There is a growing concern worldwide that our present education system is not preparing students for challenges they will encounter throughout their life. The authoritarian teacher centered method of teaching by lecture, rote memorization and teaching to the test is the standard. This passive style of learning is based on lecture and memorizing facts which prepares students for exams but not for life or work.
What is Inside-Out Learning?
IOL is based on the premise that all people are born with intellect, talents, and ability that enable them to survive and thrive in the world. The program does not teach an academic curriculum. I want to repeat we do not change the existing curriculum. Teachers continue to use their own curriculum and books. We instruct teachers how to be more effective in the classroom through techniques and methods that help students develop higher level thinking skills. IOL focuses on curiosity and imagination. This methodology produces innovative, empowered, resilient, problem solvers and future entrepreneurs.
We include character development in our training. We also provide specific techniques to foster individual learning styles. Emphasis is given to the development of the learner’s moral, intellectual, social, and emotional strengths.
- Students are engaged in the learning process resulting in confidence and independence.
- Students develop vital communication and leadership skills.
- Students are prepared to enter the work force as innovative problem solvers.
How do we accomplish our objectives?
Before any Inside-Out Teacher training seminar is conducted, the proper authorization from local school administrators is given and an invitation for them to attend is offered. An introduction to lOL is usually a partnership with in-country representatives and trained IOL facilitators. For example, in the beginning of IOL in Kenya, an IOL trained administrator, Lilian Odiero, played a key role in meeting with officials, obtaining approval, and assisting with the teacher training. A team of U.S. IOL facilitators attended several seminars to make sure the methods and techniques were clearly understood. Lilian then educated a few trainers and they continue to train teachers in Kenya and Uganda. Lilian has also been part of a U.S. team that partnered with another NGO working in Ghana. When NGOs desire the IOL program to be implemented into their area, a team is trained and then sent to facilitate an IOL seminar. That was the case in Fiji. An IOL Facilitator Guide has been developed and enables facilitators both from U.S. and in-country to conduct a viable seminar.
A four to five day training seminar is scheduled in a central convenient location so teachers representing several school can attend. Many methods and techniques are modeled and teachers experience an IOL learning environment. In this way they can discover the power of active, engaged, and collaborative learning. Their understanding and retention of new methods of teaching is carefully monitored and measured through the training. The concluding day is a display of what they have learned through groups of teachers making original presentations. An evaluation form is filled prior to training and at the conclusion so that data can be collected and analyzed for continuous improvement. A 175 page Teacher Resource Guide is given to every teacher so that the IOL methodology will continue to be a vibrant motivation to educate young people who are innovative problems solvers and productive citizens.
We developed a Teacher Resource Guide for teachers which they receive at training. Teachers can continue to refer to this guide following their training seminar to refresh what they learned and receive additional ideas. Great effort was made by outstanding educators all over the country to create this TRG.
We have trained over 2,000 teachers in developing countries in Africa, South Pacific and now South America impacting over 250,000 students. IOL trainings have trained teachers with students from Kindergarten thru college.
As a nonprofit organization, our IOL facilitators are all exceptionally qualified and volunteer their time simply because they believe in this program and know it can change lives. It costs only $100 to train one teacher, but that teacher will impact hundreds of students in their lifetime.
What is the outcome?
- The training changes the way teachers stimulate and ignite learning.
- Teachers learn how to personalize the learning for each student.
- After an IOL training our teachers report finding more satisfaction in teaching.
After completing this training teachers will know how to:
- Formulate an effective lesson plan.
- Teach critical/creative thinking skills.
- Encourage communication and collaboration.
- Promote character and strength development.
- Apply knowledge to solving real life challenges and create positive opportunities.
IOL empowers the most precious resource of any country…it’s young people. They are capable of being innovative and turning their challenges into opportunities.
We must equip learners with the necessary skills to:
- Earn a sustainable livelihood.
- Be self-reliant
- Be Productive
- Follow a moral compass
- Contribute to a stable and vibrant society.
How We Train
Inside-Out Learning is based on the premise that we are each endowed with all we need to survive and thrive in this world. When we seek and find God-given potential within us, we will embrace moral values and gain the ability to solve problems and seek opportunities.
