Our education lead visits partner school to discover the impact of Teach2030
Nayamba school in Central Province, Zambia has been one of our partner schools right from the start of our Teach2030 programme. The school is in a rural location, near Chisamba, and about 1.5 hours from Lusaka. Most of the pupils are the children from the local farming community, and as is common in rural schools in Zambia, many teachers live on site in provided accommodation. Our Head of Education, Eleanor Sykes, has visited Nayamba many times, which has created a warm and meaningful relationship, as well as ensuring that she is well placed to observe progress resulting from Teach2030 courses and other CPD interventions.
Nayamba had already fully embraced the Teach2030 programme before the pandemic, using it as part of their regular Continuous Professional Development, and accessing courses both together as a team and individually on their smartphones in their own time. However, as head teacher Sera told us ‘when schools closed we decided to go through the courses again so we kept on learning during that difficult time’, to consolidate and deepen their learning. The effect of this commitment to their own development as teachers was clear when Eleanor visited the school in November this year.
Strategies from the Teach2030 course ‘Practical Active Learning’ were evident in many places. Not just the ‘Do Now’ written on many chalkboards (a simple technique where the teacher writes an instruction for the learners to start thinking about from the moment they walk into the classroom, to get them in the ‘zone’ of the lesson and also to provide a quick formative assessment opportunity), but also changes in the way both teachers and learners interacted in the class.
Precious ably demonstrated how to use the ‘Stretch It’ technique, by asking the learners to explain their thinking, who agreed, what would they do next etc – rather than the simple praise ‘well done’ (or clapping) which doesn’t extend the learning in any way. The confidence with which Precious explained how she now views using feedback and questioning can be seen in the video below and illustrates a demonstrable shift in her classroom practice. It is easy to use buzz words or phrases such as ‘child-centred learning’ but Precious’ classroom teaching showed the time she had spent completing a Teach2030 course and discussing her own understanding and progress with her peers.
During a Grade 4 lesson on conditions needed for plants to grow, it was thrilling to see ‘Turn Talk’ used effectively, but also that the pupils are evidently used to being asked to engage with each other, ask questions of their peers, listen to answers, and that they have a voice that they can, and should, use. This video below shows two pupils being asked questions by a third pupil, in a wonderfully natural and confident manner. This is not always the case, as often pupils are required to remain silent, and are not always given enough opportunities to ask and answer questions, or to express their thoughts and opinions. Sera told us this is a direct result of a combination of Teach2030 courses – for example, the research-based ‘Turn Talk’ and ‘No Hands Up’ strategies from Practical Active Learning; the self-reflection activity in Fresh Thinking for Your Classroom (for example, where Precious noticed she didn’t move around the classroom enough but just stood at the front); and Growth Mindsets for Teachers and Learners, where teachers are asked to consider how they view their learners and carefully think about the purpose of the feedback they give.
Effective and sustainable CPD is not delivered in one big workshop, with no follow-up support. We have always believed strongly in the ‘little-and-often’ approach, and progress such as we have seen from the Naymba team evidences why this is successful.
Teachers working in lower-income communities need thoughtfully curated materials, that speak to them and their setting, and that can provide those subtle but greatly impactful opportunities to change their classroom practice. Our visit to Nayamba school demonstrated how this is possible, and we are excited to continue working with more partners and schools to provide a supportive, long-term, and high quality CPD solution for teachers working in even the most challenging of settings.