articles, opinions, and research about teaching and learning

Teachers Talking Forum

Day-after-day, majority world educators achieve great things with their students, communities and colleagues. Wouldn't it be great to hear their stories? We think so. That's why the Teachers Talking Forum features stories from educators like you.

Even if you feel your situation isn't anything special, each of us know things that would be new ideas or activities for others. We invite you to tell us your story so we can share it with others.

We post and archive these interviews from 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. The main UNICEF Web site also archives many interesting articles. We've listed some below that you might find interesting.

Interviews from 2004

May - "Teaching to Give in Mexico"
Mtra. Sandra Baur de Rivero Borrell discusses how involvement of the students (and parents) in community service, Model United Nations and videoconferencing help broaden their perspectives, foster multicultural understanding and teach them to give to those who have less.

March - "School is all about Kids at St. Lawrence School in New Jersey"
Ms. Lynn Domenico and Ms. Mary Ellen Schwarzwalder talk about their collaboration with GEM USA and about the challenges that they face and lessons they have learnt through the many years as educationists working in what is classified as a "poverty" school in the United States of America. Their experience demonstrates that with vision, creativity and commitment, one is able to transform a school plagued by social unrest and discontentment to a place of continuous learning, peace and joy.

February - "Bringing the World into the Classroom"
Wayne Jacoby, a co-founder and president of Global Education Motivators, communicates the message that barriers to world peace may be broken down, and social responsibility and respect between young people of diverse races and cultures can be promoted through the utilisation of modern communication technology. Teachers are integral to this process of change.

Interviews from 2003

December - "Creative Approach to Peace-Building: The Case of Aceh"
Dr. Asna Husin, who holds a Ph.D. in Religion from Columbia University and a M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University, talks about efforts to build peace in Aceh through a school-based, child friendly, initiative. She is the Programme Director of the UNICEF and Non-Violence International supported Peace Education Programme.

November - "Young People Making the Difference: GEM Advancing Girls' Education in Uganda"
Lucy Lisulo, Interviews six young people working within the Girls Education Movement (GEM) in Uganda. All those interviewed and the interviewer are young people under the age of 25. As GEM activitists, they have been key actors in shaping the GEM concept, contributing to its successful launch in 2001 and mobilizing other young people both in and out of Uganda since then to join the movement.

October - "Opening Doors for Girls in Balochistan Province of Pakistan"
Mrs. Fazila Aliani, former provincial minister for Health, Education and Social Welfare, is also a women's rights activist, social worker, politician, educationist and lawyer. She talks about her experiences and contributions as a female teacher/ education/ political activist in an area where girls are largely excluded from education.

April - "Improving Girls Education through a Multi-Pronged Approach in Eritrea"
Halima Mohammed Mahmud completed her primary and middle school at Zero School, run by the Eritrean PeoplesŐ Liberation Front (EPLF) in the late seventies. She is one of three female teacher trainers at the Asmara Teachers' Training Institute (ATTI). She discusses the most effective strategies she's found to improve girls' education.

March - "Making Progress on Girls Education in Malawi"
Ms Judith Kamanga is a teacher with a difference. She has survived in a teaching profession where most of the head-teachers are male. At 50 years of age, she has been a teacher since October 1975. Ms. Kamanga taught in urban and rural primary schools up to year 2000 when she became the head-teacher of Mphungu Primary School. In this interview she relates her experiences promoting girls' education.

February - "Girl-Child Education in Ghana"
A series of Interviews - The celebration of Ghana's Girl-Child Education Week reiterated the point that the community's development is incomplete without the education of girls. The week was also a time to reflect on the gains of implemented projects, adopted policies and conceptualised strategies revolving around Girl Learning and Education.

January - "Not Accepting that Girls Should Feel Inferior in Senegal"
Thierno Oumar Hane is director of the Seydou Nourou Tall Elementary School, located in a suburban milieu. He works to open the school to the community, remove registration obstacles, and keep girls in school. In a region that has a reputation for being conservative, the imbalance between girls and boys is being reduced, and the community takes an active part in the activities of the educational establishment.

Interviews from 2002

December - "Expanding Educational Opportunities for Girls in Zimbabwe"
Angelina Lunga is 36 years old and has been in the teaching profession since 1988. She was promoted in 1997 to the position of head teacher of Simbo Secondary School, a remote rural secondary school in the Nkayi District of Matabeleland North Province of Zimbabwe. Angelina Lunga has worked with CAMFED for the past 5 years to expand educational opportunities for girls and the problems faced by impoverished families.

November - "Supporting Girl Students in East Timor"
Filomena Capeda is a headteacher at Farol Primary School, Dili. She shares her experiences of participating in the re-establishment of schools after the 1999 emergency. As the first country to become independent in the twenty first century -- after 450 years of Portuguese rule and 24 years under Indonesian administration (1975 - 1999) -- the people and children of East Timor understand that a peaceful future is more likely with an educated and skilled population. Filomena Capeda suggests specific strategies for supporting girl students in this new democracy.

