Traveling Teacher Support

investing_local_communitiesThe Traveling Teacher Support (TTS) program was started in 2009, and ran until 2013. After four years of providing training and support for Cambodian Government school teachers in English language, PEPY* felt that it was time to hand this work back to the local community. The initiative worked to empower teachers to use best practices and employ the latest teaching methods independently; in doing so, the ultimate aim of the program was to facilitate the teachers in developing the required skills to create effective English lessons.

PEPY’s teacher trainer would travel to the commune by motorbike, where he would visit six primary schools to work with, and observe the teachers during their English lessons. He would work with fifth and sixth grade teachers for two hours per week, encouraging them share both challenges and successes encountered. Advice of participatory teaching techniques and lesson planning in English language lessons was also provided.

The TTS ran in ten month cycles, from October to July, over three years and was developed around a model where, in the first year, the traveling teacher’s classes would be observed by the government teachers. In the second year, this would progress to be a co-teaching experience, and by the third year, government teachers would teacher independently under the observation of the traveling teacher.

 

Impact

  • Over the course of the program, 33 primary school English teachers participated in the project.
  • In 2011, two additional schools requested to participate in the program.
  • Across the six primary schools, 1,705 students have benefitted from the program.
  • In the final year of the program, 369 students (70%) passed their final tests.
  • The project created an encouraging environment for teachers to collaborate on lesson plans, which eased the burden on teachers to plan and conduct a lesson in a language they did not speak.
  • Our teacher trainer, Chim Seng, set a great example and inspired other teachers in terms of effective lesson planning and child-centered learning.
  • Teachers noted that students were eager to learn English and enjoyed the subject lessons.
  • Teachers throughout the school noted that without the support provided by the program, teaching English would have been a difficult process.
  • Over the course of the program, teachers developed professionally, and were eventually empowered to teach classes independently and in turn, become mentors for the next generation of teachers.

 

Challenges / Lessons learned

  • Many of the teachers in Cambodia, even the most dedicated of which, have a low capacity of English, and therefore struggle to teach it to students.
  • Due to a lack of teaching staff and resources, it is not uncommon for a teacher to be responsible for two classes simultaneously; this presents a number of challenges which can inhibit effective teaching.
  • There were also high levels of turnover and reassignment; teachers who had attended the training for several months were often reassigned to teach other grades, rendering that training redundant. This provided a real challenge to the long-tern sustainability of the project.
  • If a similar program were to be run in the future, it would be recommended that all teachers involved had a clear and strong understanding of why the project was needed, so that it could be as effective as possible.

 

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*Up until January 2015 PEPY Empowering Youth was known as PEPY, read more about our localization here.

 

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