In February, DLA’s mobile teacher training pilot for the British Council moved into the deployment phase. Since shooting the videos in in Sherkole camp in January, both the English language training module and the teaching skills module have been loaded onto SD cards and sent out to be trialed by 150 teachers in three camps, who will insert the cards to their phones in order to follow courses that improve their teaching. DLA will observe how the videos fit into teachers’ lives as learning tools, and monitor for evidence of any impact on teaching outcomes.
Residents of the camps come mainly from Sudan, South Sudan, and the Congo. With 30 mother-tongue languages spoken by the one million refugees living in Ethiopia, English is crucial as the lingua franca for the vast majority of communication. From our research in September 2018, we found that teachers’ felt more confident, more trusted, and more effective when they improved their English skills. Focus groups and interview data showed that parents, students, and teachers themselves believed English skills were a crucial element of good teaching practice in this context.
Many of the teachers in the camps are volunteers and have never been taught English. The videos uses graphics titles to break the language lesson down into key, easily digestible concepts.
Led by Zeny, a local teacher trainer, the teacher audience is guided through real-life in-class footage and introduced to a new language and grammar point in each lesson.
The videos use text and audio for accessibility (many teachers will watch together on phones with poor speakers, in noisy settings). The syllabus also encourages habits like note taking and recaps of key points.
With 4,000 pupils and only 76 teachers, Sherkole exemplifies the resource constraints refugee schools face, and teachers’ lack of access to personal study support or guided lessons. The learning design emphasises peer-supported tasks that can align to daily school routine.
To find out more about DLA’s ongoing work in Ethiopia, read our January update here.