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Training Guide - Unit 1: The Teacher

Page history last edited by knc190@... 13 years, 3 months ago


Unit 1: The Teacher  



Timing Activity
75 min  Session 1.1
45 min  Session 1.2
60 min  Lunch
70 min  Session 1.3
30 min  Session 1.4                         
Total timing: 4 hours 40 minutes



Session 1.1: Who Are You?  What Is Your Story?
RATIONALE:  Much of the success of this training will depend on the participants' comfort sharing their own experiences, opinions, and feelings.  Beginning the session by giving them a chance to reflect on their life story and to share it with the group will allow the group to identify commonalities and to understand differences as well.  The Life Map activity is also a great activity for teachers to use with their classes to create community - the hope is that teachers can take many of the activities in this training back to their classrooms.


Session Goals:

  • Increase participants’ comfort with each other 
  • Familiarize trainer and training participants with each others’ histories 
  • Provide participants with an activity that they can use in their classrooms to develop a sense of community among their students


Outline and Timing: 

Timing   Activity
15 min  Life Map
45 min  Tell Your Story
15 min  Discussion                   
Total timing: 75 minutes



  • Paper for Life Maps
  • Pencils, pens and/or markers
  • Timer


Preparing for the Session:

  • Create your own Life Map


Facilitating the Session:


1.  Life Map.  (15 minutes)  Pass out the materials to the group members and explain the activity and its purpose, you may want to something like the following:


As a group you have already identified the norms that are important to you.  This activity is a chance for you to introduce yourselves to each other.  You will be given 15 minutes to create a Life Map – a map of your life.  To do this you will draw whatever events, people or places have been important, memorable, or life-changing.  When the 15 minutes are up, you will each have 3 minutes to share your Life Map.


Answer any questions that participants have.


Give members 15 minutes to complete their Life Maps.  You will share your Life Map with the group; members may want to give them an example.  Instead of showing them your Life Map, provide suggestions such as drawing at time line or a game board path.  If participants are having a hard time identifying events – ask them questions.  If they are stressing out about their drawing skills (yes, this might happen) – encourage them to keep it simple, just a symbol and a sentence if they prefer, for each event.


2.  Tell Your Story.  (45 minutes)  As facilitator, you will be the first one to share your Life Map.  As each participant goes be sure to ask questions and celebrate events they share.  Encourage participants to ask questions too.


3.  Discussion.  (15 minutes)

Have teachers break into groups of 3-5 people to discuss their answers to the following questions for 5 minutes.

  • Did you enjoy this activity?
  • Was it difficult to tell your story? Why or why not?
  • What things unite all the members of this group?  What interesting things did you learn about members of this group?
  • Do you think you could use this in your classroom?  What value could this activity bring to your class and your students and you?


Finally, have participants share out a few of the answers their groups discussed.  As the trainer, summarize their comments and perhaps reemphasize the major take-aways by saying something like:


The purpose of this activity was to help you get to know each other better, identify things you have in common as well as the things that make each of you unique.  Used with your students, this activity can help students feel validated, get to know each other, and help you to learn a lot about your class in a short amount of time.  This a great activity for the beginning of the school year.



Session 1.2:  What is the role of the teacher?  What makes a great teacher? How does this relate to Child-Friendly Spaces?  
RATIONALE:  There are many purposes for education.  Generating a discussion around what teachers see as the purpose of education can give the trainer a good idea of the mindsets of the teachers.  Before a teacher can adopt child-friendly methods it is useful to consider what he or she believes his or her role is in educating students.  As a trainer, consider what teachers in your region may already do that aligns with child-friendly practices.  Also, consider what teachers may do that does not align with child-friendly practices and be prepared to ask them questions about these practices and have them consider how their practices help them to better educate their students.


Session Goals:

  • Define great teaching
  • Engage in an honest discussion about one's own teaching practices - good and bad
  • Examine one's own practices and discuss why it can be challenging to be a "great" teacher


Outline and Timing:

Timing Activity
5 min

What Makes A Great Teacher?


