TRC’s Thinking Classroom Project has been a major success. In this quarter, a seminar was held to conclude the second phase of the project which is being implemented with support from Open Society Foundation (OSF). The seminar was very successful, and saw stakeholders and participants share their experiences and thoughts on the project thus far. They also expressed interest in staying associated with the project in future.
This quarter TRC also held its first major book sale. Teachers, school heads and parents came to TRC and acquired books from our wide variety of educational books for their classrooms and homes. TRC’s Senior Manager (ECE Programme), Noshin Khan attended two major international educational events in Costa Rica and Toronto. Noshin’s presentations on TRC and its work were extremely well received and helped put our organization on the world map, with international organizations keen to work with us.
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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
The Thinking Classroom – Training of Trainers (ToT)
TRC’s Seema Yasmin, Farzana Kausar and Noshin Khan conducted the training for Master trainers of the Thinking Classroom Project on February 10th to the 13th, 2016. As per our recommendation, these master trainers will train teachers on critical thinking pedagogy in the near future. They distributed a package to each participant which included a 3-day training manual and 70 lesson plans in three subjects; Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. These lesson plans are for ECE, Grade 1 to 5 and multi-grade classrooms.
TRC’s staff successfully completed the training content as planned. All the sessions went well. Teachers participated enthusiastically during the sessions and showed great interest in conducting further trainings. They continuously engaged teachers during the sessions and witnessed their positive attitudes. Most teachers asked lots of questions on critical thinking and higher-order thinking. They were provided with satisfactory answers on the concept of critical thinking and the different levels of thinking. In the end, it was evident that the content that was taught was clearly understood.
The action plan activity went well and teachers made and presented their own plan in groups, in the towns that they were teaching in. The plans were realistic and took into account their needs and limitations.
All the teachers were willing to apply these concepts in their classes. Some of them also discussed the issues and challenges that they were facing in their classes, for example, small rooms, seating arrangements, setting up small groups and whole group activities.
PARCO Trainings – Phase IV:
TRC has been working with PARCO for the past four years. The project has now entered its fourth phase of workshops that PARCO is organizing under its Corporate Social Responsibility policy.
This year, during January and February, TRC conducted a 12-hour workshop titled ‘Promoting Thinking Skills in Children’ at four PARCO pumping stations i.e. Karachi, Bhubak, Mahmoodkot and Shikarpur. These workshops were conducted by two TRC trainers Nighat Hasan and Tabinda Jabeen and were attended by 61 teachers. The workshops focused mainly on critical thinking, active learning, learning environment, lesson planning and assessment. Different teaching-learning methods such as group work, interactive discussions, presentations, picture descriptions, case studies, brain-storming and participatory lectures were used to cater to the varying learning styles of the diverse groups.
In January, a 3-hour talk session on ‘Awareness for Trauma in Children’ by Professor Panos was scheduled, but was cancelled due to low registration. Four other scheduled workshops were conducted, titled ‘Developing Students as Active Learners’, ‘Physical Fitness in Schools’, ‘Teachers as Confident Speakers’ and ‘Developmentally Appropriate Practices in Early Childhood’. These workshops were attended by 11, 12, 14 and 13 participants respectively.
In February, four workshops were scheduled, but only three of them were conducted. The titles of the workshops that were held were ‘Evaluating for School Improvement’, ‘Student-Centred Approach to Teaching Literature’ and ‘Teaching Oral Skills in Early Childhood’. These were attended by 15, 9 and 14 participants respectively.
The workshop, titled ‘Teaching Young Children to become Independent Learners’ was postponed due to low registrations.
Four workshops were scheduled in the reporting month of March. Two of them, titled ‘Khatte Nastaleeq ki Maharatain’ and ‘Let’s Wrap up the Academic Session with PODCAST’ were postponed due to low registrations and unavailability of the workshop leader respectively. Two other scheduled workshops titled, ‘Observing and Assessing Young Learners’ and ‘Making Homework Meaningful’, were conducted. These were attended by 24 and 12 participants respectively.
The Teachers’ Resource Centre hosted its first book sale on 9th February 2016. Heads and teachers from TRC’s member schools were invited to visit the premises and choose books to incorporate into their own school or home libraries.
