Below is Changemaker Joyce Elemson's report when she went to Nigeria to deliver her Continuing Professional Development Programme to Nigerian teachers:
"The anticipated CPD project has finally taken place during a period of two weeks and came to an end on Friday 24th July. The project was delivered to 342 teachers across 4 states: Lagos, Abuja (FCT), Kaduna and Ogun in 8 schools in Nigeria. Two of the schools, Kings College, Lagos and Trinity International College, Ofada, Ogun requested 2 modules each which were delivered over two days. It was a very rewarding, satisfying and fulfilling experience to train teachers on new teaching practices, methodologies, innovations and most importantly to raise awareness on the latest educational and international developments from around the world. Due to scheduled activities and other important end of academic year events, 4 schools were unable to hold a full CPD session, though short presentations were offered with a question and answer session in preparation for a full session sometime in the nearest future.
In preparation, a thousand units of resources were printed; and some laminated to be issued to teachers with powerpoint presentations displayed on a projector. It is important to note that schools, both private and government can now boast of a fully kitted and operational computer room powered by an solar system, an inverter or a generator. Some schools had broadband boxes to facilitate free flow connectivity.
The CPD sessions would have been well communicated to teachers who anticipated additional innovations to their current practices. The first session took place in Kings College, Lagos, a missionary pioneer school for boys established in 1909 by the Christian Missionary Service (CMS). About forty teachers were trained in Modern Pedagogical Strategies and the next day saw the delivery of Improving Mathematics Pedagogy which provided the opportunity to identify challenging Mathematics topics within the Nigerian curriculum and also showcased the teaching of Mathematics according to different learning styles. Web based resources with accompanying navigational techniques were displayed to be concluded by registrations on a specialist web site in order to generate and upload individual teacher resources that can be remotely accessed by students to boost independent learning in Mathematics, an aspect of blended learning. My next visit saw me in Abuja and onward to Kaduna on the outskirt city of Jaji in a military school headed by a lady commandant. Seventy four teachers were seated and happily welcomed me. It's interesting that though a Northern city, Kaduna is a cosmopolitan city, a feature arising from the fact it was the capital of the old Northern Nigeria region. Teachers were very participative, engaging and receptive of new standards, policies and technicalities in the delivered module of Incorporating Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity; its major outcome being to improve teaching practice through embracing diversity to enrich the learners' learning experience. The feedback form filled by every teacher strongly evidences positive commendations and a pledge to put all newly acquired skills into practice. Late afternoon, a 3 hour drive in an air-conditioned taxi took me to a much desired destination, Kafanchan, Fantsuam Foundation headquarters. John Dada had arranged a brief meeting with a local headmaster to facilitate a CPD session the next day, in addition to visiting some schools to raise CPD awareness. Several teachers were in attendance the next day to take notes and pose questions on their expectations of CPD. A full session will take place in the nearest future for those teachers who were unable to participate this year. A drive around the outskirts of Kafanchan, approximately 20 kilometres, brought us to a school within the beautiful and majestic hills of Kagoro, en route Jos, the highest elevation in Nigeria.
All subsequent sessions took place in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states with very engaging teachers, so much so that at a certain school, some teachers persuaded the vice principal to move the session from the main hall to the small Physics laboratory where wifi reception was significantly better. This was to facilitate access and uploads to an interactive web site for online learning to be made available to students. The vice principal attended the two requested sessions which prompted valid and strong positive remarks about the relevance of the sessions. The school is very interested in a full contract to award CPD provision to its teachers.
In view of the above report, some challenges and serious weaknesses still exist in the educational system and in fact the execution of the CPD project. In one particular school, management showed complete disinterest that is rather very disturbing and hopefully quelled by the teachers' positive report. The lack of continuity in CPD provision hampers the opportunity to discuss the impact of previous year's sessions on their subsequent practice. The time of the year, dedicated to marking exam scripts, events, valedictory services and graduation ceremonies may have been responsible for the discontinuity. As discussed in previous posts, the objective to expand the project into other West African cities was not achieved because of poor contacts and cost implications. Travelling costs in Abuja, Kaduna and Kafanchan were part funded by friends of FF while those in other parts were self funded. To a large extent, many school heads are not in a position to incorporate CPD into their academic calendars as strongly advised because of protocols, however they are able to make one-off decisions under the guise of a seminar, a more acceptable terminology among Nigerian Education chiefs.
Two schools had to cancel because 2 days in appreciation of the Ramadan Eid celebrations were declared public holidays, Rescheduling their session may mean that I have to return before the year ends and accord them priority. Since then there have been enthusiastic enquiries about CPD provision.
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Changemaker: Joyce Elemson Information Agent: Nikki Fishman