Professional Development of Teachers: Developing Teachers’ Capacities to Improve Learning Outcomes
“We no longer buy teaching and learning materials. Now we develop them locally and this has increased the number and diversity of materials we have in our school. We also involve parents in material development.”
-Raud Dal, Lamu Pre-School Teacher
EMACK is a 5 year project initiated by the Kenya Ministry of Education (MoE) with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented in partnership with the Aga Khan Foundation.
The project which began in 2007 works with approximately 382,663 children enrolled in 808 target schools from 13districts in Coast Province and 11districts in the North Eastern Province.
The overall goal of EMACK is to ensure equitable access to quality basic education for marginalized children in the Coast and North Eastern Provinces of Kenya and contributes to USAID Strategic Objective 8: “Equitable access to quality basic education.”
Helping impoverished and marginalized parents and communities to provide a positive and early start for their children is a major concern of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). Through Education for Marginalized Children in Kenya (EMACK), communities are more involved in supporting the efforts of the Government in improving the quality of education, learning environments and governance in public schools.
Primary school teachers are integral forces in determining the success of Free Primary Education in Kenya, and through their professional capacity set the standard of quality at which education will be delivered. In recognition of their fundamental role, the Ministry of Education's (MoE) Kenya Education Sector Support Programme (KESSP) stated that, "the success of the Free Primary Education initiative of 2003 will largely depend on having a well trained, well educated, and highly motivated teaching force". In support of the importance of investing in the professional
development of primary school teachers, EMACK conducted a baseline survey in 2007 to determine exactly in which areas teachers required support.
The survey revealed that teachers were lacking training in large class management, specialized training in individual subject areas, active learning, guidance and counseling, and preparation of teaching and learning materials. The teachers also indicated that they required training on how to engender increased parental
participation in the management of schools. Subsequently EMACK developed a Teacher Development component to its programming which has been designed to meet the identified needs of the teachers and to enhance their effectiveness in
improving the learning outcomes of their pupils.
The overall objective of EMACK's Teacher Development initiative is to strengthen teachers' teaching skills, practices and competencies, particularly in terms of their ability to work with students from marginalized populations, e.g. pastoralists, orphans and vulnerable children, and girls.
Active Learning and the Development and Use of Low Cost Learning Materials
Teachers are trained on the milestones of children’s development and the
ways in which children learn. This encourages the understanding that learning should be an active process, i.e. children are participants not observers.
Through the training, teachers explore the key concepts, principles, basic assumptions approaches, planning and material development necessary for
providing pupils with an active learning environment. Teachers also observe and experience the process of active learning while they reflect upon their own classroom practices. By the end of the five-days training workshop each teacher will have prepared a starter kit that they can use to initiate active learning in their
To ensure that active learning is supported by the use of quality learning materials, teachers are also taught how to create and use locally available and
low cost inputs as their teaching resources.
Enhancing Early Grade Reading and Assessment
The ability to read and understand simple text is a fundamental skill learnt at the primary level and is enhanced by childrens' ability to begin reading early and to maintain a sufficient rate of comprehension as they progress through school. To accelerate children’s level of reading and comprehension in standard 1 and 2, EMACK has developed a teacher’s lesson guide on how to use a phonetic approach to teaching early grade reading. These early grade reading lessons have been piloted in 20 schools in Malindi District of Coast Province with technical support from the Research Triangle International Institute (RTI).
School-Based Teacher Peer-Mentoring
To enhance the lessons provided through teacher trainings and workshops, EMACK has established a peer-mentoring programme so that teacher development can be a continuous process, whereby teachers can find support and guidance amongst their peers and within their own school community. In partnerships with Kenya School
Improvement Project (KENSIP), EMACK has trained selected Key Resource Teachers (KRTs) as trainers in school-based teacher peer-mentoring. The KRTS now serve as mentors at the school level. Together the mentor and mentee plan lessons, develop teaching materials, observe and assist each other in improving their capacities and delivering quality education in their classrooms.
Addressing the Needs of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC)
In 2003, it was estimated that 11% of all Kenyan children under 15 years of age
were orphans, compared with 9% in 1998. In recognition that OVCs face many unique challenges, the Government of Kenya has developed various guidelines and frameworks to address their plight. In partnership with the Catholic Relief Services, education officials and teachers are trained on how to work with OVCs at the school level and how to provide psycho-social support.
Outcomes and Achievements
• Over 1,500 teachers trained on active learning, development of teaching
and learning resources, and working with children with special needs
• As a result of school-based teacher mentoring, classroom teachers have
developed the confidence to utilize techniques that enhance curriculum
delivery and achieve higher learning outcomes.
For Further Information:
ICEA Building (8th Floor)
P.O. Box 40898
Tel: +254 20 2223 951
Fax: +254 20 2213 109