Workshops

Course No. 933

This workshop will help ECE teachers to understand the stages of pre-reading experiences and plan activities to provide children with a confident startâ?¨to reading.

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From July 29 – August 01 2008, we conducted another 15-hour workshop for 26 Kindergarten teachers in Orangi. These teachers who work in schools supported by DIL (Development in Literacy), were very excited about learning to set up a child-friendly learning environment.

The workshop titled “Ibteda-e-Bachpan aur Khushgawar Taleemi Mahaul” addressed the following topics: What is a Learning Environment, Classroom Organisation, Learning Corners, Daily Routines, Non-Threatening Environments and the Teachers’ Role in an Early Years’Classroom.
Through brainstorming, group work, discussions and role-play teachers engaged in active learning. Some participants applied the themes of the workshop even further. “I gained a lot of self-confidence and had the opportunity to reflect on my own areas for development,” expressed one teacher.

We bid adieu to participants with the message that the right environment promotes feelings of well-being and as a result, the motivation to learn and focus.

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Sixteen HANDS (Health and Nutrition Development Society) staff members benefited from a 45-hour Training of Trainers workshop titled “?Sarkari Schools Tabdeeli ki Janib Gamzan” from June 9-14, 2008. This workshop was requested by HANDS (an implementing partner) and conducted by TRC, in our role as technical assistance partner in the RNE (Royal Netherlands’ Embassy) supported RCC Project.

The workshop sought to equip participants with the skills to train primary schoolteachers with mathematics content and interactive teaching in classes 1 and II.

“Teaching methods were effectively communicated and we received complete support from the trainers,” asserted one participant. Four modules were taught incorporating the Meaningful Learning Environment, Pedagogy of Maths – Making Maths Fun, Classroom Assessments and Workshop Leading Skills.
Teachers responded enthusiastically to the variety of methods that were both discussed and applied through individual activities, games, case studies, lectures, role-plays and group work.

We received encouraging feedback from both participants and HANDS as they found the training extremely relevant for their schools and for the trainings they would conduct. The maths module was considered very valuable for field training.

On a related note, we have been contributing to the Releasing Confidence and Creativity (RCC) project through a variety of contributions since the project’s inception. RCC is a programme for Early Childhood Development (ECD) and focuses on supporting ECD practices and structures in communities, schools, NGOs and the government.

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This summer, as soon as the school holidays started, the TRC-Institute of ECE conducted its first course for member schools. The course, titled ‘Active Learning’ ran from June 2 – 13 2008. A total of 20 participants, from 5 different private schools participated in this 10-day, 50 hour long course.

Over the 10 days, we discussed child development theories, research on brain development and the High/Scope approach to active learning. A major focus was to introduce teachers to the National Curriculum for ECE (MoE, GoP 2007); in groups they worked on activities to implement the six Key learning Areas, in their classrooms. They also learnt how to set up the learning environment for young active learners and how to observe, assess and support children’s development.

Through brainstorming, group work and discussions teachers understood the importance of active learning and Developmentally Appropriate Practices in the early years. Teachers responded enthusiastically to the variety of methods that were both discussed and applied through individual activities, games, case studies, lectures and role-play. All the participants were so enthused that they didn’t mind “working” during their summer break, and unanimously remarked that the 50 hours/10 days had flown by without them really noticing it!

We quote Rizwana, a participant from Head Start Clifton who came to TRC for an associate membership so that she could learn more:

” I attended the workshop on Active Learning in June 2008. I am a Montessori trained teacher and was applying the Montessori method on children earlier. After gaining knowledge about active learning, I felt more organized. Children are learning and working with materials with added interest through this approach. It is a good experience. Thank you TRC for making me a better equipped ECE teacher.”
We have good news for those who wish to attend this course. It will be repeated next year in June 2009.

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On Monday 09 June, 2008, Mahenaz Mahmud was invited as chief guest to present certificates and shields to students who had completed their B.Ed and part of their M.Ed programmes. It was an informal event organised and managed by the graduating students. Student representatives shared reflections of their time at NDIE; the Director, Margaret Madden made a brief, inspiring speech and Mahenaz, after sharing a few thoughts, read out a story, ” Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss.

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On Saturday, 31 May, we finally held the seminar we had been planning for such a long time, to share the findings of our ECE longitudinal research study. We had planned a two-day national seminar last year, but had to postpone when funding was withdrawn owing to imposition of emergency. It is ironic that we had presented this study in Reykjavi Iceland, at the European Early Childhood Education Research Association in 2006, and had to wait until 2008 to present in Pakistan.

We then waited for elections, so that elected members would be in place in the Education Department. We were so excited when the EDO, Ms. Fakhar Karim Siddiqui, who was the chief guest, agreed to give us her total support for a working group to promote quality ECE in the public sector.