20min The Spectrum & Four corners
15 min Discussion 
5 min Reflection
Total timing: 45 minutes



  • Pen & Paper (for trainer to take notes)
  • 7 signs saying: "Always", "Sometimes", "Never" and "Always" "Often" "Never" "Sometimes"
  • Tape
  • Notecards or small pieces of paper & pen/cils for all participants
  • Graphic organizers for Discussion and Reflection
  • Timer


Preparing for the Session:

  • Create a spectrum down the middle of the room.  In the middle of the room, put one of the "Sometimes" signs and then on opposite sides of the room put "Always" and "Never"
  • In each corner place one of the following signs: "Always" "Often" "Never" "Sometimes" for the Four Corners activity


Facilitating the Session:

1.  Brainstorm. (5 minutes)  This session is about the participants' thoughts on good teaching.  The hope is that good discussions will come from the activity and get teachers thinking about practices that are always, sometimes, and never good practices.  There are no right answers, however, keeping in mind the components of child-friendly the trainer should push teachers who engage in practices that may challenge the definition of child-friendly, such as corporal punishment or isolation.  To introduce the session the trainer may want to say something like:

This session is designed to get you to think about what you think makes a great teacher.  We will begin by giving you sometime to reflect on your own ideas of what makes a great teacher and then I will present a series of definitions of a great teacher and through an activity (that you may want to use with your students...wink, wink) we will discuss your thoughts on these definitions and perhaps your varying opinions around these definitions. 


Ask participants to complete the sentence "A great teacher..._________________" putting only one quality on each notecard.  Start a timer for five minutes.


As participants fill out the notecards, walk around and collect them.  Look for notecards that are interesting or possibly controversial.  Be sure to include some less provocative statements as well.  When the time is up, collect the rest of the notecards and move on to the next activity.


2.  Spectrum & Four Corners. (20 minutes)  This activity is the first activity that has the potential to generate debate and if done correctly debate is the ideal.  The purpose is to get teachers to really think about their definitions of great teaching.  As the trainer, you mustbe prepared to challenge participants, push participants to challenge and disagree with others and also to mediate and find common ground.  Explain the activity to the participants by saying something like the following:

Now that you've had a chance to think through some of your own ideas about what makes a great, this activity will give you a chance to discuss your ideas with each other.  I will be reading a series of statements and you will walk to the place on the spectrum that you feel best represents your feelings.  For example, if I said "A great teacher knows the subject s/he teaches" I would walk to this side of the room, near the "Always" sign because I believe that a great teacher ALWAYS knows the subject s/he is teaching.  All of these statements were made by teachers or students

(UNICEF, 2001).


Answer participants' questions and then begin.


You may choose to read some of the definitions from participants.  Here are additional statements that you may want to use:


  • A great teacher smiles at his/her pupils even when they screw up.  (Trainer note:  Push teachers to discuss why this could be important as well as when they may not think it's appropriate.  How can they still show they care, even when reprimanding?)


  • A great teacher is flexible and able to change lessons "spur of the moment" in order to accommodate the needs of her students.  (Trainer note:  This statement specifically addresses the component 'being academically effective')


  • A great teacher teaches the students but learns from them as well. 


After 5 - 10 minutes, pause the activity and explain that you are switching things up to show participants another variation of this activity.  You may want to say something like the following:

Now we are going to switch things up.  This a variation of the same activity, another activity that you may want to adopt in your classrooms.  Now when I read the statement you will move to one corner of the room, either "Always", "Often", "Sometimes" or "Never".  

Additionally, each of these  statements will have a follow up statement for you to reflect on your own teaching.  Remember our norms.  This is a chance for you to honestly reflect on your own practices and discuss what what you believe may differ from what you actually do as a teacher. We will pause to discuss our movement.

Answer participants questions and the begin again.


  • A great teacher dedicates him/herself to the job.  S/he made a commitment s/he has to do it
  • Follow up:  I am dedicated to my job.
  • (Trainer note:  For these statements, watch for movement.  For example, if a teacher believes that a great teacher ALWAYS dedicates him/herself to the job but then moves positions to communicate that he or she SOMETIMES dedicates him/herself to the job, make note of this and then pose the question:  

Who ended up moving positions?  Who would like to explain why they moved or why their actions, in this example, do not match what they think makes a great teacher? REPEAT these questions and generate the conversation after each pair of statements. 

  • A great teacher treats boys and girls differently.
  • Follow up:  I treat boys and girls differently.

Who ended up moving positions?  Who would like to explain why they moved or why their actions, in this example, do not match what they think makes a great teacher? 


  • A great teacher treats all students the same.   
  • Follow up:  I treat all my students the same. 

Who ended up moving positions?  Who would like to explain why they moved or why their actions, in this example, do not match what they think makes a great teacher? 


  • A great teacher communicates with his/her students' parents. 
  • Follow up:  I communicate with all my students' parents. 

