At least 60 senior mentors who have been undergoing training will be deployed across the country in the 12-Year-Basic-Education (12YBE) schools from Primary One to Senior Three to improve on the capacity of the mentor teachers.
They have under gone a one-week training regarding mentoring practice, pedagogy, and English language assessment. This is part of the Rwanda Education Board (REB) School-based Mentoring Program, facilitated by the USAID-funded Literacy, Language, and Learning (L3) Initiative and the International Education Exchange.
The school-based mentoring programme will reach P.1 to S.3 teachers across the country in the effort to improve student learning outcomes in literacy and numeracy. In order to achieve this result, the initiative aims to improve teachers’ English language skills and their ability to use proven instructional practices in their subjects.
“When teachers are speaking English well and are confident in their use of new, effective instructional techniques, they will be better able to support student learning,” says Damian Ntaganzwa, head of REB’s Teacher Development and Management department.
He added that, “teachers are receiving continuous professional development support through strong mentorship. Each of the 60 senior mentors will train and oversee up to 16 School-based mentors, already deployed across the country, who work directly with teachers at two schools each.”
“Senior mentors, some of whom had been previously working as school-based mentors, will ensure quality mentoring through visiting schools, providing guidance, and conducting professional development meetings for school-based mentors,” Ntaganzwa said.
In turn, school-based mentors supervise teachers by modelling effective instructional practice, supporting lesson preparation, observing classes, and holding regular meetings.
Among the things covered, senior mentors were oriented on their responsibilities and effective mentorship techniques, they explored active learner-centred lessons, the appropriate use of English, how to encourage critical thinking, and used bottle caps, paper scraps, and other low-cost, locally available materials to make instructional materials, such as geometrical shapes and alphabet charts.
They were also introduced to the Rwandan English Proficiency Standards (REPS) for teachers, which are the basis for the assessment tools that mentors will use in supporting teachers to improve their English language skills.
“A big part of your job as senior mentors is to focus on supporting teachers with the lowest levels of English language skills,” L3’s Paul Gilbody, who supported REB in developing the standards and tools, told the mentors at the training.
The senior mentors are eager to move to their districts next week. “I am sure it is going to be an exciting experience,” Brian Mugisha a senior mentor, said of his new post.