STIR follows a three-step teacher empowerment and development process:
Ignite + Integrate + Ingrain = Impact
Ignite: STIR seeks to re-ignite the motivational spark within teachers by recognizing their existing efforts (their micro-innovations in the classroom) and then networking them together to form local teacher-changemaker networks. In these networks, teachers develop practical skills to identify specific barriers to children's learning and create or select to adopt small-scale innovations to address these barriers. STIR also supports teachers in influencing their peers to join them in their improvement efforts.
Integrate: STIR supports teachers to adapt and integrate evidence-based practices in their teaching to become more effective practitioners over time using three specific methods.
- Teacher challenges: These give teachers in STIR networks exposure to key principles in important education areas (reading, classroom practice, parental engagement, assessment, numeracy, and 21st century skills).
- Marketplace of opportunities: Teachers can take up an array of development opportunities and resources offered by STIR partners based on need and interest— for example, in areas such as school leadership, English, or ICT training.
- Resources: Teachers benefit from stimulating teaching content provided through a STIR Teacher TV channel and newspaper at each network meeting and beyond. Teachers can also connect with one another to collaborate virtually and to access content (for example, on specific micro-innovations) through mobile, voice, and online platforms.
Ingrain: From year 2 and beyond, teachers take increasing ownership over their own professional improvement and involvement in their local networks (with other stakeholders, such as local government officials), and in contributing to the movement at local, national, and international levels. They can contribute to policy and system reform through STIR official and policymaker networks and through participation in the STIR Policy Lab.
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CEI approaches in action
STIR's Delhi pilot encompassed a search process across 300 schools (involving face-to-face conversations with 3,000 teachers) and an initial teacher innovation network across 18 schools. STIR has since expanded to Uganda and is estimated to have reached more than 12,000 teachers in search of micro-innovations.
STIR achieved significant scale in 2014. About 171,000 children were impacted in 12 Indian states and 21 Ugandan districts. About 184,000 schools and 419,255 teachers were engaged during the search process for micro-innovations.
STIR works wherever possible through catalyzing partners— other NGOs; local and state governments; and the private sector. Its network of 50 respected partners across India is one of the largest in India and is growing rapidly in Uganda. Government partnership is also critical to STIR as a means of reaching scale. They are one of three NGOs in India invited by the national government to present their approach to the education secretaries of all 35 Indian states and territories.
In India: The goal is to build a movement of more than 30,000 teacher changemakers, impacting 930,000 children, through three routes to scale:
1. Direct program implementation: The Delhi program is run directly as a "center of excellence," seeking to touch one in three low-income schools in the capital through its search process. A network of 2,500 teacher changemakers across 300 schools, impacting 89,000 children, is being built.
2. Embedding its model within other NGO partners: 17 NGO partners will be trained to support and run STIR’s model in their networks of schools, across 11 Northern/Central states. Current partners include Pratham, Room to Read, Bharti Foundation, Akanksha, Educate Girls, and Centre for Civil Society. Partners will collectively create a network of 13,000 teachers, impacting 390,000 children.
3. Embedding its model within the government teacher training infrastructure: STIR works with state governments to embed its approach into the mainstream teacher training infrastructure, through focusing on the roles of the Cluster Resource Coordinator (CRC) and Block Resource Coordinator (BRC). These government officials are, according to legislation, responsible for bringing together local teachers and sharing local best practices; however, in practice, their roles have become largely administrative. As part of the state government’s efforts to "re-energize" these roles, STIR has created a partnership with the government of Uttar Pradesh— India’s largest state with more than 120,000 government schools and 200 million people— to train CRCs and BRCs in STIR's methodology of running innovation searches and teacher innovation networks. It will pilot this initially in Lucknow (UP’s Capital) district, but the intention is to achieve state-wide scale over the next five years. As these CRC and BRC roles are already funded in the government infrastructure, this approach of government embedding has enormous potential for scalability and cost-effectiveness of impact, through a knowledge process transfer model. Six other Indian states have expressed interest in following a similar approach after the UP pilot.
