During 2012/13, the REN team toured various parts of Western Gorkha, providing a total of 6 one-day training sessions for teachers in using simple, practical student-centred strategies in classroom planning and management. Over the course of 3 weeks REN worked with 230 teachers from a total of 85 schools in the district.
Many teachers in Nepal, who have received any level of training from local or national agencies thus far, are familiar with the jargon of ‘student-centred methods’ and ‘active/participatory learning’. However, where many initiatives fall short is in the lack of practical methods of how to make these a reality in the classroom.
At the root of this is effective classroom management, which can be especially problematic and daunting for inexperienced teachers given the large class sizes seen in many rural schools.
REN training curriculum was designed to get the teachers active, participating and reflecting upon the specifics of what they do everyday in the classroom, followed by what they need to do to put a student-centred theory into practice. It emphasized the importance of critical thinking when considering teaching, and furthermore the usefulness of working together and sharing experiences when implementing new methods.
Teacher activities and tools were designed around the specific needs of, and limited resources available to, local teachers.
The course was supplemented with a fully translated book for each participant, intended as a reference tool containing all handouts, activities and practical checklists to ease the adoption of new ways of working. These were in the form of reflective questions that could be used daily as an aide-memoire for planning and teaching, or as a scaffold for reflection afterwards.