As part of the Thinking Classroom Project, the capacity building phase of public sector master trainers was launched and at least 180 master trainers from different parts of the country benefitted from the training. A series of events to promote critical thinking, including story telling sessions, art workshops and musical performances, was organised by TRC for children from both public and private schools. The 9th batch of ECE-CP graduated in a poised ceremony which took place at TRC Office and the 10th batch was ushered in. To boost enrollment in the ECE-CP, an orientation session was organised to raise awareness about the programme and it’s benefits for those seeking professional excellence in early years education.
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Projects at TRC
Pathways to School Success Project
In this reporting period TRC worked on finalising the Getting Ready for School (GRS) material. The material has been contextualized and translated into Sindhi and reviewed. The enrichments and add-ons are almost complete and are being edited. This include tips for facilitators, voices of children and experiences from the field. Pictures of children working on activities and pictures of their work and illustrations will also be added to the document. The GRS toolkit will have ‘Teachers’ Guide’, ‘A Guide for Young Facilitators’ and ‘Activity Folder for Young Learners.’ The toolkit will also include story books for YLs and a booklet of nursery rhymes in English, Urdu and Sindhi Languages.
The Thinking Classroom Project
As part of this project, activities for both phase 1 and phase 2 were carried out. The first phase of the project successfully concluded and the following were part of the project closure:
• Art workshop: On November 5th, 2015, The Teachers’ Resource Centre hosted an art workshop for 60 students from grades two to five from Jaffar Public School. Students were provided various art materials and were asked to create a map of their homes and surrounding areas with the help of TRC faculty and their class teachers Ms. Halima (a Graphic Design graduate from Indus Valley School of Arts and Architecture) and Ms. Shanzay Subzwari (a Fine Arts graduate from IVSAA).
• Storytelling workshop: On November 7th 2015, TRC hosted a storytelling workshop with 61 students of class four from The AMI School and Daycare Centre. They visited TRC to attend and participate in the storytelling session and an activity workshop presented by our guest storyteller Ms. Unaizah Ali. She engaged them with four different stories; each one conveyed a subtle moral lesson. The story of Wali Daad, a narration about a horse, his owner and the role of destiny was the highlight of the storytelling session. The session concluded with children sharing their thoughts and ideas about the story and it’s ending.
• Story time and sing along jam: On November 23rd, The Teachers’ Resource Centre (TRC) hosted the closing ceremony of phase 1 of the Thinking Classroom Project, which is supported by the Open Society Foundations (OSF). The event, which was held at the Rangoonwala Community Centre in Karachi, was a treat for the children from the primary sections of Habib Public School, HOPE (Health Oriented Preventive Education) School and V.M Public School. The event showcased theatrical and musical performances and storytelling sessions by Rumana Hussain, Amra Alam and Zambeel Dramatics.
Rumana Husain and Amra Alam held the young audience’s attention with riveting stories. Rumana took the young audience on a trip to Nepal with her story about a young girl and a red and yellow bird named, “Lal-Peela” and another story about Tinku, the elephant who resents his wrinkly skin. Amra Alam read out the popular Khatta Bakra story and also narrated a tale that explored friendship and the importance of saving money, in a story about two friends Mikael and Hamza. Zambeel Dramatic Readings closed the programme with a dramatised reading of a story ‘Raja ke do Seengh’ (The King’s Horns). Children thoroughly enjoyed and sang along with Mahvash Faruqi, Asma Mundrawala, Saife Hasan and Syed Meesam Naqvi who performed the dramatic reading and the interactive singing. The live music accompanying the reading was provided by Zeerak Ahmed and Jeremy Vas.
As part of phase 2, a comprehensive capacity building programme was launched by TRC with the aim of training 200 master trainers from the public sector on the critical thinking pedagogy and material.
