TMA shall foster professional learning partnerships consisting of a vibrant corps of Canadian educators coupled with identified teachers in project sites. Emerging from each partnership will be improved instructional practices as well as local leadership capable of sustaining a dynamic professional learning community dedicated to ongoing instructional improvement.
Grounded in the fundamental belief that quality education stems from effective instruction, Teacher Mentors Abroad (TMA) is devoted to the work of building teachers’ capacity in under-resourced environments throughout the world.
Teacher Mentors Abroad was founded in the spirit of partnership
In January 2005 a mission team from Leaskdale, Ontario hosted a youth leadership camp in Hainamosa, a under-resourced community outside Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In this community both public and private schools face the challenges of being under-resourced. Dominican teachers noticed the co-operative learning strategies used by the Canadians in working with the youth, and asked to learn more about this instructional approach.
Teacher Mentors Abroad (TMA) was created in response to this request. A group of Canadian educators facilitated a summer workshop for 70 teachers in Hainamosa. It was such a success that both the Dominicans and the Canadians realized there was a need for a bigger program. Future workshops on instructional strategies were planned based on a training of trainers (TOT) model. Using this sustainable model of teacher development, TMA builds dynamic learning partnerships with teachers in under-resourced communities.
We first identify instructional leaders in our partner communities who are committed to building their professional skills. Then we determine the specific needs of these teachers, based on their input, and train them in good instructional practices for engaging students in their classrooms. Finally, we help facilitate training sessions where lead teachers share their newly acquired skills with their colleagues. We develop a multi-tiered approach, including: structured workshops, direct coaching with Canadian mentors, a system of written communication and feedback, classroom visits, and facilitation of professional development events for host teacher communities.
GUIDING PRINCIPLES & CORE VALUES
- The work of TMA and its agents is exclusively not-for-profit
- Improved teaching practice can be learned
- The knowledge and support gained through a teacher’s involvement in a professional learning community will contribute positively to enhance teaching performance
- To be relevant, staff development strategies must be designed to accommodate differences in classroom settings
- Effective mentoring depends on relationships of mutual respect and trust
- The work of TMA is focused on public and non-profit schools
- TMA’s involvement is always at the invitation and pleasure of the host country and/or school system
- TMA projects must be designed to have a sustainable, long-term impact
- TMA’s work is a team effort
- TMA is devoted to learning from and sharing with others who share a similar intent
- Outreach shall stem solely from expressed professional interest and shall not be influenced by gender, religion, ethnicity, politics or financial resources