Who ended up moving positions?  Who would like to explain why they moved or why their actions, in this example, do not match what they think makes a great teacher? 


  • A great teacher remembers how it was when s/he was a child.
  • Follow up:  When teaching, I remember how it was when  I was a child.

Who ended up moving positions?  Who would like to explain why they moved or why their actions, in this example, do not match what they think makes a great teacher? 


3.  Discussion. (15 minutes)  Here we want to give teachers an opportunity to unpack this activity a bit more.  Have the participants get in groups of 2 to 4.  Their task as a group is to complete the graphic organizer that has two columns:  1)  A great teacher should...  and 2) This can be challenging because...  Groups will have 5 minutes to fill out the organizer.


Groups will then have a few minutes to share their ideas.  As a trainer write down the ideas presented on poster paper taped at the front of the room.


Hopefully, the list that forms will divide into three categories - challenges to the teacher, challenges to the student (which are also challenges to the teacher), challenges to the school and community (which are also challenges to the teacher and student).  First, give the floor to the group with the question:


What common threads do you notice among the challenges that you have identified as a group?


And finally, point out the observation that hopefully will exist by saying something like the following:


Excellent.  What I have noticed is that the challenges that you have identified seem to fall into three categories: challenges to the teacher, challenges to the student (which are also challenges to the teacher), challenges to the school and community (which are also challenges to the teacher and student.  What you can see is that these challenges really affect everyone in the classroom, school and community and we while it be difficult to isolate each group - teacher, student, community - we are going to try.  For the remainder of the day, we are really going to focus on you - the challenges that YOU face daily and the make your work challenging and the make adopting child-friendly practices challenging. 


To do this, I would like to wrap up this activity to ask you to complete a self-reflection.  You began with your own thoughts, had an intense discussion around your opinions and the things that challenge these beliefs.  My hope is that something in the discussion made you think further about your own beliefs and I want to give you a chance to think a bit more about great teaching, your own practices, and the challenges that you face.


4. Reflection.  (5 minutes)

The instructions here are straightforward, ask teachers to complete this sentence - they should write down as many examples as possible in the five minutes.  Explain that we will refer to these throughout the remainder of the training (including tomorrow and the following day).


"I know to be a great teacher I should ___________________________________,  this is challenging for me because ____________________________.




Session 1.3:  How can teachers create a balance between work and personal life that helps them to have the most positive effect on their students as possible? 
RATIONALE:   Every teacher is going to bring their own "stuff" to the training and to the classroom but as a trainer it is important to have an idea of what types of challenges may be impacting the teacher's mindset about his or her role and the control he or she has to make a difference.  Trainers should also brainstorm other challenges that they are aware of in the community and be prepared to discuss these with the group AND think about how a teacher or group of teachers could overcome these challenges and why it is important to overcome these challenges.


Session Goals: 

  • Have an in-depth understanding of the challenges that teacher identify can present
  • Identify elements of teacher identify that are more prevalent in your own community
  • Understand how teacher well-being positively and negatively impacts students
  • Develop strategies for overcoming some of the challenges that make teaching so challenging


Outline and Timing:

Timing Activity
13 min Challenges to Teacher Well-Being
35 min
The Link Between Teacher Well-Being and Student Learning
22 min
Problem-solving Session - How can we support each other to overcome the challenges?
Total timing: 70 minutes (1 hour 10 minutes)



  • Poster paper & tape or push pins to hang the posters
  • Markers (enough for each participant)
  • Timer 


Preparing for the Session:

  • Poster with list of factors affecting teacher well-being
  • Poster with each sub-category definition of Teacher Well-Being (Keep covered up until it is time for teachers to fill this in) 
  • Graphic organizers recreated on poster paper - there are 6 pages in total the top three have the definition  and the bottom three the term written in the middle - when participants place the factors that match you will create a web with these factors connecting to the term. Eventually the posters should look like this on the wall:


Teacher Identity Definition: --------

--written out ----







Teacher Motivation Definition: --------

--written out ----


Teacher General Well-Being Definition: --------

--written out ----












      Teacher Identity 









      Teacher Motivation 







      Teacher General








  • "Teacher Well-Being - Positive and Negative Implications".  Graphic organizer with definitions of three sub-categories for teacher well-being with columns for positive and negative effects and space for teachers to add
  • Sample chalk talk for participants to see 
  • "Tackling the Challenges".  Problem-solving handout with one column for the factor, another for its implication, and third for the potential solution.


