[Rwanda-learningteam] [Learning Team] Rwanda Teacher Training Guide

Juliano Bittencourt juliano.bittencourt at gmail.com
Thu Jul 8 14:34:33 EDT 2010

    Dear Julia,

    Sorry about the delay in my response, but as you might know we have been working a lot this last two weeks in the very nice teachers training we concluded today.

    I think that this issue is an important discussion that we should have in the learning perspective, since it highlights some important concerns about our way of working.

    It is natural from the KIE interns to fell anxious with different ways to facing teaching and learning. This anxiety means that they have lost equilibrium of their beliefs regarding learning  and are looking for a new cognitive equilibrium. It is natural for you, as someone inexperienced in developing people in new learning methodologies, to transfer their anxiety to yourself and try to make it stop in any way you can, in this case offering a manual, the teachers training guide. This is called to alley the anxiety. It actually not helps the learner (the KIE interns in this case), since it stops the learning/reflection cycle they are passing through. With no reflection, they will follow exactly what you have written, and won't be able to generalize or adapt it . It is what we usually call in learning jargon: provide a cake recipe.

     If it was so easy to develop people, probably we (expat consultants) wouldn't have a job. OLPC would have hired someone to write such manual and sent it to countries. Probably someone much before OLPC would have written such "teachers training guide", since new methodologies are trying to be inserted for more than 100 years into schools.

     But instead of that they sent people, us, because that is the way we develop local people, working with them. 

     So, getting involved in trainings like this week is what KIE interns really need. In the current training they got involved in all phases of the process, planing, creating a handout, executing, assessing and will also reflect. They learn by working with us and establishing us as new references about what to do and how to do. Of course, after some concrete experiences, we should bring some more formal references, as texts and books. However this needs to follow a very thoughtful evaluation.

      As a last comment, I also think that we should be more careful when we say "newer strategies that we found to be a success". We need to have very clear criterias of success before saying so. Without taking out the credits of your efforts, by what we have reflected among our group (KIE inters, expat interns, Melissa, Jimmy and Desire) none of the training strategies so far was successful, since there are *no teachers autonomously using the laptops in classrooms*. Melissa during one of our meetings had a terrific insight when she told that her best action in teachers training at Escaf was with the headmaster. It was only when the headmaster pushed for the teachers to use the laptops is where we saw some action in the classroom. It is not by chance that we are starting our teacher capacity building program with headmasters.  This is problems with teachers trainings is OK as a necessary learning process for our team in order to refine our strategies. However we need to be much more professional in the way we face teachers development.

    This also doesn't mean that are actions in the country were unsuccessful. I really believe that the Clubs and Camps were very successful since they impacted the students, the schools and people inside MinEduc and led them to understand what this project is really about. One more evidence that they were successful was when Jimmy and Desire presented today the projects of the Camps today to the headmasters and generated a lot of excitement among them. Now everybody wants to learn scratch. 

     I believe the current teachers training was a good example of it. It has been really inspiring the work we have developed during this week, and I fell particularly proud of the work of Jimmy and Desire . However, yet I really believe this training was a success, only the time and its reflects in the school are going to confirm my beliefs. 

      Best regards,


On 04/07/2010, at 13:51, Julia Reynolds wrote:

> Hey Juliano,
> Yes, will happy to call the document whatever you think is best. Just
> to clarify--this is not for teachers. This is for interns, such as KIE
> interns, who are eager to know what makes a "good" training. I tried
> to include some of the newer strategies that we found to be a success
> during the malaria camp and after (which has since got several
> teachers using the laptop and initiated computer time at Kagugu).
> But, that is great, if we decide a new approach this can be changed.
> This was more of a call to action that we need something like this.
> -Julia
> On Sun, Jul 4, 2010 at 7:20 AM, Juliano Bittencourt
> <juliano.bittencourt at gmail.com> wrote:
>>  Hi Julia,
>>   Firts of all, thanks for sharing your teachers training guide with us. I think your guide has some intersting ideas.
>>   I just think that we should discuss deeper as a group if we should call the document "guide", which is a word that brings many ephistemological meanings. We also should discuss deeper what should be included in the guide and what is its public.
>>    If your intentions is really to develop this document, you should really start by doing a bibliographical research about what people say about teachers training, spcecially in Africa and in a construcionist learning philosophy. We aren't the first ones to do teachers training in both of those scenarios and there is a lot of knwledge already developed that we can't ignore. For you being in Cambridge should be easy to visit the MIT libraries and get in touch with all the work developed before by the LOGO community.
>>     Secondly, before writing the guide, we really need to access our teachers capacity building methodology. During your abscense, Silvia, Melissa and I have been conducting a series of meetings with our KIE and expat interns to discuss teachers training. the assessment of our initiatives wasn't very good so far. This reflection is what we need to register and discuss before recomending.
>>     As you know, our stragies so far where based in what have worked in other countires in the past. Unfortunatelly, those strategies didn't take off here by different reasons. So what we have been doing is to assess what we have developed and come out with new ideas. And than repeat the cycle.
>>       best regards,
>>       Juliano
>> Juliano Bittencourt <juliano at laptop.org>
>> Learning Development Specialist
>> One Laptop per Child
>> Phone: +1 617 452 5528
>> Fax: +1 617 258 9212
>> Mobile: +55 51 8181 0161
>> Mobile Rwanda: +250 0783867904
>> Skype: j_bittencourt
>> Homepage: www.laptop.org
>> On 01/07/2010, at 20:07, Julia Reynolds <julia at laptop.org> wrote:
>>> Hello All,
>>> I still have a way to go on this guide, but I wanted to share with you
>>> so far...attached please find a draft the potential Rwanda Training
>>> Guide. This is something Richard and others have asked for and
>>> something I agree would be great to have for those just starting their
>>> "OLPC journey."
>>> I am sharing this now in hopes that we can all contribute to it,
>>> including the KIE interns who are most familiar with this process.
>>> Thanks!
>>> Julia
>>> --
>>> Julia Reynolds
>>> One Laptop per Child (OLPC)
>>> julia at laptop.org
>>> +0750552766
>>> juliarwanda.wordpress.com
>>> www.laptop.org
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> learningteam mailing list
>>> learningteam at lists.laptop.org
>>> http://lists.laptop.org/listinfo/learningteam
> -- 
> Julia Reynolds
> One Laptop per Child (OLPC)
> julia at laptop.org
> +0750552766
> juliarwanda.wordpress.com
> www.laptop.org

Juliano Bittencourt <juliano at laptop.org>
Learning Development
One Laptop per Child
Phone: +1 617 452 5528
Fax: +1 617 258 9212
Mobile: +55 51 8181 0161
Mobile Rwanda: +250 0783867904
Skype: j_bittencourt
Homepage: www.laptop.org
Rwanda Blog: http://www.gc4ll.org

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