These can take the form of:

  • Coaches or mentors for teachers
  • Additional classroom teachers or teacher aides to help with implementing teaching or using alternative approaches
  • The general support offered by the School Management Team, the Principal or the District.

Some key lessons on Human Resources Support:

  • Where tutors are present to help learners engage with subject matter content on a portal. They should not be distracted by logistical and technical issues as this undermines the purpose of the session. Logistical and technical issues affect not only the dosage time but also the quality of the session provided to the learners. Providers need to ensure that there is a technical resource available to deal with a wide range of troubleshooting approaches during the computer-based learning sessions, so that the tutor is free to work with the learners.  
  • Tutors at computer-based sessions should make sure that learners have a clear sense of how to use the programme; situations in which (for example) learners are simply trying various options then moving on, or taking down notes from the portal content, lose the advantages of the e-learning platform. Mixed face-to-face and portal sessions should follow a carefully structured plan where the two techniques build on and connect to each other.
  • Face-to-face tutoring sessions were perceived to be beneficial to learners, with the majority of learners liking the teaching and communication style of the tutors and feeling confident in asking questions.
  • A strong Project Manager is key in projects which have a number of stakeholders and actors at various levels. Roles and responsibilities should be documented up front, and the project manager should have the time and capacity to visit schools, monitor implementation and talk to role players at all levels.
  • Achieving authentic videos which illustrate best practice and real classroom situations and problems requires careful planning, scripting and a context in which trust is built up between teachers and coaches: this is a process which takes time, and in which the quality of the videos as teaching resources is built up incrementally.
  • Co-facilitation provides alternative viewpoints for groups, and continuity when one facilitator is unavailable. The GIBS Spirit of Youth project found that bringing in outsiders on occasion was problematic as the required relationship of trust was missing.

The following Key Lessons are taken from Project 5, the GEDT Maths and Science Grants project:

  • School leadership played an important role: the principal and HODs were very supportive, and permanent staff were carefully prepared. It was made clear that the HR inputs were not to be full time educators in competition  with teachers, but part of a team in support of the staff (sharing lesson planning and marking), and providing remedial teaching to weak learners.
  • The environments in the two schools in which the project succeeded were stable, with good discipline and strong leadership
  • Where principals took ownership of the project, both permanent staff and additional teachers were highly motivated
  • The successful schools were prepared to be flexible in their organisational and timetabling arrangements in order to facilitate strategies such as team teaching and extra remedial lessons, rather than using the teachers in traditional ways
  • There was close management by the Project Strategy Manager of the additional teachers, and across the different schools they were given opportunities for engagement and discussion, thus forming their own community of practice
  • The Project Strategy Manager was also instrumental in liaising with the schools via the school principals and ensuring that the principals held a sense of ownership and control over the project and how it was implemented in their respective schools.
  • The team teaching relationship has to be negotiated sensitively with teachers in schools, so that it is not perceived as a threat. This requires good communication from the project leaders, from the principal and school management, and from the additional teachers themselves.
  • Where a key project input is the provision of additional teachers to the school (Project 5 [Maths and Science Grants]), the quality (knowledge, skills and attitudes) of these teachers needs to meet certain criteria.  The following have been distilled from this project:
    • Degreed people with specialisations relevant to the teaching subjects.
    • Some teaching experience. (The additional teachers all had some teaching experience through their work with Sci-Bono.)
    • Good communication skills, in relation to establishing good relations with both the teachers and learners in project schools.
    • Ability to work independently.
    • Good understanding of maths and learners’ mathematical errors.
    • Sensitivity to both learners and teachers.
    • An ethical and responsible approach to their work.
  • Team teaching  was seen as offering the following benefits, especially pertinent to large classes:
    • Sharing of work load, leading to faster feedback on assessment task.
    • Easier identification of problem areas and struggling learners.
    • Improved classroom management, as two people are able to observe all learners.
    • Flexibility in terms of being able to relieve each other when necessary.
    • Ability to maintain the pace of teaching, in that one teacher can go back to basics with a group of learners while the other can maintain the specified teaching schedule.
    • The ability to co-develop more innovative strategies which shift from a content focus to a learner focus.
  • The remediation in extra lessons after hours aspect was also seen as beneficial, especially by learners, who had more time to ask questions. These lessons supported and revised what was learned in normal lessons and allowed for grouping of learners into ability levels.

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