Prior to the beginning of the new school year, more than 16,700 Grade 1 teachers, primary school principals and pedagogical advisors are being trained nationwide during July and August on new teaching practices and how to use the new Grade 1 curriculum materials.

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The new Grade 1 curriculum will be taught in every primary school starting this September. It represents a major change for teachers and students, adopting new pedagogical approaches. The new teaching approach focuses on active learning, which means that the students will learn by experimenting, getting actively engaged, and applying their new knowledge in inclusive classrooms.

Providing well planned, quality in-service teacher training is critical to the success of this new primary curriculum. Teachers need to be equipped with the necessary skills and the practical knowledge to effectively use the new teaching and learning materials in their classroom, and ultimately to improve student learning outcomes.

The Basic Education Quality and Access in Lao PDR (BEQUAL) is a ten-year program led by the Lao Government, with support from the Australian Government and the European Union. BEQUAL is supporting the Provincial Education and Sport Services with a grant to conduct the in-service training workshop for training more than 16,700 participants. 483 in-service teacher training workshops are being organised

nationally by the 18 Provincial Education and Sports Services in coordination with the 148 District Education and Sports Bureaus. 611 provincial trainers supported by a national team of 60 master trainers have
been deployed nationwide to deliver the face to face workshops. The first training have started in the first week of July 2019 in Luang Prabang, Vientiane Province, Savannakhet and Champassack.

Each training session lasts six days. Teachers, principals and PAs are receiving training on relevant skills and methodologies that they can apply across all subjects, with subject content and resources (Textbooks and Teacher Guides) being used to practice these skills. Participants will be orientated on the new curriculum materials and have the opportunity to explore, try out and reflect on different classroom activities built around active learning. The training will also give participants the opportunity to learn about the new assessment system built into the curriculum. Each participant receives a handbook full of engaging, learner-centred activities

to help build their confidence in using the new textbooks and other educational resources in the classroom. The handbook also includes a self-study section that teachers can continue to use during the year to extend their learning from the face-to-face trainings. It includes different exercises and access to short instructional videos posted on the new YouTube Channel “ວິດີໂອສໍາລັບການພັດທະນາຄູ Teacher Development Videos”. Principals and PAs will receive training and support on different strategies and tools they can use to provide in-semester support to teachers in three break away sessions. Tools to support peer-to-peer learning at school and cluster levels are also provided to all participants to be used during the school year.

Providing the right preparation and support for teachers to understand the new Grade 1 curriculum approach and materials is a crucial part of supporting positive changes in the primary classroom and ultimately improving student learning outcomes.