TRC’s stock of books offered a wide range of topics such as School / Financial Management, Special Education, Parental Education, English, Urdu, Science, Math, History, Drama, Environment and more. The Teaching Practice corner, English, Language (in general), Science and Art and Crafts corner proved to be the most popular.
Certificate Distribution ceremony on TRC’s Primary Education Course
On Friday 26th February, 2016, TRC hosted a certificate distribution ceremony for the students who completed TRC’s Primary Education Course. The ceremony was attended by the teachers who had completed the course, members of their families, school heads and TRC staff. Ambreena Ahmed, Director TRC welcomed the audience and congratulated the teachers on their achievement.
Rubina Naqvi, Senior Manager, Workshop Programme talked about the format of the course which took a few years to design and was introduced last year. She said ‘The course has been evolving and this year was offered as a 100-hour course’. Noshin Khan told the teachers, “You have come a long way and you have a long way to go.”
Rubina Naqvi and Noshin Khan who teach the course explained that it has 5 modules: Child Development, Learning Environment, Curriculum Experience, Assessment and Evaluation and Continuous Professional Development.
Sana Ovais of the Jaffer Public School, who was enrolled in the course, thanked all family members and schools heads for their support in what she called a ‘beautiful journey’. She called the training TRC had provided as part of the course, ‘… a tremendous experience.’
Another teacher Maryam Chauhan of the Korangi Academy said that ‘TRC has designed a wonderful course to help us become effective teachers in the classroom.’ Chairperson TRC Azra Raza, who was the Chief Guest on the occasion, distributed the certificates. She said, ‘Training at TRC is a stepping stone to learn more and more. It is a journey that never ends. Keep learning.’
Teachers from the Korangi Academy, Habib Boys’ School, Habib Girls’ School and Jaffer Public School were enrolled in TRC’s Primary Education Course.
Teachers’ Literature Festival
On February 28th, Nighat Hasan, Tabinda Jabeen and Noshin Khan were invited by Idra-e-Taleem-O-Aagahi (ITA) to present a lively and interactive session on ‘Teachers as Critical Thinkers’ as part of the Teachers’ Literature Festival.
More than 100 participants showed up, including teachers, education ministers, public and private schools and colleges, school coordinators and students.
The audience was very enthusiastic and wanted to learn more about the concept of Critical Thinking and also about TRC’s Thinking Classroom Project. More than 100 lesson plans were handed out to the participants who were eager to find out how to incorporate and use it in their classrooms and schools.
TRC’s Annual General Meeting
The 29th Annual General Body Meeting (AGM) of the Teachers’ Resource Centre (TRC) was held at the TRC premises on Saturday, January 30, 2016. A total of 25 members were present. Of that, 11 were Governing Body Members, and 14 were heads and teachers representing 13 institutions. TRC staff members were also in attendance.
Nargis Alavi, of the Habib Girls’ School who is also a member of the Governing Body, suggested that since TRC work encompasses all facets of teaching, it needs to organise major events with the help of sponsors. Ambreena Ahmed, Director TRC shared that TRC was already intending to do that and had got approval from donors to organise a Teachers’ Conference in 2017, with the funding for the third phase of the OSF project.
Ambreena Ahmed presented the Director’s Report in which she highlighted the TRC’s achievements during the reporting period and their future plans.
Five school-focused and 31 multi-school workshops have been conducted during this reporting period, which were attended by 544 participants. The topics of the workshops covered different areas and were targeted at teachers and managers at all levels.
School-focused workshops were held at Creek View Academy, Kehkashan School, Babaza Foundation School, University of Karachi (for B.Ed students) and at TRC for the Faculty of LRBT.
TRC has initiated a series of talks on various issues on academic and school administration related topics such as Special Education and Learning Difficulties, Physical Fitness and Security in Schools. School Heads present at the meeting were informed that workshops and talk sessions for parents will be announced soon. They were requested to inform the parents of children in their schools and urge them to attend.
A post-evaluation visit was undertaken at River Oaks Academy at the request of the school management. The objective of the visit was to review the changes incorporated in the school, as recommended in the report submitted by TRC at the end of the evaluation program.
