The quarter saw activities ranging from project based assignments to multi school and school focused workshops. The 84-hour Primary Education Certificate Programme, which was initiated last quarter, successfully ended with a certificate distribution ceremony for its first ever batch. Another 30-hour course for school managers was also conducted. Field visits continued to Sehwan where we are closely working with 8 community schools for sensitising children, teachers and communities for Disaster Risk Reduction as well as on-time school enrolment. During the quarter, monitoring data was collected from all 8 schools and meetings were held with Community Advisory Board members in each community for galvanising support for the project. In our OSF supported project, rigourous academic work on developing critical thinking modules continued with back to back meetings of the Working Group. A teachers’ orientation was held to kick off the module pre-testing process and lesson plans from ECE to grade 5 as well as for multi grades were piloted in 8 out of 12 schools selected for the project. The quarter ended on a poignant note with Ms. Seema Malik, Director, TRC bowing out. She has been Director since 1992. The charge was handed over to the Assistant Director, Ms. Ambreena Ahmed. TRC Trending… TRC is on Facebook! We encourage all our readers to like us and subscribe to our page. Link up with us, ask questions, discuss issues, exchange views and help us in cultivating an empowering online community of ECE practitioners and activists … Lets connect to make a difference!
Projects at TRC Pathways to School Success Project (PSSP) During the quarter, the TRC team carried out a four-day long visit to the 8 schools in Sehwan to observe YL/YF session, induct the second cohort of Young Learners (YLs) and Young Facilitators (YFs), support teachers, meet with community wise CAB representatives and hold discussions with the local partner’s field team. Additionally, relevant school related data was also collected. The process of inducting new YLs was organized and targeted as per the project requirements. More than 200 new YLs were ushered into the programme although this number would be confirmed in August 2014 when the team revisits. Teacher testimonies were recorded for age confirmations. Junior YFs or the second cohort were also enrolled; this was done as a support mechanism to strengthen YL/YF sessions in the wake of new additional YLs joining the groups at the school level. The YL/YF GRS sessions are envisaged to conclude in September 2014. At the community level, meetings with CAB representatives were fruitful as a means of reaching out and disseminating GRS and DRR messages. CAB is being seen as a critical platform to sensitise wider community, including parents, regarding on-time enrolment, retention and Disaster Risk Reduction. Each CAB representative is committed to carry out awareness raising meetings with specific communal groups (both male and females) in their respective communities. The TRC team would be closely monitoring these sessions and recording feedback. Since the schools and NGO were busy with exams and new admissions, only one visit was possible in this quarter. Improving Quality of Learning through Quality of Teaching (IQLQT) TRC has embarked on a one-year project with financial support from the Open Society Foundations (OSF) from January 2014. The overarching goal is to develop a repository of contextually relevant teaching and learning material grounded in critical thinking with potential for country wide application across both public and private sector education systems in ECE and primary classrooms. Key activities undertaken during the quarter included: Before initiating pre-testing of modules in selected schools, a teachers’ orientation session was held on April 25, 2014 at TRC. The purpose was to introduce the project, explain the piloting process and establish comfort level for classroom observations which were to follow. It was important to teachers’ buy-in for the pre-testing process as they would be implementing the critical thinking lesson plans in classrooms. The teachers were assured that TRC aims to gauge effectiveness of the modules being developed to promote critical thinking rather than assess individual teacher’s performance. Out of the 59 teachers invited for orientation from 12 schools, 41 attended the session. There was no representation from 2 schools owing to other school level engagements. The TRC team, however, carried out on-site orientations for these later on. The participating teachers were divided into groups with TRC representatives facilitating each. This allowed for organised planning to develop a mutually agreeable pre-test schedule. The lesson plans to be pre-tested immediately after the orientation were also handed over to teachers. The pre-testing took off post orientation and the first module on “Plants” was pre-tested in 8 schools across different grade levels. Since schools were busy in wrapping up activities before the summer break, pre-testing could not take place in the remaining 4. Atleast 5 Working Group meetings were held this quarter and the exhaustive work on developing CT modules continued in full swing. Back and forth communication and feedback exchange, lesson plan remodelling for enriching them further with CT content and translation work carried on. The CT modules are being developed both in English and Urdu. Correspondence with the National Review Committee continued as usual. The members were duly kept in the loop with timely dissemination of information regarding project progress and developments. Work on developing an action research framework, one of the key deliverables of the project, was initiated and a detailed orientation was held with the team for deciding on the research focus and administration modalities. TRC-PARCO partnership TRC conducted two workshops in April for the teachers of public sector schools under PARCO’s Corporate Social Responsibility Programme. These workshops were a part of phase II of TRC-PARCO partnership. A 12-hour training titled ‘Moassar Tadrees ki Maharatain’ was conducted at Faisalabad and Machike Pumping Stations and were attended by 49 teachers in all. Nighat Hasan and Tabinda Jabeen were the lead facilitators from TRC. The trainings helped teachers in learning child friendly pedagogical techniques including planning, time management and classroom management. An orientation to Pehla Taleemi Basta, as an effective early years’ learning resource, was also provided to teachers. School Focused Workshops Classroom management at AMI The management of AMI approached TRC for a workshop on dealing with classroom management issues. Through consultations with the school management, areas of focus were decided and a 2 day session was carried out at the AMI school premises. The sessions were facilitated by Rubina Naqvi on May 28 and 29 and was attended by 20 teachers from primary and secondary levels. The workshop aimed to inculcate an understanding regarding classroom management issues, encourage teachers to share their own experiences and strategies and mutually identify possible causes and viable solutions to address persisting problems. Aspects of child development, learning styles and multiple intelligences were also touched upon as these were critical to understanding mutli-faceted behavioural issues in children across a spectrum of age and grade levels. The methodology was interactive and reflective, allowing participants to openly discuss specific classroom situations and reflect on strategies that have worked or could work better for effectively managing behaviour in classrooms. Time remained a constraint since the topic under discussion was vast and required further deliberations. . Many m
ore related themes emerged from the main subject and both facilitator and participants felt the need for additional sessions to tackle those separately. Teachers’ professionalism at Indus Academy The Indus Academy requested TRC to conduct a school focused workshop on “Professionalism” for its pre-primary teachers. In response to the request, a 2-day session was carried out at the school premises on May 19th and 20th. The workshop was facilitated by Rubina Naqvi and attended by 56 teachers. The main objective of the workshop was to unpack the concept of professionalism in teaching and helps, participating teachers understand the values and ethics of their own role as teachers. Through inclusive approaches, the workshop sought to draw focus on areas like team work, organisational culture and relationships amongst different tiers of school management. Contexts and situations specific to the school were extensively discussed with a resolution oriented perspective. Overall the workshop was well received by the group and saw a lot of candid discussion on the issues and challenges faced everyday by the teachers which directly or indirectly impact professionalism. Multi School Workshops from April to June 2014 During the quarter, six multi school workshops and a 30-hour course for school managers were carried out. The six workshops were attended by teachers from TRC member and non-member schools. 10 participants attended the management course. 5 workshops were scheduled for April, out of which 2 had to be postponed due to low registration and only three were held, titled “Understanding Growth and Development in Early Childhood”, “Numbers are Fun” and “Enhancing Memorising Skills and Concentration Power in Children”. In May, “Spelling Skills”, “Ibtida-e-Bachpan main Ustad ka Ravaiya“, “Making History Come Alive” and “Leadership Skills in Adolescents” were conducted. One workshop and a 30-hour course for school managers were scheduled in June. The workshop titled, “Collaborative Decision Making” had to be postponed due to disturbance in the city. The course titled, “Managing a Successful School” was conducted. It was attended by 10 participants. The 84-hour primary course concluded during the quarter and a certificate distribution ceremony was held for the 1st batch. Film Club The TRC Film Club screened ‘Finding Nemo’ on May 21st at its premises for the ECE students of G.G.P.S. Jut Line No.1. A group of 19 children and 3 teachers attended. ‘Finding Nemo’ is a story about a young and ambitious clown fish who wants to explore the world around him. Despite his father’s persistent warnings about many of the ocean’s dangers, Nemo ventures into deep sea and gets caught by a diver. What follows is an exciting, funny and often heart rendering series of events that finally lead to Nemo’s dad finding him. Alive and in one piece!. The post film discussion was facilitated by Mahenaz Mahmud. Children talked about the different situations and their favourite characters in the movie. Being inspired by the movie’s story, one of the children said that “we should listen to our parents and not go too far all alone”. Another child added that he liked Nemo’s father the most as he was “so brave”. The children also enjoyed colouring activities after the movie. Events and Seminars Certificate distribution ceremony for Primary Education Programme 2014 A ceremony was held on June 7 at TRC to mark the successful conclusion of the Primary Education Programme. The first batch of participants were awarded certificates and transcripts. Among those present were the 11 course participants, two course facilitators, Ms. Romana Sheikh and Ms. Rubina Naqvi and two school heads from Meezan Academy and Jaffar Public School. The school heads from all schools represented in the programme were invited to support their graduating teachers and learn more about the course. Both facilitators presented around up of the programme. Rubina Naqvi highlighted the objectives of the primary course and traced the logistic planning that was undertaken to make it possible. Romana Shaikh through an interactive powerpoint presentation showed how each participant progressed from the beginning to the end of the programme; this was both an evaluation and a tribute to the efforts and hard work put in by all throughout the course duration. Some of the participants also shared their thoughts and experiences. The certificates were