Mr. Lila Ram representing TRC, presented the findings of the study; he was followed by Mr. Jesrani Manohar Lal, Director Literacy and Non-Formal Education Department who reported on successes and challenges of ECE in Sindh. Ms. Syeda Naushaba Muslim, ADOE, Gulberg Town shared her experiences in promoting and implementing ECE in her area, highlighting time constraints, logistics, a lack of appropriate tools, teacher turnover and limited skills in ECE, as challenges. Commenting on the promotion of ECE community involvement, Ms. Shamim Akhtar, elected representative/Chairperson of the Education Committee for Karachi, encouraged ECE leaders to seek out parents and other community leaders to promote awareness regarding ECE through engagement in preparation of materials, dialoguing with children and making institutional ideas accessible.

One of the highlights of the day, was a panel discussion involving some of the teachers who were part of the project. They discussed and answered questions enthusiastically, about how they went about implementing their learning from the workshops they attended at TRC. The challenges were many, but the positive responses from the children they worked with, their parents and all concerned spurred them on. They certainly succeeded in shattering the stereotypes of substandard education generally associated with government schools. The audience, consisting of stakeholders from the public and private sectors, were inspired by their energy and commitment.
You can download the report here: http://trconline.org/?cat=16
Update: It was not to be … two days later, Karachi had a new EDO Education!

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It was a pleasure to welcome the UNICEF Education team to TRC, on Thursday May 22, 2008. The team of Education Officers (about 18 in number) from Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab and Islamabad, were accompanied by Ms. Perseveranda So, Chief Education Section, Islamabad.

About the purpose of the visit, Shahla R. Din, Education Specialist, Karachi, wrote in her
e-mail:  ” The purpose of our visit is to have an orientation on ECE – or ECD, and see/understand different approaches being taken for adaptation and replication in different provinces.  We feel that ECE is a very important investment in children’s futures – and would like to learn from your experience.”

At TRC, they explored the range of teaching-learning resources we have developed. They purchased sets of all our teachers’ guides, videos and our new interactive CD-ROM “Nurturing Creativity” … we gave them sets of our research publications and the new UNESCO supported ECE advocacy booklet for decision makers. They were particularly excited when they saw all the creative literacy, numeracy and science resources and ideas for 3 – 5 and 6 – 8 year olds, developed from “junk material” (old boxes, packing material, bottles and caps and other house hold recyclable materials). Perseveranda had seen similar material many years ago in the Phillipines and was really pleased to see what we have done with junk.
After telling them TRC’s ” Story of ECE” from 1986 to the formalisation of the National ECE Curriculum and beyond, we set out to visit The ECE Centre managed by the Local Body Wing Education Department, in Liaquatabad. There were very few children that day, because it was exam time/end of term and the little ones had gone home with older siblings in nearby schools. The visitors sat on the mat and at the little tables and chatted with the children. One little girl asked Perseveranda how she had come here … was it on a plane? One of the Officers from Punjab was given tea by a little group who were in the Home Corner and then they cooked some rice and chicken for him. It was such a joy for everyone to allow the child within, to step out for a while 🙂

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On 21 May 2008, a group of ten teachers from the Metropolitan Foundation School visited TRC. One of our representatives introduced them to the activities and services offered by TRC to its members. They were given a tour of the TRC premises and expressed a keen interest in the TRC-Institute of Early Childood Education, its Media Literacy Programme, Learning Resources and Publications. The learning materials and resources were displayed in the TRC library where the teachers also explored and used the Learning CD on Nurturing Creativity in Young Children.
Each teacher in the group was given copies of the bi-annual resource Ilm o Amal and brochures highlighting TRC’s work. The group showed a keen interest in becoming members of TRC and left with a feeling of being inspired and encouraged to better themselves as teachers.

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February 07, 2008 marked the end of another successful academic year for the students of the TRC-Institute of ECE (TRC – IECE). With assignments, tasks and final evaluations over and done with, our students were relieved but also felt at a bit of a loss. Accustomed to classes in the afternoon, straight after school, the intellectual stimulation and challenge of a year long programme in ECE, they were concerned that their learning curves would reach a plateau. So, they have formed an alumni group that meets once a month at the TRC-IECE to discuss ECE issues and work on small projects under the supervision of the Academic Coordinator.
On the evening of May 09, at a simple ceremony, Ms. Mahtab Rashdi, Chairperson of the TRC – IECE awarded certificates to the graduating students, as their parents, some siblings and school heads looked on with pride. Three students shared reflections of their year at IECE, and how the ECE programme had changed their perceptions of teaching, learning and childhood.

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