There’s a strong and unmistakable feeling of pride that one gains as a teacher. The feeling when you teach a student a new concept and watch them apply it. It’s truly wonderful and one of the greatest perks of the job. However, with training teachers, I experienced something even greater. The feeling when you teach a teacher a new concept and watch them apply it. You can then watch the students become more engaged in the lesson and learn more. It is a truly rewarding experience and one that I find incomparable.
I explained to a teacher about the three main types of learner (Auditory, Visual & Kinaesthetic). The idea of a kinaesthetic learner wasn’t something he’d considered before. However, in the next lesson watched him bring a number of sticks for the students to use to count. I then saw one learner, who had struggled with counting in his head – in the previous lesson I observed – benefit greatly from the learning tool.
However, teacher training is naturally not just beneficial to the teacher trainer. Something I’ve been realizing more and more over the past few weeks is that it’s not just the teacher and the pupils who benefit, either. If high-quality teacher-training could be achieved on a large scale then poverty and corruption could be seriously depleted within a generation.
I’ve been seeing so many ‘Build A school’ projects and international groups advertising ‘Send a Child to School’. Neither of which are harmful or counter-productive; however they are far from the most productive use of resources. For instance, when you provide a building for education to occur, this is a positive change. However, if you don’t fill that building with innovative and well educated teachers with a variety of resources, what was really the point? A great educator under a tree with a textbook will always achieve more than a poor one with a palace and a library at their disposal.
By the same principle, when you provide a student with an education, that is a positive change. However, when that student is educated in a fundamentally-flawed education system (unless they are truly gifted) all you are really doing is producing a new generation of drones with letters after their names and essentially meaningless pieces of paper.
Even if you educate a student in a more modern education system then what you will have is ONE critical thinker. For significantly less money you could educate many teachers who would then spread this knowledge to potentially thousands of critical thinkers over their lifetime.
Therefore, if you aim is to eradicate poverty, corruption and the term ‘Developing World’ then teacher training is where funding needs to be repatriated. The ground is fertile, all that is required are the seeds.