role in improving the quality of teaching. But the training is short and includes many topics, so there is not enough time to explore each subject in-depth. This is why teachers need to continue their learning after the training. There are self-learning modules in the participants handbook trainees will receive. I will encourage all the teachers I train to regularly refer to their handbook, complete the self-learning modules and revise the training content.
RIES has also produced teacher development videos that teachers can access through the YouTube Channel ‘ວິດີໂອສໍາລັບການພັດທະນາຄູ Teacher Development Videos’. Grade 1 and 2 teachers should watch the videos to prepare their lessons or find more information on specific techniques”.
Ajan Poutheo agrees “The training is a good introduction to the new curriculum. But we need to continue study after the training. The challenge for us teachers will be the preparation of lessons. We will have to prepare more teaching and learning resources to make the activities interesting and lively. This is where the new teacher guides will be very useful with all the information they provide. I would advise Grade 2 teachers to read the teacher guide carefully and many times to prepare each lesson.”
The feedback from Ajan Khamnay, Ajan Poutheo and the other participants of the trial helps to improve and update the Grade 2 training approach and resources in preparation for further consultation and approval. The implementation of national Grade 2 training is scheduled to start for Master trainers in May, for Provincial trainers in June, who will then train every Grade 2 teacher and pedagogical advisor nationwide in five-day workshops in July and August.