The importance of effective teacher training

5 October 2019

Teachers have the power to transform lives, therefore it is of incredible importance that teachers are not just told what to teach but how to teach. Before they enter the classroom, and throughout their time in the classroom, we must focus on their own learning and development as much as we focus on pupils.  

Effective teacher training isn’t as prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa as it should be. In Sub-Saharan Africa, only 64% of primary school teachers receive any training before entering the classroom. This means many teachers struggle to teach without necessary teaching and class management techniques, a consequence of this is that many pupils struggle to learn. If this continues we’ll fail to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4)

SDG4 means striving to have every child receiving high-quality education by 2030. If we consider that a child’s education can only ever be as good as their teacher(s) then we begin to understand why training and supporting teachers is the priority. 

Trained teachers are in decline

Worldwide, the number of trained teachers in primary education as a percentage of total teachers has decreased since 2013—when 87% of teachers were trained to teach the content that they were teaching, compared to 85% in 2017 (UNESCO Institute for Statistics).

UNESCO Institute for Statistics findings on the no. of trained teachers as a % of all teachers

When exploring individual countries, the statistics look even worse. In Liberia, for example, under half of all teachers are effectively trained and have the knowledge and skills required to teach a class of pupils. We’re helping to fix this. 

Teachers need more training and support

A study from the Education Commission found that there are two main reasons why continuous teacher growth and development has a positive impact on pupils’ achievements: 

  • Increasing teacher training that is aligned to the trainees’ competencies can produce more effective teachers. If a teacher can manage their class, they’re better able to direct learning, interact with pupils and identify those who need support. There are many techniques which can be taught to help facilitate this positive learning environment.
  • Professional development opportunities can be a motivational tool to continue improving as a teacher. Regular training and feedback keeps teachers current in pedagogical trends and reinforces what works. As long as this training is regular, up-to-date and relevant, both the teacher and pupils benefit. It’s often linked to career progression too.

How is Bridge improving teacher training?

Since Bridge was founded, it’s always prioritised teacher training, support and development; understanding that improving pupils learning outcomes is dependent on doing so.

Teacher training is constantly evolving at Bridge. Scrutinising regularly how teacher training sessions operate leads to the reframing and redesign of various aspects of the training programme always with the intention to make them more effective and improving the experience of both trainees and trainers alike. Even during initial training, we continue to monitor, update and improve the programme. Post training—and in the classroom—all Bridge-supported teachers will receive ongoing and regular coaching, support, training and development. We need teachers to be as effective as possible and ensuring they are part of a framework which prioritises that is essential.

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Read our blog about how Teachers Transform Lives

Read about the campaign Teachers Transform Lives

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