Teacher Training - SEAL
SEAL – Improvement of Science and Life skills Education at Teacher Training Centres
The objective of the SEAL programme is to improve the applied teaching and learning methodology of graduate teachers from pre-service Teacher Training Centres (TTCs). It focuses on the learning fields of Science as well as Environmental and Agricultural life skills in basic education.
SEAL directly targets teacher trainers and teachers at practice schools affiliated with the selected TTCs. Through them we aim to gradually reach our indirect target groups. One group consists of student teachers – at provincial level for primary education and at regional level for lower secondary education. The other indirect target group are the pupils themselves who will be sitting in the classrooms of those future teachers.
In its pursuit towards its objective, SEAL enters into active partnerships with local Cambodian institutes on provincial, regional and policy level, as well as with other donors and agencies working within the educational sector.
How are we implementing SEAL?
To many of us the mention of science classes will undoubtedly bring to memory those funny experiments gone wrong or the fascination with strange but wondrous phenomena unfolding before our eager eyes. These are memories that textbooks can never convey with the same intensity as hands-on experiments. In the Science curriculum of secondary school, we focus on making education more relevant by introducing practical approaches to biology, earth science, chemistry and physics. Teacher trainers and trainees learn how to stimulate creative thinking and develop problem solving skills of students. They themselves acquire skills to apply learner-centred methodologies in both science and life skills education. Learning to perform low-cost experiments, organising field trips and outdoor activities, and developing teaching and learning materials are only a few examples of VVOB’s focus in the SEAL programme. These activities help them to teach the curriculum in a more attractive and active way.
“I like studying here at the teacher training centre. I enjoy the physics classes of Mr. Vanna the most. He explains new lesson topics by performing experiments and this helps us to understand difficult topics more easily. I already look forward to explaining this to my pupils during my practical training next month.”
19-year-old Hy Ratheany, second-year student at the Regional Teacher Training Centre of Kampong Cham
The SEAL Life Skills component provides practical opportunities for students on how to protect their environment and improve agricultural skills, for example through growing vegetables in a school garden and learn about Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This is very important in Cambodia since the use of pesticides and fertilisers is widespread and poses a serious threat to public health. Moreover, it depletes the soil leading to reduced agricultural activity. As Life skills are also part of the science curriculum, SEAL supports the teachers to link both topics during the lessons with issues such as air pollution, pesticides, protecting crops from pests and problem solving skills.
Technologies, such as science labs, ICT and multimedia, are considered important supporting tools for teacher training. For example, teacher trainers use simulation software to enhance deeper understanding of science. SEAL also launched a DVD box to support and illustrate lessons in methodology. In addition a web portal has been set up for sharing good practices and educational resources. SEAL focuses on user-friendly technologies that suit the local circumstances and context. Examples include videos, educational posters, flash animations, low-cost experiments, games and so on.
“When I introduced the Cornell Note Taking technique to my students, they paid more attention to my lessons and took more interest.”
20‐year‐old miss Rothna, physics and chemistry student teacher
The essence of SEAL in Cambodia is capacity building through technical assistance, both at institutional and individual level. This takes place in two stages. During the pilot stage innovative concepts in life skills and science teacher training are introduced and tested. Material outputs of this phase include training manuals, digital teaching materials, posters, lesson plans, micro-projects, school gardens and so on. These are reviewed for quality assurance by the central Teacher Training Department of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, before scaling up to other TTCs during the mainstreaming phase.
In its mainstreaming phase, the SEAL programme directly targets the science and life skills trainers at all Regional Teacher Training Institutes in Cambodia, where teachers for lower secondary education are trained. Furthermore, SEAL will involve all trainers who teach life skills topics at four Provincial Teacher Training Institutes, where teachers for primary school graduate. On RTTC level, the total of directly targeted teacher trainers is estimated at 100, while on PTTC level the total is 85.
When we expand this to our indirect target groups, the numbers increase dramatically:
Considering only the teachers who graduate in science subjects every year, the total newly trained teachers benefitting from the strengthened capacity is about 520 yearly for all 6 RTTCs. The number of pupils of lower secondary schools reached indirectly would then increase yearly with an estimated 75,000 pupils.
At PTTC level the figure is estimated at 750 student teachers who graduate yearly and potentially benefit from the strengthened capacity. The number of primary school pupils reached indirectly every year would increase with an estimated 37,000 pupils.