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Supporting the development of local teachers through collaborative teacher training
  • Teacher Training

We spoke with Jennifer Kaumbulu, Group Teacher Training Manager at Braeburn Schools (COBIS Training School) to hear about how they are working in partnership with local universities to deliver an International Education course to enable trainee teachers in Kenya and Tanzania to learn about how international schools operate within a national context.

Braeburn Schools Limited has a strong track-record of delivering Initial Teacher Training in an international context, including supporting a significant number of trainees each year to complete a PGCEi (with a bespoke programme of school-based training running alongside the University of Nottingham programme). In addition, they have developed an International Education course as part of partnerships with The Catholic University of Eastern Africa and University of Dar es Salaam. The course is offered as an elective unit to Bachelor of Education students in their third year at the universities in Kenya and Tanzania.

The course was designed with key focus areas to enable students to understand how international schools operate within a national context. The course aims to help students to develop an understanding of international education, develop the pedagogical skills in teaching and learning in an international school, and create an understanding of the expectations in international schools.

The unit covers a range of topics, including differences between national and international schools, curriculum in international schools, ICT in teaching and learning (including an increased focus on remote teaching and learning as a result of Covid-19), behaviour management, inclusion, lesson planning, assessment, PSHE, safeguarding, and much more.

The course, which has been running for five years, is delivered on a voluntary basis by Braeburn staff, including Jennifer and other members of senior staff within the Braeburn teaching community with expertise in particular areas (e.g. behaviour management, curriculum, etc.) Jennifer herself has worked at Braeburn for 20 years, starting as a trainee teacher. She spent seven years as Head of one of the Braeburn schools, before moving into her current role as Group Teacher Training Manager.

When asked why a course like this might be important within the national context, she highlights the need to develop skills within the local population and local teachers, and the importance of broadening thinking and understanding. At the same time, the course has been developed to be sensitive to the environment and the culture of the countries. It is not expected that all those who complete the course will go on to work in the international sector, but that the skills can be practised in any classroom. Jennifer feels that over time the course may also lead to positive changes in behaviour and mindset.

“It will have an impact on changing our classroom practice, teacher-student relationships, and teacher perspectives on how they manage students.”

For Braeburn Schools, the course also has the advantage of identifying a pool of prospective teachers with an interest in and understanding of the international education system. The semester-long course is delivered in school, so the trainees have seen the school environment, been in the classrooms, and are better able to conceptualise what international education is all about. Some of these trainees may then be good candidates for additional training and employment within one of the Braeburn Schools. Some have extended their connection with Braeburn Schools following the course as volunteers or TAs, or have gone on to complete the PGCEi programme (in some cases, with scholarship support from Braeburn). Another advantage of the programme for Braeburn is the increased awareness of the ways in which Braeburn supports the development of the community.

“We are getting the word out there that we are creating a pathway for young people; caring for the citizens of the country and developing them.”

The International Education unit is a popular option for the Bachelor of Education students, with many more engaging in the rigorous application process than can be accommodated each year. Jennifer and her colleagues at Braeburn continue to review and develop the programme, as well as considering what the next steps may be to continue to grow and develop the global teacher workforce.