The Transformational Teacher Training programme was devised as part of the Ghana Education Service Operational Plan to Scale up Quality Kindergarten Education across Ghana, and Sabre is working as a key implementing partner. It has been piloted, implemented and evaluated and has attracted plaudits from a number of international agencies. Sabre Ghana is a trusted partner of the Ghana Education Service and has been part of the writing team for the new Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood Education as part of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) – funded Transforming Teacher Education and Learning (T-TEL) programme and supported the Ministry of Education in developing the new kindergarten curriculum. The Transformational Teacher Training Programme directly supports the roll out of both of these national education reforms.
The Transformational Teacher Training programme consists of three key projects:
1. Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training
The Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training combines in-service and pre-service training:
In-service: trains practising teachers to break away from the entrenched rote-based ‘chalk and talk’ methodology. The training enables teachers to deliver the Ghana Education Service’s child-centred, active and play-based pedagogy. Practising teachers are trained in coaching and mentoring skills and supported to transform their classrooms into child centred environments called Model Practice Classrooms that showcase best practice in early years education and support the student teacher placements.
Pre-service: focuses on improving the quality of practical teaching placements for Early Childhood Diploma student teachers. Student teachers carry out their practical placements in the network of Model Practice Classrooms, which are staffed by Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training trained teachers who are able to mentor the student teachers.
The Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training pilot ended in July 2015 and based on its success, Sabre secured funding to expand the training in the Central Region and replicate in the Western Region. In 2018 the project was awarded the prestigious UNESCO Hamden bin Rashid Al-Maktoum prize, which recognises programmes for their outstanding practice and performance in enhancing the effectiveness of teachers.
2. In-Service Teacher Training
This two year project draws on the core elements of the successful Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training, providing a condensed in-service version. The concise, less intensive course does not require student teachers to be on placement in the classrooms so it can be applied to any community in Ghana.
The first year focusses on equipping teachers with the skills and knowledge needed to transform their classroom teaching practice. In addition to training workshops, teachers receive individual coaching in their classrooms to support them in applying what they learn. Head teachers are sensitised prior to the start of the training and join teachers at every training workshop to ensure leadership support at the school management level. Ghana Education Service district officers gain the capacity to coach and mentor teachers during their regular monitoring visits. The second year of the project focusses on exit and sustainability to ensure that monitoring activities are embedded in Ghana Education Service procedures at the district level.
3. Newly Qualified Teacher Support Year
This is an evidence-based extension to the award winning Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training project. The project provides refresher training to support the newly qualified teachers who have been through our Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training. The project also trains head teachers, so they understand the new pedagogy and can better support the newly qualified teachers and enlist wider community support. Ghana Education Service district officers are sensitised to the pedagogy, bolstering management level support.
Training Manuals and Classroom Resource Packs
All classrooms receive a resource pack which includes key items such as culturally appropriate books, dolls, construction blocks and a full set of training manuals and classroom guides. These innovative guides and manuals have received high acclaim from government agencies and development partners. The manuals fully document the training content and provide teachers with week-by-week session plans, which are carefully tied back to the kindergarten curriculum and include resource making guides to enable teachers to make classroom resources to bring activity-based learning into their classrooms. The manuals also support teachers to assess pupils progress and include the three classroom assessment tools developed by the Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training project
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CEI approaches in actionSchool supportTeacher trainingSchool leader trainingTeaching materials (teaching guides, lesson plans, etc.)DeliveryTeacher Training and Evaluation
Scalefour and five year olds received a better start to their education972teachers, head teachers and student teachers received transformational training
• 60 Ghana Education Service officers received training and support to monitor and maintain the standards of teaching in the classrooms
• 21 College of Education tutors make up the team of trainers now able to deliver transformational teacher training
• 105 Newly qualified teachers received support in their first year in post
• 133 head teachers and Ghana Education Service officers have been sensitized to the play based pedagogy to support the newly qualified teachers
In 2016 NGO AfriKids began replicating aspects of the Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training project in partnership with Tumu College in the Upper West Region with Sabre acting as a technical consultant. Having trialed this model with AfriKids, Sabre is equipped to offer similar technical consultancy to support other actors to deliver the model, helping to expand its reach and impact.
