Teachers, coordinators learn new Alap techniques


Teachers attentively viewing a documentary during the workshop

The department of education has found it necessary to extend the Alap programme to this level of education and teachers have already followed a training workshop led by Shirley Choppy, director for early childhood and also responsible for the Alap reading project.

The Alap reading project has been implemented in primary schools as part of the education reform plan for early childhood education. It started in the second year of crèche education in 2009, and the first and second years of primary education in 2010 and 2011.  In general, this programme brings together all the approaches to the teaching of pre-reading and reading in a consistent and systematic way, and, in particular, emphasises the phonics approach. It is aimed at enhancing effectiveness and efficiency in the teaching of reading in the mother language in the early years, hence building a strong foundation for further learning. The Alap programme has become increasingly popular among young children and is also well appreciated by parents and educators alike.

As is customary, a series of training workshops for teachers are organised prior to the implementation of a specific programme. From January 5-17, 2012, a second batch of around 65 primary two teachers, including all newly qualified teachers in early childhood, attended the training workshops.

The objectives of these workshops were to equip the teachers with the necessary skills and knowledge in the methodologies of teaching reading, writing and assessment for early childhood learners, and to educate them about the effectiveness of the programme and its implementation.

To ensure a smooth and effective transition in the teaching and learning of reading Creole from cycle one to cycle two (from P2 {end of early childhood education} to P3 {start of primary education}), another batch of around 60 primary three teachers and 25 language coordinators were trained alongside their primary two counterparts.

Teachers during the session with one of CCATS’ facilitator

They have acquired competence in the fundamentals of the teaching of reading, techniques for teaching stories, developing writing skills, helping pupils at risk with learning difficulties, and the ‘how to’ create a stimulating rich print environment for learning to take place.

They also had the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the new curriculum materials and their implementation, implications on time-table and implementation in general.

On the whole, the teachers have found the training to be enriching and effective. They claimed they have been adequately prepared to implement the newly developed curriculum materials, take reading and writing to new heights, and sustain progress.

A support mechanism has been put in place as part of a research evaluation study to monitor the programme’s implementation, provide support to teachers in classroom situations and evaluate overall effectiveness of the programme.

Moreover, the department of education has made provisions to help teachers with some basic resources to support the teaching and learning process. While attending one of the training workshops, education principal secretary Merida Delcy thanked the teachers for their involvement and encouraged them to make innovative and effective changes in their teaching to bring about tangible improvements in pupils’ learning outcomes.

She also congratulated the director and staff of the early childhood section for their excellent work in organising and ensuring timely delivery of the training workshops carried out in collaboration with facilitators from Centre for Curriculum, Assessment and Teacher Support (CCATS) and the University of Seychelles.

The Alap reading programme has thus far proved to be successful. The key stage assessment results of 2011 for the first cohort of pupils, who started to learn to read under this programme, are overwhelmingly encouraging. It is anticipated that the results as well as the findings of the evaluation study will be disseminated to all concerned during the first quarter of 2012.

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