After a great night’s sleep in possibly the comfiest bed I have slept in and a tummy full of a lovely Khabula breakfast, we set off for a day of training.
Dale and Sharon went with Francis and headed off to meet the teachers and Michele and I headed with Charity to meet assistant headteachers and headteachers. Both sets of training today took place at rural schools that were hosting. As we drove a long way, I don’t think I was prepared for how rural the schools were.
During our drive we could see the long journey many people were making by foot, walking with purpose to start a day of work. As we pulled up to Ndirande training centre, we were greeted with a sea of smiles as many of the participants had already arrived at the school training centre before us, despite many walking a very long distance.
We met with the PEAs (who are similar to our QIOs) and were taken for a brief welcome meeting before beginning the training.
As I settled into the training and tried my best to slow down my Glaswegian accent, we spent the morning discussing the Malawia National Education Standards and what they look like for their teachers through learners’ experiences and effective teaching and learning.
There were lots of high quality group discussions around what leaders do in their schools to drive forward learning and teaching and what they believe are the key drivers. After a break, we then explored quality assurance in their schools and what observations look like in each of their settings.
It was great to hear the great practice going on in schools and inspiring to hear the positive impact they can see within their staff and schools and what goals they have moving forward. I really enjoyed engaging in professional dialogue during tasks and getting an insight into the reality of teaching in Malawi.
I knew class sizes were big in Malawi but I couldn’t believe I was being told that some schools have 1200 children over just 8 or 9 classes. It is inspiring to hear the great improvements schools are making, despite these barriers.
As we tied up the training and evaluations were gathered in, it was great to hear the participants telling us how useful they had found the session and this was echoed when reading the evaluations.Unfortunately, due to the timings, the children were on break when we finished, however it was lovely to be greeted by their smiling little faces as we left. I am hoping tomorrow I will have the chance to visit classes.
I have came away from today’s training feeling very humble that although I am aware of barriers that I experience, it is not comparable to many faced by the teachers and leaders in Malawi.
However, despite the many miles and differences between our countries, it is clear to see the passion and enthusiasm to improve learning and teaching is the core business we all share and why we all do what we do. I am looking forward to another insightful day tomorrow and excited to meet the next group of leaders for training.