|Teacher Training at Tubman University, Harper, Maryland County, Liberia|
Visions in Action has recently completed a teacher training session for 100 teachers in Maryland County, Liberia, serving both Liberian and Ivorian refugee populations, as part of its UNICEF-sponsored Emergency Education Program.
Following the disputed national elections in the Ivory Coast in
Teacher training at Tubman University developed out of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Visions in Action signed with Tubman University (TU) in the fall of 2011. The MOU describes a collaborative training that would benefit both our Ivorian teachers as well as the TU Education students. Many of Visions in Action's Ivorian teachers are not certified teachers but were selected out of the refugee population to meet the schooling needs of the refugee children; it is important for them to have the opportunity to further develop their teaching skills to better serve the students.The training started on February 11, 2012 and sessions were held over four Saturday mornings on different subjects each week: Bloom's Taxonomy and Lesson Planning, Testing and Evaluation, Classroom Management, and Early Childhood Development (ECD). Last week was the final week of training. There was a test on the material followed by a graduation ceremony this past Saturday March 17th.
"I was glad to have the training, as it brought me up to date with new research in early childhood development and the essence of play and child-friendly spaces for children 0-8."
-Priscilla Tanyon, kindergarten teacher in the Liberian section at Assembly of God School in Pleebo, Maryland County
There are 74 Ivorian teachers, 12 Liberian teachers, and 14 TU students who have participated in the trainings. The trainings are conducted in two groups, in French for the Ivorians and in English for the Liberians. One American and two Liberian professors from TU facilitated the sessions for Liberians, and the Ivorian sessions have been conducted by two Ivorian education experts recruited by VIA. The two groups have worked to ensure a common curriculum.
The overall goal of the project is to provide quality inclusive education for the Ivorian refugees. In the first phase of the project VIA has been working hard to assess the needs of the refugee population and open schools to ensure that the children have access to education. Currently VIA has opened several schools and is preparing to open several more. VIA staff have distributed textbooks to all the schools and are currently utilizing additional UNICEF materials including the school-in-a-box, ECD kits, and recreation kits, all of which will provide the teachers with more resources to create a quality learning environment. Following the TU training, VIA hopes to see the teachers, especially those without much previous teaching experience, utilizing improved teaching methods.
In peace and justice,
The VIA Team
VIA Emergency Education Advisor Ryan Hathaway contributed to this article.