Facilitating the Session:
1.  Challenges to Teacher Well-Being.  (13 minutes)  For this session we will be building on participants' reflections from the last session.  You may want to introduce this session by saying something like the following:

We are now going to focus the remainder of the day on you and your own well-being.

Question:  Why do you think this important?  (Participants may give answers such as my well-being affects my mood in the classroom and my ability to teach; if I am not healthy I cannot be in class; etc.)

We will begin by looking at a list of factors that can affect teacher well-being


Factors Affecting Teacher Well-Being  

  • Coping with trauma
  • Ability to take care of oneself and one‘s family
  • Ability to save money
  • Financial security
  • Housing/lodging
  • Family life
  • Community relationships
  • Access to health services
  • Access to social support services 

(Healing Classrooms Initiative, 2009)


With a partner discuss your answers to the following questions:

    • Which factors do you think are most significant to you or to teachers in your community?  For which teachers?  For example, are they the same for male and female teachers?
    • Are there factors in this list that do not affect you? 
    • Are there factors in this list that do not affect your community?
    • Are there factors missing from this list that affect your well-being or the well-being of other teachers in your community?  What are they?


Give participants 5 minutes to discuss the list and additional factors that in their own communities that may affect teacher well-being.


Take five minutes to discuss these factors.  Write-in any additional factors that teachers suggest.  If there any factors that they unanimously agree are not factors for them, cross them out.


2.  The Link Between Teacher Well-Being and Student Learning. (35 minutes) 

This activity connects teacher well-being to student learning and well-being.  Direct teachers to the graphic organizer about for teacher well-being. 

You may want to say something like the following:

Now let's take a look at the graphic organizer titled "Teacher Well-Being - Positive and Negative Implications".  Here I have split Teacher Well-Being into three sub-categories:  Teacher Identity, Teacher Motivation, and then the catch-all Teacher General Well-Being.  First let's begin by filling in the definitions of these sub-categories and placing the factors affecting teacher well-being into these subcategories.  (Healing Classrooms Initiative, 2009)


Provide the teachers with these definitions that are already written on poster paper.  While this activity isn't the most exciting it's a nice way to show teachers that sometimes giving definitions and having students write things down verbatim is acceptable - you do not need to bring this to their attention but as trainer be aware that all of the methods you use are intended to set an example for participants. (This should take about 3 minutes)


Teacher Identify:  The personal and cultural characteristics and experiences of teachers.  Remind participants that teachers are diverse men and women with varied experiences that brought them to teaching. They have their own priority needs, desires and expectations. 


Teacher Motivation:  The different professionally related factors within the school context that encourage or discourage teachers in their work.


Teacher General Well-Being:  The different factors outside the school context – related more to community and family – that encourage teachers in their work, sustain them when difficulties arise and may help them feel happy, satisfied and proud to be a teacher. Teacher well–being factors can also discourage teachers and make them feel insecure, worried, etc.


Question:  Now that we have the definitions, where would you place the factors that affect well-being? 


(Write these factors next to the definitions as they are shared.  Some may be placed in multiple sub-categories and this is okay.)


Question:  Are there other factors you can think of now that these definitions have been provided?


Placing the factors should take another couple of minutes.


The next step is to consider the implications, positive and negative, that teacher well-being, teacher identity, and teacher motivation can have on a teachers success in his or her role as a teacher and the success of his or her students.  You may say something like the following:

Now that we have identified the factors that affect teacher well-being and have grouped them into three categories we need to think about the implications these factors have on your success as a teacher and on student learning.  For example, a sick teacher, this would general well-being, will be absent from school.  This means he or she isn't teaching and the students aren't learning.  Another example, under teacher motivation, a teacher may feel that he or she has no control over the curriculum he or she is teaching and thus has very low energy in the classroom - students follow suit and are also not excited about the content.  Finally, a POSITIVE example, might be that a teacher had a mother or father who was an excellent teacher and believes teaching is who they are - this shows in the way the teacher addresses the subject and the students and thus students also love the class.


To share our thoughts on these implications we are going to engage in a chalk talk.  This is a SILENT activity - all communication is done in writing. 

You will each have a marker and will walk up to the posters.  You will WRITE the implications that you can identify, positive and negative for the various factors on the posters.  If someone has written something you were thinking, you might write "Yes!" or "I agree" or include additional thoughts that you have.

