Teacher Practice & professional development

Promoting Cooperative Learning among Teachers in Punjab through Peer Networking (2016-17)

The design of the project was motivated by research showing that peer networks for teachers provide opportunities to reflect on their practices, learn from each other’s experiences, and apply the lessons in their classroom practices as well as outside the school. Peer networking helps increase motivation among teachers by providing opportunities to design and lead professional development initiatives through a bottom up approach where peers train each other as opposed to traditional top down practices.

The project was conducted in partnership with QAED, previously Directorate of Staff Development (DSD), and piloted in the districts of Multan, Khushab and Rawalpindi. Within each district, Teacher Subject Forums (TSFs) were formally structured at the cluster level and two clusters were selected on the basis of criteria agreed upon with the DSD. The teachers in each cluster were divided into subject groups of Math, English and Science to meet on fortnightly basis.

Learning While You Teach Project 2014-2016

SAHE partnered with Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives (IDEAS) and the DSD to pilot technology-enabled in-service teacher training within the CPD model between 2014 and 2016 in Hafizabad, Sahiwal and Bahawalnager districts (the project was called Learning while you teach or LWYT). Tablets and high quality digital education content (videos) were sourced to train grade-4 math teachers (specifically on fractions and related topics). Use of technology ensured a) that trainings were of high quality and standardized and b) that teachers were trained within schools without having to be relocated to a training venue.

SAHE and IDEAS provided the DTEs with tablets and videos (focusing on content knowledge) from the grade-4 curriculum and trained the DTEs on the use of both. The DTE handed the tablet over to teachers on mentoring visits to schools every month. The teacher viewed videos for the duration of that visit at the end of which the DTE had a discussion with the teacher on training materials viewed. While the teacher had to return the tablet to the DTE, the teacher was able to keep the handouts developed by the project team accompanying each video beyond the DTEs visit as a recall aid. In case the teacher had any questions on the training content or the technology in use, the teacher could submit queries to the DTEs who would relay these to the project team by calling into a call center (set up for the purpose of this project). The call center sorted queries and passed these on to the project team who responded accordingly. Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) methodology was used to conduct an impact evaluation in this study. DTEs from across all three target districts were randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. Treatment DTEs received the tablets and videos and took these with them to teachers on their monthly school visits while control DTEs continued to carry out functions as before. In total, Learning While You Teach targeted 158 treatment DTEs and 837 treatment teachers.

The Voice of Teachers-2014

Given the importance of teachers within the education landscape, the Voice of Teachers aims to bring to the fore teacher perceptions regarding the education universe they inhabit. Through the use of survey tools and in-depth qualitative interviews the study helps better understand the challenges teacher face, the support they require and their own assessment of issues within the teaching profession. The report is based on an extensive nation-wide survey of over 1,250 teachers and head teachers in more than 600 primary, elementary and high schools across the country four provinces, covering government and private schools in urban and rural areas.

The report finds that though teachers share a responsibility in poor learning outcomes, systemic failures produce a lack of support that teachers are in need of. Failures such as excessive non-teaching duties, multi-grade classrooms, lack of adequate facilities and centralized bureaucracies where teaching and learning is not given significant attention all add to poor learning outcomes. Furthermore, teacher capacity remains a real issue that undermines educational results. The report concludes by highlighting that the failure to deliver high quality education does not solely lie upon the teachers alone. In fact, the reality is that the challenges teachers face are equally due to their capacities and the policies and procedures in place. The report advises on improving recruitment polices, strengthening pre-service teacher education, using teacher time effectively, decentralizing authority to the school level and including teachers in the decision-making process as a means for addressing these challenges.

Technology for teaching: Using innovative media in Punjab’s primary classrooms-2013

To address the Math content knowledge deficit of students and teachers, SAHE, in partnership with the Department of Staff Development (DSD), initiated this project that used the growing trend of using technology in the classroom as an aid for teaching and learning. Based on weak content knowledge of teachers, student assessment scores, location, and student enrollment, sets of 12 elementary and high schools in 3 districts (Chakwal, Lahore, Vehari) were selected as treatment and control groups. Urdu adaptations were made of 20 videos from Khan Academy and other sources on geometry. These videos were aligned with the National Curriculum, textbooks and DSD teacher guides and introduced to teachers and students through portable pocket-sized projectors.

The report expands on a number of interesting insights attained through the study. The student assessment survey found that where instructional videos were used, student performance increased, particularly amongst medium and low performing students. Khan Academy videos were better suited for teachers at the primary level while other videos which were less complex videos, were more useful for the students in local classrooms. A satisfaction survey indicated mostly positive perspectives from students and teachers with regard to the innovation. Findings also show that taking videos to the students is feasible where there is access to computer labs, which mostly is the case in high schools. The study recommended that future interventions should focus more on teachers using clusters for cost efficiency and considerations of the local context. Teachers’ input and participation should also be taken into account to ensure ownership of such interventions.