Just as soil is prepared for planting so is every day instruction prepared. We begin with gathering the teachers together for a brief music experience, usually including some movement/dance. An uplifting and inspiring quote or message is shared and a moment of silence to ponder a reason to be grateful. Then if permitted, a prayer is offered. This is encouraged to happen every day in their classroom.
Throughout the training, the following topics will be taught, demonstrated, and applied in a variety of ways to secure the understanding and future use once teachers return to their own teaching environments.
- Learning Environment – Establish an environment that is safe from ridicule or negative behavior. That is accomplished through formulating ground rules that the students have co-designed with the teacher and take responsibility for the consequences. A class motto to unify and strengthen each other which encourages collaboration. A personal motto to align to a moral compass.
- Multiple Intelligences — Howard Gardner isolated 8 different ways in which people learn. We expose teachers to the unique and invigorating ways their students and themselves learn and how utilizing those different ways ignites potential. For example if a teacher or a student recognizes that drawing a picture increases his ability to make sense of a new idea or fact, it opens a tool bag of learning resources. A child struggling to learn to read could begin tapping the word or singing the word and suddenly the brain connects and stores that knowledge.
- Inquiry Based Learning If all you do as you’re growing up is watch stuff on the screen—or go to school, where they give you the answers—then you don’t develop the instinct to ask questions. They don’t know how to ask because it’s never been asked of them. (Clayton Christensen) IOL training first instructs the teacher how to develop the skill of asking thought provoking questions. In addition, the training provides many tips and techniques for arousing curiosity, stimulating deeper thinking through questions, and creating a hunger to learn through asking questions.
- Critical Thinking – Schools have focused on imparting skills and knowledge as their chief goal. Educators have focused more on the completion of work and assignments than on a true development of understanding. The teacher tells the students what is important to know and do and then has them practice that skill or knowledge. In such classrooms, little thinking is happening. Retention of information through rote practice isn’t learning; it is passive consumption. (Ritchhart Ron, Church Mark, and Morrison Karin. Making Thinking Visible, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011) Lesson planning begins with the outcome in mind. “What do I want my students to know (cognitive), what do I want them to do (behavioral) what do I want them to feel or be affected by (affective) and what will they be able to apply (application) to their daily lives. Group discussions and individual projects are designed to invigorate higher level thinking skills such as evaluation, assessment, prediction, observation and consequential reason.
- Creative Thinking – Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand. While imagination embraces the entire world, and there ever will be more to know and understand.” (Albert Einstein) Creative thinking is a skill that can be learned. The learning environment, the use of many learning preferences, inquiry based learning, and planning with a purpose are all ways to trigger creative thoughts and actions. One technique taught is Edward DeBono’s Six Thinking Hat strategy for stimulating creative thinking.
- Communication — IOL promotes communication in every aspect of learning. Thought provoking questions stimulate critical and creative thinking. But in order to take full advantage of the thinking process, learners must develop the skill of verbal communication as well as expression through the written word. A spokesperson is consistently selected to articulate group discussions. A notebook is kept by every student to record facts, events, thoughts, goals, etc.
- Collaboration — An atmosphere of collaboration begins on the first day as ground rules and a class motto are designed. Because application of knowledge is always emphasized, the inclusion of collaboration becomes relevant. For example, in teaching a historical event or a scientific achievement the teacher could easily incorporate questions about the outcome based on a collaborative effort.
- Character Education – To educate a man in mind and not morals is to educate a menace to society. (Theodore Roosevelt) Character education is woven through the entire curriculum and is not taught as a special subject. Honesty can be discussed when solving math problems. “How would the store owner pay the farmer if people stole food from his selves? How would the farmer buy the seeds for the crop if the storeowner could not pay him? How much money does the farmer need to make in order to be profitable?”
- Strengths in Education – Strengths are innate talents that when practiced over time and combined with skills and knowledge can provide near-perfect performance in a specific activity. The key is to identify dominate talents, practice them, and acquire the knowledge and skills related to the activity. Teachers will identify their strengths and then help their students in this discovery and progression process.
The Teacher Resource Guide has been formulated for ease of implementation of IOL methods. While completing a daily/weekly lesson plan, the teacher can find many activities and ideas for incorporating music, visual stimulation, active participation, recall/retention strategies and application.