Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Teacher Training

Every year, while the schools are closed for the summer and for the winter holidays, the staff come into Guria school to take part in In-service Training, a very important part of their professional development. We always have some guest trainers to inspire and encourage our teachers to learn new skills, to improve their teaching and to share their experiences. Sometimes our guest trainers come from nearby schools, sometimes from universities such as Benares Hindu University in Varanasi or from organisations such as Pratham. This year, together with an excellent government primary school teacher trainer and an experienced senior English teacher from St Thomas' school, a large private school in the area, we were also lucky enough to have some visitors from Canada - Judy Norbury and her husband Ross. Judy and Ross were staying nearby with Project Mala friend and volunteer, Kusum Seager and were delighted to be asked to take part in the three day training course.

On the first day, the teachers revised their first aid skills as it has been 18 months since they took the full First Aid course.

On the second day the government trainer introduced ways to teach maths skills using games.

On the final day the visiting teacher of English, Judy and Ross all took classes, as did Project Mala principal, Mukesh Dubey. Here is Judy's experience in her own words:

Judy and Kusum lead the class
This morning Kusum, Ross and I went to the Project Mala School where they were having a weekend workshop for the teachers. There were about thirty teachers, mostly men, all wrapped up in jackets, mufflers and some wearing gloves against the cold. After the English teacher, whom we had fetched from Gopiganj, spoke about teaching English, Ross was to speak about global warming and the jet stream. There was first an introduction from Mukesh then a science teacher explained in general about global warming and how it works, expertly using the blackboard for diagrams. Then Ross spoke about the jet stream in particular and why weather systems become entrenched, such as the recent cold snap this part of India has been experiencing. Another science teacher was asked to do some explanation in English and the whole bunch of them got very excited and very interactive and engaged in the topic. It was just what the organizers were hoping for. It was mostly the men who spoke during the science discussion but the ladies appeared to be interested and focused. After the science lesson Kusum and I discussed presentation, enthusiasm for your topic, and how that passion for a topic is transformed to the students. We spoke of the importance of learning English, reading and practising and some of the difficulties in pronouncing some English words, phonics (and how it doesn't apply in all cases) and how spelling and pronouncing English is challenging due to all the exceptions to the rules. The ladies seemed to have a better grasp of English conversation and better pronunciation than the men.

We are always happy to welcome visitors and volunteers to our schools; both staff and pupils love to interact with people from different parts of the world and are eager to learn everything they can from them.

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