Ms Chankham Lorvanku is the Head of the Pedagogy Centre at the Luang Namtha District Education and Sports Bureau. Her main responsibilities are to monitor and provide pedagogical support to the teachers in her district. The main challenge faced by teachers there is teaching ethnic students who don’t speak Lao at home. Ms Chankham Lorvanku is part of the team of 611 Provincial Trainers who will deliver the training to over 16,000 Grade 1 teachers, primary principals and pedagogical advisors next July and August. She participated in the trial of the “Grade 1 Curriculum Training for Teachers” last month and gave us her first impressions.
“At the beginning of the training trial, we had the opportunity to explore the new Grade 1 student textbooks and teacher guides. There are many good improvements in the pedagogical materials. The illustrations of the textbooks are clearer, more colourful, making the lessons more attractive for the young students. There are fewer lessons and more activities. The activities are more student centred. The lessons will be more interactive, which is a good way to retain new information; the students will learn by applying their new knowledge.
I think that the new teacher guides will really help the teachers as they provide very clear instructions. Overall, teaching quality will improve. There is guidance on how to support ethnic students who have not yet mastered the Lao language, how to teach a multigrade class and how to apply local knowledge. This will be particularly useful for the teachers of my district.
The new orientation week at the very beginning of the school year will also help the teachers to settle the class. Most of the Grade 1 students have never been to pre-school when they first enter primary; so, this will be a very fruitful week.
During the trial we received two weeks of training of trainers by the Research Institute for Educational Sciences (RIES) specialists and BEQUAL technical advisors. I have learned the four steps of teaching and the student assessment for each subject and sixteen teaching pedagogies for Lao Language. Then, I went to Luang Namtha to deliver the six-day face-to-face training to 35 Grade 1 teachers, principals and pedagogical advisors. The monitoring team was with us, gathering our comments so that they could improve the training and the materials before the nationwide training in July. Overall, everything went well, and we are very satisfied. I feel quite confident to deliver the training to the teachers.
I am very proud to be part of the training team. Our team is very diverse; we come from all over the country. Some of us work at the Teacher Training Colleges, some are from the Provincial or District Education Bureaus, some are school principals. There are also people from RIES or the Department of Teacher Education at the Ministry. This is great because we can share our actual field experiences. We can find innovative and practical solutions together when one of us have an issue. I will study more before July and will share my new knowledge and skills with the Grade 1 teachers, principals and pedagogical advisors in my district.”