Several issues contribute to the poor learning outcomes in primary school pupils. Poor teacher motivation, lack of teaching materials and learning aids, poor infrastructure, large classroom sizes, poor teaching techniques, lack of continuing professional training for teachers etc. to mention a few. As a response, the Teacher Development Programme (TDP) has continued to work with state actors to proffer initiatives to address some of these issues.
For instance, given the technical support to teachers in the form of training and capacity building, teachers are now able to improvise using materials in their immediate environment to demonstrate and teach students. The programme has also supported Colleges of Education to enhance the capacity of teacher educators through the Continuing Professional Development Course (CPDC). Through the CPDC programme, teacher educators are now enhancing their teaching techniques and becoming more facilitators than lecturers.
‘It has helped me facilitate learning, rather than handing out knowledge’, says Dr David Onu, Director of Quality Assurance and Lecturer at the FCE Zaria.
Zamfara offered us some opportunity to see how the CPDC intervention is slowly, but gradually being entrenched into the teacher education and basic education systems in the state. Zamfara State College of Education (COE) Maru is now in the third cohort of the CPDC programme, where teacher educators are undergoing a reskilling programme, to train themselves in modern techniques of teaching. CoE Maru has made good progress with the programme, and as such, have graduated many CPDC participants, some of whom have become Facilitators, further deepening the training process in the school and ensuring that all its Lecturers benefit. CoE Maru have also taken it a step further by incorporating the CPDC as part of its teacher training process.
This approach is gradually gaining ground as teacher educators and student teachers seem to be enjoying a new lease of life imparting knowledge. We witnessed teacher educators like Hadisu Abdullahi, who has made teaching look easy by applying the content from the CPDC training in his Science class. Teacher Educators like Hadisu taught Abdul Gafar, a student of COE Maru on teaching practice at Model Primary School Jabaka, in Maru LGA. The biggest benefit can be seen in student teachers like Abdul who are now in primary school classrooms across Zamfara state, demonstrating how the shift in teaching & learning is happening. ‘I cannot talk at them now. They taught us to make them a part of the process in solving the problems. Like now, I am teaching maths, so I will go round and make sure they are following then I ask them to come and solve it. It is not easy but it is working and I am enjoying my work’, says Abdul, who was teaching Mathematics to primary six pupils.
We also witnessed this gradual transition in FCE Gusau where teachers and students are happy about this progress in shifting from a previous teacher-centred approach, to a learner- centred approach, were the teacher is more of a facilitator and the pupil is more involved. This is how we are supporting state actors to create thinking students who can analyse and solve problems.