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Training to teach better
By MATTHEWS Dominic
Chennai, Nov. 2. Twenty-six schools represented by three teachers from each institution, participated in a two-day workshop for teachers, by Adhyayan, under the Don Bosco Teacher Assistant Program (DBTAP) on August 18 and 19, 2017 at The Citadel, Chennai. Both Fr. Don Bosco, the Vice Provincial and Fr. Maria Charles were present during the workshop. There were three different workshops and three teachers from each school attended one workshop each for two days.
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The teachers experienced training in Display for Learning, Collaborative Learning and Creating safe, secure and considerate classrooms.

In Display for Learning they learned how to set a culture in the classroom through creating displays of norms, the roles to be established in the groups, signs and symbols to be used to keep the students engaged and displays for learning created by the students that can be used for revision.

In Collaborative Learning they learned the first step of how to divide students into groups in their classroom and use strategies like jigsaw reading and peer evaluation to enable the students learn to become more independent and supportive of each other.

In Safe, secure and considerate classrooms they learned how to make their students feel physically, socially and emotionally safe through strategies such as knowing and appreciating each child.    

Onward training

The teachers who were sent for these workshops have been trained in the use of these strategies and have also been taught to deliver the workshop learnings to their colleagues. For this, they need to be given support by the school leader.

The school leader's' role is to ensure that changes can be made in the classrooms of the teacher-facilitators they sent for DBTAP. They should decide on the strategy of how they plan to facilitate the learning of their remaining staff. This would require the teacher-facilitators to conduct similar workshops for their colleagues.

The school leader should decide and declare how they will use their teacher-facilitators in supporting the rest of the staff to make the changes in their classes. The principals should allot a day and time for the training to be carried out in their schools for each of the three training workshops and be present during the sessions. The principals have to support the facilitators with the resources required to conduct the workshops in their schools.

Recommended strategy

Teacher-Facilitators should offer to co-facilitate the workshop with teachers from a neighbouring Salesian school.  School leaders should speak with their fellow principals and arrange for the teachers to meet and conduct the workshop together so that they are taken seriously by their colleagues.

Information dissemination

WhatsApp Groups of Teacher Facilitators for each workshop have been formed to include teachers from the other States. This will enable the teacher-facilitators to confer with each other and from Adhyayan for continuous support. They can also put up examples of good practices, that they are trying out in their classrooms, to share with the others.

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