On March 29, 2019, 25 teachers completed the first Advanced Teacher Training (ATT) both developed and facilitated by the Studer Trust Teacher Training Center (TTC) located in the Salay Monastery in Mandalay, Myanmar. The aim of this 10-week training was to help further develop our alumni’s pedagogical knowledge and skills by both expanding on what they have learned in our previous fundamental teacher training as well as help our teachers better respond to the specific challenges they face when attempting to meet the learning needs of their students at their schools.
Furthermore, ATT also sought to better prepare our alumni to meet the professional expectations for teachers as defined by the new Teacher Competency Standards Framework (TCSF) recently developed by the Ministry of Education. The goal of the TCSF is to provide teacher training programs with clear and concise competencies and indicators of “what teachers are expected to know and be able to do and how well at the different stages of their career” in order to assist Myanmar in the development of “a strong system of teacher education” for its schools, teachers, and students.
Therefore, in order to better help our alumni meet these needs and expectations, teachers at ATT completed 7 modules on the following topics: educational theories, curriculum planning, lesson planning, formative assessment, differentiation of instruction, proactive classroom management, and action research. Throughout the training, participants were given the opportunity to analyze concrete examples based on the Myanmar government curriculum as well as apply what they learned by creating curriculum and lesson plans for the subjects and grades they would teach in the upcoming academic year, which starts in June 2019. All of these projects were then collected and distributed to all attendees. In this way, participants were able to crowd source the development of teaching materials and resources in order to not only benefit their own classrooms but also others teachers working in Studer Trust’s partner schools.
Teachers were then able to further demonstrate their level of mastery of ATT goals by conducting a 2-week Summer Learning Camp (SLC) for over 300 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade students at 1 of 3 partner schools. At SLC, teachers taught engaging and hands-on English, Science, and Math lessons based on the government curriculum in order to help students become more proficient at what they had learned over the previous academic year. As well as facilitating a variety of fun craft and team building activities, groups of teachers also completed action research projects, where they, as a group, identified a challenge they frequently face as teachers and selected a strategy they learned at ATT which they felt would help address this issue. Groups then implemented the strategy and collected data on the impact the strategy had on their students, therefore, providing them with a systematic process with which to independently improve their teaching practice in the future at their schools.
Upon successfully completing the training, each teacher received 10 small white boards and sets of dry erase makers in order to more easily apply the strategies and methodologies they learned during ATT. Furthermore, each teacher also received a set of Burmese language encyclopedias to both provide them with more information when planning their lessons as well a resource to share with students during their lessons.
At the end of the training, 100% of participants stated that they would use what they learned at ATT in their classrooms and recommended for TTC to provide this training in the future. Moreover, they clearly noted how ATT positively impacted the continued development of their teaching practice. As a result of attending ATT, one teacher stated, “[a]t first, I used to teach in a simple manner. Now, I know how to teach systematically” and another explained, “[a]s a teacher, I need to know these strategies and skills. I can only teach well if I know curriculum planning, lesson planning, and classroom management”.
As always, the TTC staff continues to be grateful and proud of our teachers for their hard work and commitment to their own professional development. However, none of this would have been possible without the continued generosity of our donors, the Wai Yin Association, and the support of our partner schools, all of which have not only had a tremendous impact on all of our teachers but also on the thousands of students that they teach every day across Myanmar as well.