Twenty-five Rwandan educators actively participated in the April 3rd Kicukiro Community of Practice (CoP) teacher training. This day-long training was organized by English Language Fellow Leah Jordano-Kudalis in collaboration with Kicukiro CoP leaders as a part of the Association of Teachers of English in Rwanda (ATER)’s local outreach activities.

Participants, who included 3 school administrators, 11 secondary teachers, and 11 primary/nursery teachers from 16 schools primarily in Kicukiro district, participated in three 90-minute workshops and an organizational meeting. The training took place at E.S. Kanombe, a public school in Kicukiro district which kindly offered its space as a training venue.

Twenty-five hardworking English teachers collaborate on unit planning for next term at the Kicukiro Community of Practice teacher training.

The first workshop, Reflections on Teaching, led by English Language Fellow Leah Jordano-Kudalis, aimed to engage teachers in learner-centered discussion, reading, and vocabulary building activities that they could in turn use with their own students; at the same time, it also asked teachers to reflect on the impact of teaching and to analyze the usefulness of
reflection as a learning tool. The second and third workshops focused on the Competency Based Curriculum that Rwanda introduced in 2015-16.

After participating in an interactive vocabulary activity, teachers at the Kicukiro Community of Practice training read a passage about the power of teaching that utilizes that vocabulary in context.

One workshop, Preparing a Competency-Based Unit Plan, led by local teacher Juliet Kyobweine, focused on understanding the educational importance of syllabi and of planning effective units of study.

Teachers review Rwanda’s new Competency-Based Curriculum at the Kicukiro Community of Practice teacher training

The other workshop, An Overview of Rwanda’s Competency-Based Curriculum and Five
Embedded Teaching Strategies, led by Fulbright Scholar Mark Simpson, highlighted the
suggested learner activities in the new curriculum and easy-to-incorporate strategies that
teachers could integrate into any lesson.

Fulbright Scholar Mark Simpson delivers a workshop for Kicukiro Community of Practice members about practical teaching strategies they can integrate into their lessons within the Competency-Based Curriculum.

Finally, the day ended with an organizational meeting in which teachers were invited to present their own best practices in future workshops with support from the English Language Fellow, learned about the U.S. Department of State sponsored Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) Program Opportunity, and brainstormed how to eventually become a more self-sustainable CoP.

Kicukiro Community of Practice members enthusiastically brainstorm ways to help their CoP self-sustain its professional development activities over the long-term.

Each workshop was rated as either “very” or “extremely” useful by all participants, and strong positive feedback was reported for each specific workshop as well as for the training overall. The following suggestions were made to improve our practice for the future:
•More time should be added to each workshop so that we can have a deeper understanding;
•Hold the training in a larger venue to more comfortably accommodate so many participants;
•Invite at least one government official in charge of education;
•Primary and secondary teachers might benefit from separate trainings;
•Additional Competency-Based Curriculum trainings would be helpful.