Afghanistan needs an educated people to prosper and the Afghan people need education to fulfill their potential and improve their lives. High quality training is the key to good education and creating sustainable education systems. Also see Rights training.
You can only have a well educated people if you have high quality teaching. This is why training teachers has always held a position of great importance in the development of AIL as an organization. Teachers are trained by AIL and then receive follow up supervision and monitoring of progress. Teachers return for up to date seminar trainings to keep up with the latest in teaching theory.
AIL’s Teacher Training Program focuses on quality, in-depth education for Afghan teachers in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The training of teachers greatly increases the capacity of schools to offer quality education to Afghan students. Once teachers are trained in modern pedagogical basics of teaching, AIL offers workshops to expand their capacity. In-depth topics are offered through short mini-workshops covering both the basics of teaching techniques and advanced subject matter such as Report Writing, Ethics, Writing Lesson Plans, Writing Objectives, Classroom principles, Primary Math, Psychology, Basic and advanced Literacy, Dari, Administrative Responsibilities, Teaching Methods, Fundamentals of Afghan Law, and Women’s Rights.
The skills of AIL’s teachers and teacher trainers are consistently gaining strength. AIL teacher trainers continue to add new curriculum gained through their own teaching experience and outside sources. AIL recently added curriculum that teaches students how to handle their own money and save for the future, as well as hands-on learning about the native natural environment. Teacher trainers are also adding new experiential learning opportunities to expand on critical thinking skills. Recently, a teacher training was held that brought students in during the training sessions so that the teachers could try their hand at the new methodologies they were learning in a classroom setting before implementing them in their own classes. It allowed them to get a true feel for how these new methodologies would work in the real world.
It is this forward thinking of the teacher trainers that is making such a great impact on the overall educational system in Afghanistan. AIL was able to respond to a request from remote Nooristan Province to train their teachers who had never had the opportunity of training. Those teachers were able to return and train more teachers and impact students who had never received anything close to quality education.
The Afghan government consistently requests AIL to train its public school teachersl. It has requested that AIL add more teacher training in the refugee camps in Pakistan so that when the Afghans return home there will be an adequate number of highly qualified teachers ready to help them. The proven success of AIL’s teacher training resulted in a Herat Ministry of Education request that AIL train all of the teachers in that city.
Why this is different
Interactive, student-centered teaching is a radical departure from traditional teaching methods in Afghanistan. Historically the emphasis was on dictation, rote memorization, and recitation. Using the new teaching methods, teachers are able to teach students to think critically, use logic for problem-solving, and interpret and evaluate information. This fosters self confidence, self reliance and sharing of ideas and helping others. Students question and seek help in understanding.
The result is students adapt and learn quickly. Many students who are taught by AIL-trained teachers are able to read after only 3 months of instruction compared to the typical 3 years students need when taught under the old methods. Some students have been so energized by their ability to learn quickly that they have accelerated their education, completing multiple grades within one year. With AIL’s teacher training, teachers in Afghanistan are learning from each other and students are learning more in class. The uptake of these new patterns hold promising implications for the future of education in Afghanistan.
Another aspect of the situation in the country is that much of the curriculum in Afghanistan has been lost because of the war and civil strife and the old curriculum did not incorporate interactive, student-centered lessons. In order to improve educational opportunities for children and youth, Afghanistan urgently needs updates to existing curriculum subjects as well as new lesson materials for teaching important topics like peace, health, human rights, gender issues, and life skills. AIL staff work on curriculum updating as well as creating new curriculum for newer subjects.