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Thinking mathematics + reading for comprehension = effective education

UNICEF and partners kick off teacher professional development programme to improve student leaning outcomes in mathematics and literacy

SKOPJE, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, 14 March, 2009

During this week, 55 mathematics teachers participated in the first round of training for mentor teachers.  The mentor training is part of a teacher professional development programme to improve mathematics and literacy instruction, supported by UNICEF, the Ministry of Education and Science and Bureau for the Development of Education.  It was developed following a detailed analysis of grade 1-3 curricular to identify why students have under performed in international tests in math and literacy. 

“Research has revealed that in countries with low learning outcomes in math, the emphasis in the classroom is all too often on acquiring basic knowledge through memorization rather then through developing critical thinking skills,”  said UNICEF Representative, Sheldon Yett.   “Unfortunately, too much time is spent on teaching students what to think and too little on how to think.  Increasing students’ learning outcomes requires that teachers make a shift in their teaching methods.” 

The teacher development programme includes training in “Thinking Mathematics for the Early Grades” and “Teaching Reading for Comprehension and Writing in the Early Grades.” It recognises that all children have a right to a quality education, and acknowledges the role of the teacher as the single most important factor in creating learning opportunities. 

This first round of training focuses specifically on mathematics instruction. Similar trainings on early grade literacy for future mentor teachers will be held in May, June and August 2009.  Fifteen members of the Bureau for the Development of Education also attended the trainings to strengthen their capacity to support early grade teachers across the country. Mentor teachers will rollout the programme and act as mentors for other teachers of Grades 1 to 3 throughout the country during the 2009/2010 school year.

The teacher professional development programme is part of the broader Child-Friendly Schools (CFS) initiative supported by UNICEF.  The CFS initiative is an approach to education reform from the child rights perspective.  It consists of six dimensions: inclusiveness, effective, gender-responsive, healthy, safe, and protective environment for both girls and boys; offer opportunities for democratic participation by children, teachers, parents, and community members; and respect children’s rights and multiculturalism. Together with Life Skills Based Education introduced in 2008, the teacher development programme for literacy and numeracy are programmes designed to help schools meet CFS standards in “effectiveness”. For more information on Child Friendly School Standards download Child Friendly School Situation Analysis.

For additional information please contact:

Suzie Pappas Capovska
Communications Officer
Tel: (02) 3231-150



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