The Education Program has seen tremendous growth in facilitation skills over the past few months. This growth is in no doubt thanks to the outstanding trainings of our new training manager George Nyamweya. George worked his way up from Education Coordinator to Field Manager to Training Manager within Nuru’s Education Program. George has a thirst for knowledge and is always willing to go the extra mile to make sure that he is delivering great quality content to our facilitators. George is excellent at adapting new techniques and styles to his training repertoire and is constantly searching for the latest innovations in education. I asked George to share some of his experiences from the first few months on the job as training manager, and he kindly obliged. Here are George’s thoughts on the training and curriculum development process currently underway in Nuru’s Education Program:

I often thought of teaching as knowing more content on the subject area than the pupils. Later, I realized that methodology and teaching styles are equally important. Additionally, I have learned that facilitators need to respect learners by exhibiting values such as lowering yourself to the level of pupils, being honest with them, showing empathy and respect to the learners, etc…. I have learned these skills and values as I have grown as a facilitator and trainer and now I am trying to share them with Nuru’s Education team.

As a training manager, I develop the curriculum for the Education Program and conduct trainings for the Education staff facilitators. The training manager also observes the facilitators and learners in the field so as to get useful feedback for enhancing the development of both the curriculum and trainings for the team. Other than the feedback, the Monitoring and Evaluation team has been very instrumental in determining the level of learners through sharing data from the Uwezo examination. All this is enhanced by current research on best practices in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) around the world.

So far, the facilitators have learned the theoretical background on how English Language Learners (ELLs) learn and practical aspects in facilitation techniques for ELLs. One such training is a language development training where the facilitators learned how language is acquired by ELLs, principles of vocabulary instruction, and academic language teaching approaches. The facilitators have also learned some practical aspects in classroom instruction, such as “think, pair, and share”, which they have found very useful in the classroom. Other trainings focused on various approaches in teaching both phonics and whole language.

Facilitators are also trained to make use of games and fun activities during facilitation. Various games and fun activities have been introduced to the facilitators and this has acted as a trigger to make them come up with so many other games and fun activities. Learners always enjoy the fun activities and ask us when we will be coming back. One such fun activity is where learners had to mime a given profession/job and the other learners in the class had to guess what the profession/job was based on the mime. It was really great fun for the pupils. Role plays have been used to make the lessons as fun as possible. There are many more games and fun activities that have been used by our facilitators and this has seen the level of participation of the learners improve in our classes

The feedback process has been very useful so far, in sharing best practices, determining the level of learners, and the needs of the facilitators. In the office, the facilitators share the best practices in facilitation they observe during the week. Then the training manager uses the feedback to determine the level of learners for each school and class. This process helps in lesson planning to fit the pupils’ needs. The training manager also uses the feedback to develop more trainings to increase the skills of the facilitators.

All of these processes help myself, and the Education team as a whole, to model our lessons and facilitation skills to fit the level and needs of learners, so that they can read, write and comprehend. I also plan to use the Uwezo literacy test results to get a clearer picture of the level of the learners. By doing all of this, I believe that the education goal will be achieved, and I will have achieved my goal of serving the community in a holistic manner.