October - "Early Marriage and Girls' Education in Ethiopia"
Tenagnework Anegagre, a third grade teacher at Shum Sheha Primary School in Ethiopia, describes how the age-old tradition of early marriage prevents girls from continuing their schooling. High adult illiteracy rates, with only one in four adults in rural areas able to read and write, contribute to perpetuating the limited awareness of community members to the importance of girls' education. As a result, the majority of girls in Ethiopia are deprived of their basic right to education.

March - Putting a Face and a Memory to Each Student’s Name in the Philippines
Mrs. Erlinda J. Valdez, principal or Francisco Benitez Elementary School, describes how the initiation of a Student Tracking System allows her staff to provide a more child-friendly school. The STS is one strategy that helps schools seek out and assist unreached, at-risk and faltering children. It is being piloted in 12 of more than 300 pilot child-friendly schools in the country.

February - Ensuring Quality Education for Girls
Dr Mary Pigozzi is currently Senior Education Advisor in charge of the Girls' Education programme in UNICEF and co-chair of the UN Girls Education Initiative. She is about to take up a new position heading the Division of Quality in UNESCO Paris. She shared what she would say to teachers about Girls' Education.

January - Special Education & the Performing Arts in Colombo, Sri Lanka
In this interview, primary education teacher W Mallika Priyanthi recounts how she used aesthetic activities (especially songs, drama and music) to help a child who could not talk at all, to speak. In accord with the 1998 Educational Reform in Sri Lanka, Ms Priyanthi employed a comprehensive, child-friendly approach to achieve this goal.

Interviews from 2001

December - Helping Pregnant Girls Re-Enter Education in Zambia
Agnes Mumba Imonda is a very special teacher. Although only 29 years of age, the work she does shows wisdom beyond her years. Mrs Mumba has been a primary and secondary school teacher and has a Bachelor of Arts with education. Her main concern is ensuring continuing learning opportunities for girls, especially those who have dropped out of school because of pregnancy. She also works to ensure that young girls who are pregnant do not suffer discrimination.

November - The CHILD Project in Thailand
George A. Attig writes: "CHILD stands for "Children's Integrated Learning and Development," a project that actually started in 1996. We concentrated on helping primary schools to organize a wide range of data about their children into what we call a "school management information system" or SMIS for child learning. The system also helps to build firmer partnerships between teachers, families and community members. In order to help their children, they must work together to identify, plan and undertake effective school-family and community-based interventions to alleviate, and ideally eliminate, the causes of absenteeism, dropout and poor child learning, thus creating a more child-friendly learning environment."

October - Life as a School Inspector in Western Tanzania
Ms. Cassilde Bacanamwo is an education inspector at the Lukole Refugee camp. Education work with children began at the camp in 1994. By April 2001 the camp comprised 13 primary schools with over 24,000 students and 305 staff. Six of these staff members are Inspectors, called on to collaborate with teachers and principals to ensure school regulations are carried out, curriculum programmes are followed, teaching methods applied and adequate supplies are provided. Inspectors' tasks are threefold and involve teaching, administration and examinations development and analysis."

September - "Learning with Joy:" hygiene education in Lao PDR
Ms. Bounnem Nouansalon recently attended the Primary School Sanitation Program (PSSP) in Laos. She discusses how the "Learning with Joy" kit uses games and stories to facilitate participatory learning in subjects such as hand-washing, personal hygiene, environmental sanitation and the use of clean water and latrines for better health.

August - Teaching Children as Community Researchers
Anyone who doubts the capacity of children to conduct research should look through the window of the little, two classroom, school in Westminster West, Vermont in the U.S.A. Claire Oglesby knows that children learn best when they are interested. After 30 years of teaching, she still enthusiastically shares in her students' excitement as they discover answers to genuine questions. This interview is a companion to the section Children as Community Researchers.

July - Part 2: Integrated Primary Education Initiatives in Madhya Pradesh, India,
Four teachers, participating in the Abhudaya Project in Bhopal, India, share their viewpoints on how this initiative has changed their teaching, schools, and communities. This supplements Part 1 which was an overview of the Abhudaya Project.

June - Integrated Primary Education Initiatives in Madhya Pradesh, India
Rajesh Tiwari, Abhudaya Project Coordinator, discusses this coordinated effort of the Government of Madhya Pradesh supported by UNICEF, Bhopal, to bring about a qualitative change in education in Government schools in the State Capital of Bhopal.

May - Educating Street-based Children in Kigali, Rwanda
Innocent Hamnigisha and Papias Rutazigwa discuss their experiences teaching at the Tubakunde Centre in Kigali, Rwanda, where over 200 street-based children are provided basic education, professional training, health care and recreational activities.

April - Addressing Children's Needs in Pristina, Kosovo
Greta Kacinari is the director of Elena Gjika, a UNICEF Pilot School in Pristina, Kosovo. It is one of the few schools to accommodate mixed nationalities. Of its 1,304 students, most are Kosovar Albanian, some are Turkish. It also caters for a number of deaf children. Mrs Kacinari has seen the school through many changes. Her imaginative approaches to teaching make this a vibrant school.

