Connect your classroom to the UK
With the ever changing nature of the world as we know it, socially, economically and environmentally, it’s vital that young citizens know their place in the world. Teaching them about global issues is imperative.
Connecting Classrooms is run in partnership with the UK Government Department for International Development (DFID) and it helps young people learn about global issues, giving them skills to work in a global economy. The programme has been running in Kenya since 2007. 600 Kenyan primary and secondary schools have been engaged and over 1000 teachers and head-teachers trained to encourage them develop an international dimension in their teaching. Since we launched Connecting Classrooms in June 2012, we’ve supported 326 school links between the UK and Kenya, delivered courses and online training to 652 teachers, and developed the leadership skills of another 175 head teachers across the country.
We aim to give all young people the opportunity to succeed in a globalised society. Connecting Classrooms enables students and their teachers to:
- Understand issues of worldwide importance
- Gain a sense of social responsibility
- Develop skills to succeed in the global economy.
Teachers are offered face to face and online professional development courses to deepen their experiences in several practise areas including School Leadership, ICT and classroom pedagogy. The programme has fostered partnerships between schools and educators to help bring in the international dimension to classroom teaching.
Access to ICT in schools and its subsequent use in learning and teaching enables international engagement, helping teachers and students access a wide range of teaching resources through our interactive online platform – British Council Schools Online.
To support the Government of Kenya’s long term commitment to improving access and training for teachers and students in the country, we have set up 20 ICT Hubs in schools across the country, 15 of which have been set up in partnership with Microsoft.
'The Digital Hub in our school will be used for teaching and learning during the day, and by the wider community for skills training after school hours. We are excited to be the centre for ICT in education in our region.' – Clephas Mudibo, Principal, Shujaa Mekatilili Secondary School, Kilifi
Connecting Classrooms 2015 - 2018
In June 2015, The British Council and the Department of International Development (DFID) made a £34 million contribution towards supporting the development of the capacity of developing countries education systems and enhance the teaching of development education.
Research by education experts and academics explains that in order to participate in a global economy, young people need to be equipped with core skills, which supplement the traditional curriculum, subject-focussed approach of many education systems. These are also referred to as deep learning skills, 21st century skills, UNESCO transversal skills or core skills and competencies depending on the local/national context. This is to ultimately, develop young people with certain core skills and competencies which contribute to global citizenship and civic responsibility; which include:
- Ways of living in the world: global citizenship and civil responsibility, including cultural awareness and competence
- Ways of working: communication and collaboration
- Ways of thinking: critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and innovation, learning to learn and metacognition
- Tools for working: information literacy, information and communication technology (ICT)
Connecting Classrooms Activities
The programme will run from June 2015 to June 2018, building on deep pedagogical framework and UNESCO transverse skills, and in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders across our networks, the British Council will offer:
- Professional development for teachers and school leaders in 42 countries including the Kenya.
- Sustainable professional partnerships between schools in the UK and 38 countries, through which practitioners and school leaders work together to further improve the quality of teaching in their schools in the core skills area in which they have received professional development on.
- Professional dialogue opportunities for policy makers that will support national and regional level debate, reflection and action; and seek to align the programme with country priorities.
- Providing online access to high quality resources to support teachers in delivering improved learning outcomes for young people
Professional Development for Teachers:
The programme will offer a demanding ‘core’ training offer, aimed at supporting teachers to improve their teaching practice, integrating the core knowledge and skills into their lessons to fill critical gaps in pupil competencies.
Teachers will be able to access professional development that introduces the rationale for core skills development and supports them to develop their pedagogy in a manner that integrates with existing curriculum in the following areas:
- Collaboration and communication: fostering effective communication (orally and in writing); actively listening to and engaging with others in diverse and multi-lingual environments and understanding verbal and non-verbal communication; developing the ability to work in diverse international teams, including learning from and contributing to the learning of others, assuming shared responsibility, cooperating, leading, delegating and compromising to produce new and innovative ideas and solutions.
- Citizenship: developing active, globally aware citizens who have the skills, knowledge and motivation to address issues of human and environmental sustainability and work towards a fairer world in a spirit of mutual respect and open dialogue, developing an understanding of what it means to be a citizen of their own country and their own values.
- Critical thinking and problem solving: promoting self-directed thinking that produces new and innovative ideas and solve problems; reflecting critically on learning experiences and processes and making effective decisions.
- Creativity and imagination: promoting economic and social entrepreneurialism; imagining and pursuing novel ideas, judging values, developing innovation and curiosity.
- Digital literacy: developing the skills to discover, acquire and communicate knowledge and information in a globalised economy; using technology to reinforce, extend and deepen learning through international collaboration.
- Student leadership and personal development: recognising the importance of honesty and empathy; recognising others needs and safety; fostering perseverance, resilience and self-confidence, exploring leadership, self-regulation and responsibility, personal health and wellbeing, career and lifeskills, learning to learn and life-long learning.
As a result, more teachers will be able to use pedagogies in the classroom that:
- Ask students to create new ideas, solutions and products
- Use digital tools and resources to enable knowledge discovery, creation and communication
- Give students experiences in applying their ideas and solutions with real audiences
- Improve inclusivity and equity
Professional Development for School Leaders:
School leaders will undertake professional development that introduces the rationale for core skills development and supports them to develop the provision in their school to include these core areas. As part of this, they will also be given the opportunity to audit their current levels of provision in relation to these core areas:
British Council is approaching the development of these skills by advocating a school-based professional development model based on teachers working together across subjects and year groups, and which lets teachers design the assessment and measurement for student progress based on what works best in their context.
Research conducted in Sub-Saharan Africa identifies that effective professional development should:
- Focus on classroom implementation, be based on teachers existing knowledge and offer opportunities for practice in different context.
- Be long term and structured, involving several spaced interactions.
- Encourage and create opportunities for teachers to work together, to improve and sustain their learning after intensive training has been concluded
- Develop teacher agency and leadership
- Offer opportunities for modelling, reflecting on teachers’ own practice, being observed and receiving high quality feedback.
- Encourage and support teachers in obtaining resources.
Having received professional development in the core competency areas and already implemented new practice in their school, teachers will be invited to work together with a partner school to further improve the quality of their teaching in the area(s) in which they have received professional development and which has been identified as a priority need in their context.
Grants will be issued on competitive basis to those schools that show commitment in integration of their core skill area of choice to enable them to travel and visit their partner school in the UK. Through these visits, teachers will meet face-to-face, observe teaching practice, learn from the practice observed to reflect on their own practice and develop strategies to be implemented in their school to improve learning outcomes for their students.
Professional Policy Level Dialogue:
Policy makers and senior practitioners, defined as senior educational stakeholders who have decision-making and influencing powers at national or state level within a particular country or geography, will develop an enhanced understanding of the importance of core skills for young people and of international best practice related to this. They will do this by contributing to and engaging in research and through their participation in professional dialogue events and best practice study visits with peers from other countries.
The programme will offer a range of online resources to support teachers to build on learnings from their continuous professional development and develop high quality partnerships.
How we're connecting classrooms
Classrooms are connected in a variety of ways, including partnerships, online collaborations, grants for teachers to visit their partner schools, professional development opportunities and the International School Award (ISA).