With the support of the Myanmar Union Ministry of Education, a landmark MOE-TREE Practicum workshop led by the Towards Results in Education and English - TREE team was held at the Department of Higher Education in Nay Pyi Taw on 4th and 5th February, 2020. Participants included the Department of Higher Education, principals of Education Colleges, heads of departments from Education Colleges, representatives from Township Education Offices, and principals of primary, and middle schools principals also in attendance.
It was a significant workshop as it brought together representatives from across educational institutions with the aim of having a shared understanding of the importance of ‘practicum’ (teaching practice) in a teacher’s professional journey and to begin to develop systems to strengthen ‘practicum’ across institutions.
Professor Dr. Myo Thein Gyi, Union Education Minister, also made a brief visit to the practicum workshop and encouraged all participants to support the implementation of new practicum arrangements and to work together for a better education system in Myanmar.
Dr. May San Yee, Deputy Director General of the Department of Higher Education, encouraged all participants to cooperate actively to implement the new practicum arrangements for the Student Teachers who are being trained in the new curriculum and to support them by providing experienced mentors when they undertake practicum at the Partner Schools and Practicing Schools.
During the practicum workshop, participants discussed the responsibilities and roles of educational institutes to support the new practicum arrangements and to discuss how best to support student teachers during their teaching practice at partnership and practicing schools. Moreover, participants familiarised themselves with an instrument for evaluating observed practicum and learnt how this practice can support the development of the student teachers and education reform.
In addition, participants discussed how TREE facilitators can support the partnership and practicing schools to implement these practicum arrangements effectively. They discussed challenges and new ways to implement the practicum arrangements. Experienced education experts in attendance contributed their ideas in positive ways.
Helen Drinan, Team Leader of TREE, also mentioned that implementing the new practicum system cannot be done overnight and represents a long journey. Helen emphasised the support of the Ministry of Education in ensuring that the workshop was a success.
Key outcomes from of the workshop included; participants began developing better mechanisms for working more effectively together in implementing the new practicum curriculum, identifying the skills and qualities necessary for Teacher Educators from Education Colleges and mentors from practicing and partnership schools to effectively support Students Teachers in the implementation of the new practicum, and gaining a clearer idea of which tools are available to measure the effectiveness of lessons during the practicum, including the development of reflective practice amongst the Student Teachers.