Based on the critical thinking lesson plans developed during the first project year, the TRC team designed a comprehensive capacity building programme for public sector master trainers with the overarching objective of developing an in-depth understanding of the critical thinking pedagogy, materials and classroom approaches for early to primary grades. The training module has been documented in form of two manuals, one which was handed over to the master trainers for conducting further trainings with the government teachers and the second for the TRC trainers’ themselves. The manuals provide a detailed breakup of day wise activities and expected learning outcomes of each session planned as part of the 4-day training. Since the trainings were carried out in Urdu, the manual for the trainees is also in Urdu. Along with the manual, the trainees were also provided with the complete set of lesson plans.
Prior to the 4-day training of trainers, a one-day orientation was carried out with the government officials including district level functionaries and representatives of PITE and teacher education colleges from the provinces. The purpose of the orientation was to introduce the project, the concept of critical thinking and why it is important in education and how possibly the government can support their district level trainers and head teachers to implement the critical thinking plans in their schools.
The orientation was followed by training of trainers spread over 4-days.
The orientations and trainings were initiated from November 2015 across major cities of Pakistan since TRC is keen on this initiative being seen as a national level effort and not just limited to one province. The trainings have already taken place in the following cities:
School leadership – Creek View Academy
In response to a request received from Creek View Academy, an informatory session of 3 hours was conducted by Rubina Naqvi from TRC at the school premises on 22 December 2015. The focus of the discussion was ‘The Role of a School Head’. Queries regarding issues being faced were raised by the branch heads, which were addressed with the support of theories and educational research. The session was attended by 10 participants that included school heads, coordinators and the administrative staff. The areas covered during the talk session were as follows:
• School vision and mission statement
• Inducting new staff into the school set-up
• Professional development of teachers
• Parental involvement in school matters
• Optimum student strength for each class
• Essentials of lesson planning
Classroom support for Al Hidayah Academy
After the 30 hours session (in July 2015) with the Al Hidayah Academy on setting up an active learning environment came the follow up and feedback session with the teachers who were part of the training session. Visits to the school were carried out to observe each teacher twice. Following the visits a combined follow up session was carried out to address the hurdles they were facing in trying to implement Active Learning within their school setting.
During the quarter, 11 multi schools were conducted at TRC which were attended by 185 teachers from both member and non-member schools.
In October 2015, four workshops were scheduled and conducted namely ‘Celebrating Events in Schools’,’ Enhancing Mental Maths Skills’, ‘Differentiated Instructions in the Classroom’ and ‘Teachers as Decision Makers’. These were attended by 16, 25, 12 and 19 respectively.
The 108-hour Primary Course (PEC) continued in this month. Units 1 and 2 on Child Development and The learning Environment were completed. Unit 3 on Curriculum Experiences was introduced.
In November 2015, five workshops were scheduled and conducted. The titles of these workshops were ‘Enhancing Mental Maths Skills’, ‘Organising Science Projects in Schools’, ‘Ethics and School Leadership’, ‘Planning Motivating Activities for Introducing New Concepts’ and ‘Khushkhati’. These were attended by 21, 14, 15, 13 and 6 participants respectively.
The 108-hour Primary Course (PEC) continued in this month. Unit 3 on ‘Curriculum Experiences’ was completed and Unit 4 on ‘Assessment & Evaluation’ was introduced.
In December 2015, 2 workshops were carried out titled ‘Integrating ICT with the Curriculum’ and ‘Bachon main Sochnain ki Maharat ki Nashonuma’ attended by 26 and 18 participants respectively.
The 108-hour Primary Course (PEC) continued in this month. Unit 4 on ‘Assessment & Evaluation’ was completed. Unit 5 on ‘Continuous Professional Development’ was introduced and completed and thus the Primary Course concluded at the end of this reporting month.
Karachi International Children’s Film Festival (KICFF) 2015
To reaffirm the commitment to promote media literacy amongst children, teachers and families, the Teachers’ Resource Centre organised its 5th Karachi International Children’s Film Festival in collaboration with The Little Art and Cinepax. The festival took place concurrently at two venues, Cinepax, Ocean Towers and City Auditorium, F.B. area. The Festival is growing each year and attracting audiences from all walks of life. Initially, the Festival was planned for a week i.e. from October 5-10, 2015 but after receiving an overwhelming response from schools and individuals it was extended for three more days.
