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2013-04 ~ 5 Learning Points From TSC 06/01/13

posted 19 Jan 2014, 09:38 by Manisha Child Welfare Foundation Nepal ‎(UK)‎   [ updated 12 Sep 2014, 01:36 by Manisha UK ]

We asked Johnny what would be his top 5 learning points from the first 3 months of his placement (sorry it's taken so long to get them published!)

They were:

  1. Spoken English: I feel the major problem here in the schools is the difference in the children's ability to write and read English compared with their speaking and listening skills. The former being far superior. I think this is down to teachers reading passages in English but then they talk about it and answer questions in Nepali, thus denying the children chance to actually use the language;
  2. Teachers working to their contract: now I must say that this is not in all schools; however it is in most. The majority of teachers will not work outside their contracted hours, now I know most are only paid for 6 periods a day but when you compare this to England (and I know it is a completely different county), where teachers stay in school hours after they need to and spend a lot of their free time thinking about their teaching, they show little or no additional commitment or desire to teaching. This is highlighted the most when teacher have 'leisure periods' where they do nothing. Now they really should be using this time to plan or to assess children, which brings me on to the next two points. However, we talked about this at teacher training and hopefully that should have some effect. 
  3. Assessment: the children really are not assessed here. Apart from summative exams, which, now I don't know about this, but I doubt play any role in planning for further classes. I have been in classes where the teacher assured me they all know the alphabet and the children could not name a single letter I wrote on the board; however, they could chant the entire alphabet. The same thing has happened with numbers. The teachers really need to using formative assessment to test the children at the end of the lesson and inform their further planning. 
  4. Textbooks/planning: again this is not all teachers, but the vast majority. Most teachers planning for lesson involves picking up the textbook and going through the chapters. They normally just follow the instructions in the chapters and go through the chapters regardless of the children's understanding of the new info, never-mind their understanding of previous, vital, knowledge. Also, while some schools do have resources they could use to aid them teaching the topic, many teachers will not consider using them. For example, the other week I was in a school and a teacher was having trouble explaining about Australia so I had a go at the lesson. Basically, the children were having trouble thinking about where it is and what is looks like. It turned out that in their library they had a globe, huge maps of the world, a map of Australia and books on Australia. 
  5. Flexible timetables: Now this is only around half the schools I have visited, but they don't have a structured timetable. Well they do but it is not enforced. Teachers start and end lessons when they want to, I regularly see children just roaming around the school when they should have lessons, the first period is always meant to be at 10 but most teachers only arrive at ten then there is assembly, registration and then the lesson starts around mid-way though the period.