Teacher and Trainer Training

Teacher and Trainer Training

Effective VET depends on the availability of good teachers, trainers, and instructors. Therefore, training of trainers (ToT) is an important project activity in VET-related development initiatives. Industrialised countries have developed official structures and institutions for the permanent furtherance and in-service training of any kind of teachers and trainers at all levels. This type of training schemes are usually absent in low-income countries, whereas transition countries are struggling hard to re-establish their ToT system and adapt it to contemporary requirements. As a result, a majority of development initiatives need to develop their own training schemes in order to adequately prepare VET teachers and trainers for their jobs.

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[Mr. Rudolf Batliner, Head of Liechtenstein Development Service - LED, has contributed to the following introduction]

The teachers and/or instructors are a key component of technical education or vocational training. They are the persons who should create favourable conditions for learning. They design and facilitate the teaching learning process – the key process of the VET system. Therefore, teachers need both expertise in their field and teaching skills for theoretical and the practical aspects of their field. In addition, the future teachers should acquire the responsibility for keeping up to date with trends in their field because technical development in all occupational fields never stops. To this end, technical and vocational education teachers, on a full-time or part-time basis, should have access to in-service training programmes including

continuous review and updating of knowledge, competencies and skills;
continuous updating of specialized professional skills and knowledge;
periodic work experience in the relevant occupational sector (see also: UNESCO’s Revised Recommendation concerning Technical and Vocational Education (2001), http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001406/140603e.pdf)


Regarding teaching skills in many countries we face the same problems. Many technical teachers never had a chance to attend a proper training on teaching methodology. This situation is even worsened by the fact that only few of them experienced any other method than lecturing. In addition, the focus basically is on teaching and not on learning and even less on performing.


The purpose of ToT is to increase the capacity of teachers to design and implement training courses that improve the learners' performance on the job. Depending on the organizational set-up the ToT can target either master trainers (e.g. staff of a technical university) who then become multipliers, or technical teachers directly. Teaching in a classroom or a workshop is a so-called complex behaviour which is best shaped and acquired through experiential learning. Modelling good practice and coaching the "learning by doing" of the learners are effective ways of developing both competent and confident trainers. They help to break deeply rooted patterns and beliefs about teaching and learning. Clear criteria help the learners to self- and peer-assess their performance.


Performance oriented approach to teacher training

This specific approach to ToT has been developed at the Training Institute for Technical Education (TITI) in Nepal and has been transferred successfully to many countries in Asia, Africa, Latin-America and Eastern Europe.

The approach basically defines a series of aspects of the ToT as key components:

    • Skills: Like workers of any other occupation, a technical teacher needs a specific set of skills or competencies. Clear communications about the skills to be mastered is the starting and end point of any training. If performance is the purpose of the training, the number of skills should be relatively small. The skills are the "bricks", which allow training courses to be customized to specific situations and needs.
    • Mastery learning: "Training" means to guide the learners to the point where they can perform the skills.
    • Practice: Learning consists of a constant shift between doing and reflecting. Learning is based upon concrete assignments and opportunities to perform. Micro-teaching has proved to be a valuable means for creating practice opportunities. Modular training designs reinforce this shift between theory and practice. 
    • Modelling: The trainers model the desired behaviour and good procedures. For example, it is of little help to teach group work through lectures only.
    • Coaching: Practical activities of the learners are supported through coaching before and feedback after the performance. Trial and success works better then trial and error.
      Coaching on school level after the training enhances the transfer to the classroom or workshop.
    • Visualizing: The effect of training increases when abstract concepts are translated into concrete "images". This also applies to finding the structure behind complex situations.
    • Procedures: Procedures proven in practice are helpful tools for performing skills. The Skill Cards – the two page handouts of TITI - each contains a guide to successful performance.
    • Standards: Clear quality standards for good teaching practice facilitate coaching and feedback. They allow the learners to self-assess their performance.
    • Performance evaluation: The evaluation of learners' performance is a continuous activity. It provides them with feedback on their progress and final achievements.

Practical organisational issues

    • Infrastructure and equipment: The level of the equipment and the infrastructure of the training centre should be compatible with the reality of the technical schools. If the level of the training centre is far above to what teachers can rely on in their classroom or workshop, many teachers tend to focus on these lacks and to attribute their unsatisfactory performance to the poor circumstances. This does not mean that the training centre may not have some pieces of modern equipment as eye-openers.
    • Trainers: There is no single best way of teaching. It is the personal and social qualities of the trainers that make the difference. Different trainers serve as diverse models that the teacher can observe and learn from.
    • Composition and size of the group: Several teachers from the same school enhance the transfer. Together they build up the critical mass, which is required for making change happen. Mixed groups have the advantage that during micro-teaching there are always learners present. Furthermore the risk decreases that the feedback focuses on content instead of on methodology. Training requires practice opportunities for the learners. The ratio between trainers and learners should not exceed 1:10, especially before and during micro-teaching.




  • Project Example: Programme d'Appui à la Formation Professionnelle et à l'Emploi in Benin - PAFPE
  • Project Example: Programme d'Appui à la Formation Professionnelle in Mali - PAFP
  • Project Example: Training Instutite for Technical Instruction in Nepal - TITI
  • Project Example: Professional Development for Education Personnel in Serbia
  • Project Example: Tanzania Teacher Training
  • UNESCO’s Teacher Training Initiative in sub-Saharan Africa (TTISSA)

UNESCO has launched a high-priority Initiative on Teacher Training in sub-Saharan Africa for 2006-2015. TTISSA is designed to help countries synchronize their policies, teacher education, and labour practices with national development priorities for Education for All (EFA).This Initiative will assist the continent’s 46 sub-Saharan countries in restructuring national teacher policies and teacher education. It aims to increase the number of teachers and improve the quality of teaching. Seventeen countries are participating in the first phase of the initiative.


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