This program was piloted with support from the Innovation for Education Fund, a partnership between the Governments of Rwanda and the UK, managed by Cambridge Education
This project delivers a teacher self-study program through the use of audio-visual materials made available on iPods and linked with teacher peer learning through teacher reflection groups. This ‘blended approach’ to teacher professional development aims to improve the quality of teaching in primary 5 and 6 science and English classes. The video materials focused on developing skills for learner-centered methods by showing models of good classroom practice, improving knowledge of the subject content, using appropriate technology, and English language development. It was intended that, by the end of the project, science and English teachers would develop their knowledge and skills for teaching with subsequent impact on children’s learning outcomes.
Click here to see full program profile
CEI approaches in action
- PLAN to continue conversations with REB and get a rm REB commitment that this is what REB wants as part of the implementation of REB TDM policy and its country-wide in-service teacher training programme in the future. The involvement of the TWG on TPD will also be critical. Lessons learned from REB’s current programme for training teachers on the new curriculum will also be helpful in informing the development of a long-term strategy for teacher CPD.
- If REB is committed, it will need to nd money from within its budgets to support the development of further content to be made available to a wider group of teachers.
- As part of its advocacy, PLAN needs a strong advocacy paper that supports the blended approach to TPD, with a speci c focus on the value for money aspects of enabling technologies for TPD.
- Link with the STEM initiative implemented by the British Council, which follows a similar support model that focuses on the use of English as a medium of instruction.
- MINEDUC/REB as the Hub for Innovation to explore and broker possible relationships with private sector and NGO providers of ICT goods and services. Links will need to be sought with USAID’s Global Development Alliance which is actively exploring opportunities to leverage the resources of the private sector to help meet common development objectives. See: http://www.usaid.gov/work-usaid/get-grant-or-contract/opportunities-fund... development-alliance-annual-program
Monitoring & Evaluation
The quasi-experimental approach (control and treatment groups of teachers investigated at baseline and end-line) was affected by other interventions contaminating the impact and causing problems in sampling, which complicated the analysis. Teachers were tested in English and science, self-assessed their English language proficiency, and were surveyed on their adoption of learner-centred classroom methods. Student learning outcomes were based on P6 national examination scores averaged at school (not class) level. Qualitative interviews were conducted with a variety of stakeholders to provide an explanation of quantitative results.
There was no evident difference between the control and treatment groups in teacher tests of English or science, though qualitative data indicated some increase in language confidence. Science teachers in the treatment group showed a shift in their self-reported use of learner-centred methods. Student learning outcomes in science indicated a small improvement for the treatment group but, because of the design and sampling problems, this could not be attributed to the intervention. The assumption in the ToC of the link between enrollment in the project and improved teaching skills is not borne out, and it seems that the role of peer discussion may be more important than the demonstration of techniques on video in enabling teachers to implement the new teaching methods.
However, as indicated the study suffered problems of design and sampling that made attribution and analysis of the results difficult and posed serious threats to the confidence in the results. However, the study was conducted with admirable transparency and good attention to the validity and reliability of any conclusions that were drawn.
In an additional case study conducted by Plan Rwanda about project effectiveness, interviewed teachers who attested to having benefited from the project in improving their English language proficiency and teaching methodologies. Almost every teacher said that they used more group work than before. Some commented that before the intervention they thought that interacting with the content would be time-consuming and difficult to manage but, by looking at the videos and by seeing how model teachers conduct their classes, they found effective ways of managing the class and involving all students.
Teachers’ quotes from Plan’s recently conducted case study: “Before I had many problems in teaching English and felt ashamed to speak – I had many difficulties in pronunciation. Now I have more confidence, and have improved from the teacher videos” (female science teacher) and “We use group work – we give learners time to explain what they have learnt and what they think” (female science teacher) and “We now use discussion to help learners develop their own critical thinking skills” (male English teacher).
The importance of peer learning was increasingly recognized during implementation of the pilot and a much stronger focus on teacher reflection circles complemented the original self-learning through technology. This is a good example of adjusting a methodology based on learning from implementation.
Teachers were frequently using their mobile devices to watch the videos with good teachingpractices, which they could apply in their own classroom. The teachers appreciated the ability to learn ‘anytime, anywhere’, giving them control of their own learning process.
There was an unanticipated additional use of technology: teachers used the mobile devicesfor “peer videoing”; the videos were subsequently used as a valuable input for reflection on each other’s teaching practices.
Lead teachers were appointed to support the organization of peer reflection group sessions.The existing School-Based Mentors (SBMs) could have been more engaged during pilot implementation, although many of them did support lead teachers during pilot implementation.
There is a case to be made for the use of cheaper mobile phones instead of iPods.