When we were building Teachers Media’s strategy for Africa, I decided that we should attend the Conference of Ministers of Education of the African Union (COMEDAF) in Abuja, Nigeria. At COMEDAF, many education ministers, passionate educators and decision makers decide the vision and focus for African education. On my way to Abuja, I landed in Lagos, not realising that the local and International airports were not connected. Luckily a Nigerian angel stumbled upon me and made sure I landed in Abuja in better shape than when I stepped on the plane. Later, I remembered her saying that she had a school and so, to thank her, I found the address and sent reading books, crayons, art materials and a lesson plan.
by Angela Ney, founder, Teachers Media
I later received a text message from her thanking me for the materials but asking me to show them just how to make best use of the lesson plan: “you will need to show us”, she wrote. Months later I visited the school, put my teacher hat back on and ran the lesson, which demonstrated the importance of using the ‘Start, Middle and End’ structure when writing a story.
As I led the lesson, the teachers sat in the back, madly writing notes. Afterwards, I received another text message, “Angela, thank you so much for showing us a great lesson, to make that lesson even better, we coloured the children faces in the book brown, we pronounce the title differently and we made up a dance to reinforce the learning objective.”
This was one of the most important learning experiences for me and it made it absolutely clear as to what our vision at Teachers Media must be: we need to partner with local educators, share our expertise, build a plan that is relevant to local teachers and then make this process scalable and sustainable so that a lot of teachers in one country and region can benefit, but that the new local, renewable resource stays and grows in the country.
Teachers Media is an innovative, 21st-century system for raising standards of teaching and learning by sharing good practice through broadcast quality video. We believe that by partnering with education ministries we can be the next step in the evolution of the original initiative that was funded by the UK government.
As a modern converged service, Teachers Media uses a combination of broadcast TV, broadband and emerging mobile platforms to reach and influence many more teachers than traditional training methods could. This model has proven to be a cost-effective solution to improving educational outcomes on a national and international scale, leading the way in reflecting the latest thinking on how to transform the performance and aspirations of the teaching workforce.
The Teachers Media model promotes a peer-to-peer approach to professional learning, rather than the more traditional top down methods. It promotes reflective learning, rather than knowledge based learning. By harnessing the narrative power of video, it reaches hearts as well as minds.
To achieve this, our model relies on the highest possible broadcast quality or innovative content, and makes best use of the latest digital technology to deliver content to teachers and educators. Research shows that teachers are far more likely to transform their practice if they have the opportunity to personally witness alternatives, rather than just be told about them.
We believe in solutions and we look for governments that believe in accountability. I strongly believe that in order for my children to have a future, we need to look to Africa, support the change, work to achievable measures and commit ourselves to this cause.
Our recent participation in eLearning Africa 2013 offered Teachers Media a unique opportunity to meet with educators, researchers, industry players and African governments. The conference confirmed to us the importance of offering collaborative learning solutions and allowing teachers to share their own knowledge and methodologies.