Over three years the aim is to impact 15,700 government teachers and 450,000 children, paving the way to a full state-wide partnership within five to six years.
In East Africa: The goal is to pilot its model in the East African context (initially Uganda) prior to a full roll-out in the region, through embedding its methodology within six leading regional NGOs (PEAS, Build Africa, FAWE, Red Earth, Mango Tree, Building Tomorrow). 500 teachers and 19,000 children targeted in initial pilot period, paving the way to 2,500 teachers and 90,000 children, impacted over the full three-year period. The pilot will also develop significant learning around what aspects of the model need to be made consistent/adapted when replicating the approach in other developing countries from 2017 onward. It will also explore the opportunity with government to embed similar models as they have developed in India.
Monitoring & Evaluation
STIR’s monitoring and evaluation approach has been developed in collaboration with experts from the World Bank, Stanford University, Columbia University, IDinsight, JPAL, Education Endowment Foundation, and the Centre for Use of Research and Evidence in Education (CUREE) in the UK. Based on STIR's mission and vision, the M&E framework measures impact in terms of:
1. Change in teacher motivation, self-efficacy, and behavior: In partnership with Columbia University, STIR is seeking to understand the impact of teacher and principal participation in a STIR micro-innovation search and teachers’ innovation network on their self-efficacy, mindset, and behavior. This will be evaluated through teacher surveys designed to measure teachers' self-efficacy, motivation, and behaviors; teacher interviews; education leader interviews; and classroom observation.
2. Change in terms of medium-term ability to lead change and create system leadership: In partnership with IDinsight, STIR will also track (on a longitudinal basis) the ongoing effect of its model on retention and career progression of teachers in its networks, as well as the additional professional development/quality improvement opportunities that teachers and schools take on after STIR’s intervention. Data will be collected across STIR, partner, and government-led teachers’ innovations networks.
3. Uptake of specific micro-innovations in networks: STIR will track which final micro-innovations are most frequently adopted by teachers and principals and which of those, according to teachers, contribute to improving education quality at their schools. These would be brokered to organizations, such as J-PAL, that will then broadcast these internally to interested professors who seek to conduct more sophisticated Randomized Control Trials around them.
4. Impact on student learning outcomes: STIR will track how changes in teacher/principal self-efficacy, mindset, and behavior as a result of participation in a STIR micro-innovation search and teachers’ innovation network impact student learning. Through a mixed-methods approach, STIR will track student progress in numeracy and literacy (mathematics and Hindi) with inputs from Pratham (ASER) and Prof. Geeta Kingdon at the Institute of Education, London, while also tracking attitudes of teachers in innovation networks and outside innovation networks, and then understand the link between student learning outcomes of students who have teachers in networks versus those who don't.
5. Independent process evaluation of STIR model by IDinsight to understand what aspects of STIR model (micro-innovation search and selection process, teachers’ innovations network, and next step services) are most effective in influencing teachers’ self-efficacy, mindset, and behavior, which lead to improvement in student learning outcomes. IDinsight will also examine how can various aspects of the model can be adapted or improved in order to achieve maximum possible impact and scale by STIR, NGO partners, and government, based on detailed interviews, surveys, and visits with these key stakeholders.
After pilot in Delhi which searched accross 300 schools, STIR recorded the following results:
- 100% of teacher changemakers reported increased motivation and self-efficacy
- 100% identified that the increased opportunities for inter-school collaboration had increased their repertoire of effective teaching and school management practices
- 80% reported increased confidence in implementing classroom and school improvement
- 80% took on a new leadership role in driving change initiatives within their school
Significant improvements in student learning were reported by teachers, through implementation or adaption of particular micro-innovations.
In year 2, in addition to running the program directly in Delhi, STIR also collaborated with 17 of the most respected NGOs across India and Uganda – such as Pratham, Room to Read, Bharti Foundation, Build Africa and PEAS who work with a network of schools. STIR has the strong support of the Indian government and is working to gradually embed their approach into the very fabric of the teacher training infrastructure of India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, which has 1,20,000 government schools.