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Investing in Teacher Capacity – The key to effective learning

Investing in Teacher Capacity – The key to effective learning

Author(s)

Renaud Comba

 

Publication series:
Policy Brief

No. of pages: 4

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(PDF, 0.56 MB)(PDF, 0.55 MB)

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Abstract

While the Government of Lao PDR, through the Ministry of Education and Sports and its development partners, has made steady progress in expanding access to quality education, many children still leave primary school with difficulties in reading and writing for their age. Despite this, there are ‘positive deviant’ schools that outperform other schools located in similar contexts and with an equivalent level of resources.

Data Must Speak (DMS) Positive Deviance research is a multi-staged mixed-method approach, co-created and co-implemented with Ministries of Education. It aims to generate knowledge about the positive deviant practices and behaviours of high performing schools. It also seeks to unravel practical lessons about ‘what works’ and how to scale grassroots solutions for national policymakers and the broader international community of education stakeholders.

This policy brief – focused on teachers’ capacity – is part of a series that presents key research findings of the DMS research quantitative stage in Lao PDR. More importantly, it aims to inform policy dialogue and decision-making in Lao PDR and other interested countries.

Available in:
English

More in this series: Data Must Speak

Our Teachers, Our Researchers: Three Insights from Teachers in Lao PDR on Co-Implementing Education Research
Blog

Our Teachers, Our Researchers: Three Insights from Teachers in Lao PDR on Co-Implementing Education Research

Authors: H.E. Dr. Phouth Simmalavong, Minister of Education, Ministry of Education and Sports Lao PDR; Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF Representative Lao PDR; Bo Viktor Nylund, Director, UNICEF InnocentiResearch methods traditionally separate data collectors from research participants. In educational research, those participants are often teachers. However, emerging methods are employing innovative techniques in which teachers play an active role in evidence generation. The learning environment is shaped by teachers, making them key actors within education systems. Co-implementing research with teachers could benefit the integration of evidence into practice and help answer key research questions.In Lao PDR, a country where student performance varies across districts and schools, the Ministry of Education and Sports (the Ministry) is piloting putting schools and teachers at the centre of evidence-generation. This effort contributes to the Ministry’s bid to meet SDG 4 (i.e., inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all). The Ministry believes that teachers, being the implementers of education programmes and policies, should also be given the chance to actively take part in generating evidence.Involving teachers in the Data Must Speak Research:The Ministry of Education and Sports, UNICEF Lao PDR Country Office, and UNICEF Innocenti – Global Office of Research and Foresight co-created and co-implemented the Data Must Speak (DMS) Positive Deviance Research,a mixed method research initiative to understand what makes schools effective and scale grassroot solutions to improve education outcomes across Lao PDR. Data Must Speak is an opportunity to design research methods that actively involves teachers and all other school-level stakeholders.During a technical workshop in Vientiane in October 2020, representatives from different departments at the Ministry, the National University of Laos, and UNICEF designed and reviewed both the methodology and instruments for the Data Must Speak Positive Deviance Research. Interestingly, instead of hiring external enumerators, the Ministry turned to 60 teachers in training from their local teacher training colleges to collect data that will help unpack factors influencing school performance in the country. Those soon-to-be-teachers, now also researchers, received a three-day training on using digital tools, such as smartphones and tablets, to collect and record data. They also received ethics training on how to appropriately engage with research participants. They were later sent into the field to interview students, teachers, and school leaders across 120 primary schools in eight provinces: Bokeo, Champasak, Houaphanh, Luang Prabang, Savannakhet, Vientiane Province, Vientiane and Xieng Khouang.What we have learned:A few months ago, those 60 teachers-turned-researchers were tasked with collecting data from schools across the country. They later shared their experiences and feedback on this new, exciting exercise. Their insights on involving teachers in the research implementation are outlined below:1. It fosters teacher engagement as they participate in how the research is both designed and implemented. Co-implementing education research with teachers goes beyond engaging them through consultation. It provides them with concrete opportunities to contribute to and participate in decisions related to education programmes and policies. In the Data Must Speak research, teachers are involved from the outset, they help the research team make decisions on the research design, methodologies, and data collection instruments. Moreover, “teachers bring great insight and perspective through their hands-on experience with teaching students,” as one of the teachers involved in the research highlighted.2. It promotes ownership and helps ensure follow-up actions based on research findings. Having teachers collect education data ensures that research outputs, will later be understood, used, and valued by end-users, particularly the teachers themselves. Additionally, it encourages teachers to take ownership of education data, programmes and policies. “I think it is important that teachers are involved in studies on education because it will help them get a better understanding of the different challenges to effective education and help identify solutions,” said one of the teachers who collected data for the research.3. It enriches teachers’ understanding of education issues. When teachers take part in education research, they are further exposed to the realities and problems across the education system. This helps them better understand the interconnection between factors influencing school performance. More importantly, it grounds them as they implement context-specific solutions to problems in their classrooms. One of the soon-to-be-teachers underlined: “As part of this study, I got to see many different types of schools all over the country, from schools in the Northern parts of the country to the Southern provinces, all of which have their own approaches to teaching. The experience was enlightening, and I try to pick out the best practices from these schools and keep them in mind so that I can implement them and become a better teacher in the future.” When reflecting on their life experiences people often speak of the influence their teachers had on them. Not only do teachers play a fundamental role in their students’ learning, but they also serve as the backbone of education systems. At their best, teachers transform their understanding of the key factors of school effectiveness into the best learning outcomes for their students. The Data Must Speak research strives to create the space for teachers to be researchers, respondents, and beneficiaries all at once.What’s next?The Data Must Speak Positive Deviance Research in Lao PDR is progressing well amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic. Quantitative data collection was completed in 2021 in more than 120 schools. The research team, together with the Ministry, finalized the additional qualitative data collection in 12 schools in May 2022 in accordance with all national and local rules and regulations. Stay tuned for preliminary findings coming soon.****The DMS Research is a multi-stage mixed-method initiative, co-created and co-implemented with ministries of education. It aims to generate knowledge about the positive deviant practices and behaviours of schools performing comparatively better considering their contexts. It also seeks to unravel practical lessons about ‘what works’ and how national policymakers and the broader international community can scale up these grassroots solutions. It is currently carried out in 14 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America with the support of the European Union, Jacobs Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, IDRC/GPE KIX, NORAD and Schools2030.For more information on the Data Must Speak Positive Deviance Research, please contact:Mr. Panya Chanthavong, Deputy Director General, Department of Education Quality Assurance, Ministry of Education and Sports Lao PDR, panya.c@moes.gov.laLeotes Helin, Chief of Education, UNICEF Lao PDR, lhelin@unicef.orgJessica Bergmann, Co-Manager Data Must Speak Research, UNICEF Innocenti, jbergmann@unicef.org
Our Teachers, Our Researchers: Three Insights from Teachers in Lao PDR on Co-Implementing Education Research
Blog

