Zambian colleges are undertaking a real journey in the VVOB-MOE Teacher Support Programme, more specifically on the pillar Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
Colleges carried out a self-evaluation (focusing on teaching and learning) which resulted in the identification of perceived good practices and key areas for improvement. After identifying areas for improvement and action plans, including CPD activities to address, these priority areas were being developed.
During the monitoring of both the programme and the implementation of the action plans, all colleges reflected on their progress and exchanged successes, good practices and challenges (see M&E report CPD in colleges and Monitoring report Implementation Action Plan). Needs and challenges identified were: 1) colleges need to learn more about assessment and innovative teaching methodologies and 2) colleges need to strengthen their leadership and coaching skills (including process of distributed leadership). How to address these challenges was not immediately clear.
While reading the book “Leading change in your school” by Douglas B. Reeves, Hans Casier came across a case study about Zambia. With aroused interest, he finished the reading and then decided to contact the author. A simple e-mail became the start of something big.
In February 2010, the Leadership and Learning Center (LLC, a US based, internationally recognised educational resource centre that has provided learning support for teachers and educational leaders on every continent) agreed to partner in the VVOB-MOE Teacher Training Support Programme to support meeting some of the needs that were prioritised in the national CPD Task Team. The LLC made a ten year commitment to facilitate a yearly seminar and provide ongoing learner support afterwards (through, for example, providing reference materials, e-coaching and establishing a website with webinars, blogs and discussion) to assure a long lasting impact in improving teacher education in Zambia.
The first seminar of Lead and Learn Zambia took place from 9 to 13 August 2010. Principals, vice-principals, CPD and DE coordinators and Assessment representatives of all 12 colleges of education attended the seminar. The leadership and Learning Center sent 6 facilitators, among them Douglas Reeves. The seminar focused on four main themes – Teaching, Leadership, Coaching & Assessment and participants were split in four groups with each group exposed to the above themes. On the last day of the seminar all participants were requested to and guided in developing their own personal action plan: “What is it that I, given my role in the college, can put into practice from what I have learnt here?