Annual Reflection marks half-way point for Educational Changemakers

Confidence. Collaboration. Connections. Creativity. Capability. Changemaker.

These are but a few of the themes that Cohort 2 of the Educational Changemakers Project that recurred again and again as the changemakers presented their musings at the 2024 Annual Reflection. The reflection marked the halfway point of the two-year project and opened a space for them to explore the successes and challenges of the past year and, with that in mind, draw out a roadmap for their personal and professional journey during Year Two.

One changemaker shared how, despite struggling with limited experience with lesson planning and classroom management, by working in the classroom daily, she learned to collaborate and build relationships with her supervising teacher — someone who could help guide her as she began to gather further experience. Another expressed that being a changemaker has been life-changing, in no small part because she can pursue a Master of Education sponsored by SeeBeyondBorders through our generous donors’ funding.

These takeaways reflect two sides of the coin that is the Educational Changemakers Project — experiential, hands-on learning coupled with formal academic studies. The cohort flourishes as a result of both, together, as they foster the development of high-level knowledge and leadership without losing sight of real-life applications.

Running parallel to teaching experience and university studies are workshops, discussions and reflections facilitated by our staff. Lida, Teaching Development Officer for the Educational Changemaker project, explains their importance:

“The workshops are a part of our Excellence Course. We provide instruction on quality technical teaching practices. So, right now we’re focusing on peer mentoring — changemakers supporting changemakers — and once they finish learning about it, they’ll start to practise it while at the schools.”

“The discussions help grow the changemaker’s confidence to share their ideas. They have to independently research beforehand; they then practise talking with confidence based on that research, on evidence, which is an important part of leadership. And reflections help them consider what they did over the past week, what went well and what they want to improve on more.”

In SeeBeyondBorders’ spirit of continuous improvement as an organisation, Cohort 2’s experience has been informed by the successes and shortcomings of the inaugural iteration of the project. While for Cohort 1, the design and implementation of the project were running nearly in tandem, now, our staff have a well established roadmap of a successful project and are able to fine-tune for smaller adjustments.

For instance, while most every afternoon for Cohort 1 was scheduled, Project Manager SreyPhet encourages less structured time, giving the changemakers autonomy to build their own agenda that might include lesson planning, university readings and assignments, resource preparation for teaching or planning cohort events like the Annual Reflection. This is a step towards empowering the changemakers not only through the project’s content, but also through its very design.

The Educational Changemaker Project is supported by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). With their sustained support, we are looking forward to an even more successful second year for Cohort 2 of the Educational Changemakers — we cannot wait to see just how they will continue to grow and flourish!

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