Work plans for the year 2015 – 2016 include continuation of workshops in Karachi and other cities of Pakistan, school evaluations, Media Literacy through the Film Club, ECE-CP, on-line publication Ilm o Amal and Opinion Poll. The 5th Karachi International Children’s Film Festival (KICFF) will again be supported by TRC. TRC will endeavour to continue partnerships with like-minded organisations.
Seminar on the Thinking Classroom
On 15th March, 2016 TRC hosted a seminar to mark the completion of the Master Trainer’s Training Programme under the Thinking Classroom Project. The event was held to share the lessons learnt and chart the way forward with various stakeholders.
TRC has played a pioneering role in introducing active learning methods in Pakistani classrooms. That is why when the Open Society Foundation (OSF) approached us to spearhead the Thinking Classroom project, taking on the challenge seemed like the natural next step for us. Since January 2014, TRC has developed a repository of teaching and learning material and also trained Master Trainers for schools in both the private and public sector for the Thinking Classroom Project. The lesson plans that were developed and the training sessions being conducted by our staff are grounded in critical thinking and are designed to initiate the process of higher-order thinking among ECE and primary students.
A National Review Committee which includes members from the government’s curriculum and teacher education machinery and NGOs, representing all four provinces of Pakistan is overseeing the process.
TRC at the Conference on the Comparative and International Education for Society (CIES)
Noshin Khan, Senior Manager-IECE, represented TRC at the CIES Conference in Vancouver, Canada. She presented TRC’s paper on ‘Teachers as a Force for Transforming Education in Pakistan’. The CIES (Comparative and International Education Society) is a scholarly association dedicated to increasing the understanding of educational issues, trends and policies through comparative, cross-cultural and international perspectives. The 2016 CIES 60th Annual Conference is being held March 6-10, 2016.
Consultative Seminar at STEDA
Sindh Teacher Education Development Authority (STEDA) in collaboration with Right to Play has organized a consultative seminar on January 27, 2016 at its office. The objectives of the seminar were to review the CPD framework (i.e. standards of CPD, standards of programme; to review the process and accreditation criteria; to review tools based standards of CPD programme, accreditation of institution and to endorse CPD framework for approval from BoG. This seminar was attended by representatives of STEDA BoG, Right to Play, PITE, BoC, Teacher Training Institutes and NGOs.
The event began with welcome remarks by Haroon Laghari, Director STEDA which was followed by a presentation on the role, progress and future plans of STEDA. Abdul Majeed Bhurt of STEDA talked about the challenges the institution faced regarding recognition and accreditation of the teacher education programme. He also shared different tools such as the Initial Registration and Accreditation Procedure, Standards for Accreditation of CPD Providers, Standards for the Certification/Accreditation of CPD Programme.
The purpose was to review and get feedback from the participants. Muhammad Babur, through different interactive activities facilitated the participants in understanding CPD and CPE. He also shared and discussed the different CPD models. The seminar came to an end with a vote of thanks by Abdul Majeed Bhurt who requested all the participants to review the accreditation tools and criteria in order to share their feedback and suggestions in the next session.
Prize Distribution Ceremony in New Karachi Town
TRC has trained 205 master trainers across Pakistan under ‘The Thinking Classroom’ project supported by Open Society Foundations. These trainings aim to develop the capacity of the master trainers in order to further train teachers in their schools and towns. In Karachi, a total of 65 teachers were trained in three clusters. Two master trainers, Asia Nazeer and Mashkoor Fatima from New Karachi Town, District Central took initiative and under the supervision of their Taluka Education Officer (TEO), Itrat Jamal, conducted trainings in their town. They conducted five rounds of trainings and trained 189 teachers and head teachers in their district.
TEO, New Karachi town organized a certificate distribution ceremony for trained teachers and head teachers on March 21, 2016. District Education Officer, Mirza Arshad Baig was the Chief Guest on the occasion. This ceremony was attended by TRC’s training and development team, TEOs of District Central, head teachers and teachers of different schools in that district. The school children welcomed the guests and presented skits. During his address, Mirza Arshad Baig acknowledged and thanked TRC’s team for building the capacity of these master trainers. At the end of the ceremony, all trainees received certificates.