Chinese teaching practice model impresses South Sudan teachers

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A teacher from a middle school in Lanzhou, west China's Gansu province teaches online in an empty classroom, March 30, 2020. By Ding Kai, People's Daily Online
By Ding Kai, People's Daily Online

Several South Sudanese teachers who completed a month-long training on the new competence-based education curriculum for Primary 2 to 4 learners are impressed with the knowledge acquired from their Chinese instructors.

Garang Garang Deng, a 32-year-old teacher from Northern Bahr El Ghazal state, told Xinhua on Thursday, that before enrolling for this latest training, they used to rely only on teaching theories without engaging the learners in practice during lessons.

“Before we were teaching learners theoretically like for example 2 plus 1, they say three without us drawing something on the chalkboard to demonstrate to the learners, this often left them confused,” Garang said after receiving his certificate during a ceremony held for 110 participants in Rombur National Teacher Training Institute in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

Garang who teaches mathematics at Halbul Primary School in Aweil town said his perceptions on teaching have been transformed since the training commenced on Nov. 15.

“The training I have received here is different from what I was previously trained, I now know how to deliver lessons to learners effectively. For example, I can draw diagrams for the learners to see what I am telling them,” he disclosed.

Initially unfamiliar with teaching methods involving a computer and projector, Garang has since gained practical knowledge and now feels confident in conducting online lessons.

“I never knew how to teach using a projector and it is my first time to see a projector in Rombur teacher training institute,” he said.

The enhancement of teachers’ skills is a crucial component of the second phase of the China-Aided Technical Cooperation Project in Education.

In November, approximately 150 teachers and school managers participated in training sessions in China as an integral part of this initiative.

Conducted in multiple stages by educators from the Shanghai Educational Publishing House, the training program aims to benefit around 330 teachers.

Mayar Lual Mayar, a 29-year-old mathematics instructor at Emmy Rovin Primary School in Warrap state, said that his Chinese instructors have equipped him with valuable knowledge, enabling him to develop comprehensive lesson plans and simplify mathematics concepts for his students.

“When I was in Warrap state teaching in Emmy Rovin primary school, the knowledge that I had then and what I have acquired here are quite different, because previously I did not know how to make a lesson plan, scheme of work and how to make mathematics easier for learners to understand,” he said.

Mayar said he would advocate for organizing training workshops for teachers in Warrap state upon his return, which aim to teach educators with the newly developed competence-based education curriculum crafted by Chinese experts.

“I will talk to the state authorities to organize some workshops and bring in teachers so that I can do a training and if I train about ten of them, each of them will go and train more others so that the quality of education improves in the State,” Mayar said.

Rebecca Agok, a 32-year-old science teacher from Mapara primary school in Warrap state, said the training she received is very different from the one she attended before starting teaching.

“The first step I learned is on how to address the classroom, how to conduct lessons and how to plan lessons and the objectives of teaching,” she said.

Xiang Zhengyu, a mathematics instructor, said that he has been teaching the trainees how to utilize the syllabus and teaching materials from Primary 2 to Primary 4, including the use of diagrams and area model multiplication.

“When I reviewed the Primary 2 to Primary 4 textbooks, there were some materials that were new for the teachers. In the new textbooks, there are certain elements not present in the older versions, such as certain aspects of statistics like bar charts. While the teachers are familiar with bar charts, these topics weren’t taught in Primary 4 in the previous curriculum, but they are introduced in these new textbooks,” Xiang said.

Two decades ago, people believed concepts such as the commutative, distributive and associative laws of mathematics might have been challenging for learners in Primary 3 to Primary 4, he added.

“However, now more countries worldwide are introducing these kinds of abstract calculation laws in lower grades. So, these teaching materials might be new for these teachers because they need to incorporate them into earlier grades, which could pose a challenge,” Xiang said.

Amin Ezra Danga, deputy principal for academic affairs at Rombur National Teacher Training Institute, said that previously they were using a knowledge-based curriculum that did not guarantee a deeper understanding of the learners.

Danga said the new competence-based curriculum is based on understanding the knowledge.

“The method of this curriculum is that we use group work and pair work where students discover knowledge for themselves, this means they will understand deeply than giving knowledge to them,” he said.

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