Finn Church Aid has been working with the Eritrean Higher Education Institutes (Eritrean Institute of Technology / College of Education and Asmara Community College of Education) since 2015, especially in the field of teacher education and with the teacher educators. One of the main objectives of this co-operation has been to develop research skills, methods and pedagogical culture in the colleges.
In the Eritreancontext it might sometimes be challenging to do research for example due to lack of resources or lack of knowledge on how to do research. This is why Finn Church Aid organized training together with the media company Write this Down in March and April 2016 for ten teacher educators from the Asmara Community College of Education and from the Eritrean Institute of Technology / College of Education. The training was about audio-visual methods for action research, and the participants were making team research by using video interviews and after that editing the video material they had collected. After the editing the videos were screened to teacher educator colleagues.
The participants had to apply for the training so they were highly motivated to take part in it. Most of the participants were not so familiar with action research or video editing before so the training gave them a good opportunity to learn more about these ways of doing research. It also exemplified uses of student-centered methodology, an essential part of the National Curriculum of Eritrea.
The first part of the training was held in March and it mainly concentrated on the methods of action research, how to use video cameras, how to do interviews and how to collect evident data using audio-visual equipment. The training was organized in Asmara and several different kinds of training methods were used. The participants got familiar with action research and they were also given assignments between the two trainings. The main idea of the assignments was to form the research questions, make the interviews and collect the raw video material for the second part of the training. All this was done in smaller teams.
The second part of the training was organized in Mai Nefhi, College of Education. It concentrated mainly on the editing of the videos that the participants had filmed during the time between the trainings. For many of the participants it was a new experience to do video editing. Even there were many challenges with the programmes, computers and viruses the participants managed to do some very good videos of the results of their research projects. On Friday before lunch there was a small festivity to watch all the videos and to discuss the possible findings of the projects. After that all the participants got their certificates of the training.
Even this training was just a short introduction to action research we hope that it will have a long and sustainable impact in the colleges and in their research traditions. We also hope that the participants will share their knowledge and skills with their colleagues and it that way the message on action research goes further. Hopefully, this develops teacher education and its quality in Eritrea.
Photos: Paulina Tervo & Minna Törrönen