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|Need of Fruitful Professional Workshops|
At Padri Vjeko centre, we have a Vocational Training Centre (VTC) and a Technical Secondary School (TSS) where youth get training and education in various technical fields, giving them hope for a better future. Almost all of our teachers and our trainers in this centre do not have formal education training. For this reason it has not been not easy to fulfil or perform duties as professional as intended, but, by being blessed with having a Canadian educator, Valerie Ken, in collaboration with our director of Padri Vjeko Centre, fra Ivica Peric, the teachers and trainers have been helped by fruitful professional workshops.
During the workshops in August and December 2015, our teachers and our trainers have been trained in different teaching methods in a more student-centred method. They were also trained in the preparation of teaching materials such as notes and competency chart and creating practical projects along with criteria for marking. Not only did we learn about teaching methods, but also about classroom management in different scenarios that can happen among students and between a student and teacher.
After these workshops, the teachers started to implement what they had been trained in, even if it was somehow new to them. Little by little, they started to change their teaching methods. These newer approaches of changing the teacher-centred method to student-centred method with the emphasis on the student working, was an improvement on how she/he worked in the past. Teachers started to use student groups, simulation of activities, providing topics to the students to research and discussion periods where students can raise their ideas on the topic given with the teacher to guide them.
In the workshops the teachers also learned how a good and professional teacher should conduct his/herself and how to prepare different documents such as a scheme of work, a session plan, course plans, etc. Our teachers now know the purpose of each document and how to provide the content of each document. As professional teachers of Padri Vjeko Centre, out trainers try their best to use these different educational materials, even though, due to their own educational background, these were not familiar to them.
The objective of each course or subject is that the student should correctly perform what he learned from that lesson. So in the workshop, teachers were trained in how to prepare “competency charts” which allows the teacher to confirm whether the student is competent or not yet competent. As a result, the teachers have listed the different competencies to be covered in their subjects and they posted these charts on the walls of the classrooms. This will help students to reflect on their own performance, prompting them to make the decision to perform better or to complete all the competencies. Also, these charts will help teachers to recognize the various weaknesses or strengths of the students, which will help them to prepare lessons for the next session. Not only are competency charts being used, but also practical projects are designed that will be used to assess students for their overall competence.
Teachers at Padri Vjeko Centre willingly dedicate themselves to their job, applying their educational knowledge and their skills. They have a real thirst and desire for more professional training that helps them to shape their programs and increase their skills in order to educate our youth and prepare them to take part in the future development of our nation and the world as a whole. As the former president of the Republic of South Africa, Nelson Madiba Mandela, said: ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”