The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) recently organised a hybrid workshop involving key partners in its Teacher Education initiative to explore current and planned action in scaling innovations for teacher development where teacher shortages are still prevalent in many middle-and low-income countries. In addition, the lack of quality learning resources has been reported as a contributing factor to low-quality teacher training and professional development.
The workshop, held prior to the 10th Pan Commonwealth Forum (PCF10), introduced participants to concepts and models for teacher training at scale, including COL strategies and models using open, distance and technology-enabled learning.
The event was attended by 19 participants representing 12 different institutions in The Gambia, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Trinidad & Tobago. Discussions focussed on a range of innovations for teacher development in low income and other disadvantaged communities. These included the use of massive open online courses (MOOCs), radio and podcasts to reach more teachers, and having the assistance of language translators and assistive technologies and other offline resources to improve the quality of learning resources.
COL’s Education Specialist, Teacher Education, Dr Betty Ogange facilitated the workshop with COL’s Adviser, Teacher Education, Dr Evode Mukama.
Dr Ogange commented,
“We are working with partners to identify and build the evidence base for innovations in open, distance and technology-enabled learning that can transform teacher training and professional development in their respective contexts.”
As outlined in the Calgary Communique from PCF10, it is important for education stakeholders to adopt innovations with the potential for education and teacher training at scale and at low cost, and to build resilient education and training systems in these countries. Open educational resources (OER) emerged as an important way to promote equity and scale in teacher training in disadvantaged settings.