Have you ever guided a teacher in class over text message? Given instructions of how to tweak an activity over SMS? Advised on suitable homework via the wonders of mobile apps? Me either until now.
When I'm outside of the village, we're lucky that my trainee has enough Internet for me to answer real-time queries filling that extra ten minute lull in the class, and communicate at certain times of the day.
Van and I communicate most days; 28 out of 30. However, when I'm also away from the village, we have to choose; should we have a group discussion? Should we initiate the contact or allow our trainee a moment of breathing space? I am the teacher trainer; I have technical expertise, but Van is as much able to ponder and pose new viewpoints. Which is important; is one more important than the other?
It is essential that we develop a workable blueprint for honest virtual communication such that when we transition to online feedback with intermittent visits, teachers will be able to carry on and thrive independently.
I did laugh to myself when the young baby who lives opposite my trainee came in and was presented with my student’s cell phone to play with. Even in an environment without running water or main electric, a toddler knows how to swipe and tap away on a touch screen device. While some may presume to say that this is an invasion of traditional values or a dilution of culture, I would argue that it is a way to attain vision and hope for an emerging generation to change their environment for the better.
NEH Coordinator and Teacher Trainer
Photo Credit: "Close up person using smartphone" by Japanexperterna (CC BY SA)
Guest Post | Technology Trials: Training Teachers in Myanmar
Reflection: Then and Now
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