How and what to teach the children in Myanmar at the primary level?


From 2001 to 2006, I also participated in the practical training on teaching methods for teachers as one of the experts, which was carried out by JICA at the request of the Ministry of Education of the Government of Myanmar to improve basic education. It was part of the plan. In the teacher training, I was in charge of the subjects from the kindergarten class of elementary school to the comprehensive study of the first and second years of elementary school. This was a really exciting and interesting experience. There have been endless discoveries in improving teaching methods in basic education. I enjoyed improving the teaching methods of teachers, but I also had a lot of trouble. It is to switch from traditional memorization and whip teaching methods (TCA) by teachers to participatory and experiential teaching methods such as CCA (teaching method centered on children's sensibilities and experiences). Because it was a very difficult task.

Traditionally, lessons were conducted in Myanmar by memorization, and teachers also organized the lessons for that purpose. The students used to memorize all the textbooks with thin black-and-white pictures out loud, so the lessons were such that they could actually experience and experience the contents of the textbooks. Is almost nonexistent. Therefore, I did many exercises in which the training teachers first experienced grass, trees, flowers, insects, soil, water, etc. in nature with their own senses. It looked fresh and many teachers were crazy about discovering many things.

However, when I tried to give an observation class for the moon and stars, it was difficult for the teachers to insist that "the moon and stars come out at night, so the teacher cannot observe them." The reason is that they work as teachers during the day, but from the evening most teachers help their livelihoods by working as cram school teachers or school teachers. The teacher's household was very poor.

Also, in order to make an interesting lesson, I took a lot of Japanese picture-story shows and made good use of their traditional "world of narrative", and this was a very effective lesson. .. In the lower grades, there are many schools where ethnic minorities other than the Myanmar people are mixed, and language communication is not good, so the visual expression caught the children's hearts. After talking about the picture-story show, I arranged all the picture-story shows on the podium and asked, "Well, which scene was the most interesting?" And "Why?" Instead of showing the picture-story show unilaterally, we asked the children to explain why it was interesting. This will allow them to freely express the world they feel and the world they are impressed with.

Then, it was a difficult time under military administration so that teachers could , but I devised a "word" called the picture map workshop. We held a workshop to create a picture map of "what is the problem in the teaching method" by "text, picture and design". After serious discussions in the group, we asked each person to write about 10 problems and solutions on a small piece of paper, and then each group summarized the problems and solutions in sentences, pictures and designs. Then, although there was usually little discussion or criticism, using this method, all kinds of problems and solutions were expressed happily. In other words, teachers in every country are familiar with . It was as if all the problems that had been accumulated in the teacher's mind were all in place.

By holding such a workshop, it seemed that we succeeded in opening the hearts of many teachers freely. In short, teachers most needed a little external stimulus, a space and a way of expression that they could express freely. With that, teachers will be born who will impress everywhere.

The dawn of democratization in Myanmar was around 2002, which I couldn't imagine yet, but I especially tried to incorporate many essays (writing exercises) that freely express my thoughts. When I put up issues such as "the most interesting story I experienced" and "the story of the disaster I encountered", the atmosphere of the classroom changed while I saw it, the attitude of the teachers became very tense, and it became tremendously hot. It was. And when everyone finished writing and started the overall presentation, the atmosphere was at its peak. It started not only reading my essay, but also enthusiastically presenting it as a narrative beyond the essay.

They must have had a ton of "what they wanted to say, what they wanted to express, what they appealed to." The most painful and sad memories I encountered were shown one after another. The teachers who talked were also weeping, and the teachers who were listening to the essay were also weeping. Improvements in the "teaching methods" of teachers, such as the structure of the lessons, overcame major challenges one after another. However, it was an event in the field of integrated learning that I was in charge of. A living and moving experience was most needed at the school site of basic education in Myanmar. I think that the road to democratization that JICA opened up in such an era made a great contribution in the closed situation of the military junta.

These experiences were completed as three thick teaching method books, and the English and Burmese versions were widely distributed to school officials. I heard from Japanese educators as a strong request to distribute these CCA instruction books to Japanese schools. I also want JICA to do its best. If that happens, I think the experience in Myanmar will be even more useful, but ... I am suffering from the exact same challenges in Japan ...
















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