I’ve been doing a little reflecting lately (possibly too much today). This week I have organised two lots of teacher observation visits, taking teachers from different schools to go and observe what I believe to be ‘model reading lessons’ in schools I have worked with. In theory, I should be quite excited about
this, but not so today. What’s different? Reflecting on why there is such a need slow_signfor me to take teachers to visit other clases in Gulu; and why implementation after workshops is so slow…

Why is it that I train teachers from central Uganda and when I return to see them, their teaching has drastically changed and they have taken so much of what I said on board? They don’t even have teaching manuals, just a couple of pages from my handouts. But here in the north, when I have done some follow-up visits I see little change. In one school in Gulu I observed a reading lesson which was straight out of my manual but the whole lesson was ‘rote learning style’, that wasn’t in the script!

Having some good ‘banter’ in the staffroom, one teacher tells me how much these infant teachers need training (in my head I am screaming: but they’ve had the training!)

I think of conversations with other volunteer workers recently, how workshops have turned into a means of getting whatever you can but that’s it. What you can get being a place to earn money and get a certificate, not a place to equip yourself with skills to improve your work environment or community.

Well there’s no money at my workshops, so teachers have missed out there (breaking the NGO trend there!).

Why is the jump from training to implementation so difficult here?

Is it because we have had countless workshops in this area from countless NGOs on countless topics?

Is it because follow-up seems to be a broken promise? Something we hear about but never quite happens?

Taking 6 teachers from 3 different schools to see the wonderful Teacher Catherine tomorrow morning. Am I paying for their transport? Nope! Schools – that’s on you! This is one bumpy journey, sorry Gulu, I am not on the ‘facilitation bandwagon’. Hopefully seeing Catherine in action tomorrow will be a source of inspiration for both me and these teachers and one small step to change.


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