The teacher training program is implemented by Kimanya-Ngeyo Foundation for Science and Education (KN), an organization founded in 2007 that has offered teacher training in primary schools since 2014 and in secondary schools since 2021. KN uses a curriculum titled Preparation for Social Action, which has been in development for over 40 years by Fundación para la Aplicación y Enseñanza de la Ciencia (FUNDAEC), whose aim was to integrate the traditional knowledge of rural populations in Colombia with modern scientific epistemological approaches to advance autochthonous and local processes of development. FUNDAEC has trained organizations across the world to study its workbooks using a pedagogical approach closely linked to a well-articulated conceptual framework. KN’s approach was to select a subset of the workbooks to study with teachers alongside FUNDAEC’s description of its own conceptual framework. This results in teachers having an experience in which they are treated as “``learners'' within a learning experience where the pedagogy, curriculum and context are all very carefully and deliberately tied to a well-thought out and explicitly articulated philosophical approach and conceptual framework.
As a result, the training is holistic and multi-faceted. As a first step, the training uses a carefully curated workbook to facilitate group study, read-aloud techniques accompanied by discussion, and practical learning activities. Each workbook is intended to help participants develop capacity to think and act consciously in a specific domain of activity: e.g., in describing the world around them with greater clarity, in analyzing the causes of health and disease, in making more conscious technological choices in the domain of agriculture, and more. The approach leads teachers to see themselves as scientists with a vision of generating and applying knowledge that leads to community transformation. Teachers learn to use precise language to observe and describe their communities, to pose sharp questions, to frame specific hypotheses, to use evidence and data gathered from everyday life to analyze the world around them. Practically speaking, the materials can challenge the teachers to develop these capabilities through the use of simple activities - such as as creating shapes out of clay to learn only to describe the same shapes with greater precision - to the use of complex activities that create conceptual connections across different domains of knowledge - such as measuring the point at which water changes from liquid to gas and connecting the concept of change of phase to transformation of a child who undergoes education.
A second step analyzes the teachers’ own experiences in the training through a meta-cognitive lens. They are asked to analyze the curricular and pedagogical features of the training that led them to see themselves in this new light (as scientists). We define the banking approach to education as in (Freire, 1970) as an approach to education where its primary focus is to “fill” students with knowledge which they acquire information without requiring to use critical thinking. We will refer to the opposite of this approach as a capabilities approach to education, where students are encouraged to develop their capacity for scientific thinking and the use of precise language in order to more accurately describe their reality and become active participants in their own learning process. This intervention is often the first time teachers begin to identify the difference between conceptual understanding - a necessary feature of a capabilities approach - and information assimilation - the dominant activity under a banking approach. Teachers also begin to recognize the importance of humility in being able to see things through the student’s perspective and becoming more attentive to a holistic set of qualities which characterize the student - i.e., beyond defining and comparing students according to their academic merits alone.
Many teachers report feeling uncomfortable with the format at first because they do not immediately see its connection to the approaches they would take as teachers. As they continue to participate in the training, however, they begin to see how it reshapes their orientation to the purpose of education and knowledge itself. The experiences they acquire as learners give them examples of pedagogical approaches that they initially emulate in their own classrooms. The meta-cognitive analysis of these experiences helps teachers act in a self-reflexive manner to eventually learn how to adapt these experiences through the analysis of their use of new pedagogical approaches in their classrooms.
The content of the training is not substantively different relative to the primary training which is described with more detail in Nourani et al (2020).