Education: In another milestone in education reform, the Ministry of Education has successfully translated 13 teaching structures of Spencer Kagan to Dzongkha and trained 45 Dzongkha teachers as trainer of trainers last week.

These 45 teachers are now on their way back to 16 centres spread across the country where over 1,300 dzongkha teachers will be trained on new teaching structures. “They will now train over 1,300 dzongkha teachers in 16 centres from September,” education monitoring officer Tshering Penjor said.

Spencer Kagan’s structures were translated to Dzongkha following the instructions from the education minister. “Though Dzongkha teachers do understand English but since it was doubtful if they can interpret everything to Dzongkha fully, the minister advised for complete translation,” Tshering Penjor said.

Core group of 11 members, including experts, educationists and teachers from ministry and schools, translated the structures such as the sitting arrangement. “The classes will be made interactive and every child has a chance to take part in the class,” Tshering Penjor said.

The structures have also retained the traditional etiquette such as the ways to stand up, sit down and bow to their teachers while wishing.

Where ever possible we have incorporated all the good traditional practices,” the officer said.

The translation was also reviewed and assessed by the language specialists from schools and dzongkhags, officials from Department of School Education.

Feedback from some of the teachers attending the Dzongkha transformative pedagogy has claimed of children receiving the new teaching method well “Children have been asking in schools when would the teaching structures for Dzongkha be changed. They were asking Dzongkha teachers to start teaching using the new method,” Tshering Penjor said.

Though some of the participants expressed doubts if the Spencer Kagan’s teaching methods developed in English to teach subjects with English medium would work for Dzongkha, others felt it would be suitable for national language as well. “I have been telling my colleagues that it will work since the curriculum for dzongkha is similar,” a Dzongkha teacher from Shari Higher Secondary School Dawa Chencho said.

The participants also felt that the new structures would also help students build interest in learning Dzongkha, which has been on the wane. “Since, even teachers are taking keen interest in transformative pedagogy so it should definitely help children take interest in Dzongkha,” Dawa Chencho said.

During the opening of the training, Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk said that the translation is of historic importance. “As far as what I have been told, it is the first time that Spencer Kagan’s structures were translated to a foreign language,” lyonpo said, adding if this is true, it will be historic for Bhutan to be the first country to achieve the translation.

Of about 9,000 teachers, over 1,300 Dzongkha teachers were left untrained in transformative pedagogy.

“Transformative pedagogy, if it were to be done outside it could have taken around seven years to implement. But here it was decided in three days and completed the training in a short span of time,” Lyonpo said, adding that such big decision could be taken and implemented in such short notice because of the advantages of being a small nation.

Tempa Wangdi