Our Teachers, Our Researchers: Three Insights from Teachers in Lao PDR on Co-Implementing Education Research

Authors: H.E. Dr. Phouth Simmalavong, Minister of Education, Ministry of Education and Sports Lao PDR; Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF Representative Lao PDR; Bo Viktor Nylund, Director, UNICEF InnocentiResearch methods traditionally separate data collectors from research participants. In educational research, those participants are often teachers. However, emerging methods are employing innovative techniques in which teachers play an active role in evidence generation. The learning environment is shaped by teachers, making them key actors within education systems. Co-implementing research with teachers could benefit the integration of evidence into practice and help answer key research questions.In Lao PDR, a country where student performance varies across districts and schools, the Ministry of Education and Sports (the Ministry) is piloting putting schools and teachers at the centre of evidence-generation. This effort contributes to the Ministry’s bid to meet SDG 4 (i.e., inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all). The Ministry believes that teachers, being the implementers of education programmes and policies, should also be given the chance to actively take part in generating evidence.  Involving teachers in the Data Must Speak Research:The Ministry of Education and Sports, UNICEF Lao PDR Country Office, and UNICEF Innocenti – Global Office of Research and Foresight co-created and co-implemented the Data Must Speak (DMS) Positive Deviance Research, a mixed method research initiative to understand what makes schools effective and scale grassroot solutions to improve education outcomes across Lao PDR. Data Must Speak is an opportunity to design research methods that actively involves teachers and all other school-level stakeholders.During a technical workshop in Vientiane in October 2020, representatives from different departments at the Ministry, the National University of Laos, and UNICEF designed and reviewed both the methodology and instruments for the Data Must Speak Positive Deviance Research. Interestingly, instead of hiring external enumerators, the Ministry turned to 60 teachers in training from their local teacher training colleges to collect data that will help unpack factors influencing school performance in the country. Those soon-to-be-teachers, now also researchers, received a three-day training on using digital tools, such as smartphones and tablets, to collect and record data. They also received ethics training on how to appropriately engage with research participants. They were later sent into the field to interview students, teachers, and school leaders across 120 primary schools in eight provinces: Bokeo, Champasak, Houaphanh, Luang Prabang, Savannakhet, Vientiane Province, Vientiane and Xieng Khouang. What we have learned:A few months ago, those 60 teachers-turned-researchers were tasked with collecting data from schools across the country. They later shared their experiences and feedback on this new, exciting exercise. Their insights on involving teachers in the research implementation are outlined below: 1. It fosters teacher engagement as they participate in how the research is both designed and implemented. Co-implementing education research with teachers goes beyond engaging them through consultation. It provides them with concrete opportunities to contribute to and participate in decisions related to education programmes and policies. In the Data Must Speak research, teachers are involved from the outset, they help the research team make decisions on the research design, methodologies, and data collection instruments. Moreover, “teachers bring great insight and perspective through their hands-on experience with teaching students,”as one of the teachers involved in the research highlighted. 2. It promotes ownership and helps ensure follow-up actions based on research findings. Having teachers collect education data ensures that research outputs, will later be understood, used, and valued by end-users, particularly the teachers themselves. Additionally, it encourages teachers to take ownership of education data, programmes and policies. “I think it is important that teachers are involved in studies on education because it will help them get a better understanding of the different challenges to effective education and help identify solutions,”said one of the teachers who collected data for the research. 3. It enriches teachers’ understanding of education issues. When teachers take part in education research, they are further exposed to the realities and problems across the education system. This helps them better understand the interconnection between factors influencing school performance. More importantly, it grounds them as they implement context-specific solutions to problems in their classrooms. One of the soon-to-be-teachers underlined: “As part of this study, I got to see many different types of schools all over the country, from schools in the Northern parts of the country to the Southern provinces, all of which have their own approaches to teaching. The experience was enlightening, and I try to pick out the best practices from these schools and keep them in mind so that I can implement them and become a better teacher in the future.”When reflecting on their life experiences people often speak of the influence their teachers had on them. Not only do teachers play a fundamental role in their students’ learning, but they also serve as the backbone of education systems. At their best, teachers transform their understanding of the key factors of school effectiveness into the best learning outcomes for their students. The Data Must Speak research strives to create the space for teachers to be researchers, respondents, and beneficiaries all at once. What’s next?The Data Must Speak Positive Deviance Research in Lao PDR is progressing well amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic. Quantitative data collection was completed in 2021 in more than 120 schools. The research team, together with the Ministry, finalized the additional qualitative data collection in 12 schools in May 2022 in accordance with all national and local rules and regulations. Stay tuned for preliminary findings coming soon.The DMS Research is a multi-stage mixed-method initiative, co-created and co-implemented with ministries of education. It aims to generate knowledge about the positive deviant practices and behaviours of schools performing comparatively better considering their contexts. It also seeks to unravel practical lessons about ‘what works’ and how national policymakers and the broader international community can scale up these grassroots solutions. It is currently carried out in 14 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America with the support of the European Union, Jacobs Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, IDRC/GPE KIX, NORAD and Schools2030.For more information on the Data Must Speak Positive Deviance Research, please contact:Mr. Panya Chanthavong, Deputy Director General, Department of Education Quality Assurance, Ministry of Education and Sports Lao PDR, panya.c@moes.gov.laLeotes Helin, Chief of Education, UNICEF Lao PDR, lhelin@unicef.orgJessica Bergmann, Co-Manager Data Must Speak Research, UNICEF Innocenti, jbergmann@unicef.org 
Data Systems and Data Use in Education: Data Must Speak (DMS) Positive Deviance Research
Event

