The Gasabo School Development Program (SDP) is structured in a way that it directly empowers approximately 25% of the teaching staff in a school and offers them intensive training and school based support. These ‘teacher multipliers’ then become peer mentors to their colleagues in the school communities and are facilitated to develop a ‘peer learning’ school environment. In this way, the skills of the wider teaching staff are developed while also developing a professional learning culture and community.
Teacher multipliers receive direct training as part of a two to four day workshop during the school holidays. During this workshop they are also supported to plan the training they will lead at the school level. This training consists of a series of modules that seek to address some of the foundational aspects of quality education. The units of this Quality Education training include:
World View and Value Base – This unit helps teachers to understand the importance of teaching values alongside the curriculum content. It also helps them to do this practically in their lessons.
Active Participation & Cognitive Skill Development – Through this unit teachers learn why active participation is important in their lessons and how to increase the active learning of students practically through different learning activities. Alongside this, there is training in the importance of critical thinking and how to use activities that will develop this kind of thinking.
Teaching Aids – This unit emphasizes the importance of teaching aids for improved learning and how they can be made and developed from local materials and resources.
Behavior Management – In this unit teachers learn how to manage students’ behavior in a positive manner through learning about proactive techniques and appropriate consequences.
Effective Group Work – This unit supports teachers in how to use group work effectively to enhance learning for all children and to ensure it enriches lessons.
Lesson Planning - Through this unit teaches learn the importance of effective lesson planning. In particular, the training focuses on the use of well-developed learning steps and informal assessment throughout lessons.
All Inclusive – In this unit the teachers learn the importance of every child learning. They learn to take into consideration the different learning styles, personalities and abilities of the children during their lesson planning and delivery.
Following this direct training the ‘teacher multipliers’ then deliver a simplified version of this training to their colleagues through Sector Based Training (SBT). This training takes place at the sector level with the cluster of schools in that sector coming together to receive support (on average between 3-6 schools). A designated school is chosen as a ‘training center’ and all the teachers from that sector come to the selected school for training delivered by all the ‘teacher multipliers’ from that cluster of schools, with the support of Wellspring trainers. The SBT usually consists of one day of training per term at the designated school.
Then, at the start of each term a school based staff meeting is conducted on the trained material. This takes place at each individual school, facilitated by the ‘multiplier teachers’ in that school with their school leaders. This ‘staff professional development meeting’ for all the staff provides an opportunity for each individual school to receive more focused and school-specific training. It provides an important opportunity for teachers to ask or discuss any specific school related questions or issues that are related to the material’s implementation in their school.
During the rest of the school term Wellspring then conducts two school visits for each of the schools that are supported by Wellspring. These school visits are called ‘Support Days’, which consist of a range of different activities to support teaching and learning in the schools. The Support Days include:
Lesson Observations – Wellspring trainers conduct lesson observations for the ‘teacher multipliers’ to observe the implementation of training in the classroom.
Lesson Professional Development Discussions – Following the lesson observations Wellspring trainers conduct a debrief professional development discussion with the teacher. This discussion is structured around the Wellspring ‘Quality Education Lesson Observation Criteria’, which evaluates the various aspects of quality education that have been delivered during the training. The Wellspring trainer takes 30-45 minutes to discuss the lesson’s strengths and weaknesses using these criteria and provides advice and targets for improvement.
Model Lessons – Wellspring trainers provide model lessons for all teachers in the school to observe best practice and learn from a ‘real live’ example in their own classrooms.
Planning support & advise – Wellspring trainers help support teachers in their lesson planning during their lesson breaks and support them with activities and ideas to improve teaching and learning.
Support lessons – Wellspring trainers also spend time offering support lessons where cover is needed for a particular teacher.
This cycle of training and school based support happens each term.