Rwanda is looking forward to the 2013 academic school year, which begins in January. As a new country that Edify operates in, we have been piloting a lot of different modules and interventions over the past year and a half, taking time to learn about the Rwandan Christian school context, and build relationships. This is a process that we know is both important and a continuous process. Throughout this process, we have begun to truly look at the teacher and school leadership training that we are offering. Our aim in training is to “raise the quality of education, increase Christ-centered learning and more effectively operate the school.” We have realized that in order to reach these goals, our schools need to not only integrate their Biblical worldview and values into the school culture at a foundational level, but to also take on the content being delivered in trainings.
All too often, teachers attend trainings simply to go back to their classrooms and continue teaching in the same way they always have. In Rwanda, private schools have the option to pay and attend the government trainings. The schools will find the money to send one or two of their teachers, but the trainings may be held in English, a subject that is still challenging for many Rwandans, and the content is never shared with the rest of the staff.
We feel strongly that our schools needed to own their own trainings. When we surveyed our schools to determine if they hold Professional Development, we found out that none of our schools hold regular trainings with their teachers, and only a few surveyed say that their teachers meet to plan together (often this only happens once before school begins).
Therefore, we have planned a training curriculum for next year that we hope will not only enable them to train their own staff, but also empower them to make decisions, positioning them as key Christian leaders in their schools. For 20 schools this year, the training will follow them the entire year. Key school leaders, such as the Proprietor, Head Teacher, and Dean of Studies, will come together each term break to learn about what an effective Christian school is, how to lead professional development, how to establish School Leadership Teams, and how to coach teachers. Their job is to go back and hold their own trainings using the same content with their own staff, making the key changes necessary to transform their school environments.
Edify is excited about partnering with schools on this journey. We know that as with everything else, we will be learning just as much from them, as they are from us. We are excited to update you along the way and pray that our trainings enable our schools to be true beacons of leadership – the salt and light of this world!