Mon State in Southeastern Myanmar (Burma) is home to many schools located in remote villages that can only be accessed via boat or four-wheel drive trucks. Because they are so remote, many of these schools do not have the ability to get teachers with extensive training and qualifications. The Mon National Education Committee (MNEC) partners with World Education to manage a system of over 100 community schools for Mon ethnic minority and low-income children in these challenging conditions.
In order to get more qualified teachers into their schools, MNEC provides a one-year pre-service teacher training program for young adults as part of their two-year higher education program called Mon Post-10. The first year of the program focuses on strengthening the students’ English and critical thinking skills. The second year continues to build on these skills while introducing students to teaching methodology concepts, such as student-centered instruction, learner needs, assessment and differentiation. In 2012, the Mon Post-10 instructors felt that they could improve the teaching program even more if they could get the trainees into primary schools on a regular basis for a more integrated method of teaching practice. They introduced the Gradual Release of Responsibility (GRR) method which brought Post-10 trainees to 3 local primary school classes weekly. Trainees started with observations of their Post-10 instructors, and slowly worked their way up to taking over the full instruction themselves.
The instructors and trainees have continued to build upon this model over time, and in October 2014, with World Education’s support, MNEC was selected to present on the model at the 17th UNESCO-APEID International Teaching Conference: Empowering Teachers for the Future We Want, held in Bangkok. It was an exciting opportunity for MNEC to share their pre-service training with other NGOs and academics throughout Southeast Asia. MNEC was also able to learn new ideas to integrate into their own programs to improve on their own teaching. Learn more about the GRR model by reading their conference paper.