EU-FUNDED ROLLOUT OF TEACHER MENTORSHIP PROGRAM ABOUT TO KICK OFF

Posted By: Michael Kamara ⇒  Posted Date: 10/27/2019

EU-FUNDED ROLLOUT OF TEACHER MENTORSHIP PROGRAM ABOUT TO KICK OFF

The Teaching Service Commission has collaborated with the EU and the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE), to roll out a mentorship program for pre-service teachers. Mentors from 100 primary schools in each of four target districts - Port Loko, Bo, Bombali and Kenema -have been identified to receive technical support that will improve their capacity to provide school-based teacher education to pre-service teachers. In the past, students at teacher training institutions have not had much exposure to actual teaching experience as part of their education. Instead, they have acquired important formative experiences while on the job. The mentorship programme will now provide new teachers with numerous and significant opportunities to learn in a qualified primary school setting.

A total of 840 participants including mentors and principals of schools from the target districts will benefit from training based on a Facilitator's Guide and a Manual for Teacher Mentors, that was developed in previous workshops.

In February 2019 a course for mentors was piloted in four teacher education institutions - Port Loko Teacher's College, Northern Polytechnic, Eastern Polytechnic, and Njala University-involving a total of 120 primary school teachers and head teachers. Participants were drawn from the four target districts as well as observers from the Western region Teacher Training colleges and school-based teachers. Here, participants had an opportunity to plan for the full implementation of the mentorship programme in March 2019. At the end of February 2019, a debriefing workshop was held to collect information and feedback from facilitator experiences in the pilot courses. They shared successful strategies and ideas and further revised the Facilitators' Guide and Mentor Manual.

During the proposed mentorship training, the 840 participants will be exposed to various subject areas such as :

  1. The professional and personal characteristics of effective mentors,
  2. The roles and responsibilities of mentors.
  3. They will be provided with pre-service teacher learning activities skills appropriate to their developmental stage; and
  4. Ensured that they are successful pre-service teachers in each stage of their development 

On completion of the training programmes, teacher training institutions will all receive a list of schools where there is a certified mentor. They will then be able to assign one pre-service teacher to each mentor. Throughout the duration of the mentorship programme, pre-service teachers will be required to assume the roles of a qualified class teacher under the guidance and supervision of his/her mentor. The supervisors of the teacher training institutions will collaborate with mentors in planning strategies to help evaluate the teachers.

Dr Dennis Luseni, Deputy Director, Teacher Development and Performance of the Teaching Service Commission, a key trainer in the entorship Program observes that "The implementation plan is going to be collaborative between the Ministry of Higher Education and the MBSSE because the lecturers and teachers are collectively involved in this new initiative. " "The Teaching Service Commission will close the gap between these two groups and ensure that mentoring takes place to help improve the teachers practice and capacity in schools." He further points out that there will have to be communication between the campus-based educators that will allow them to work with the mentors at various schools in determining specific assignments; the development of assessment procedures and to eventually develop further recommendations for the programme.

When the programme begins pre-service teachers will acquire tools that will be able to use in their teaching. They will learn how to engage with colleagues and students; develop lesson plans; work in a collaborative manner and resolve issues that arise in the classroom in a professional manner. Teachers will be mentored throughout the period of their practicum until the end of their training.