Sierra Leone “Emerging Issues” Teacher Training Programme


© Ronja Hoelzer
Sierra Leone.

Education for peace, citizenship, life skills, disaster management and other emerging issues

In 2008, UNICEF, together with the Sierra Leone Ministry of Education and the national Teacher Training institutions, developed the “Emerging Issues” Teacher Training Programme.

A working group of teacher trainers decided what issues should be included in the core teacher training curriculum in response to the situation of the country at that time. The topics chosen mainly required a behaviour change approach. Typical of post-conflict countries, teachers and students need to learn to change their behaviour to enable them to cope with the new situations in effort to create a better future.

Behaviour change topics require a teaching and learning methodology beyond the traditional lecture approach used in many developing countries. Part of the “Emerging Issues” course was focussed on helping teachers develop a more interactive approach. This was an effective way to introduce new teaching methods, alongside existing teacher training courses.

The content of the “Emerging Issues” course includes Human Rights, Citizenship, Peace, Environment, Reproductive Health, Drug Abuse, Gender Equity and Disaster Management. The working group felt that methodology topics (Education Theory, Classroom Management, Teachers as Agents of Change) were vital for the teacher trainees as well.

The materials developed comprise a required course unit for each year of the three year full time pre-service teacher training course. A second version comprises a three-year distance education course (essentially a correspondence course) for teachers who are currently teaching but who require an upgrade. Another version was used for a three week intensive in-service training.

This course material can be adapted to other settings through creation of similar working groups of teacher trainers and other educators, and holding an editing workshop to relate the material to the country concerned. It should be noted that the materials should be sequenced in a way that progressively builds understanding and skills.

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