There was a week-long flurry of activities at Utumishi Boys’ Academy, Gilgil when over 140 educators engaged in discussions around four teaching learner-centred methodologies in the third round of EBB workshops in Naivasha district – Kenya. The group guided by the theme ‘Focus on Learning, not on Teaching’ began by developing three outcomes around which the assembly would articulate issues in the interest of teacher professional growth. The objectives of the week were to;
Model and share four teaching and learner centred methodologies i.e. collaborative learning, project based learning, inquiry learning and differentiated instruction and learning.
Interact and build a network of professional learning clusters.
Reflect on classroom experiences.
It emerged that the role of the teacher need be that of the facilitator. To listen more and talk less, to have learners explore and discover, to bring them to be more engaged through variety of activities and that the teacher is not after all the know-it-all.
Ebb has created the first opportunity in Naivasha district if not the entire country for both primary and secondary school teachers to come together to foster a professional relationship that is mutually involving and interdependent thus;
• Closing the divide between them.
• Creating opportunities for them to discuss challenges of learners’ transition from primary to secondary level.
• Encouraging teachers to make a follow up on their learners from primary to secondary level.
• Creating opportunity for demystifying exclusive teaching in either primary or secondary schools.
• Creating a forum for teachers to achieve professional growth and development with the formation of Professional Learning Clusters (PLCs).
A review on the progress achieved by PLCs formed earlier in 2009 indicated that there was continuity of teacher networks forged in previous workshops. It is notable that the PLCs form the only of a kind teacher professional outfit away from the union bodies.
Overall, the sessions were as interesting as they were preoccupying and it was fascinating to note two or three teachers remain in their seats to clarify that last point when everyone else went out at the end of a session.
With about ten cameras at their disposal, the teachers captured moments of the progress as the week wore on and when the vote of thanks came during the final gathering, it was obvious that new friendships had been built and closer networks established. The PLCs definitely have work cut out for them to ensure that these teachers stick together to achieve collective growth and enhanced productivity in their work.