Rising Schools Program Success Story: Focusing on Teacher Training
Christiana Adu Kyeremeh is the proprietor of Chris Academy in the Abesim community of Sunyani, Ghana. She participated in the Rising Schools Program’s teacher and proprietor training in May 2014. 18 months later, she is seeing improvements in the morale and skill levels of the Chris Academy students and teachers. She shared the story of her school’s transformation with us in an interview.
Can you tell us a little about your experience in the IDPRS teacher training program?
During the program, we were trained on how to manage different aspects of our schools. We were shown the Sesame Workshop videos on how teachers should teach and handle their classrooms, and given these videos and a guide for the future.
Do you utilize the Sesame Workshop lessons?
Yes. Before IDPRS, the entire school staff would have weekly meetings on Fridays, where we would talk about teaching methods and delivery. When we got the Sesame videos, we decided to replace the meetings with the videos.
My teachers’ skills and attitudes towards teaching have changed for the better.
How did the teachers react to the new process?
The teachers immediately loved it! Right away, we decided to implement the techniques seen in the videos into our teaching. Now all of the teachers gather around every Friday to watch and discuss what goes on in the Sesame Workshop videos.
In what ways has your school changed as a result?
The videos have really helped my entire school a lot. My teachers’ skills and attitude towards teaching have changed for the better. Now that they have improved their foundational skills, they are more comfortable and relaxed while teaching. One teacher told me, “I never knew teaching was this simple or fun until I started watching those videos.”
I have also observed changes in the attitudes of students towards learning, in addition to improvements in the levels of student knowledge. They are much more involved in classroom lessons, and are happy to be in class.
Were there any barriers you encountered implementing these new practices?
In the beginning, students needed time to adapt to some of the new methods the lessons introduced. They eventually started to really enjoy it, especially the little ones. Some teachers also had difficulty adjusting at first. They didn’t want to change their methods. When they did, they found some of the techniques difficult and needed practice. But now they are using the methods with less difficulty.
What’s in store for the future of Chris Academy?
We want to implement the lessons [in the Sesame Workshop videos] as closely as we can, so we plan on buying more gadgets and materials used in the lessons, so we can align closer to the examples we watched. We are going to continue watching and discussing the videos until we’ve covered all of the lessons.
ABOUT SESAME WORKSHOP
In an effort to encourage teachers to utilize child-centered techniques, and expose them to innovative ways of thinking about teaching, the IDP Foundation contracted Sesame Workshop, the American educational institution that created Sesame Street, to design ten 10-minute videos for teacher education.
The goals of the program are to promote a child’s social and emotional development, and build professional pride amongst teachers. These videos have been well-received, and have proven to be relevant and easy to implement.