Since 2018, ICS and the New English Private School (NEPS) have partnered to provide a high-quality educational program for students who attend NEPS. ICS has provided over 100 professional development opportunities to NEPS educators, including training with ICS teachers, participation in workshops at ICS, modeling of educational strategies, policy development, strategic planning, and more.
Earlier in October, members of ICS leadership hosted a three-day professional learning workshop at NEPS, covering topics on student-centered learning, number talks, the future of learning, anti-bullying, managing the learning environment, child protection, play-based learning, the essential PLC questions, creating ways of thinking, and transforming school culture. The event took place just in time to equip teachers with fresh ideas for implementing a student-centered approach to learning and classroom management techniques for the start of their academic school year.
The facilitators acknowledged that, as with any profession, teachers might have a little resistance to change. Why should we change the way we’ve been teaching for decades is the common mindset. However, research shows that when students collaborate with their peers, they authentically engage in learning and grow as individuals which is why there is a need to move away from the traditional learning model where the teacher is in front of the class lecturing and students sit in rows passively receiving information which does not foster engagement. Teachers should believe students are capable of learning in different ways and allow them to be involved in the process.
The workshop also looked at a different way of teaching and learning math in an innovative approach known as Number Talks. This approach to teaching math encourages students to develop computational fluency, sharing community strategies, illustrating multiple approaches, and making math more fun and participatory.
Another highlight of the workshop focused on the four essential questions of a PLC that must be asked and answered by both students and teachers in order to truly be an effective PLC. These four questions are: (1) What do we want students to learn? (2) How will we know if they have learned it? (3) How will we respond when students do not learn? (4) How do we respond when learning has already occurred? By reflecting on these four essential questions, the PLC process acknowledges that every student learns differently, and at different paces, and therefore ensures that teachers can offer additional support to students based on their varying individual needs. This is the concept of personalized learning which gives students the agency to direct and take accountability for their learning.
The workshop closed with a segment on what it takes to transform school culture through leadership. Essentially, transformational change cannot take place without transforming ourselves and leading by example.
According to some of the teachers from NEPS, the workshops and training are bringing a positive impact on the teaching and learning at their school. Teachers that participated in the workshops said they felt empowered. They were able to learn from their peers in a collaborative and supportive atmosphere. More so, the teachers learned effective tools to reach students across different learning spectrums.
“It is so helpful to get this kind of encouragement and support from ICS teachers who can share better and different approaches to teaching which we might not be used to as a culture.” - G1 teacher at NEPS
“As the liaison and coordinator of this partnership, it is such an exciting experience to see the impact and the progress we have made in the learning process. NEPS was one of the first schools in Ethiopia that we supported when COVID hit us two years ago. With the help of ICS, they managed to provide synchronous and asynchronous learning for their students.” - Seble, ICS Professional Learning Manager
Our partnership with NEPS and other local schools, along with the provision of staff training and sharing knowledge, is a reflection of our commitment to supporting regional education and is in line with our vision to be our best with Africa and our world.