By Francois Cissoko, Teacher Project Coordinator
Thanks to our donors, since 2015 we have organized training for the teachers in all of our middle schools. In December 2018, the capital of Banimonotié, Bougouni, witnessed this theater, which was a chance for our teachers to refresh their knowledge and enthusiasm for teaching. Animated by a gift of perpetual quest for knowledge, 41 Mali Rising teachers left their families and leisure time to come and acquire the needed tools to improve the futures of their students.
The training was built on an in-classroom pre-assessment of teacher to identify teachers’ weaknesses. Following the pre-assessment, three focus areas were identified: 1) how to teach large groups, 2) the skills of how to teach specific subjects (languages, science, and math), and 3) how to support girls in the school environment. Our invited science and language teachers were able to address obstacles and challenges in these areas and build their skills.
On the first day of the training, trainers helped our teachers learn new techniques for managing large class sizes — classes in Mali regularly exceed 100 students, so these are important skills for a teacher! The next three days were devoted to the specifics of how to teach different subjects. During these three days, teachers learned how to plan thoughtful and engaging lessons. Then, through various exercises performed by the teachers, teachers learned how to make the lessons specific and directed to their learning goals. Teachers learned these skills through lesson simulation on their subjects – learning by doing. Teachers were shown how to implement class animation techniques, rather than focusing on rote memorization. These three days not only focused on upgrading teachers’ basic skills for transmitting knowledge, but also the idea of the class working as a team to learn together.
The last portion of the training was dedicated to understanding girls' shyness in society and in schools. This section sparked an exciting debate that had not been seen before in this group. At the end of this debate, teachers or principals were made aware of the dangers and struggles a girl faces daily. To wrap up, participants were given binders with materials on the three training topics and a certificate of participation. They were then asked to share what they had learned with other teachers at their schools.
In short, our teachers were pleased with the training. During interviews at the end of the training, teachers expressed their satisfaction with the experience and their desire to repeat this training twice a year and over a longer period.
We thank the people who made this training possible, and who understand how important our teachers are to inspiring students to make the most of their chance at an education. Learn more about the Teacher Project.