‘Little Big George’, ‘Mooch’, ‘Father’s Day’, ‘The Fly’, ’Dji. Death Sail’, ’Two Friends’, ‘Are You Tough Enough’ and ‘The Seeds’ were rated as the most favourite films. The children and staff fostered much interest for these short films as they could relate some of them to their own lives.
TRC presents it’s ECE material to GoS
Reform Support Unit, Education and Literacy Department, Sindh organised a consultative session on December 14, 2015, immediately after the approval of Early Childhood Care and Education Policy by the Secretary Education & Literacy Department. The purpose of this session was to share the teaching and learning material in relevance with National Curriculum for Early Childhood Education 2007, developed by different organisations and to design guiding framework for material development. Farzana Kausar and Tabinda Jabeen represented TRC and presented details of ECE material that TRC has developed over the years.
The presentation was very well received and was lauded as one of the most organised and detailed portfolio presentation of the day.
Rubina Naqvi represented TRC at a Principals’ Conference organised by AKU-EB in collaboration with Oxford University Press on 1 October 2015 at Movenpick Hotel. Over 400 delegates comprising mainly of school heads, teachers, educationists and government officials from the federal curriculum wing attended the function.
The event ended on small group discussions and presentations on the teaching of scientific and mathematics skills. It was a good opportunity to network with a number of educationists and school staff members.
Connecting Classrooms – award ceremony
The British Council organised a ceremony on the 3rd of October 2015 at Marriot Hotel to distribute the International Schools Award to the schools that had participated and successfully completed the requirements for their Connecting Classroom Project. This project was funded by UK AID and was carried out over a period of three years from 2012 to 2015. The event included presentations by school children, addresses by educationists and British Council members and concluded with a sumptuous lunch. TRC was represented by Rubina Naqvi.
4th decade celebrations of Beaconhouse School System
The staff and students of the PECHS Primary branch of Beaconhouse School celebrated the completion of 40 years of the School System on 4 November 2015. Rubina Naqvi was invited to attend the function as the Founder Head of the branch. It was inspiring to hear some of the alumni of the school paying their respects and expressing gratitude to their school head and mentor teachers. The school exuded a festive look and all the students were part of the cake-cutting ceremony.
TRC represented at the Academic Council of Shahwilayat Educational Trust
In response to a request received from the Trustees of Shahwilayat Education Trust, Rubina Naqvi represented TRC on the Academic Council in the capacity of an academician, to provide consultancy as and when required, aimed towards improving the quality of education in their schools. The first meeting was held on Saturday 14 November 2015 at the school premises.
The principal of the school apprised the council members on the details about the school setup and the achievements through a presentation. The main point that came under consideration was about the value of the CIE Syllabus for the primary level, recently adopted by the school. Discussion was held on the pros and cons of this decision. Concerns about the implementation of the extensive training provided by TRC at the school in the past were also raised and emphasis laid on the need for on-going professional development of the teachers.
Musical concert at Jaffar Public School
In response to an invitation, Rubina Naqvi attended a musical concert presented by the junior section of Jaffar Public School on 10 December 2015 at Rangoonwala Community Centre. It was attended to full capacity by parents, siblings and guests from schools and other institutions.
The confident children enthralled the audience with their antics and colourful attires. Every student from KG to Class III participated in the show. The exquisite sets prepared by the staff, supported by a melodious choir, brought the stage to life.
Annual sports event at BVS Parsi School
The students of BVS Parsi School, primary level, participated in a colourful sports event on Saturday 19 December 2015 at KPI ground. Interesting races like the spoon and lemon race, three-legged race, parents’ race as well as teachers’ race were the highlights of the event. Ms. Pervin Minwalla, Former National Badminton Champion, was the Chief Guest, who encouraged students to participate actively in sports and gave away medals and trophies to the winning individuals and the House Captains. Rubina Naqvi represented TRC the function.