Last night I enjoyed a fantastic conversation, via Skype, with a talented Australian who is looking to spend time in Cambodia, and lending his skills as a trainer of teachers. His skill set, and his empathy will make him outstanding in this role. His style of operating is very much grounded in respect for the local cultures that he works with. Rather than barrel-in, force-feeding a western approach to teaching, this professional sees his first role as that of observer: watching and listening to young teachers work, and understanding where they are coming from.
The conversation got me pretty excited because the training of teachers in Cambodia does have a long way to go. The vast majority of teachers have little or no formal training – and it is no wonder that they tend to use existing approaches, what my old teachers college called chalk and talk, while being uncertain about trying new things. an encouraging nudge here, and a bit of practice over there, can make the difference between a dedicated teacher and a great teacher.
So far MOEYS – the Ministry of Education – has been scrambling simply to get the number of teachers up, and to reduce the overall shortage of teaching staff across all of Cambodia. To their credit the picture is a lot healthier today than it was 5 to 10 years ago. But attention is now turning to the quality of the nation’s teachers who are largely ill-equipped and under resourced.
I’m not aware of any NGO in Cambodia dedicated to teacher training – though I’m probably wrong in this – but last night’s conversation reminded me that there is a major gap in the overall system.
- See also MOEYS policies: CLICK HERE