Successful teacher development that builds and sustains competencies at scale remains an elusive goal in many countries. Training provided by teachers’ colleges tends to be over theoretical and content-based, with too many subjects crammed into the period available and little time spent learning the actual practice of teaching.
In-service teacher training is largely remedial – attempting to bring teachers up to the standard they should already have reached during their initial training, rather than building new skills and continuing professional development. It also tends to be one off training provided by donors which is not sustainable or affordable in the long term.
We believe that it is necessary to focus on both pre-service and in-service training to achieve effective teacher development as well as tackling political and institutional issues such as raising the standards of initial entry into the profession, the status of teachers and the ongoing professional support they can access in their schools and localities.
We are helping to reform the shape of initial teacher training in Ghana and Nigeria to become much more practical and classroom based. In countries such as Tanzania and Nigeria we have helped build models for in-service training that are school-based, affordable, sustainable and provide continuous professional development. In Bangladesh, we have developed training modules that are disseminated through mobile phones.