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Training community teachers in Cambodia

The Highland Children's Education Project trained a cadre of teachers in Ratanakiri Province in Cambodia drawn from the local community in order to better serve children through mother tongue instruction. The project is described in Highland children’s education project: Good lessons learned in basic education (Middleborg, 2005). The project addressed the needs of the community for mother tongue instruction in part by building a teacher base from local community members, none of the initial group of community teachers had completed a primary education themselves.

The teacher training challange was to design a program that would provide participants not only with essential teaching techniques, but also fill gaps in their own educational background. The teacher training program (designed by the project and implemented by local village school boards) had the following objectives:

  • Enabling participants to develop or extend their own academic knowledge;
  • Equipping them with knowledge and skills in teaching methodologies;
  • Preparing them to become reflective classroom practitioners who strive for ongoing self-improvement;
  • Equipping them to contribute to community development through participatory forums and processes of schooling and education;
  • Contributing to the enhancement of their social standing in their communities; and
  • Supporting the development of indigenous perspectives on education.

Teacher training took place in “learning cycles,” in which trainees participate in cycles of intensive input followed by immediate practice and then evaluation.

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