Visit of Odisee to VVOB Cambodia
From 1 to 5 September 2014 three mathematics teacher trainers of University College Odisee – formerly known as HUB-KAHO - visited VVOB Cambodia to share insights on mathematics teaching with Cambodian peers. Through provision of feedback and facilitation of a two-day workshop, they contributed to the on-going capacity development process.
Since January 2014 VVOB in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MOEYS) has started a process to develop the capacity of a selected group of primary teacher trainers and officers, who will be providing a cascade training on mathematics methodology to other teacher trainers. As part of this process, Monique Hendrickx, Truus Verstocken and Sara Van den Bulcke from the Flemish University College Odisee visited VVOB Cambodia to share their knowledge and insights on the effective use of teaching aids.
During the last couple of months primary teacher trainers and officers of MOEYS have been working on the development of a manual on how to produce and how to use teaching aids. Through the provision of feedback, the Flemish teacher trainers supported the revision process of this training manual which will be used for the cascade training.
In preparation of the cascade training on the use of teaching aids, also a two-day workshop was organised for the selected VVOB beneficiaries. After giving an impression of how mathematics was being taught in Belgium, the Odisee team provided insights in the effective use of teaching aids.
As teaching aids are also important in supporting weaker students, additional attention was given to differentiation. Specifically, the focus was put on the importance of learning trajectories: teachers who have a good knowledge of the different progression steps will be able to go back a step if students are facing difficulties. Through practical assignments the Odisee team familiarised the participants with the development of such learning paths.
Although many similarities were found between the Cambodian and Belgian way of teaching mathematics, it were the differences which led to animated discussions and provided a starting point for future action.
Through discussions the participants reflected on the current practices in both countries and compared the advantages and disadvantages. Why are number lines important? Are they also important if the focus is on vertical calculations rather than mental calculations? Can we use number lines to address mistakes of students? These reflections resulted in points of action in both short and long term.
In the short term the core team will be contextualising the received input and further adjust their instructions on the use of teaching aids. But as one of the staff members of the Curriculum Development Department indicated, some changes cannot be made in the short term as they are structural. But with reforms on both primary and teacher training level coming up, which includes adjustments of curriculum and text books, all ideas are welcomed.
The input provided by the Flemish mathematics teacher trainers is of great value to the MoEYS-VVOB programme in Cambodia. We are very grateful for all their hard work and hope to continue our fruitful cooperation in the future. And as this was the last session given by Monique Hendrickx, we would like to thank her specifically and wish her a well-deserved and pleasant retirement.