Training sessions held at new IOP Training Centre in Morogoro

15 February 2012

Joe Brock, International Coordinator for Tanzania, paid his third visit to Tanzania in July 2011.

As in previous years, Joe delivered training sessions to local teachers from a number of different schools. Sessions focus on helping teachers to understand the value of teaching practical physics rather than learning by rote, and giving them ideas and experiments that they can use. At the end of the sessions, teachers are provided with basic practical equipment and training manuals to take away and use in their schools.

Sessions took place in the new IOP Training Centre, based at Morogoro Teachers College in Morogoro. The project has invested significant money into refurbishing an existing substantial building and equipping it with basic laboratory equipment. This has involved new work tops in the lab, some rewiring, purchase of kit and redecoration. There is also another laboratory on site which might be a further lab to develop in the future.

New teacher trainer recruited
The training has proved so successful that the annual sessions run by Joe are not enough to cover the demand. As Joe is only able to visit Tanzania once or twice a year, a local teacher has been recruited and trained to deliver sessions while he is in the UK. The teacher, Mr Wimba, attended a training session in the first year of the project, where he won an award for the most effective teaching of practical physics. He will deliver training sessions alone throughout late 2011 and early 2012.

Getting the message out there and Universities
Representatives from Mzumbe University and Dodoma University came to watch this year’s training sessions. A particularly good connection came from Professor Osaki from Dodoma University. On his first visit he was so impressed that he took pictures of the equipment to use his key note speech at Dar Es Salaam universities 50th anniversary celebration. Professor Osaki then returned to see the project again and requested that he use it as a research focus for his MSc students over the coming year. He also extended an invitation for Joe to speak at a symposium in October 2012. Getting the message out to this level of establishment is key so they can take the message away with enthusiasm, just as Professor Osaki did this year.

The future of the project
Next year, the project will move from training existing teachers towards training trainee teachers at Morogoro Teachers College. As well as training the new teachers, the project will also aim to provide them with a basic kit to take with them wherever they go in Tanzania. In this way even the poorest schools have some chance of providing good practical physics teaching. However, we do not want to forget the power of having a groundswell of all schools in an area showing excellence in teaching practice. For this reason, Mr Wimba will continue to offer training sessions to existing teachers.