Participants in Lambussie after the workshop on effective lesson observation and PLC session
The Ghana Education Service (GES) and Transforming Teaching, Education & Learning (T-TEL) organized a four-day training workshop for School Improvement Support Officers (SISOs), Schedule Officers, and Education Management Information System (EMIS) teams in Akuapem South, Bosome Freho, and Lambussiefrom 11th – 14th January 2023.
The purpose of the workshop was to equip the officers with the necessary skills to effectively observe teachers’ lesson delivery and conduct of Professional Learning Community (PLC) sessions in schools across the districts.
Training session at Bosome Freho
Participants working in a group at Akuapem South
The training was a response to a monitoring exercise conducted by GES in the districts to observe how the district officers were effectively observing teachers during lesson delivery and to assess the extent to which they were adhering to and applying the National Teachers’ Standards during teaching and learning. The feedback from the exercise indicated that more efforts were needed to support teachers in meeting the required standards, as well as in incorporating 21st century skills and ICT, including social and emotional learning into their teaching methodologies.
The four-day workshop was divided into several sessions, each focusing on a specific topic related to effective classroom observation and PLC sessions.
A. Challenges with the conduct of effective PLC sessions
During this session, participants discussed some of the challenges they face in the performance of their roles regarding PLC sessions monitoring, lesson observation, data management, and school supervision. These challenges included lack of proper resources and training, lack of proper communication and coordination between officers, and difficulties in balancing the workload at the district levels.
B. Effective lesson preparation and delivery
In this session, participants discussed some of the key pointers during lesson delivery and what really goes into effective lesson delivery. The session covered topics such as proper lesson planning, effective use of teaching aids, and strategies for engaging students.
C. Introduction to PLC sessions
During this session, participants had a greater understanding of the National Teachers’ Standards and its importance during PLC sessions. They also gained insights on the PLC Handbooks that are being used to run weekly PLC session in basic schools. This session also discussed how PLCs can be used to improve teaching standards and student learning.
D. Data reporting
The session sought to make participants understand the importance of data gathering during classroom and PLC observations and how the data can be used to inform policy and practice. The session covered topics such as data collection methods, data analysis and interpretation, and the use of data to inform decision-making.
Field Visits and Reflections
As part of the training, participants visited some schools within their respective districts to observe lessons and to have hands-on experience and exposure on effective classroom observation. They did some reflections and received feedback after the field visit.
Officers observing classroom lessons
One participant said “the lesson observation was a good opportunity to see and learn what actually goes into planning and delivering a lesson. We had a good feedback session with the teachers we observed and we know that their teaching will improve greatly based on the feedback. The field visits were not only a great way to gain practical experience but also an opportunity to see how the training sessions were being applied in the real world.”
Officers giving feedback to a teacher after observing a classroom lesson
GES and T-TEL are committed to improving teaching standards and children’s learning across the three districts through the Communities of Excellence Programme. The officers who participated in the workshop expressed their satisfaction with the training and the tools they developed for data collection during schools visits.
“When I was initially invited to this workshop, I was not sure what new thing I was going to learn for the work I do but I can say this workshop has been transformative and revealing. We were taken through how to observe lessons, how to conduct PLC session and we even developed a monitoring tool that we will use to collect data when we get to the field – we are equipped to do better monitoring when we visit the schools. This has been one of the successful workshops I have attended” said Bernice Kobuah, a SISO at Akuapem South.
“The Weekly PLC sessions in schools are not there to burden any teacher but to help teachers update their knowledge on professional values, practice and attitudes to promote lifelong learning in order to improve learning outcomes. Teachers should not see PLC sessions as a cognitive activity but rather what is learnt should be translated in classroom practice” – Anastasia Arkoh, the Science Technology Mathematics Innovation Engineering (STMIE) Coordinator for Bosome Freho.
“The monitoring tool we have now developed for lesson observation is flexible and not difficult to use. This will make it easy to gather data during monitoring exercises” Stonals Boakye, SISO, Bosome Freho.
“During lesson observation, there should be constructive feedback to the teacher. This must always start and end on a good note. This means that teachers must always be encouraged during giving feedback. Additionally, I believe that the monitoring tool which was collectively developed by the participants creates a sense of ownership – this is because if something is your yours, you are proud and you use it very well.” – Aurelio M.B Tenzagh, District Training Officer, Lambussie.