Update from Nepal, Autumn 2022 - CAIRN Teacher Training
Earlier this year the first post-COVID residential CAIRN Teacher Training for teachers in three large government schools had been held in Kathmandu. The teachers came from three districts many miles apart but had a common vision: to create exciting and engaging classrooms in which they could deliver newly learnt skills for child-friendly teaching, moving away from traditional rote learning, to inspire children who would then be engaged, eager to participate, and enthusiastic to learn.
Classrooms before teacher training
CAIRN Teacher Training
Classrooms after teacher training
With that in mind, it was fabulous to return to Nepal this autumn to see the results of this training in action in the classrooms. Whether circle time with rhymes and songs in the Nursery, Storytime in the Library or interactive group work in the Early Years’ classrooms, I was overwhelmed by the atmosphere of activity and energy in the schools, with teachers keen to showcase what he or she had learnt. For many it has involved months of hard work and ongoing mentoring from the Community Mobiliser, funded by CAIRN in each school to support the teachers and to monitor progress, and essential if we are to create sustainable impact in schools not just for today’s pupils for those of tomorrow.
The teachers were keen to share their stories with me:
‘The training was very enjoyable, and we learnt a lot’.
‘As teachers we learnt theoretical and practical teaching techniques including
developing learning materials with local resources.'
‘The training was beautiful. I learnt so much’. ‘I was excited to go back to the classroom and teach in new ways’.
Whilst each CAIRN Teacher Training programme ensures that the school staff and management are supported and monitored over three years, with refresher training delivered in the schools, and parents educated in how to encourage their children and support learning at home, the progress can be slow. After years of traditional teaching the impact isn’t immediate, but the changes are starting to show and the teachers increasingly animated, inspired and keen to share their stories.
By this autumn, others had joined the programme, from schools even less well equipped, with very few trained teachers, inadequate furniture and few if any resources. After the worst of the monsoon had subsided in September, supported by the Community Mobiliser under the umbrella of the local major school, training was given to a school community which has amongst its staff and pupils many who are visually impaired, and CAIRN is now looking to support the provision of appropriate resources both locally and where necessary from further afield.
Most recently on 2 December I met the latest forty-two teachers from rural government schools who had travelled some days to come together for residential training in Kathmandu. A few had brought their babies with grandmothers to care for them during the course – a necessity in a society where childcare isn’t an option and at a time of year when the rest of the family is hard at work harvesting or planting in the fields. It was a daily privilege to see the growing confidence of teachers who are grasping this opportunity for training with both hands, full of enthusiasm to take new skills back to their classrooms and improve learning opportunities for the children in their own communities.