«Text: Louise Wheatcroft Field research: Louise Wheatcroft Editing: Lucia Fry Design: VSO Creative Services Cover photo: ©VSO/Shahula Rasheed The views ...»
The issue of lack of teacher voice is addressed in a number of the recommendation:
• Recommendations on leadership propose that school management include teachers in teaching and learning decision-making processes and in the writing of whole school development plans.
• Training and professional development recommendations propose that school leaders are trained to initiate needs-based training and consultative meetings.
• Recommendations on TLMs suggest that the EDC develops mechanisms for gaining feedback from island teachers to inform materials development and, through improved, relevant materials and training, gives teachers greater control over the use of curriculum and materials.
• In student behaviour and profile recommendations, it is proposed that teachers be involved in the writing of school discipline policies.
• In teacher workload and conditions, it is recommended that school management should organise tasks and meetings in consultation with teachers.
To summarise, it is recommended that teachers should be more involved in school decisionmaking processes in order to have ownership of changes and innovations and to feel respected as professionals.
2. Frequent change Change is pervasive throughout the education system in the Maldives as a result of the rapid pace of national development. Changes within the MOE are continual, affecting senior staff positions, Ministry mandates, office location and curriculum revision. Change is also prevalent within schools, with high turnover of management and teaching staff as well as new curricula, schemes of work and materials to implement.
‘Change is a huge demotivator. Teachers are unwilling to plan or prepare because of timetable changes, switching subjects. Teachers are subjected to frequent management changes. Every time a new principal arrives, teachers have to make huge changes.’
VSO TEACHER ADVISERThis issue interacts with the lack of teacher voice. Because teachers are not involved in the decision-making that takes place in schools, they become confused and left alone to respond to the changes forced upon them. If teachers were involved more in making decisions then
The issue of change is addressed in a number of the recommendations:
• Under leadership, it is recommended that head teachers be allowed to remain in post for a minimum amount of time (to be agreed). Also, through involving teachers more in the decision-making processes in school, rather than imposing change on them, they will be more able and willing to implement changes as they have greater ownership of the changes.
• In the recommendations for TLMs, it is suggested that all teachers are informed of curriculum and syllabus changes and are trained to implement the changes and use the new materials.
• Change is also addressed in the recommendations on strengthening community relationships. Through greater collaboration with the community, teachers will have more autonomy to make changes It is essential that while recognising that change is essential for growth, change needs to be managed more effectively through improved communication between all stakeholders and greater use of participatory methods
3. Administrative focus Another theme that runs through many of the issues is the focus of school management, where there is a strong tendency to prioritise administrative tasks. There was common agreement among a range of stakeholders that there needs to be a shift here towards teaching and learning
The focus on administration is addressed in a number of the recommendations:
• Within the section on leadership, clear job descriptions are proposed for supervisors, to include a focus on supporting teachers in the classroom. And by ensuring all supervisors receive training to enable them to support teachers in teaching and learning matters, it is hoped that supervisors will no longer be performing essentially administrative roles. It is strongly recommended that all school heads have an education background and are trained in supporting their staff in teaching and learning matters.
• Training and professional development is seen as a key factor in addressing this issue.
Through training in teaching and learning for all management staff, and through the creation of a forum for discussion of teaching and learning topics and more school-led training programmes, it is intended that there will be a greater focus on what is taking place in the classrooms.
A greater focus on teaching and learning, teachers and students at all levels and in all areas of educational development is required to improve the quality of education
4. Lack of human capacity There are currently so many good initiatives planned to improve the quality of education that the future development of education in the Maldives is well underway. However, there is a serious lack of human capacity at teacher training level. Managing this constraint in order to ensure that projects are effective requires a great deal of collaboration and cooperation.
There is a critical need to expand the pool of available and appropriately qualified people, such as teacher trainers. The provision of incentives for trainers to work in other atolls also needs consideration. Experienced staff do not want to leave Male’ where their families and services are and this has been a barrier to effective project management.
VSO MALDIVES VALUING TEACHERS 32Lack of human capacity is addressed in recommendations concerning training and
• Increasing the capacity of both the PDU and the Faculty of Education will enable them to ensure better quality training and greater coverage. It is recommended that schools are encouraged to lead their own professional development programmes, supported by increased training for supervisors and head teachers in order to reduce the strain on trainers within MOE departments. However, the training of school management and supervisors needs to be carried out first for this to take place. An action plan/timeline would be useful to manage human capacity for all of the proposed projects and courses with the trainers identified in order to reduce the strain on already overstretched individuals and departments.
There are seven main recommendations:
1 School leadership and management
• Redefine supervisor’s role.
• Create a systematic way of training all supervisors.
• School heads should be trained in teaching and learning matters.
• Allow school heads to remain in post for a minimum amount of time.
2. Training and professional development
• Increase the capacity of training departments.
• Increase school-based professional development and funding.
• Provide systematic training of untrained teachers.
• Create forums for discussion of pedagogic topics at all levels.
• Harmonise external and government-funded education development projects.
3. Teaching and learning materials
• Allow teachers greater control over the curriculum, planning and delivery.
• Create a basic resources list to ensure all schools are able to deliver the curriculum.
4. Strengthening community relationships
• Improve communication between school, teachers and parents/community.
5. Teacher workload and conditions
• Ensure all schools have an appropriate number of teachers.
• Reduce the number of after school activities; allocate some responsibility to the community.
• Division of workload should be done fairly and with greater consultation.
6. Student behaviour and student profile
• Implement national and school discipline policies.
• Train teachers and school management in differentiation.
7. School buildings and facilities
• Ensure all schools have basic infrastructure.
