A major challenge at all colleges of education in Zambia is the low number of lecturers with early childhood education (ECE) experience or training. As a result, a common understanding of quality ECE is not yet well established. From the earliest grades, teachers focus too little on comprehension and analytical skills, resulting in pupils not mastering basic skills in the early grades and dropping out without being able to read or write.
Because lecturers are not clear on what elements are key for a good ECE lesson, mentors for ECE student teachers are not yet established in most schools. Student teachers find themselves receiving very little guidance from their schools during their teaching practice. Moreover, the teaching practice schools where they are posted are not able to adequately support them either; teachers and school leaders are ill-prepared and ill-equipped to receive student teachers, nor do they have the knowledge and skills to be their mentor.
Lecturers, school leaders and teachers of practice school provide quality mentorship support to students during their teaching practice.
- Ministry of General Education (MoGE), Directorates of :
- Early Childhood Education
- Teacher Education and Specialised Services
- Standards and Curriculum
- Examinations Council of Zambia
- Teacher Education Department of Central Province
- Malcolm Moffat College of Education
- Kitwe College of Education
- 25 teaching practice schools
- The ELMA Foundation
This project builds on the previous project supported by the ELMA Foundation (Effective teaching practice for Zambia's youngest, 2015-2016). The importance of coaching and quality of teaching practice as a fundamental opportunity for learning for student teachers, is the most crucial lesson learnt.
Ensuring that teachers have the competences and motivation to perform well is key to guaranteeing educational quality and equity. Mentoring has proven to be an essential component of quality teacher education, yet it has largely been neglected in pre-service teacher training in Zambia. Therefore, this project focuses on improving mentoring of student teachers during their teaching practice.
The project is built around three pillars:
- Strengthening local MoGE staff (district resource centre coordinators and zonal in-service coordinators) to train and support school leaders and teachers of teaching practice schools on mentorship.
- Ensuring lecturers and mentors of student teachers use the instruments and tools developed on quality teaching practice.
- Increasing the number of student teachers that receive quality guidance during their teaching practice.
By the end of the project:
The Colleges of Education and the Ministry of General Education (MoGE):
- refined and tested the mentorship instruments and tools, all the while making them appropriate for the early years of primary education too
- finalised the mentorship instruments and tools for printing and distribution to all Colleges of Education offering training in ECE and primary education.
- developed a mentorship programme for INSET professional development structures
- trained lecturers of Moffat College of Education and district resource centre coordinators (DRCC) on mentorship and the use of the mentorship instruments and tools. The DRCCs in turn train the coordinators of 25 teaching practice schools on the matter.
Malcolm Moffat College of Education:
- train teaching practice schools on mentorship for quality ECE and early primary grades
- monitor effectiveness of mentorship in the 25 teaching practice schools.
For the duration of the project, VVOB, MoGE and the Colleges of Education document the lessons learnt by INSET professional development structures on mentorship, and disseminate experiences through exchanges with stakeholders, other colleges of education and other teaching practice schools.
To reach its goals, VVOB Zambia develops the capacity of its education partners. VVOB relies on capacity development trajectories that give partners maximal responsibility in the execution and management of their own change processes. This is done through technical assistance provided by the VVOB Zambia team, which included both local and international educational and change management experts.