When we started planning the 2012 Teacher Training trip back in January, it seemed as if it would never come. No, it is practically on our doorsteps and we couldn’t be more excited!
Throw in a little bit of nervousness, get our bags packed, and we’re ready to go! Okay, not quite. We are still busy with phone meetings, making our materials, and re-arranging the actual workshop schedule.
In preparation for the trip, we have focused much of our effort on providing professional development to the LWB Believe in Me School teachers with a focus on special education. In China, special education is not a part of teacher’s education as very few special education schools exist in China, despite a growing need. So while the Believe in Me School teachers are unbelievably dedicated and creative, they do not have access to the background and training that special education teachers in other countries have, and much of what they do is by trial, error, and instinct. It’s our goal to give these teachers some specific and direct training in areas that will immediately impact them and their daily interactions with their students.
Some workshops that this team has put together include how to work with challenging behaviors, adapting physical activities for those with special needs, and differentiating instruction to meet the learning needs of all students. We also plan to introduce the concept of thematic instruction and gear a day’s worth of lessons around a beloved children’s book, “Good Night, Gorilla.” Time will be spent addressing how to assess a student’s progress in various developmental area and the importance of finding success for all students. Components of effective teaching will also be reviewed, such as classroom management, using visual schedules in the classroom, and how to effectively transition groups of children. Our schedule also allows time to teach the staff how to use sensory breaks with children, including yoga and physical movement. Many other informative sessions are planned, as well as activities for the children to get involved with.
Everyone on the Teacher Training team brings not only a wealth of background knowledge but the flexibility and willingness to adapt once we arrive. This is such a great team of ladies, and we look forward to getting to work with our colleagues in China in less than a month.
~Carol Mauermann is one of the volunteer teachers training for the 2012 Teacher Training trip to Huainan, Anhui province.