The first ever teacher training programme from Finland in Pakistan took place from 24th to 27th March 2017 organised by KOULU Education Group in collaboration with Train2Impact at Headstart premises in Islamabad.
It was amazing to see this programme coming into a reality, especially that the seeds had been sown a year ago, and to know that our hard work had finally bore the fruits, and to hear positive comments from the participants.
The participants from the renowned private schools in Pakistan, namely Froebel’s International School, Headstart, Lahore Grammar School and The City School came together for the 4 contact days, where they learnt e.g. about child agency, ECE learning environment and language immersion- concepts which were considered the highlights of the course.
After the first day Shaza Tehseen, Lead Trainer of Froebel’s International School said: ‘’It’s been great so far. It will be interesting to see how the ECE learning environment can be transformed for various socio-economic settings in Pakistan. Second interest is how we can transform our learning in this course into our work place. For any one working in an educational organisation, it is important to refresh and compare approaches. Highlight of the first day is that we have truly gotten to know each other and what the level of interaction and discussion is. I would highly recommend the course to anyone who is eager to learn not only the Finnish approach but also how to improve themselves.’’
Participants were indeed eager to get insights into the Finnish education system that they all had heard of. In fact, for Fareeha Khalid from Headstart this was a dream come true! During the course she noted that ‘’I’m loving this course. This is exactly what I was expecting: that we are here together learning from each other’s experiences. It’s a platform for all of us to learn how the Finnish people do in education.’’
Humarah Khalid, IB PYP of Lahore Grammar School adds that ‘’having worked with the early years teaching for most of my career, you know that teaching development never ends. When I was coming to the ECE workshop, I expected it would be vastly different from what we do here in Pakistan. To be honest, I was not disappointed; we learned and were exposed to so many skills, methodologies, tools, planning processes that will bring us to the 21st century. But having said all this, I feel that some of the practices that we have come across today do not align maybe with culture, our mindset and the mindset of some of the parents that we see, and our state requirements. Maybe having done the course, and learning everything that I have learned, there is nothing stopping us from aligning Finnish ideology into our own teaching practices because the theories are backed by science, and they work. And having studied their cause we can see evidence that they work, and videos of them working. We have seen lesson plans of how they work so maybe we should work harder and be more open minded and accept some of these ideologies.’’
In fact, the course really opened horizons of many teachers and one of them said that she came out as a changed person!
Another highlight of the course was the creation of a peer learning network. In fact, many teachers were happy to have been able to meet and share the days with the teachers from other schools, and learn from them. The supportive atmosphere was appreciated by all, in fact many of them hadn’t experienced as good learning atmosphere in other training courses!
Uzma Naureen, Manager Early Years at The City School noted that ‘’it’s an amazing opportunity to come across this course. It’s a learning opportunity obviously, we are coming to know different practices undertaken in Finland and we are trying to think about the ways to adopt or adapt such practices in our situation and our set-ups. The entire group is from different private schools, very renowned private schools of the country. The best thing is that the learning environment is quite encouraging. There are some practices that will not suit in our environment but we are able to pick and choose the ones what work in our set-ups. I would recommend the course, it functions as a networking opportunity as well’’.
Just like a couple of teachers mentioned at the end of the course, we at Train2Impact are proud and happy to be among the pioneers of Finnish education in Pakistan!
Grateful that this programme is finally a reality, and thankful for all the schools and participants for taking part, and the programme continues with online learning period where we go deeper into the pedagogies, and practice them in the class room! And we at Train2Impact think that this is just a beginning…and will keep on bringing together the Finnish educational experts to respond to the needs of Pakistani educational institutions!