The implementation of the new improved National Primary curriculum is scheduled to commence in the 2019/2020 school-year with Grade 1. It will represent a major change especially in its pedagogical approach. Teacher education specialists from the Ministry of Education and Sports and BEQUAL program designed a six-day face-to-face training as well as self-study resources to equip the teachers and educational staff with the skills needed to implement the new curriculum. A trial of the face-to-face training started on the second week of January to test its effectiveness.
Nine master and provincial trainers received two weeks of training of trainers by the Research Institute for Educational Sciences specialists and BEQUAL technical advisors. They were then divided in three teams of three trainers each and sent to in Savannakhet, Luang Namtha and Vientiane Capital to deliver the face-to-face training to fifteen grade 1 teachers, fifteen principals and five pedagogical advisors in each location. The objectives of the face-to-face “Grade 1 Curriculum Training for Teachers” are to provide teachers with an understanding of what is new in the curriculum for each subject and what will change in the teaching and learning approach. They were introduced to active learning and specific teaching techniques for each subject.
They will explore the new textbooks, the teacher guides with scripted lessons and all the additional educational resources such as flash cards and story books and started to familiarize themselves with the new curriculum content and teaching approaches. During the face-to-face training, the teachers had an opportunity to plan, deliver and experience content from the new curriculum with micro-teaching sessions. At the end of the training, they were confident navigating and using the new curriculum. The principals and the pedagogical advisors attended specific sessions on how to support teachers through developmental observations, one-to-one mentoring and encouraging school-based peer-learning.
During the trial, a dedicated monitoring team will use questionnaires, interviews, focus groups and observations to measure whether the face-to-face training and the materials are fit-for purpose and address how adults learn and teachers’ and trainers’ learning needs and preferences. Trainers, principals, pedagogical advisors and teachers provided their feedback on the training curriculum and materials, on the knowledge and skills they gained from the different sessions and on any gaps they have identified. They provided suggestions on how the training could be improved to facilitate their grasp and understanding of the new curriculum and teaching approaches.
Following the trial and the analysis of the participants’ feedback, the teacher education team will finalise the materials. The final training is scheduled to start in May for the 60 master trainers, in June for the 611 provincial trainers and in July and August for all the Grade 1 primary teachers, principals and pedagogical advisors.