The teaching practice sessions were designed for the trainees to start teaming up in preparation for future national training workshops in their own countries and to evaluate their understanding of the training module, especially the stove selection process. All sessions were conducted in English and this proved quite a challenge for some of the trainees.
Each country group was assigned to select some of the 40 sessions covered in the training module. Sessions had to be selected from all of the four stove selection process stages so that the teaching practice sessions covered the entire stove selection process. Each member of the country training teams was then asked to take responsibility for specific sessions and if possible, in order to avoid duplication, to co-ordinate his or her teaching practice with that of members from other countries who chose sessions from the same stove selection stage. They were also given to understand that they were free to choose any training methodology from those provided in the training module as well as any others which they thought were appropriate for their country. They could also modify sessions to suit national situations and the materials available for use. Each teaching practice session was recorded on video for evaluation purposes.
The evaluation of teaching practice was done in many different ways. Direct feedback in the form of verbal comments was used. This was done particularly in the first two sessions. Before the practice sessions cards with questions reminding the trainees of good teaching practice were pasted onto the wall. After the teaching sessions these cards were then distributed to a number of trainees and written responses were solicited. The questions were in the form of: Does the teacher
· encourage active learning?
· provide plenty of opportunities for practical experience?
· make sure shy trainees are given a chance to speak?
· openly admit mistakes or lack of knowledge?
· Heave out what is not important or too detailed?
· prepare session plans and materials in advance?
· modify the teaching methods so they are culturally appropriate?
· show honesty and openness?
· encourage quicker trainees to help those who have more difficulty?
· make him/herself available to trainees after and in between training sessions?
· show loyalty to trainees?
· avoid embarrassing trainees?
· evaluate whether trainees will be able to use their learning in real-life situations?
· give examples to illustrate new ideas and ways?
· use the vocabulary of trainees and avoid fancy jargon?
· relate the subject to the trainees' experience?
· respond to trainee mistakes with positive criticism and patience?
· use imaginative teaching aids?
· know the subject well?
· treat trainees as friends and as equals?
· encourage participation by asking questions and presenting problems?
The results of the teaching practice were in general quite good and, as admitted by the participants themselves, such teaching practice really helped the trainees to start internalising the contents of the training module, especially the stove selection process. The different methodologies used and introduced during the teaching practice sessions were very interesting and showed that some of the participants were experienced trainers, which augured well for future national training workshops.
However, the trainees also felt that the teaching practice was difficult because of the limited time provided. Perhaps this shows that trainees need to work on being able to budget their time more effectively.
Some participants clearly found it quite an obstacle to teach in English. However, from the limited presentations, the trainers were convinced that the teaching would be a lot smoother and more effective if done in the participants' own languages.
One of the positive things about the teaching practice was the serious response from the other trainees while their colleagues were engaged in teaching. No one regarded the teaching practice as unimportant and all gave it their full attention. In summary, the teaching practice sessions were successful and all trainees claimed that they benefited greatly from the feedback from their fellow trainees and from the training team.
There was no doubt that the country teams will be effective in providing future national training workshops in their respective countries.
A more detailed description of the teaching practice sessions and general feedback comments are provided in Appendix 3.