Data Systems and Data Use in Education: Data Must Speak (DMS) Positive Deviance Research

The Global Partnership for Education Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX), in partnership with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), is pleased to invite you to the Third Annual KIX Symposium, which will be held virtually on October 12-13, 2022 from 12 NN – 1:30 PM CET.   
Analyse méthodologique pour la recherche Data Must Speak: Enseignements tirés de l’approche modèle positive, des sciences comportementales, de la recherche sur la mise en oeuvre et de la science de la mise à l’échelle
Publication

Analyse méthodologique pour la recherche Data Must Speak: Enseignements tirés de l’approche modèle positive, des sciences comportementales, de la recherche sur la mise en oeuvre et de la science de la mise à l’échelle

La pandémie a aggravé une crise de l'apprentissage et mis en péril les objectifs mondiaux. Et pourtant, même dans les contextes éducatifs les plus difficiles, certaines écoles obtiennent de meilleurs résultats que d'autres, situées dans des contextes similaires et avec un niveau de ressources équivalent. Pourquoi ces écoles exceptionnelles, connues sous le nom d'écoles "modèles positives", obtiennent-elles de meilleurs résultats en matière d'apprentissage, de rétention, d'équité et d'égalité des sexes ? Data Must Speak (DMS) - une initiative mondiale mise en œuvre depuis 2014 - vise à combler les lacunes en matière de preuves tangibles pour atténuer la crise de l'apprentissage en utilisant les données existantes. Le volet recherche de DMS est cocréé avec les ministères de l'éducation. Il s'appuie sur des méthodes mixtes pour générer des connaissances, parallèlement à des enseignements pratiques sur ce qui fonctionne, pourquoi et comment mettre à l'échelle des solutions de terrain pour les décideurs politiques nationaux et la communauté internationale dans le domaine de l'éducation. La recherche utilise des approches innovantes et complémentaires telles que l’approche modèle positive, des sciences comportementales, de la recherche sur la mise en œuvre et de la science de la mise à l'échelle pour identifier et mettre à l'échelle les comportements et les pratiques des écoles "modèles positives". Cette revue méthodologique présente les définitions, concepts et méthodologies clés de ces approches afin de guider et d'informer le développement et la mise en œuvre de la recherche DMS au niveau national. En s'appuyant sur des exemples existants tirés de la recherche sur l'éducation et d'autres domaines, cet revue propose également les meilleures pratiques et les leçons tirées de ces approches qui peuvent être utilisées comme référence commune et langage standard pour leurs applications futures.