Text Teija Lehtonen, Varpu Somersalo Photo Chewe Nkonde
A training programme has been launched for strengthening agriculture teachers’ pedagogical skills, adapting PBL methods and entrepreneurship.
The first session of the PBL training programme was held virtually on April 8, 2021. The programme is participated by 130 agriculture teachers from eight universities in Kenya, Zambia and Uganda.
“The training strongly supports the curricula reformations in all partner countries”, said Vice Dean Dr Paul Kachapulula, Acting Dean of the School of Agriculture at University of Zambia (UNZA), in his opening speech. UNZA provides the online learning platform for the programme.
The training is organised by Aalto University and Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK). The certified training programme consists of eight theory lessons and concrete tasks. The participants have an active role.
“PBL encourages students to pose questions, express opinions and develop their critical thinking”, stated professor Saija Hollmén, Aalto University. “We need new ideas and solutions to address global sustainability challenges.”
An important element of the training is that the teachers develop their own professional identity. The aim is that teachers will have a deep understanding of problem-based and student-centred learning.
Communication skills, teaching methods, industrial collaboration, PBL applications in different countries and inspiring students are central themes that the participants brought up when asked what they expect to learn during the training programme.
“After the training, teachers will be able to plan PBL programmes and create an inspiring, teamwork-based learning atmosphere. They will understand their role in facilitating the students’ active learning, rather than just passing knowledge”, says project coordinator Dr Eija Laitinen, HAMK.
PBL trainer Ulla-Maija Knuutti, HAMK, gave the participants a final task at the end of the first training session. The task is to identify themselves as teachers – using any method, e.g. writing, singing, or dancing.