29 June, 2020

Shifting gears

How a training programme was successfully reimagined in the post-lockdown scenario

In June 2018, the Department of Education, Goa launched their Systemic School Improvement Program with the assistance of Adhyayan Quality Education Foundation, and the support of the Tata Trusts and Advaith Foundation. Its purpose was to develop a systemic process of gathering validated data on the quality parameters of all 827 government schools in Goa. The idea was to develop a common vocabulary to understand quality and develop a unified mechanism – through professional learning communities for teachers, meetings among government officials to discuss support to schools, etc. – to achieve it. A regular review and improvement, it was postulated, would lead to a focus on the leadership and management of teaching and learning.

Towards the end of the programme’s two-year engagement, it was found that there was a need to strengthen teacher capacity in order to deepen the impact on student learning outcomes. The government discussed this need with Adhyayan, who in turn decided – in partnership with the Trusts and content partners like TISS – to roll out a 4-day training programme end-March for all the government teachers in Goa. The objectives and success factors of this training were defined by:

  • Teachers being able to walk away with tangible plans on what they need to accomplish and how they will accomplish it with regard to learning outcomes from each lesson plan.
  • How to measure the accomplishment of these objectives, and track student outcomes by consolidating learning from existing trainings.
Post-lockdown scenario

Unfortunately, by mid-March, the global pandemic disrupted these plans. The team had to think of new ways to carry out the training programme. Online training was one possible solution. Once the Adhyayan team obtained government permission for an online programme, Tata Trusts helped bring in TISS for their expertise in this space and Adhyayan brought in other NGOs for ed-tech products.

Vandana Rao, Director of Education, Goa, was on board from the beginning and understood the importance of teacher training amongst other priority work during the COVID crisis, and the Adhyayan team enabled full support and ensured that the teachers and the entire system was equipped for virtual learning. The introduction of technology will allow for a further layering of e-teaching if teaching must shift online in case of continued school closing. Since this training course makes teachers technologically prepared, it will be easier to shift to virtual learning, if necessary .

The first set of training activity was hence planned for the 1st week of May and involved 16 hours of training – eight hours face-to-face and eight hours offline, with tools to track teacher engagement and eventual outreach to students. Over the month, 10,500+ teachers of government and aided schools were trained for “Effective planning for achievement of learning outcomes” using online tools, in collaboration with DoE, SCERT, GSSA and DIET. Daily data reports were provided to the State's leadership on participants' confidence level, attendance, mastery of concepts and the facilitator's ability to conduct the sessions online. The state also trained 336 of its computer teachers to provide assistance to teachers during online classes. The training programme has alsobeen extended to 400 special educators who will be trained by 35 master trainers to equip them with strategies to help the parents engage with their children at home The success of this training programme depended on Adhyayan team’s constant communication with the State Department of education and SCERT the Education team’s early collaboration with the grantee to redesign the approach, convening with other education practitioners on Zoom, content partnership with TISS, etc.

Through the reports shared by the Adhyayan team to the Directorate, the value of these sessions were visible – teachers have now started using online tools and Open Education Resources. Adhyayan is also ensuring that the system is capable of providing feedback to the teachers. The state has also taken it as a priority to enable access to all students through online TV, telephone and radio. Teachers across the state are being invited to contribute content on Diksha through Vidyadaan. 9 projects have been uploaded on Vidyadaan. 27 reviewers and 9 administrators are being trained to curate and upload content. They are also creating the bi-weekly worksheet “kits” for students that will be collected by parents from the school and returned to the teacher every fortnight.

Vandana Rao on Twitter; #GoaFightsCOVID19

Dr Pramod Sawant, Chief Minister of Goa (Twitter):
The online training … has given additional teaching learning tools to the teachers. They have already started holding doubt clearing sessions with class X students. The rise in confidence and the competence with technology is phenomenal. For the first time in history of Goa, training of such massive scale … has taken place. Teachers were trained online in the use of technology for remote teaching learning which is the need of the hour. #GoaFightsCOVID19

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