Teachers share knowledge in rural Myanmar

Charterhouse hosts professional development programme in new partnership with Phayar Taung

Charterhouse was transported to a rural Burmese village for a week in August, as five teachers ran the inaugural professional development programme in our exciting new partnership with the Phayar Taung Youth Development Centre, Shan State.

Launched earlier in 2018, Charterhouse’s partnership with Phayar Taung, a Burmese Monastery School, is a key plank of our Community & Partnerships programme, alongside important and impactful relationships closer to home. Like all our partnership work, the Charterhouse-Phayar Taung project is founded on the principles of shared learning for all involved, and reached a new peak of productivity with the inaugural Teaching Development Programme (3-12 August 2018).

Phayar Taung is a remarkable institution situated alongside a Buddhist monastery on the shores of Lake Inle in Myanmar, formally Burma. It is both home and school for 1,200 young people, entirely from poor local villages, who study a core academic curriculum within the values-driven framework of the monastery.

Five teachers from Charterhouse, led by Ben Cahill-Nicholls (Director of Community & Partnerships) and Annabel Hawkins (Assistant Head Pastoral), spent a week living at the monastery whilst running a training programme for 35 young educators from the region. The trainees were introduced to concepts such as assessment, lesson aims and planning, and group work, as well as developing their English language skills. The teachers also spent time with the monastery and school leadership, developing their understanding of Burmese education, ahead of plans to expand this important partnership in future years.

Trainee teachers learn to use the science resources shared by Charterhouse, under the watchful eye of Annabel Hawkins (Assistant Head, Charterhouse)

Mark Begbie, theology teacher and Director of Creative Arts at Charterhouse, commented, “Regardless of location, there are some fundamental elements to education which we were delighted to share and develop with our Burmese colleagues.” Alice Brooking, Housemistress of Fletcherites and languages teacher, added, “The trainee teachers fully embraced our teaching of new concepts, skills and pedagogy with huge enthusiasm; in doing so, they enabled us to reflect on our own school and pupils’ learning in new and interesting ways.”

Throughout the week, Charterhouse teachers were fortunate to experience the hospitality and kindness for which Myanmar is rightly known. Martina Boggian, Charterhouse’s Head of Italian, said, “It was a true privilege to live alongside our trainee teachers in Phayar Taung, to eat with and learn with them throughout the week. It is hard to do justice to such a moving experience – if only there were more educational partnerships founded in the spirit of such genuine collaboration.”

Trainees were introduced to a wide range of educational games and activities for use in their own programmes and schools

For more information, please contact Ben Cahill-Nicholls, Director of Community & Partnerships at Charterhouse: BCN@charterhouse.org.uk. The Charterhouse-Phayar Taung partnership is generously supported by the Inle Trust and the Samena Foundation.