Sabre has also provided similar input with Opportunity Edufinance to take their teacher training methodology throughout their network of low-fee private schools in Ghana and beyond to Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.
Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training Project
Sabre is currently in phase two of this project in the Western Region, which will be ongoing until July 2020. Once complete, there will be a network of 86 Model Practice Classrooms across the Shama and Sekondi-Takoradi Districts. These classrooms will provide quality practical placements for generations of student teachers on the Diploma for Early Childhood Education at Holy Child College of Education.
In-Service Teacher Training Project
Sabre is delivering their In-Service Teacher Training project to the entire Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese District in the Central Region, 87 schools in total reaching 189 teachers. This is a significant expansion and will see the project delivered over two years. In addition to this Sabre is actively seeking funding to expand In-Service Training to the Mfantesman District in the Central Region and also expand to the Eastern region, covering four districts. These two planned expansions will see provide 43,930 children with a quality start to their education, training 1,128 kindergarten teachers.
Interactive distance refresher trainings for newly qualified teachers
Sabre will be teaming up with the Varkey Foundation in Ghana to use their broadcasting studios to reach the newly qualified teachers throughout the country, who have been through our Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training. The refresher training is part of Sabre’s enhanced support to newly qualified teachers after learning lessons from their own evaluation and the independent Innovations for Poverty Action research. It is the first time Sabre will be running interactive distance learning lessons and will explore how to further exploit this cost effective method and other technologies to reach more teachers across Ghana and Africa.
Monitoring & EvaluationYes
Sabre uses qualitative and quantitative measures, including two kindergarten specific assessment tools:
• The Teacher Monitoring Tool is used as part of the Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training project. It identifies the target skills and characteristics that kindergarten teachers should be displaying, and provides a strong basis for the mentoring process and is administered termly.
• The Teacher Monitoring Checklist is used as part of the In-Service Teacher Training project. It identifies the target skills and characteristics that kindergarten teachers should be displaying and is administered termly.
• The Pupil Achievement Record covers Kindergarten 1 and Kindergarten 2 and provides teachers with a check-list to track pupil development across four learning domains (psychosocial & communication, early reading, early writing, and early maths). The Pupil Achievement Record is administered daily as teachers observe children in the classroom.
Additional monitoring tools cover the head teacher’s mentoring and supervision role, and trainer skills development. Feedback questionnaires are administered to all participants at every training session. Parents are engaged through Parent Teacher Association meetings, kindergarten graduations and classroom open days, and through the sending home of samples of children’s work.No
In September 2015 with lead researcher Dr Sharon Wolf of the University of Pennsylvania, Innovations for Poverty Action initiated a two-year randomised control trial on 137 early childhood student teachers in their final year of study at Holy Child College of Education. Whilst not a direct evaluation of the Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training, the study looked at the comparative knowledge gain of student teachers, and the extent to which they were then able to enact the new pedagogical approach in their own classrooms as Newly Qualified Teachers.
A very strong impact was shown on student teachers, which was a strong validation of the effectiveness of Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training, however the structural and cultural barriers faced by the same student teachers as Newly Qualified Teachers meant that there was minimal impact on classroom practice and child outcomes in their first teaching year. This was not altogether surprising to us, given the high shock factor of being posted to a typical Ghanaian classroom, especially as over 25% of kindergarten classrooms nationwide are in need of major repair, but is has confirmed our understanding of the pressing need to do more to support Newly Qualified Teachers in that first year.
In July/August 2017, Participatory Development Associates carried out an independent evaluation of the full Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training project delivered over the last three years. Key findings include:
The project documents and observations made by the evaluation team confirmed that Model Practice Classroom schools are on track in the implementation of the child-centered activity play-based methodology in kindergarten classrooms. Strengthening these findings are testimonies from teachers, head teachers and Ghana Education Service officials about their satisfaction of the pedagogy. Kindergarten classrooms in Model Practice Classrooms are livelier than non-Model Practice Classroom classrooms. The interest of children to attend school has increased, and so has the ability of pupils to read and learn. All stakeholders have expressed willingness to sustain the use of the activity play-based pedagogy in kindergarten classrooms; and are satisfied with the programme