A few weeks ago a team of ICS educators and school administrators went to Bahir Dar to provide PLC training to local educators from over 20 schools, as part of our vision to be our best with Africa and the world.
The PLC training is part of a long-standing relationship formed by ICS Partners in Education in Ethiopia, formerly known as FGCF Education for Change as part of a professional development opportunity for teachers to improve the way they teach and strengthen educational practice throughout the region.
ICS educators gave an overview of what it means to be a PLC - ensuring that ALL students learn at high levels and that teachers engage in collaborative teams, best teaching practices, classroom management strategies, working interdependently to achieve common goals while engaging in perpetual learning themselves and creating an environment of innovation and experimentation. Among the educators who participated in the training were Azeb Mamo, Addisu Megngistu, Abdi Chali, Bereket Melaku, Eyerusalem Kifle and Professional Development Coordinator, Seble Genet. The Deputy Head of School, Cal Stuart led a Student-Centered Learning presentation, and the Executive Director of Technology and Innovation, Shanta Kumar gave an overview about the Future of Learning.
Classroom observations and modeling sessions were a large part of the training. ICS staff began by observing the local teachers as they planned their lessons and taught their students, and proceeded to share notes on how they could implement PLC strategies. Following this activity, ICS teacher's organized modeling sessions and role-played various teacher roles to demonstrate what teachers collaborating in the classroom looks like. There was also an Understanding by Design (UBD) session where teachers were given guidance on how to improve their lesson planning and implement a more transdisciplinary approach to lesson planning.
The reception of the PLCs training by the trainees was overwhelmingly positive once they understood that adopting a PLC method of teaching was possible using their existing resources and curriculum. All that is required to increase the level of learning and the way teachers perform is to commit to asking and answering the four essential questions: 1) What do we want our students to know, understand, and be able to do 2) How will we know if they learn; 3) How will we respond when students aren’t learning, and the last 4) How will we extend the learning for students who are already proficient. In some ways, it’s very complex, but it’s also very simple.