At The Aga Khan School, Dhaka (AKS,D), professional development is an integral part of the academic tradition. During the 2020-2021 academic year, the school provided teachers with virtual professional development opportunities whilst adhering to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols in Bangladesh. As a result, teachers participated in local and global virtual training programmes.
The school’s Professional Development Teachers (PDTs) support teachers by bridging the gap between theory and teaching practice. This year, the PDTs organised a virtual induction for new teachers of the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and secondary section. To cater to the needs of teachers at different grade levels, sessions are usually conducted in two different segments: primary and secondary.
AKS,D firmly believes that better supporting new teachers leads to teachers better supporting students in their learning. The school’s professional development opportunities allow teachers to reinforce existing skills and learn new skills that were not covered during their initial training. Research-based and practitioner-led modules provide focused and interactive sessions while providing staff with a comprehensive learning platform. Whether it be in-person or virtual, the overarching purpose of this training remains the same: to help teachers improve the quality of their teaching in order to further improve student outcomes.
New Grade 3 teacher Ms. Humayra Rayhana Khan said, “The induction workshop was like an umbrella for me as it provided me a shelter in a new working place and helped me develop professionally. This workshop has paved the way for effective teaching and [has] made me more confident. My teaching skills were nurtured well through participation in this workshop."
In addition to the internal training, teachers receive additional training opportunities, specifically International Baccalaureate learning practices. In March 2021, PYP teachers attended a virtual workshop on Evidencing Learning hosted by UK-based Educational Consultant Maggie Hos-McGrane. The two-day event aimed to build teachers’ assessment capabilities through inquiry into their assessment practices.
New Grade 4 teacher, Ms. Kaniz Taskina Trisha, remarked, “Among all the activities, I loved doing the 'feedback to feedforward' session the most [because] we learnt various ways of giving feedback to differentiated tasks. This workshop helped me reflect on [how I can improve] my teaching and made me more focused on my job.”
Encouraging teachers to follow contemporary teaching practices is another goal for professional development at AKS,D. To set a good example for students regarding positive social and emotional behaviour, and to learn how to better communicate with students according to their emotional needs, teachers were trained in social emotional leaning. They were taught useful strategies to support students emotionally and coached on how to integrate social emotional learning outcomes as part of their teaching practices.
As a result of the sessions and workshops, teachers were inspired to create a Professional Learning Community for all AKS,D staff. The idea behind this Community is to enhance and share their knowledge of the subjects they teach, and this will continue into the next academic year.
Following the virtual training programmes at AKS,D, teachers will use the related skills and knowledge to deliver high-quality teaching and contribute to a more positive impact on student outcomes. In the words of British educationalist Dylan Wiliam, “Every teacher needs to improve, not because they are not good enough, but because they can be even better.”
Photos (top to bottom):
- The school’s professional development programme aims to help teachers to improve the quality of their teaching in order to further improve student outcomes (photo taken prior to COVID-19).
- Professional development is an integral part of the academic tradition at The Aga Khan School, Dhaka (photo taken prior to COVID-19).