Thinking Schools Tigray Ethiopia Professional Development
Trainer of Trainers
12-15 October 2015

By Robert Seth Price and Dagim Melese

By Dagim Melese
P1130208Thinking Schools Ethiopia Lead Country Trainer
Professional Development conducted in Wukro, Tigray, Ethiopia on the 12-15 October 2015
Whole School Staff Training for developing models of Thinking Schools in Tigray region.
Thinking Schools International (TSI) and Thinking Schools Ethiopia (TSE) facilitated whole staff trainings for educators of 37 laboratory schools in Tigray region. The schools involved two primary schools and a high school from each of the 12 Weredas of the Zonal Administrations in Tigray and one additional school in the Mekelle area. The TSI Global Trainer Robert Seth Price, and the TSE Global Trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese collaborated on facilitating the professional development.

P1120977The training had begun with the leadership team of schools and experts from Tigray Education Bureau, the  Teacher Education Colleges and Mekelle University. Deciding upon the model’s importance to the government school systems in
the region TDA (Tigray Development Association) planned the development of   37 Thinking Schools in 12 Weredas of the region. Following from the principle of whole school transformational change processes the training then was facilitated to most of educators at Wukiro , Aksum and Shira training sites.

Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

P1120848Four (4) Days Trainers of Trainers (TOT) Leadership Professional Development Training
A strategic plan by TSI global trainer, Robert Seth Price, had it that a successful trainings of about 850 educators was forethought to be facilitated involving ToT trainers assuming leadership roles. Accordingly , a four days hands on, highly interactive and participatory training was conducted for about 74 ToT trainees. The training involved a demonstration lesson with students conducted by a TSE trainer Atsede Tsehayou while the ToT trainers were observing, recording their questions and observations. This was followed by discussions on the questions raised and observations aired. The demonstration lesson enabled P1130023ToT trainees to see the practical aspects of the pedagogical strategies, and tools the thinking schools model provides. Mastery of use of Thinking Maps with frame of reference, exercising elements of collaborative networking of ideas, and planning the steps/events of whole school implementation of Thinking Maps, and other pedagogical strategies were the key elements of the TOT training. Other pedagogical methods included question for inquiry, community building exercises, and collaborative learning methods.

P1130117Subsequently a two days whole staff training was undertaken for over 320 teacher educators under the leadership role of the ToT trainers . The ToT trainers played key role in effectively transferring via modeling the essential components of the training to ALL educators from Wukro. After the two days training teachers from 2 primary and 1 secondary schools from each Wereda came up with their plan (in a Flow Map) of whole school implementation of Thinking Maps in their respective schools. Worth mentioning it is, here,  that the training hall chosen at Wukro site contributed a lot to the success of the overall training. The training was in the P1130313auditorium within a Catholic School located in Wukro. It was superb in space, excellent in sound, and sufficient quality chairs and tables for the large group.

by Robert Seth Price
TSI Global Trainer
Professional Development conducted in Wukro, Tigray, Ethiopia on the 12-15 October 2015

The Trainer of Trainer model implemented with the Thinking Schools Ethiopia: Tigray project is equal parts ToT and Leadership professional development. The first four days were training for the ToT educators with two from each of the 37 school. The goal is to have equal gender representation P1120924as role models in respect to the Sida support with ‘girl empowerment’. The second ‘step’ of the ToT training has the ToT trainers leading their schools while ‘apprenticing’ under the leadership the the TSI Global Trainer and TSE Trainers. The ToT trainers clearly took the roles as leaders in facilitating what was modeled within their respective school contexts. In addition to the leadership with their schools, the ToT were very supportive of coaching one another. This is reflective of Ethiopia being a collaborative society as a much as the professionalism of the educators.

P1130129The Growing Thinking Schools Inside Out handbook guide was translated to Tigrinya which was welcomed by all the participants, especially the ones who had been in the initial school leadership trainings when the guide was in English. From this training, we will further refine the translation. Additionally a Student Practice Guide was developed and shared with all participants to comment on prior to translating the final guides for primary and secondary implementation. The trainings are conducted with the TSE trainers whom speak both Tigrinya and Amharic. The ToT facilitators also took leadership roles in regards to translating.

Visual overview of the Growing Thinking Schools Project in Tigray Ethiopia. What began with a social media connection is now 37 laboratory model schools representing 12 Woredas in all seven Zonal Administrations. Each Woreda has 2 primary and 1 secondary model laboratory schools. In addition to the 36 schools, there is one additional model laboratory school in Mekelle: Kallamino Special High School for a total of 37 model laboratory schools.























IMG_6796The Growing Thinking Schools Inside Out Professional Development Guide / Handbook
The Growing Thinking Schools has been translated by Mekelle University into Tigrinya for training educators throughout the Tigray region. Growing Thinking Schools is a guide, much like a travel guide that you have closely looked through before visiting a new place, or visiting a website with information about different pathways for investigating a new concept.  This guidebook is only used with support of a certified Thinking Schools International and Thinking Schools Ethiopia trainer who will guide you and your colleagues through a process of:

  • envisioning what a “Thinking School” might look like in your culture and environment;
  • considering the different possible approaches you may take; and
  • beginning the planning stage for the short and long term process of explicitly and systematically integrating “thinking” processes into the existing “learning” processes within your school.

This guide does not provide an answer, but offers starting points for the journey toward becoming a “Thinking School” of the 21st century.

IMG_6798Using the Working Field Guide
At the back of this guide is a pullout document called the Working Field Guide. This is like a journal that you might take along on trip for writing down your ideas. In this case, you will be collaboratively mapping out your ideas and reflecting on uses of thinking tools, techniques and strategies with your colleagues.  It is a place for you to be creative, to capture ideas, and for reference as you move forward.