Many teachers in Ghana and around the developing world rely on rote learning that require pupils to memorize facts instead of learning by applying critical thinking skills.
This problem also exists in low-fee private schools, where teachers rarely have formal qualifications or training and school proprietors lack the capacity to provide continuous professional development.
After hearing from IDP Rising Schools Program proprietors, the IDP Foundation sought to promote a child’s creativity and improve teachers’ self-image.
In 2011, we approached Sesame Workshop, with an idea to create a teacher training program focused on child-centered techniques. With their experience working with children in more than 150 countries around the world, we knew Sesame Workshop was the perfect partner to embark on this important endeavor.
The outcome of the Sesame Workshop and IDPF partnership is the Techniques for Effective Teaching (TFET) Program. TFET was the first time the two organizations created a comprehensive program comprised of multimedia content targeting schoolteachers.
The TFET program consists of 14 lessons or modules, covering a wide range of topics from overarching principles of classroom instruction to specific techniques for facilitating academic, social, and emotional development of children through play. Each module is delivered through an interactive, in-person training comprised of a 10-minute teacher training video and a workbook that guide discussions, practice drills, and reflections. Featuring fun and playful interactions between the beloved Sesame Workshop Muppets Zobi and Kami, with Matilda Asante in the role of their favorite teacher, the videos offer a vibrant demonstration of the new and engaging ways that teachers can work with young pupils.
The TFET program adopts a cascade training approach in which the curriculum is initially taught to a group of “master trainers,” who then take what they have learned to teach other educators in their school. Sesame Workshop also produced a training manual to support the master trainers during the step-down trainings.
The program has been successful, reaching more than 1,000 teachers and 128 schools so far through this cascading approach and with more plans for expansion.
For the initial TFET pilot phase in 2012, we created 10 training modules that were introduced to teachers through Sesame Workshop-led trainings at nearly 100 low-fee private schools in the IDP Rising Schools Program.
In 2018, IDPF and Sesame Workshop introduced four additional modules, working closely with Ghana’s Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service and many more teachers were trained.
The LEGO Foundation donated 300 LEGO® Play boxes containing LEGO DUPLO bricks to promote learning through play, which is a consistent theme throughout the 14 modules. Energy-saving Pico projectors were also supplied to view the videos within each school.
So far, teachers are reporting that the new training delivery and additional modules are extremely informative and that their classroom practices are already improving. In an independent post-training evaluation, teachers described the techniques they had learned as “highly-useful’, “relevant”, and “easy to implement.” See more of our Success Stories. An external evaluation is underway to further explore the impact of TFET on teachers’ practices and pupil learning outcomes and will be available in 2020.