March - Multiple Ways of Teaching and Learning in Bangladesh
Shikha Chanda teaches at the Kanchijhuli government primary school of Mymenshingh district, Bangladesh. She has taught there for a number of years but nowadays her classroom is packed with little smiling faces gazing at her in anticipation of the day’s lesson. She attributes this change to her use of a Multiple Intelligences and active learning approach.

February - Voices from Tanzania: Teachers in Focus
Four Teachers share their experiences working in COBET centres (Complementary Basic Education in Tanzania). These centres work to provide basic education and Life Skills to children who have left the formal school system for a variety of reasons. The training these teachers receive puts emphasis on actively involving learners and creating an environment conducive to learning.

January - Working to Improve Teaching in Yambio, south Sudan
Eunice Frances Kutiote and Isaac Jacob Aboroyo provide two separate interviews that highlight their experiences working to improve teaching and learning through professional development. Although the difficulties they face are great, these educators are committed to helping students and peers improve themselves.

Interviews from 2000

Focusing on Student Success in Shanghai
Liu Jinghai is a middle school principal at the Zhabei No 8 School, Shanghai, P R China. He believes every student can attain some measure of success, and manages his school in order to achieve that aim.

Getting Started with Computers in Antique, the Philippines
Jazmin Josue works in a school with 99 students in a remote area of the provincial island of Antique, in the Philippines. Mrs. Josue describes how they are using a newly received computer.

An Interview with Mary Futrell
Mary Futrell is the president of Education International. She also serves as the dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at The George Washington University. She discusses issues of importance to teachers in developing countries.

Teaching at a Remote Kazakh School in Mongolia
Oyunsaihan Dendevnorov (Project Officer - Education, UNICEF Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) interviewed Ayzbai Nurjamal, a Kazakh and teacher of 23 years at the 8-year school of Bugat sum in Bayan-Ulgi province in western Mongolia. Ayzbai shares her efforts to promote a child-friendly learning environment while facing challenges imposed by culture and location.

Multiple Intelligences in Pakistan
Urdu and social studies teacher Ms. Fatma Ghulam is interviewed regarding her experiences using a Multiple Intelligences framework to guide her classroom activities. She discusses her introduction to the approach and how it has changed the way she prepares her lessons. A background article on Mutliple Intelligences was also prepared by interviewer Staneala M. Beckley, Chief of the Education Section, UNICEF Pakistan Country Office.

Using the Life Skills Approach in Armenia
Sona Karapetyan has compiled evaluation feedback from teachers who have begun using the Life Skills approach in Armenia. Teacher experiences, student achievement, and parental response are discussed. Read these first-hand accounts from teachers who have reflected upon -- and changed -- their classroom methods.

Changing Classrooms - Changing Attitudes
Ray Harris interviews Sabina Seesurrun, a primary school teacher at Petit Raffrey Government School, Mauritius. Ms. Seesurrun is involved in the Education for Development programme's 'changing classrooms-changing attitudes' project. Ms. Seesurrun discusses how involvement in this child-friendly approach to teaching and learning has changed her practice.

Revisiting "Education for All"
Over 1000 people from most of the countries in the world met in Dakar, Senegal to reaffirm the Education for All commitment made at Jomtien, Thailand in 1990, to review what progress has been made since then and to renew commitments for the future. Mr. Sheldon Shaeffer, chief of the Education Section of UNICEF New York, shares his thoughts on this 10th anniversary of Jomtien.

"Teaching Visually Impaired Students in Poland"
an interview with Boguslaw "Bob" Marek, an English as a Second Language instructor at the Catholic University of Lublin, Poland. Mr. Marek shares insights gained from his extensive experience and through running a resource centre for visually impaired university students.

"Including Children with Disabilities" a report from TFYR Macedonia
an interview with educator Katica Dukovska Muratovska, a teacher at primary school Dimo Hadzi Dimov, one of the largest schools in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The interview was conducted and prepared by Milka Ivanovska.

Interviews from 1999

Active Assessment in the Philippines #1
an interview with educator Marissa J. Pascual, a Grade 6 Language Teacher at the Community of Learners School for Children in the Philippines. Conducted by Feny de los Angeles-Bautista.

Active Assessment in the Philippines #2
an interview with Marj Javier, Maths and Science Coordinator at the Community of Learners School for Children in the Philippines. Conducted by Feny de los Angeles-Bautista.

Supporting Teacher Development in Thailand
an interview with Mantariga Witoonchat, the headmistress of a private school in Thailand. She discusses strategies and benefits to a learning-centred staff development programme. Conducted by Supaporn Tharincharoen.

Life Skills Teaching Experience in Vietnam #1
an interview with Mrs. Trinh Thuy Nga of the Cao Xanh Primary school in suburban Ha long city, Quang Ninh province. Conducted by Dr. Phan Thi Le Mai.

Life Skills Teaching Experience in Vietnam #2
an interview with Mrs. Mai Bich Nga of the Hong Hai lower secondary school in suburban Ha long city, Quang Ninh province. Conducted by Dr. Phan Thi Le Mai.

Education Articles from UNICEF

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Last revised May 18, 2004
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