Trainer note:  If the group is large you may want to duplicate these posters, so that there are two or three chalk talk sessions taking place at once.  It would also be helpful to include an example poster of an imaginary chalk talk so that participants have a better understanding of this activity.  Give participants 10 minutes to complete this.  If they have more to write that's okay because they can include this in the next activity.


Instruct the participants to return to their seats.  If there is more than one poster for teach category, then hang them on the wall next to each other.  You will want to take some time to read through what was written, ask questions, and ask for participants reactions.  Look out for places where many people agreed (or disagreed).  Also, as you read the comments have participants add these examples to their own graphic organizers.  Finally, make sure there is a good balance of positive and negative implications.  This process may take up to 15 minutes.


3.  Problem-solving Session - How can we support each other to overcome the challenges?  (22 minutes)

Now that participants have identified some very real challenges with some very serious negative implications for their teaching and their students' learning - it's time to begin problem-solving.  Participants may not have all the answers but being empowered to think creatively and to discuss the possibilities with each other is important.  


This should be a think-pair-share activity.  (The "share" will come in the final activity)


Have participants first take 10 minutes to identify the 3 factors that negatively impact their well-being, explain what these negative implications are, and identify what it would take for that factor to be less of a concern or completely erased.  Encourage participants to stay positive - they may want to be practical but it is also okay for them to approach this activity with a "sky is the limit" type attitude.   


Next have participants get into groups of 2 or 3, each person should take 2 minutes to share his or her challenges and potential solutions.  Partners or group members should then make other suggestions for how to address the challenge.  Give the groups 10 minutes. 


Session 1.4: Putting it into Practice
Session Goals: 

  • Participants reflect on the day 
  • Participants create action steps for implementing child-friendly practices when they return to their schools


Outline and Timing:

Timing Activity
10 min     Challenges --> Solutions
10 min Self-reflection 
5 min The days major takeaways
5 min Shout-outs
Total timing: 30 minutes



  • Graphic organizer on "The Teacher"
  • Timer


Preparing for the Session:

Have a few shout outs that you want to give - This may be  - someone who assisted you with setting up materials, someone who took a risk and shared a personal story, or someone who was a very active or enthusiastic participant - or for whatever else you may want to shout someone out.


Facilitating the Session: 

1.  Challenges → Solutions.  (10 minutes)

Allow groups to share the struggles they are having and some of the changes they have identified.  

Additionally, this is the time for teachers that are struggling with ideas for how to address an issue to get feedback from the group (if he or she would like it), if his or her partner/group had no ideas.  As the trainer, try and identify these challenges as the groups are working and consider solutions.  Some of these solutions may be out of the teacher's control - but identifying what it would take for change to take place is still valuable...and may help during Unit 3: Beyond the Classroom.


2.  Complete graphic organizer on “The Teacher” (10 minutes)

Teachers will have 10 minutes to complete the organizer - several open-ended questions that will help them to identify steps that they can take immediately to improve their teaching, their well-being, and their students' learning.


3.  Review major takeaways.  (5 minutes)

Go through the graphic organizer and give participants a chance to share their take-aways


4.  Shout Outs.  (5 minutes)

Shout Outs are a great way to end a week or a class (if time permits) and recognize and celebrate members of the group (or class).  Each day will end with Shout Outs.  Explain:

Every day we will end with Shout Outs.  Shout Outs are a way to celebrate the contributions of members of the group, or students in your class, it can also be a way to thank a person.  The way you give a Shout Out is to say, "I would like to shout out FILL-IN-THE-BLANK for ___________________" - the shout out leader, me today, will say "Two claps for _____________, one, two" and then we will clap "Clap, clap"  (Clap to show the teachers)


So let's begin with a few Shout Outs that I would like to give:

I would like to shout out _____________, for ____________________.  Two claps for ___________, One, Two, (CLAP, CLAP).


Participants may stumble the first try.  Laugh it off and say:


Let's try that again, Two claps for ____________, One, Two. (CLAP, CLAP)


Complete your Shout Outs and then take others.







Healing Classrooms Initiative.  (2009).  Well-Being Factors – IRC Brainstorm.  International Rescue Committee.  Retrieved September 17, 2010 from  



Healing Classrooms Initiative.  (2009).  Summary Framework.  International Rescue Committee.  Retrieved September 17, 2010 from  



UNICEF. (2001).  “What Makes a Good Teacher?  Opinions from around the world”.  Teachers Talk about Learning.  Retrieved September 14, 2010 from http://www.unicef.org/teachers/teacher/teacher.htm.



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