CTL contributes to the professional development program for faculty in Myanmar

June 15, 2020

In March-April 2020 CTL welcomed Maw Maw Than, Associate Professor at the English Department (University of Mandalay) and Pwint Yee Win, Lecturer at National Center for English Language (University of Yangon) as Visiting Fellows within Erasmus Plus Internship Program. At CTL Than and Win collaborated with Dr. Margaryta Rymarenko on designing a faculty development program to be launched in their home institutions as a first step in promoting teaching excellence in higher education in Myanmar. The program prioritizes junior faculty members and newly-appointed teachers from multidisciplinary higher education backgrounds, yet also relevant for faculty with solid teaching experience.

The general aim of the project is to support teachers in their transition to student-centered teaching and learning practices. The training component of the program focuses on student-centered design thinking for activities and assessments, as well as on facilitation of learning in an interactive classroom. The highlight of the program is an experiential component, where teachers have an opportunity to immediately adopt and apply some of the new ideas and strategies in their actual teaching practice and to re-evaluate their experience for further improvement through a guided self-reflection, peer discussions, and feedback from the instructors.

According to Maw Maw Than, "this program is very useful for higher education in Myanmar as it offers targeted academic guidance for teachers who are expected to facilitate student learning processes based on the notion of students as active and independent learners, to select adequate assessment methods that are relevant and appropriate for evaluating students' progress in a range of skills and competences and to use a variety of interactive teaching strategies in the classroom for students engagement in active learning within and beyond the classroom."

Collaboration on designing a professional development program for the faculty in Myanmar was an innovative and stimulating learning experience for the Fellows themselves as they were able to re-evaluate some of their own approaches and develop novel ways of thinking about teaching and learning. As Pwint Yee Win reflected on the experience: 'I came to realize that course design requires a deeper understanding of the teaching and learning process. I came to notice that I need to pay more attention on how the participants will think and behave during my course. The most crucial part of the design is to link the learning goals, activities, and content so I need to revise them again and again, which helps me realize the gaps and mismatches between the design and the goal of the course. The CTL program has so far been the most valuable experience for my future teaching career as I have gained confidence to design the course and to carry out the training program for the colleagues in my department.'

The CTL provides support in innovation in teaching, development and implementation of new teaching strategies and approaches. We are eager to collaborate with external partners to enhance contemporary, research-based practices that help advance excellence in higher education teaching. Dr. Margaryta Rymarenko, who supervised the project said: 'International collaborations such as this one do not only provide us the opportunity to support innovative teaching and learning practices among our partners based on existing research and best practices, but they also enrich our understanding of teaching and learning in diverse contexts. My own experience of teaching in Myanmar and mentoring other teachers working there enabled me to reflect critically on the scholarship on teaching and learning. The discussions that we had during our planning sessions with Myanmar colleagues inspired us to creatively adapt and modify otherwise well-established approaches and practices to fit the particular context of higher education in Myanmar. In this regard, I believe, the program that we designed, is unique and authentic. It strongly builds on the local context and needs and is designed to support teachers in developing context-sensitive teaching practices and approaches.'

CTL welcomes external faculty members to collaborate with us on individual or international teaching projects as we encourage fresh ideas and ways to enhance teaching practice as well as research. We look forward to working with you.