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School-based Mentors support teachers to implement successfully the new competence-based curriculum

@UNICEF Rwanda/2016/Park
© @UNICEF Rwanda/2016/Park
Ezra is explaining about the session to the participating teachers in the reading room.

By Jung Yuen Park

August 2016, Nyarugenge district, Kigali City, Rwanda- Ezra Mugabe is School-based Mentor at the Kanyinya Child Friendly School (CFS) in Nyarugenge district. He has prepared a training session today for a group of primary teachers in the reading room. At Kanyinya CFS, there are 17 primary classes and 21 teachers. Another session will be organised for those teachers who were not able to attend this session. Teachers take turns to attend training sessions in the afternoon to take care of the afternoon shifts, and Ezra prepares training sessions accordingly.

To help teachers with the implementation of the new competency- based curriculum, Ezra prepares sessions on teaching methodology and English language. Today’s topic is on formative assessment and play-based learning approach. He introduces assessment tools such as ‘think time in pairs’ to see how children find solutions together. Another tool introduced is an exit card. Children submit an exit card at the end of the lesson with either questions or answers to the questions teachers have asked. This helps the teachers to assess children’s learning outcomes. 

After training sessions with teachers, Ezra takes steps to follow up on their learning. He visits classes to observe if teachers are applying what they learned. He also organises one-to-one sessions with teachers to assure that the session has been understood well and to resolve questions or challenges if any. He also prepares model lessons and tries to interact with children to be able to get feedback from children directly.

UNICEF Rwanda/2016/Park
© UNICEF Rwanda/2016/Park
Alex is explaining how to introduce letter sounds to children.

Alex Kilama is Reading Mentor at Kanyinya CFS. Today he is supporting Ezra with a phonetics lesson. He has prepared a playful game which can help children learn easily while having fun. “Let’s make our lessons interesting. For teaching a letter to children, we can either make a shape of the letter or use sound of a word which starts with that letter. For example, the letter ‘S’. We can use our hands to show a snake or make a sound. Then it is easy to remember how we pronounce it” explains Alex. After sharing how to pronounce the alphabets- S, T, I, P and N, he starts a game by pronouncing a letter and asking teachers to find the letter from the material available. Later, another game is introduced where the teachers pair up to link with pronunciation of other letters. Participating teachers enjoy playing these games forgetting for a moment that this was a training.

Onesphone Dusabimana is Primary-2 teacher who joined today’s session with six other teachers. He says “I learned a lot today with so much fun by playing games. I am satisfied to learn new tools for assessment and thankful to the mentors’ support. Phonetics is not easy for me, so will need more training sessions and more materials to share in the classes.”

“I thank our mentors for their support. These sessions are very much helpful. It would be great to have more such sessions with all the teachers so that we can share and learn together” says Valentine Uwamahoro who supports Primary 4, 5 and 6 classes.

Since 2012, UNICEF in collaboration with International Education Exchange, a local NGO, has been supporting the development of the government initiated National School-based Mentoring programme to improve language skills and instructional practices of teachers at schools. In addition, UNICEF supported mentors like Ezra to support other mentors to develop their capacities. In 2016 with the launch of the new competency-based curriculum, mentors played a crucial role in the implementation of the new curriculum through various trainings.



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