• Improve physical environment and conditions to facilitate teaching and learning.
• Consider alternative ways of organising the two school sessions to reduce the issues of primary and secondary children sharing classrooms.
In the tables that follow, each of the recommendations is outlined with solutions given at two main levels: national policy level and school level. National policy level solutions are actions that either need to be taken at policy level or indeed have already been identified at national level and are being addressed. Additional policy actions are included to ensure that the solutions are actionable.
33 VSO MALDIVES VALUING TEACHERS
1. Improve leadership and management in order to ensure an appropriate focus on teaching and learning
Include in the curriculum an emphasis on values/morals Awareness programmes for parents on Awareness programmes for parents on As per strengthening community behaviour management/adolescent differentiation and use of materials relationships above issues/influence of media etc
1. In-country desk-based research: national education plans, budgets, academic papers, NGO sector plans and educational statistics. International context: EFA.
Provides background information of Valuing Teachers global and national context.
2. First stage of participatory research Focus group interviews with teachers (six teachers per group on average)
Variety of teachers interviewed:
• primary, middle and secondary
• small island community schools, atoll schools, AECs and Male’ schools.
Male’, Haa Dhaal, Ghaaf Dhaal, Noonu, Alifu alifu and Alif Dhaal atolls.
3. 1:1 interviews with teachers to discuss the issues further.
Confidentiality of all participants maintained.
4. 1:1 interviews with supervisors, head teachers and principals to find out their understanding of teachers’ issues.
Provides overview of key issues.
5. 1:1 interviews with secondary stakeholders.
Gives a deeper insight into the underlying causes behind the teachers’ issues and ways to overcome them.
6. Secondary stakeholder workshop to investigate the causes and effects of the issues affecting teacher motivation and morale.
Shares preliminary findings. Allows key players to begin to contribute to development of policy solutions.
7. Data analysis to examine the causes of the issues – qualitative data rather than quantitative.
Explores the factors affecting teacher motivation in more depth.
8. Policy research desk based and through 1:1 interviews with secondary stakeholders.
Provides further examination of current policy and practice in relation to policy solutions and recommendations.
9. Recommendations drafted and round table meeting to gain feedback.
Adds a further layer to the research, gains feedback on the recommendations and further solutions identified.
10. Report drafted, edited and published.
Launching of the Valuing Teachers campaign to raise the status of teachers.
1. Meet with head/principal to discuss the research and process. Ensure all teachers have received copies of the concept note and letters. Collect background information on the school and context.
2. Arrange to meet with all the teachers.
3. Meeting with all teachers to explain the research and process and ask for volunteers.
4. Select from list of volunteers approximately six teachers.
5. Carry out 1:1 interviews with head teacher, VSO teacher and supervisors.
6. Carry out focus group interview.
COLLECTING BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE SCHOOL:
• Type of school: government, public, private or community
• Management structure
• Number of students
• Number of teachers; trained and untrained
• Number of supervisors
• Island history
• Any specific positive/negative impacts on the school.
• How well motivated do you think teachers are in this country?
What are the signs of a well-motivated teacher?
What are the signs of a poorly motivated teacher?
• Why do you think this is so?
What do you think are the factors that affect teacher motivation?
• Do you think it is affecting their performance? How?
What do you think about the link between teacher motivation and performance?
How does teacher motivation affect performance?
• What do you think teachers need in order to perform well?
What motivates teachers to perform well in their job?
• What are the obstacles to improving teacher motivation?
• What could be done to reduce the obstacles to teacher motivation?
What do you think could be done to improve teacher motivation?
Also ask questions to gain responses to issues identified by teachers in other schools
• Objective: To find out the teachers’ own perceptions on their job/motivation/ satisfaction, the causes for demotivation and their ideas for solutions.
• Organisation: To invite 6–8 teachers of the same gender (head teacher should be aware but not involved) to a free and undisturbed classroom or a space under a tree etc. Round chairs arrangement. Plan 1.5 hours.
• Materials needed:
• plain paper (A4 sheets)
• two charts already prepared – one smiley face and one unhappy face with labels –
• marker pens
• post-it notes
Go around the circle, each person introducing themselves.
Re-explain the research project; aims, method and follow-up – a copy of the report will be sent to the participants and some may be invited to a discussion workshop in
• Male’ to discuss the findings.
• Background of researcher.
• Set rules: listening to one another, taking turns, constructive debate.
• Ensure confidentiality.
• Record number of teachers, gender make-up and qualifications.
• Activity 1: in pairs (10–15mins) Objective: To encourage teachers to reflect on their perception of their job.
Discuss from hour to hour your working day and to note down on own sheets:
1. What really makes you happy and gives you job satisfaction
2. What really demoralises you? What makes you feel bad?
• Sit with each group for a couple of minutes and ask them to talk through their discussion.
• Take in their sheets.
• Activity 2: whole group (10–15 mins) Objective: to find out teacher perception on the characteristics and the reasons for being a well-motivated teacher (effects and causes).
• Draw a smiley face on a large piece of paper and divide it EFFECT top and bottom into effects and causes.
• Ask the teachers what makes them feel happy at school/during their working day.
• Teachers draw/write their answers on post-it notes and stick them onto the causes section of the sheet.
• Then ask what are the effects of the things that make them happy?
• Teachers draw/write their answers on post-it notes and stick them onto the effects section of the sheet. Effects = CAUSES characteristics of a happy and motivated teacher.
• Record any extra comments on a separate sheet of paper.
• Activity 4: whole group (50+ mins) Objectives: to find out the main causes for teacher demotivation from their perspective and their view of solutions.