As the school holidays get up and going, we are trying something a bit new in Rwanda. Rather than bring teachers or school leaders to a large training facility, we are going right to their space, and conducting school-based trainings.
In the past 2 weeks we have facilitated 4 half-day trainings, at 4 client schools. Our main focus has been on ‘learning and teaching in English’. This is a topic that is often requested by school leaders and is an area of HUGE need as the country continues to struggle with the transition to English as the language of instruction in schools. Virtually all students are learning in a language that is not their mother tongue (and more than likely not ever spoken at home) and teachers are expected to teach in a language foreign to them. The changes have occurred very quickly and almost everyone is finding it difficult to keep up.
The school-based training is quite simple, it provides an open space for teachers at a school to discuss and identify the challenges they face and to share strategies to overcome and meet the needs of the students. While they work together daily, there are not always arenas for this type of conversation. It has been exciting to watch the teachers respond with enormous enthusiasm. While it is clear they are struggling and they are frustrated, they have ideas and solutions and they want to help one another. Edify’s role in this training is to facilitate discussion and provide some additional strategies to support English language training when they are lacking. This school based training is only the beginning on this topic. We are going to be hosting a bigger training early next year in partnership with The Association of English Teachers in Rwanda, and will bring participants from these mini-trainings together to form communities of practice- but more on that later.