distributed by the headmistress of Jaffar Public School. The ceremony ended with refreshments and a mutual resolve to stay connected. Engaging stakeholders for uplifting public schools TRC participated in a policy review session organised by the Sindh Education Foundation, Government of Sindh on April 1, 2014 in Karachi. The aim was to bring together stakeholders from public and private sectors for reviewing the policy of Adopt a School programme and propose a framework to strengthen partnerships for uplifting public schools. Dr. Fazalullah Pechuho, Secretary Education, Government of Sindh, chaired the event. Art Exhibitions An exhibition of students’ art work was held at Haque Academy on April 11, 2014. The programme was titled “Centre Stage” and showcased a variety of art and project work produced by the students. Some interesting themes included robotics, creative writing, comic illustrations, bookmunchers, journalism, photography, textile design and creative recycling. In addition, there were also live performances on yoga, gymnastics, Tae Kwon Do and dance, for which the students had been trained throughout the academic year as part of their curriculum. Another art exhibition was held at the River Oaks Academy on April 25, 2014. The art exhibits displayed were the work of middle and senior class students. The show was titled “ Art for a Cause”; the proceeds from the sale of exhibits were committed towards the Emergency Ward of Jinnah Hospital. Dr. Seemin Jamali, Joint Executive Director, JPMC, Incharge ER, graced the occasion as Chief Guest. TRC was represented by Rubina Naqvi on both events which were well attended by families of students and friends. School contests TRC’s Rubina Naqvi was invited as a judge by the Beaconhouse School System for their primary inter-branch English debate contest held on April 15, 2014 at the clifton campus. The motion was “sports and music are as important as studies”; 16 students on each side spoke for and against the topic. The participants represented the various primary branches of BSS in Karachi and delivered their speeches with admirable confiden
ce and conviction. Prizes were awarded to the first, second and third positions and certificates were given to all participants. Two special prizes were also given on both sides for their effort and delivery. The PECHS Girls’ School also held their annual English and Urdu elocution contest on April 21 and 22, 2014. Rubina Naqvi was invited as a judge. Students from both junior as well as senior sections participated. Students recited poems in English as well as in Urdu. The participants were confident in their delivery and expression. The selection of poems presented a variety of humorous as well as sentimental ones. Prizes were awarded for the first position from each level of classes 1, 2 and 3 and first, second and third positions from classes IV to V. Similarly first position was given from each level of classes VI and VII, and first, second and third prize were awarded from classes VIII to X. A musical at Habib Girls’ School An invitation was received from Habib Girls’ School to attend ‘The Annual Jungle Party’, a musical presentation put up by the students of the pre-primary section on April 30, 2014. It was well attended by parents and friends. All children of the pre-primary section participated. The musical was inspired from fairy tales and animals of the forest. The sets and costumes provided a lot of colour and variety to the presentations. Each child confidently acted out the assigned part and remembered the lines admirably. The chorus performed well to add music to the performances. ECE policy workshop The Reform Support Unit, Education & Literacy Department, Government of Sindh in collaboration with Plan International organised a two-day workshop to design a policy frame work as per the Sindh Education Sector Plan. The workshop was held on April 28 and 29, 2014 in Karachi and was attended by representatives of STEDA, PITE, BOC, STBB, district administration, INGOS and civil society. Nighat Hasan and Tabinda Jabeen represented TRC. Schools for the future: a leaders’ forum organised TRC was invited to attend a leaders’ forum organised by VM Institute for Education at Rangoonwala Community Centre on May 17th, 2014. Rubina Naqvi represented TRC. The discussions focused around the theme of future schools and how they can be developed. The Director, Ms. Bernadette Dean, opened the discussion through a presentation on the need to develop an understanding of the 7Cs and its implementation in the 21st century schools. She stressed on the importance of providing young people, studying in schools, with skills to prepare them for their professional life and citizenship. Heads and teachers of various schools were in attendance and shared their ideas and concerns candidly. 13th LEG Meeting TRC representatives attended 13th LEG meeting on May 22nd, 2014 at the Reform Support Unit. RSU, with support from UNICEF has developed a roll out plan and strategy for Sindh Education Sector Plan. The objective of the meeting was to consult with the LEG members for developing District Education Plans and discuss issues and challenges involved. Visitors at TRC A 5-member team of the Sindh Reading Programme (SRP) visited TRC on May 15, 2014 to review TRC’s learning resources of ECE. Mr. Saeed Nasim, Early Literacy & Learning Adviser, SRP was leading the team. The SRP team is in process of selecting relevant material for public sector schools in Sindh. Farzana Kausar and Nighat Hasan of TRC facilitated the group. SRP selection team showed their interest in TRC resources particularly the Pehla Taleemi Basta. TRC bids farewell to Ms. Seema Malik With a heavy heart, TRC said good bye to its beloved Director, Ms. Seema Malik on June 30th 2014. Ms. Seema served in the leadership position since 1992 and rendered invaluable services to the institution which were instrumental in shaping TRC as one of the leading teacher education institutions of the country. She will be sorely missed. The charge was handed over to the Assistant Director, Ms. Ambreena Ahmed.