Humbling experience for trainer Gillian

Gillian Bingham, left, with some of the students of the Blessed St Andres school
Gillian Bingham, left, with some of the students of the Blessed St Andres school

GILLIAN Bingham from Donaghcloney has just returned from a life-changing trip to India as part of the Global Schoolroom programme.

Gillian, who until June 2011 worked with the North Eastern Education and Library Board as a Drugs and Alcohol/Schools Council officer and is now a consultant for Drugs and Alcohol Awareness, was selected from hundreds of applicants to fly to North East India in an effort to help raise the teaching standards in Bodhjungnagar in the Indian state of Tripura.

She spent four weeks at the Blessed St. Andre’s School, near Agartala, with the Holy Cross mission. Her first two weeks were spent delivering part of the course for the accredited Diploma in Teacher Education and the remaining two weeks observing the Teachers in their classrooms.

Along with three other teachers from Northern Ireland she departed from Belfast International Airport on June 30 and returned at the end of July this year. Summing up her time in India Gillian said, “This has been one of the most profound and humbling experiences of my life.

“Using my own teaching experience I was able to highlight common issues that arise in the classroom and show these teachers how to overcome them.

Asked if she enjoyed the experience, she said, “I have been touched by the generosity and humility of those involved with the Holy Cross and the people of the Bodhjungnagar village. I have made some lifelong friends and will most definitely be back!”

Global Schoolroom is a cross-community programme which enables UK and Republic of Ireland teachers to share their educational experiences with teachers in the Developing World, and vise versa, with the goal of raising educational standards so helping to eradicate poverty. Now in partnership with University College Dublin, Global Schoolroom offers an accredited Diploma in Teacher Education to teachers in the Developing World who complete the programme.

A number of teachers will be selected from Northern Ireland for the 2012 intake. Those selected will work with Indian and Ugandan teachers for four weeks in July 2012 delivering the Global Schoolroom Programme.

The tutors’ work will include formal contact time made up of lectures, seminars, workshops and classroom observation. Also included will be the setting of autonomous learning tasks for the Indian Teachers for periods in between formal contact time.

Global Schoolroom is sponsored by teacher insurance specialist, Adelaide Insurance Services Ltd and sister company Cornmarket Group Financial Services Ltd and supported by the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI), the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) and Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO).