Teacher Preparation Program for the OLPC Project in Nepal — Part II , Onsite training

Bryan Berry bryan.berry at gmail.com
Sun May 4 20:25:49 EDT 2008

Dr. Saurav Dev Bhatta posted the review of the second week of teacher
training, which took place on-site at the schools


We have just completed Part II of our teacher preparation program. The
complete teacher training consisted of two segments:

Part I) A 4 day intensive residential, out-of-school training that
focuses on integrating digitial educational materials and ICT-based
teaching approaches in the regular classroom instruction process. This
was completed on April 1, 2008. An earlier blog post has details about
this segment of the training.

Part II) A 4 day training in the teachers’ regular classrooms where they
get hand-on experience in developing, implementing, and fine-tuning
child-centric, interactive, ICT-integrated lesson plans. This was
completed on Friday, May 2, 2008. The current post is about this segment

Training location

For Bashuki teachers, the training was held at Bashuki Lower Secondary
School itself. Similarly, for Bishwamitra teachers, it was held at
Bishwamitra Lower Secondary School.

Why in-school training?

EASY TASK. THEY PICK IT UP IN NO TIME (within a few hours!!).


The residential portion of the training did give the teachers some
experience in integrating E-Paati in the classroom process (apart from
making them completely familiar with the use of the laptop). But the
simulated classroom environment in any residential training is a far cry
from the actual setting in their own schools. Furthermore, since each
school is very different in terms of physical infrastructure, student
composition, community involvement and other resources, there are unique
practical challenges associated with each school. So we felt that it
would be very useful to give teachers hands-on experience in integrating
E-Paati in their regular classrooms.

There is another important reason why in-school training is important in
this case. In most teacher training programs, it is possible for
teachers to learn about new approaches to teaching outside their school
(for example, through practice teaching in another school) and they can
take this knowledge to their own classrooms later. But in the present
context, successful implementation in the classroom also requires the
students themselves to learn about the new approach to learning and
teaching. And this can only happen in the school where the laptop
program is being implemented.

Structure of the training

Each day of the training was divided into four major segments:

1. Lesson plan review and revision

      * Content: group review of lesson plan for the day.
      * Participants: all the teachers in the schools + facilitators
        from OLE Nepal
      * Time allocated: 1 hour (before the start of classes)

2. Classroom instruction and observation

      * Content: classroom teaching according to the lesson plan
      * Participants: teachers (one teacher teaches the students; the
        rest are observers) + OLE Nepal observers + students
      * Time allocated: 3 to 4 full class periods (one period = 45
        minutes in Bashuki; one period = 40 minutes in Bishwamitra)

3. Feedback

      * Content: discussion on the day’s experience (strengths,
        weaknesses, recommendations for improvement)
      * Participants: all teachers + OLE Nepal facilitators
      * Time allocated: 1-1.5 hours

4. Lesson planning for the next day

      * Content: development of a detailed lesson plans for each class
      * Participants: teachers delivering the lectures in these classes
      * Time allocated: 1 hour

On the first day of the training (Saturday, April 26), the teachers
focused on teaching the students how to use the laptop and the E-Paati
activities in the laptop. This was done in two 1.5 hour long sessions.

During the remaining four days, the teachers conducted regular math and
English classes in grades two and six according to the ICT-integrated
lesson plans they developed. At Bishwamitra the ICT-integrated classes
were held on Sunday (April 27) , Monday (April 28), Tuesday (April 29)
and Wednesday (April 30). Bashuki conducted similar classes starting
Monday (April 29). But since they had decided to keep the laptops in
school for this first week of classes, they set aside Wednesday (April
30) for giving students more practice on how to use the laptops. They
had a break on Thursday and completed the training program on Friday
(May 2).

Overview of content covered in the training

Lesson planning: Integrating ICT-based educational materials in the
classroom requires teachers to carefully plan their lessons. We wanted
to give the teachers a very simple framework for developing lesson plans
so that they would continue to use it even after the training. If they
were to use it throughout the year, they would have to see that planning
the lessons would not really take up too much of their time—and that it
would help them in their other classes as well.

Each lesson plan in this training consisted of the following: a) listing
of the learning objectives of the class, b) listing and brief
descriptions of the topics or activities to be covered in the class, and
c) listing of time allocated for each topic or activity. E-Paati
activites were integrated in each lesson plan as one of the many
activities covered to meet the learning objectives of the class. We
emphasized that the goal should be to integrate E-paati in the classroom
lesson plan; not devise a lesson plan around the E-Paati activities. As
a rule of thumb, we emphasized that E-Paati use should not take up more
than 40% of the total time allocated for the class.

Lesson plan review and revision: The lesson plans developed were
critically reviewed and revised by all the teachers together to make
sure that a) the learning objectives of lesson were properly clarified,
b) the topics covered—including E-Patti topics—were consistent with the
stated learning objectives, and c) the time allocated for each
topic/activity was appropriate.

Classroom instruction and observation: This segment of the daily
training was designed to (i) give subject teachers hands-on experience
in teaching according to the integrated lesson plans and (ii) enable
other teachers to critically examine the teaching-learning process in
the regular classroom. Hence, while the subject teacher was conducting
the lesson, the other teachers noted down their critical observations in
the following areas:

a) Classroom structure (including appropriateness of seating
arrangement, placement of charging racks, seat assignment schemes etc.)

b) Correspondence between lesson plan and practice

c) Time on task (effective use of time from the perspective of student

d) Interaction (student—student; student—teacher) and participation of
students in the learning process

e) Instruction delivery (clarity, adequacy of explanations, …)

f) Time and classroom management (including tackling disruptive behavior
on the part of students)

Feedback session: Feedback sessions were held at the end of each day to
critically review the classroom process. The teachers delivering the
lectures worked with the observers to analyze the strengths and
weaknesses of the classes held that day focusing on the six areas listed
above. Through these discussions, the participants were able to identify
areas that needed improvement and develop strategies for tackling

Grade 2 students at Bishwamitra (English class)–totally into it!

Grade 6 students at Bishwamitra (math class)

Bishwamitra grade 6 students working intesnsely-1

Staff involved in the training


      * Saurav Dev Bhatta and Rabi Karmacharya (all five days)
      * Kamana Regmi (three days); Bipul Gautam (one day).

Most interesting outcomes

      * Grade 6 students in both schools took just one day to become
        familiar with using the laptops!
      * The children at Bishwamitra were allowed to take the laptops
        home immediately after receiving them. The children at Bashuki,
        however, did not take the computers home this first week. Not
        surprisingly, we observed that the Bashuki kids were much more
        familiar with the machines by the second day of the training.
        The difference was more pronounced in the case of grade 2
        children—it took two days for the Bashuki grade 2 students to
        get the hang of things, while it took the Bishwamitra kids only
        one day.
      * In both schools, the teachers had no experience in designing and
        using systematic lesson plans. They were very appreciative of
        the experience they gained during this training period.
      * One of the main challenges teachers initially faced when
        designing ICT-integrated lessons was in focusing on the learning
        objectives rather than on the E-Paati activities.
      * The biggest difficulties faced by the teachers in the classroom
        were a) getting the attention of students and b) managing the
        time. Once the students had the laptops in front of them, they
        were generally oblivious to what the teacher was saying. It was,
        therefore, very difficult for the teacher to cover all the
        material that needed to be covered in that class period. For
        example, on the second day of the training, the classes ran up
        to 30 minutes overtime on the second day of the training.
      * It was much more challenging for the teachers to get the
        attention of the grade 2 students. In fact, on the first day,
        there was chaos in the grade 2 classes in both schools!
      * Initially, just the process of getting the laptops from the
        charging racks and putting them back after use took up a
        significant amount of time.
      * The most effective ways of getting the attention of students
        were as follows: asking all the students to close the laptops;
        asking them to clap together, or stand up and stretch together;
        producing an alien sound that would grab their attention (for
        example, rattling a can of marbles).
      * In the case of grade 6, by the end of the training, the teachers
        had completely figured out how to efficiently and effectively
        conduct E-Paati integrated classes within the time period
        allocated for the class. But they felt that it would perhaps
        take another week for them to fine tune the classroom process in
        grade 2.
      * Bishwamitra teachers Manoj (who teachers grade 6 math) and Bhim
        (who teaches grade 2 math) were naturals at designing and
        implementing E-Paati integrated classes. Very impressive!
      * The teachers in both schools felt that the most useful parts of
        the training were the feedback sessions at the end of the day
        and the lesson planning sessions.
      * The biggest technical problem during this period was the jumpy
        cursor. The problem was particularly bad at Bashuki. This is
        something we have to fix!!

Grade 2 students at Bashuki–a different seating arrangement!

Bashuki grade 2 students-1Bashuki grade 2 students-2

Grade 6 students at Bashuki

Bashuki grade 6 students-1

Our main “mantras” for the training

      * The learning objectives should determine when and how E-Paati is
        used in class, not the other way round
      * E-paati should be viewed as one of the many tools and activities
        used to achieve the learning objectives
      * The goal is to integrate E-paati in the classroom lesson plan;
        not devise a lesson plan around the E-Paati activities
      * Effective classroom management can make the class; ineffective
        classroom management can break the class
      * Proper lesson planning is the key to successful integration of
        E-Paati in the classroom
      * End-of-the day group review of lessons is the key to improvement

Saurav Dev Bhatta, Education Director

Bryan W. Berry
Systems Engineer
OLE Nepal, http://www.olenepal.org

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