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


The training of 360 teachers and school leaders in "Mentorship of Pre Service Teachers" has recently concluded. From the 18th - 22nd March 2019, primary school-level educators from across Bombali, Kenema, Port Loko and Bo districts, underwent the training programmes, which were provided by the Teaching Service Commission in collaboration with the EU and the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE). Facilitators at the Makeni workshop also included school leaders who had, themselves, benefitted from an earlier workshop for facilitators held in February 2019, during which they contributed towards the development of a "Facilitators' Guide and Mentor Manual."

Ninety participants were selected from each of the target districts to attend the training activity with the expectation that by its end, these participants would have been sufficiently prepared to serve as mentors to pre service teachers. They would then be sent to their various schools as part of their teacher training programme. In Bombali District, the 90 participants met at the Ernest Bai Koroma University of Science and Technology, where they were divided into three different classes. Each class was facilitated by a pair of co-facilitators, who introduced participants to various techniques of teacher mentoring such as goal setting and team planning. Joseph Ismail Kargbo, who is the Deputy Director of the Teaching Service Commission in Bombali district, expressed excitement at the level of commitment shown by the participants and the sheer volume of material covered within the five-day period. "In addition to learning how to mentor teachers coming into their school for the very first time, participants have also learned about the Professional Standards for Teachers and School Leaders." Here he was referring to the document currently being promoted by the Teaching Service Commission, which outlines various competences that teacher must have in the professional areas of knowledge, practice, engagement and leadership.

While acknowledging the fact that five days was not enough time for participants to absorb all the existing information on effective mentorship, workshop facilitator Elizabeth B Simbo, expressed satisfaction at how much ground they were able to cover. "We covered techniques like team teaching, goal setting, conferencing, team planning, reflective journals and peer observation," she said. "We want these mentors to take these strategies and techniques back to their schools, and effectively support the Free Quality School Education currently going on in the country."

Sulaiman Tholley, the Acting Head Teacher of Islamic Primary School and a participant at the training pogramme observed that for him, the most important aspect of the training was learning how to strengthen the relationship between campus-based instructors and school-based instructors. Another participant, Umu D. Sesay, Head Teacher of WCSL Primary One, was particularly intrigued by the concept of team planning. "The mentor and the mentee plan lessons together before going to the classroom to teach. The mentor should patiently help the mentee whenever he or she makes a mistake."

During the interactive sessions in Makeni, participants were encouraged to discuss some of the challenges they are likely to face as mentors. The issue of limited learning materials for the trainee teachers in most schools was raised several times. Other challenges identified included the potential for friction between mentor and mentee given varying levels of education and experience existing in many communities. The general advice was that an environment of partnership and mutual learning was to be cultivated, rather than that of "a superior relating to a subordinate."

In early April, another set of 360 primary school educators from the four target districts will benefit from the same training programme in preparation for actual mentorship experience in the field set to start later in the year. In the months ahead, one pre service teacher will be assigned to one mentor in each of the selected schools.

Produced by
Support to the Education Sector in Sierra Leone (SESSiL), 26th March 2019
Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE)
New England Ville,

Phone: +23276818089