Personal development for future teachers
Our second countdown to the World Teachers Day 2015 commemoration is from Namibia. It is a story about the Preschool of the Future Teacher Training Program. The program is expanding into other countries benefitting Early Childhood Care and Education.
Enjoy the reading!
DAPP Namibia is almost a year into its first intake of preschool teachers training. The 18 month-long program aim at training teachers who are able to set children up for lifelong learning. It is widely understood that early education plays a key role in a child’s ability to adapt to primary school, as well as increasing confidence and fostering curiosity -- an essential component of successful learning.
The program is implemented at the DAPP Vocational School in Outapi, close to the border with Angola, and is made up of three core units lasting 6 months each. In order to fully equip teachers with an understanding of and passion for both children and the community, students organise and carry out a two-month trip around the country.
An innovative part of the Preschool of the Future Teacher Training program is the research and investigation period. During this period the teachers under training make practical contact asking questions on preschool education with government, private sector, make surveys on existing preschool centers methods of teaching and challenges on the ground. Such an action research asserts the new teachers to be conversant with the reality affecting early Childhood Education.
For student Nancy Elijah, it was a journey she will never forget. “The whole tour was a great and rewarding experience.” She said. “It has bought a log of change to my life – meeting and learning from different people and cultures has been extraordinary. We faced a lot of challenges but in the end we made it though as we worked as a team in finding solutions.”
Along with learning from their environments, students also learnt essential skills in living and working alongside others to overcome difficulties. “Life in tents was hard at first but eventually we got used to it. Decision making was never done individually but as a group. When there were issues to be discussed we brought it all to the table, gave ideas and came to a solution together.”
Out of their comfort zones, students were forced to rely on the strengths of each person, sometimes, the trip depended on it. While planning the trip, students in Nancy’s group decided to travel on bicycle.
“My experience with the bicycle was wonderful. I feel like I changed some of my classmates’ lives and my own, because I taught a few of them how to ride. This built my self-confidence so much and I was happy that I got to make a difference in their lives.”
In addition to meeting new people and getting to know different areas, students visited the Prime Minister’s Office, the capital’s Kutako International Airport, the National Early Childhood Development Association, various kindergartens and primary schools as well as visiting the coast. For many, it was their first time visiting the city and seeing the ocean.
“My advice to the next intake is to just go for it in all they do. To not get discouraged, be the leader and not the follower, and just enjoy it.”