By Emmanuel G. Allie
An eight-day, Primary 1 (P1) through Primary 3 (P3), teacher training workshop organized by the Ministry of Basic and Secondary School Education (MBSSE) in partnership with the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Program and UNICEF resulted in a solid capacity building for a significant fraction of the country’s early grade teachers.
GPE, under the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, in collaboration with UNICEF, funded the workshop. The beneficiaries of the training workshop were selected from six Districts in the South, East, and North. Workshop participants came from Moyamba, Kenema, Pujehun, Karene, Bombali, and Kambia.
MBSSE relies on data to allocate resources to schools across the country. Available data from recent and previous annual school censuses continue to inform these resource allocations.
Numeracy is the knowledge, skills, behaviors, and dispositions that students need to use mathematics in a wide range of situations. It involves recognizing and understanding the role of mathematics in the world and having the dispositions and capacities to use mathematical knowledge and skills purposefully.
Literacy is the ability to read, write, speak and listen in a way that lets us communicate effectively and make sense of the world.
Leave No Child Behind, and Radical Inclusion Philosophy drives the work of MBSSE. The philosophy creates strong educational foundations for pre-K and early grades students. Teaching Literacy and, Numeracy encompasses this approach.
The 7,030 teachers from the six Districts benefited from seasoned facilitators and trainers. They will return to their various schools with enhanced capacity and requisite technical skills to help their beginning students build essential literacy and numeracy skills.
The training, which commenced on the 17th of August, had two sessions. The first session dealt with Literacy, and the second focused on Numeracy. Day One of the literacy component started by looking at the emerging reader.Days Two and Three prepared these early grade teachers on the sounds of talking. Teachers are taught how sounds and letters work so their students can learn how sounds and letters work together.
The lesson objective for DAY 4 was on word teaching and fluent reading. This session illuminated the two steps to read a word. Beginning readers learn about letters, and at the same time, apprise themselves with dozens of words that are known as sight words. These are words that children automatically recognize. A reader glances at the word and reads it promptly.
The second step to reading a Word is understanding the word family. These are words with the same syllable pattern. Teachers are taught to understand that doing rhyme and onset activities in their classrooms swiftly increases the number of words students know.
On the fifth, sixth and, seventh days, the training centered on vocabulary, comprehension, and writing.
The numeracy aspect of the teacher training encompasses recognizing shapes and patterns, counting and learning to see numbers, seeing number lines, adding and subtracting with 100s charts, and double-digit numbers.
MBSSE and UNICEF, our development partners, have been and will continue to be on-site to monitor the length of the exercise. While the preliminary logistical framework for the training presented a few challenges, the technical and teacher component of the workshop was excellent.
The facilitators were sufficiently trained and proficient in the content and pedagogical delivery. Teachers/trainees were motivated, active, and participated enthusiastically throughout our observations.
These grade one through grade three teachers will also leave the training for their local schools with lesson manuals in Literacy and Numeracy. The manuals will serve as resources in their daily lesson plans for their classrooms.
The Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education and its development partners remain committed to capacity building, including teacher training and routine professional development seminars.