In Bangladesh, teachers at one secondary school have seen student engagement increase and learning outcomes improve, thanks to core skills training through the Connecting Classrooms programme.
Islamia Educational Trust (IET) Government High School is a secondary high school in the city of Narayanganj, Bangladesh with 1,620 pupils aged 12 to 18. The school achieves good academic results and is renowned for extracurricular activities.
The curriculum and exam systems in Bangladesh focus on acquiring and assessing knowledge, not skills. The teachers wanted to address this, both to develop pupils’ skills and to increase their engagement in lessons.
Through the Connecting Classrooms programme, four teachers attended core skills courses. Back in school, with the support of the school leadership team, they shared the training with all the other teachers. They mapped lessons against the core skills, to see which skill could be best promoted through different activities. Then they redesigned the lesson plans to include core skills activities.
For example, an English teacher added a new activity to a regular lesson for pupils aged 13 to 15 to raise their awareness of critical thinking and problem solving. He divided the class into two groups and made them think about why they were afraid of English and how they could overcome their fears. Students were excited by the challenge and enjoyed presenting their views.
The Science teacher adapted a project about useful bacteria to develop digital literacy, creativity and imagination, and communication and collaboration in a class of pupils aged 15 to 17. Over the course of seven days, the pupils carried out internet research, broadening their understanding of the subject by accessing different sources. Using this information, they then collated relevant information in order to make a coherent argument.
Pupils enjoy lessons more now that they promote core skills and are more engaged in their learning. 'I find my classes more interesting. I would like to present in every science class. I think my creativity and imagination power has increased,’ said one pupil, age 15.
Pupils’ behaviour has improved as a result of being more motivated. Teachers are planning ahead in order to promote core skills, which is improving pupils’ learning outcomes. The Science teacher said: 'I have made changes in my lesson plan to include core skills. I think my students are now much happier and attendance has increased.'
In future, the teachers plan to share their learning with other schools to spread the benefits more widely.