Teacher Education Transforming Classrooms

Explaining basic teaching skills and integrating a biblical worldview into classroom instruction are the goals of a two-year teacher education program that TeachBeyond is offering in South Asia. The program includes both residential sessions and mentoring in the schools to observe the teachers and provide seminars. Here are two success stories.

Mr. M understands learning styles as taught through the program, but he initially had not realized the impact that this might have on students in his classroom. He had a student who was not able to get his homework written down in his book and constantly came to school with no homework. Teachers were labeling him stupid and lazy. Then Mr. M got to thinking about what was taught in the workshop on learning styles. Most teachers in this country teach using an auditory style of learning. Perhaps this child was not an auditory learner, Mr. M thought, and needed to have more lessons written on the board to give him some visuals. This worked. Now Mr. M presents the homework and any lessons needing to be done in class not only verbally but also written on the board. The student began to participate more and his grades began to come up.

Mr. Y really appreciated being introduced to the idea of lesson planning. He never planned his lessons, but would go into the classroom, textbook in hand, with no plan of what he was going to do. After learning the important parts of a lesson plan, then thinking about what he wanted to teach and writing things out before going into the classroom, he began to see that it produced a much more effective lesson.

By planning ahead he created a fabulous lesson about the story of the thirsty crow and the water jug, bringing in a glass of water and some pebbles to have the children demonstrate how the crow’s idea worked. When the crow dropped pebbles into the jug the water level rose to where the crow could reach it. He slowly filled the water glass with pebbles while reading the story to help bring it to life. The students were thrilled. He also brought in a sheet with six pictures which students cut out and used to tell each other the story that they had just learned, practicing important new vocabulary and sequencing skills.

The kids were engaged through the whole lesson and will never forget the pieces of that particular story. Mr. Y was struck by the importance of lesson planning and how much more the students could get out of a lesson if it was thought through.

What did teachers say they liked most about this teacher education program? High on everyone’s list was fellowship. TeachBeyond mentors visit the teachers every three weeks. It wasn’t just our visits that helped them. The teachers also had made friends with the other teachers and often call one another for help or prayer. They are able to see where change is needed to bring their school in line with spiritual principles that they read about in their daily devotions. Our focus on their spiritual life and school witness is helping to align their school with God’s values. They learned the academic aspects of teaching along with how to care for spiritual needs of students. They helped each other in the process and felt strengthened in their personal commitment to serving a loving father in these remote villages.

Teacher Education Services is responsible for programs like this one. If you would like to learn more about how you can be an academic and spiritual mentor to like these, contact Becky Hunsberger, bhunsberger@dev.teachbeyond.org.