At the birth of Teaching Training Together in 2010, we wondered if it was possible to strip away marketing influences and waning trends to reveal the longstanding and universal methods of teaching. We committed to research educational theory from a global perspective, as opposed to a Western… American… Northeastern… Massachusetts… perspective. It was our hope that these methods could be applied to any curriculum for most teachers, regardless of one’s latitude or longitude on the globe.
Hundreds of hours have been poured into the creation of each session of the TTT program. In our first module, we introduce Session 1: History of Educational Theory. Here, we take a journey through three eras of time as we consider the origin of educating a child. In the Ancient Age, we learn about the birth of education in places like Egypt, India, and Israel. Then, we explore the clergy in Europe and the invention of wood block printing in China during the Middle Age. Finally, we investigate the Modern Age, which was a reformation of thought as many theorists in Europe suggested that a child’s mind is unique and has the potential to learn, as opposed to the antiquated idea that a child only learns through memorization and harsh punishment.
Right from the start, our content humbly destroys the notion that we, as Americans, have arrived, so you, people of the developing world, may be graced by our presence, our knowledge, our expertise. I believe the last thing an underserved teacher needs is an American training program, a “know-it-all”, to tell her what to do, with materials she does not have, in a classroom that lacks laminated posters, smartboards and reading corners. Rather, TTT strips it all away as every theory, technique, and activity passes through a rigorous filter to determine if the underlying principle or idea can be applied to any teacher, in any classroom, anywhere on the planet. This is evident throughout the six teacher and two school leader seminars.
I read a book that suggests a benchmark to interpret Scripture against the hard questions and big ideas of life. The author writes, “If it isn’t also true for a poor single Christian mom in Haiti, it isn’t true.”
TTT’s benchmark –
If it isn’t true for a teacher in Haiti, it isn’t true.
Simply, if it cannot be applied to most teachers, it is pitched. What a liberating, challenging privilege it is to research, construct, and organize each bit of every session of these professional development seminars.
May each of us strive to share it all, but never to know it all.
Beth is the President of Teaching Training Together, an organization based in Burlington, Massachusetts, that provides professional development seminars to underserved teachers and school leaders in developing nations.