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Teachers in Crisis

What are the best ways to provide quality, relevant, supportive and motivational professional development for refugee teachers?

Photo of Mary Mendenhall
10 18

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We must do a better job supporting teachers working in refugee contexts, especially refugee teachers who may be new to the profession. They need interactive and hands-on training opportunities to learn about teaching, ongoing in-service support, mentoring and other collaborative opportunities. We have the opportunity to pilot new approaches to supporting teachers -- mobile mentoring! We also need to ask the teachers themselves what they need as they know first hand what their strengths and weaknesses are and the challenges they face in the classroom. We need to document good teaching practices by refugee teachers to share with others vs. bringing in outside resources/models that may not be relevant to the context. The Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) recently published Where It's Needed Most: Quality Professional Development for All Teachers which is a great start in drawing attention to the needs of teachers. We can and have to do better! The teachers deserve it and the learners in their classrooms have a right to receive a quality education.

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Photo of Kathleen Denny

I like the idea of incorporating film into teacher professional development efforts. A study conducted of pre-service teachers in Nigeria found the use of video recording equipment in microteaching to be even more effective than microteaching alone (Kpanja, 2001). Kpanja (2001) found that teachers who were able to review a video recording of themselves conducting a microteaching mini lesson, were more confident and adequately prepared to use the lesson in the classroom.

Kpanja, E. (2001). A study of the effects of video tape recording in microteaching
training. British Journal of Educational Technology, 32(4), 483-486.

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Photo of Mary Mendenhall

Thanks for sharing this resource, Kathleen. Very interesting!

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Photo of Charlotte Bergin

I am also really interested in the idea of documenting and sharing practice Kathleen – thanks for the article! I think video clips are a crucial way to do this – while some trainings do use video clips, they often use examples from western classrooms. I think it’s a really important step to capture examples of great teaching practice from refugee teachers themselves, and to use these in Teacher Professional Development.

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Photo of Kathleen Denny

I agree Charlotte! Have you heard of any studies where videos have been used in refugee contexts? Or have any sources to share about using videos in teacher professional development?

Here is what I have put together so far: https://openideo.com/challenge/refugee-education/research/video-based-pedagogy-for-refugee-teacher-professional-development

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Photo of Mary Mendenhall

Hi Kathleen.
The IRC's Healing Classrooms multimedia resource kit and training has videos of actual teachers from the sample contexts (Liberia and Pakistan to name two examples), but we need more examples from different contexts, classroom types, etc.

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Photo of Sheila

I like this approach to teacher professional development for refugee teachers. I agree that the refugee teachers’ voices are important in the discussion of their professional development needs. The emphasis on participatory action research about teachers with teachers as one aspect of TPD in refugee settings contributes to the unique appeal of this opportunity to improve TPD for refugee teachers.