When I think of Connecting Classrooms, a Zambian proverb comes to mind. It says ‘umwana ushenda atasha banyina’ literally meaning that a child who does not travel praises the mother (as the best cook). The point of the proverb is not about travel, rather it’s about interaction. Connecting Classrooms for me provides opportunity for people to interact and come to that point where they can say Aahh!...there is another view of things of out there.
Felix Ngoma, Provincial Education Officer (Lusaka Province)
What is Connecting Classrooms?
Connecting Classrooms is a British Council global education programme for schools, designed to help young people develop the knowledge, skills and values to live and become globally aware in the 21st Century economy to contribute both locally and globally.
Over the last few years research and evidence has shown that a majority of education systems around the world are not equipping young people with the skills they need in this rapidly changing environment. The new phase of the Connecting Classrooms Programme running from 2015 – 2018 aims to address this gap in global skills and will build capacity of teachers to integrate a range of Core Skills into the teaching of the curriculum, including:
• Critical thinking and problem solving
• Creativity and imagination
• Student Leadership and personal development
• Digital Literary
• Communication and Collaboration
WHAT DOES CONNECTING CLASSROOMS OFFER?
Connecting Classrooms offers:
1. Professional Development
Connecting Classrooms offers a new range of professional development training both face-to-face and online packages. These trainings aim to support teachers to effectively integrate the teaching of core skills in the classroom. Developed by British Council and leading education experts; teaching the core skills comprises of seven training packages, each designed to develop teachers’ expertise in teaching the core skills and support them with integrating these skills into the curriculum.
Educators are encouraged to take part in Professional Development to acquire new skills. They will be equipped to introduce the core skills in the classroom; develop activity plans for embedding core skills; and put what they learn into practice. They will also gain a worldwide support network to become international educators and prepare their students for future life. We do this by working closely with Policy Makers and practitioners to deliver high quality education.
2. School Leadership
This training is designed, developed and delivered in partnership with leading practitioners and experts in the areas outlined and based on the same guiding principles of good practice.
The school leaders will also be able to access professional development at three different levels, as with teachers. In order for their school to access partnerships grants, school leaders will need to demonstrate their teacher’s involvement in core skills collaborative projects as well as the embedding of the core skills in their classrooms.
These two core skills training packages for school leaders, where school leaders will undertake professional development that introduces the rationale for core skills development and supports them to plan the provision in their school and include these core areas are:
- Introduction to Core Skills - which aims to help school leaders understand and explore the importance of the six core skills and how they can be integrated into the teaching of the curriculum.
- Leading Core Skills training packages - which aims to give school leaders the tools and approaches they need to ensure effective core skills provision in their schools.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, we also offer enabling modules which focuses on assisting school leaders to develop essential leadership skills while, uniquely applying these skills to their contexts. These enabling modules are offered in conjunction with the Core Skills training packages for School Leaders for an enhanced offer.
3. Professional Partnerships
This offer has been designed with an enhanced focus on building the capacity of teachers and school leaders to improve learning outcomes. By entering into professional partnerships, teachers will be given the opportunity to compare and share approaches overseas with other countries to build their confidence in their ability to plan and deliver core skills to young people.
There are also online resources for partnerships projects via interactive online platform – British Council Schools Online website – including an easy to follow framework for building and developing these partnerships.
4. Embedding Digital
Educators are supported to integrate basic ICT skills in classroom teaching. We offer professional development for teachers and school leaders to support them in embedding ICT into their teaching and learning. Our interactive platform – British Council Schools Online website – offers wide range of resources for use. These skills as listed above have often also been referred to as Life skills, 21st century skills etc depending upon country and context. British Council believes core skills have to be strongly embedded local cultural context and curriculum along with literacy and numeracy skills.
What we have achieved in Zambia
Since 2012 we have:
- Established 17 digital hubs in Siavonga, Chirundu, Lusaka, Kabwe, Mongu, Kitwe, Chinsali, Chipata, Chilanga, Solwezi, Livingstone, Kasama, Mansa, Choma, Mambwe, Itezhi - Tezhi and Mwembeshi
- Facilitated and supported the development of global citizens through joint collaborative curriculum project work between schools in Zambia and the UK
- Trained more than 1500 teachers and 2000 school leaders, thereby improving the variety and quality of teaching and learning methodologies in classrooms countrywide
- 160 Zambian schools in active professional partnerships with UK schools.
Visit British Council's Schools Online website to find out more about Connecting Classrooms and learn how you can get involved.