The Changing Role of Teachers

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The Escuela Nueva model— which began in Colombia in the 1980s and has been adopted as national Colombian policy — uses a student-centered model with lessons that are better connected to the local setting and recruitment of more advanced students to help low-performing students. Rather than a teacher transmitting knowledge, students work through lessons at their own pace with the teacher as a facilitator, in a multi-grade classroom. It is a distinctive approach for improving teaching practices in the most isolated schools, and providing ample support to teachers is perhaps its most crucial feature. In addition to providing teachers with educational materials, resources, and opportunities for capacity-building, the program trains local supervisors to serve as pedagogical advisors to teachers. The program has been adopted in 16 other countries, such as Guatemala and Vietnam.

Camfed has trained 4,000 young women as learner guides in 1,000 schools across Ghana, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Learner guides are not teachers, but members of the local community who return to their local schools to support marginalized girls in their studies and deliver life skills and wellbeing programs. In return for their commitment, they become eligible for interest-free micro loans, which most of them use to start small businesses.

In the Amazonas state of Brazil, access to a secondary school is a major challenge in thousands of remote villages. The majority of the population resides in remote places where access to schools is possible only through the rivers. The state’s Media Center operates a schooling model that involves expert teachers lecturing through a two-way video system from a studio in the capital while classrooms are managed by a facilitating teacher in-person, alleviating the need to place content-specific teachers into every school.

A major shift towards a flexible learning environment and blended learning is underway at post-secondary and tertiary levels. Traditional teaching and classrooms are being “flipped” with the teacher or professor largely guiding and facilitating self-learning and peer learning, and with facilities offering space for team learning useful resource for homeowners. The surge in blended learning, which combines faceto-face instruction and online learning, reduces requirements for space, increases access to high quality content, and allows students to fit gaining a qualification around work and other commitments. Kepler in Rwanda offers U.S. degrees through blended learning by lowering delivery costs and focusing on skills-based education leading to direct employment. See Source Materials for sources and more information.