August Professional Development Workshop Series
Every April and August school holidays, Dignitas delivers Professional Development workshops for teachers from partner schools. The PD workshops are designed to build more complex knowledge and skills on the foundation created at the Leadership Training Institute and address topics best suited to group learning.
We completed a fortnight of PD workshops last week. In Week One (10-14 August), we ran workshops with teachers from Kawangware and Kangemi. These two communities are in Nairobi’s west and these schools are newer Dignitas partners. In Week Two (17-21 August), we repeated our workshop sessions with teachers from Mathare schools, where Dignitas first began.
Different teachers were invited to different workshops, depending on both their role and the workshop topics. This tailored approach ensures professional development content is relevant and allows a greater percentage of school staff to take part.
Days of Workshops
Day One & Two: Trauma Informed Community Empowerment
On Monday and Tuesday of both weeks, the Dignitas Fellows were introduced to the Trauma Informed Community Empowerment (TICE) Framework by Dignitas Senior Director Anita Shankar and guest facilitator Ilya Yacevich, from Global Trauma Project.
Working in informal settlements, our Dignitas Fellows see the effects of trauma and compound stress all around them. The sessions on trauma aimed to help educators define trauma, recognize its effects, identify effective coping skills and apply trauma-informed strategies in their classrooms, schools and communities.
Day Three: Student Support Systems
On Wednesday, Dignitas Coach Nixon led the participating teachers through a session on Student Support Systems. Student support involves both providing opportunities and removing barriers to learning and the group brainstormed, discussed, and planned how a support system may look in their unique school settings and how to best integrate current efforts to ensure all students are supported through their schooling.
“We want to look at much more than guidance and support. We want to look at the student system in totality.”
– Dignitas Coach Nixon
Day Four: Increasing Instructional Effectiveness
On Thursday, teachers returned for a day on increasing their effectiveness in the classroom. Facilitated by Dignitas Coach Shete, the participatory sessions covered planning, teaching and classroom management and provided educators with different strategies and tools they can test when school starts again in September.
Teachers found the activities on differentiation and participatory teaching methods particularly helpful and many commented they would be spending more time planning their lessons to ensure the best learning outcomes for students.
Day Five: Family Engagement
The week finished with a day on Family Engagement, facilitated by Dignitas Coach Richard. The workshop highlighted ways parents can support their child’s learning, the importance of schools engaging with the family and methods teachers can adopt to increase family engagement.
The second half of the day gave teachers the opportunity to share problems or barriers they’ve previously faced in engaging parents, and time to brainstorm strategies to overcome or minimise those challenges.
“I really, really love these trainings because day by day, when we come to the training… I find myself gaining something.”
– Vincent Orwa, Vigil School.
Returning to the classroom next week, teachers will have the opportunity to implement the concepts and new ideas covered in the Professional Development workshops, while our coaches will evaluate feedback from the workshops to continue to refine our model and how we partner with schools.
This next term is a busy one for Kenyan schools, with major exams taking place, so we pause our coaching sessions for the season. However our team will be busy distributing new school uniforms to partner schools, implementing our Wezesha small grants projects and undertaking student evaluations.