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Children in refugee contexts urgently need quality and protective education that will help them heal, grow, protect them from further harm, and equip them with the skills they need to contribute to their communities both now and in the future. However, efforts around the world have fallen far short of this goal: in refugee settings, teachers typically receive minimal or no teacher training at all and many only have secondary school certificates and their own educational experiences to draw on. If they do receive training, it is often in the form of one-off workshops. In Kakuma, only about 31% of the teachers have received any training, which could be as little as one day.
It is clear that if we are to help children and youth imagine and build a better future, there is an urgent need for new approaches to education in refugee contexts. Providing refugee teachers with meaningful and sustained support, strengthening a sense of professional identity, and further shaping a culture of better teacher support are all critical in this context. In order to achieve this, refugee and national teachers participating in the Teachers for Teachers initiative will be supported through a threefold program that focuses on: training, coaching and mobile mentoring.
Training teams of international and local staff lead in-person training sessions with 25 to 30-person teacher cohorts. During this time, teachers learn new techniques and methodologies -- crafted particularly for emergency contexts -- that they can immediately begin putting into practice. There are two concurrent training tracks -- Initial Training Pack and Extended Training Pack -- through which all teachers participate. This is followed by peer coaching and mobile mentoring. Both cohorts receive training in the following modules: Teacher's Role and Well-being; Child Protection, Well-being and Inclusion; Pedagogy; and Curriculum and Planning.
While applying lessons learned from the training sessions, teachers have the opportunity to get contextualized and ongoing support from their peer coaches who have been selected based on their commitment to quality teaching and dedication to improving their collective profession. Peer coaches are trained to serve as a reliable and motivating source of support for their fellow teachers. Peer coaches organize regular meetings called Teacher Learning Circles (TLCs), help teachers set personalized goals connected to the training, offer positive and constructive feedback, and are available for working through the daily challenges of teaching in a crisis context. Peer Coaches also conduct classroom observations and create a safe space for teachers to reflect on their lessons and set personalized goals to improve their teaching.
Mobile mentoring is the third phase of the Teachers for Teachers initiative, through which teachers who have been through one of the training and coaching tracks have the opportunity for sustained and longer-term support from external, professional resources. Through Whatsapp teachers (mentees) are paired with a Global Mentor - volunteers from around the world with significant classroom teaching experience who provide ongoing, real time support on teaching challenges that arise on a regular basis. Global Mentors also provide tips and strategies directly related to the training. Mentors are selected based on their experiences in teaching, working in developing world contexts, and knowledge of the education in emergencies field.