The Teacher Support Pack (TSP) are stand-alone training modules. Provincial trainers will use them to support teachers as they implement the new primary curriculum in their classroom and may encounter challenges.
The TSP project started in December 2020 with the establishment of the in-service Continuing Professional Development material writers’ team. Their role is to write and develop the TSP modules and other teacher support learning resources. This activity is led by the Department of Teacher Education (DTE) of the Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR with financial and technical support from the Australian Government through the BEQUAL programme.
Mr Keth Phanhlack, Director General of DTE said: “The Ministry of Education and Sports 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. 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 highly effective, they need to continually expand their knowledge and skills. This includes using appropriate resources to support students’ learning in the classroom. Continuing Professional Development of teachers is key to the success of students.”
The writing team is very diverse reflecting the importance of including those who are involved in developing and using active learning and inclusive teaching practices. It consists of ten staff from DTE, the Teacher Development Center, Teacher Training Colleges from Luang Namtha, Dogkhamxang, Saravan and Savannakhet, District Education and Sports Bureau and the school level; the group is gender balanced and represents national and sub-national education staff. The writers were selected by DTE and BEQUAL based on their collective experience in teaching, teacher support, and designing teacher training resources.
The first four TSP modules have been in use since September 2021 in BEQUAL’s six target provinces (Khammouane, Luang Namtha, Phongsaly, Saravan, Savannakhet, Sekong). The topics have been aligned with feedback from Grade 1 and 2 teachers who are already teaching the new curriculum: creating and using flashcards, classroom management, teaching Lao Language to non-Lao speakers and teaching multigrade. Provincial Trainers will use TSP modules to build teachers’ teaching skills and help teachers overcome challenges. The trainers use the TSP module to support teachers through a variety of peer learning modalities such as classroom observations, learning circles, co-teaching, buddy systems and WhatsApp support.
Responding to further feedback on areas in which primary teachers require support, DTE, with Australia’s support organised another series of five-day writing and capacity development workshops developing the capacity of the TSP writing team to produce four new modules. The workshops were fully online to respect COVID-19 prevention measures. The topics of the new TSP are formative and summative assessment, lesson planning, setting up and managing pair and group work, and building confidence to teach English.
The newly written TSP modules are now with the designing team for layout. They will include pictures taken in a Lao classroom to help trainers and teachers visualize the teaching strategies in a real teaching environment. Master Trainers in BEQUAL’s 6 target provinces will receive 8-days of training in March 2022 which they will cascade to the Provincial Trainers in BEQUAL’s target provinces. The stand-alone modules are available nationwide to all trainers. At the same time, DTE and E-Learning department are producing training videos to accompany the TSP modules. The first TSP module video will be on how to use and create flashcards and the filming is scheduled for January 2022 in Vientiane Province.