#AtoZChallenge: Z is for Zimbabwe, Zambia—& “Ze End”


For full details about the A to Z Blogging Challenge, click here. And then pack up that suitcase as we make our last two stops on our educational journey across the world.

Music soothes in Zimbabwe 

For students in the landlocked south African country of Zimbabwe, music is a way to bond, to express feelings, and to forget—even briefly—some of the challenges that impact their daily lives.

This love of singing is further explored in this wonderful Teachers Media International video featuring well-known composer Howard Goodall, who explores the kinds of songs students in Africa enjoy singing, as well as how music is incorporated into their everyday learning.

And listening to this beautiful montage of secondary students from Zimbabwe —set to the Dombodema High School’s incredible choir—there’s no question music “soothes the savage beast.”

How is singing used in your classroom?

Raising the bar in Zambian education 

We end the 2016 Teachers Media International #AtoZChallenge in Zambia, where teachers there understand that education is the most powerful weapon to change the world. But access to public education is still a challenge for many students, and an estimated 30% of Zambian youth struggling community schools, where there is often a lack of resources.

A new three-year initiative in the country hopes to raise the quality standards in these schools by providing students with better resources and a higher level of instruction. This informative video looks at the history of community schools in Zambia and how new global partnerships will positively impact them.

Whew! We don’t know about you, but we’re exhausted, and ready to head home after a long month of globetrotting. If you’ve been with us since Australia, thank you! And if you’re just joining us, we hope you take a peek through our archives to see how we’ve celebrated the A to Z of education systems from around the world.

~ The Teachers Media Team


#AtoZChallenge: Y is for Yemen


For full details about the A to Z Blogging Challenge, click here. And then grab your luggage, we’re heading to southwest Asia and the final leg of our world educational tour.

Working together to promote education in Yemen

In the war-torn southwest-Asian country of Yemen, where even schools are under attack, access to education is limited—or often non-existent.

But together with the Yemeni government, the USAID is undertaking a comprehensive effort to improve school attendance—especially among girls, who make up the majority of out-of-school youth in Yemen—to make the country’s schools cleaner and safer, as well as improve reading skills, especially in early grades. Part of this initiative includes  a new reading curriculum, and extensive coaching for educators who will be responsible for teaching these new literacy skills.

While USAID’s assistance is appreciated, the country is also taking an initiative.

This short video talks about the new “Me & Us” education project, a project designed to promote enthusiasm for education in Yemen as a path to community stability and development. The programme focuses on a number of social and life skills that will help to prepare students for the future.

We can hardly believe it—the #AtoZChallenge ends tomorrow! Help us celebrate our last stop on our global tour of education with, appropriately, a well-known “Z” country. See you then!

~ The Teachers Media Team

#AtoZChallenge: X is for Teachers with the “X” Factor


For full details about the A to Z Blogging Challenge, click here. Now tag along as we hunt for some eXtraordinary teachers from around the world.

~   ~   ~

Celebrating the finalists of the Global Teaching Prize

logo-aIn our “P” post, we paid tribute to Hanan Al Hroub, the 2016 winner of the Varkey Foundation’s Global Teacher Prize, but we think all of this year’s finalists—from Australia to the United Kingdom and everywhere in between—are examples of educators that have that special “X” factor, a mix of inspiring best practices, innovative ideas, and top strategies that have a positive impact on education across the world.

Click on the individual pictures of the finalists listed here to see a short video of how each is making a difference in their school—we’re sure you’ll be inspired to implement some of these ideas in your own classrooms.

Characteristics of eXpert classroom teachers


Of course, we understand there are thousands of examples of outstanding teaching practice around the world, far more than we could ever acknowledge during the #AtoZChallenge. All of these educators share common characteristics, many of which are outlined in this article published on the Teachers Media International website.
So what are those “X” factors? It begins with a sound knowledge of the pedagogical content, says Dr. Tony Eaude in the article. Successful teachers present and explain ideas to students in a variety of ways, interpreting clues from the children on best learning methods.

“X” factor teachers also use a broad and challenging range of activities, experiences and opportunities to further student learning. They are confident, professional, informed, and engaging.

For the full list of characteristics, register for the Teachers Media International platform service (www.teachers-media.com) to access more than 3,500 resources including videos, professional learning packs, and more.

Students as teachers

The best teachers know that their role isn’t just to “teach”—but also to listen to students, and be open to learning themselves.

In this Teachers Media International video—an ideal resource for peer learning, the tables are flipped—the students are taught how to teach. Throughout the term, students observe teachers at work, learning about professional values and are tasked with creating their own lesson plans in either mathematics or English. These lesson plans will be used by younger students.

This great video follows six children who are going through the course.

Hard to believe, but there are only two more days left in the #AtoZChallenge! Check back tomorrow as we make our way to Yemen for one of our last stops of this global tour of education. Thanks for sticking with us!

~ The Teachers Media Team

#AtoZChallenge: W is for Women’s Rights


For full details about the A to Z Blogging Challenge, click here. And then join us as we take a look at a global issue.

Women’s rights an ongoing issue across the globe

Despite great strides made in international women’s rights movement over the years, women and girls around the world are still fighting for gender equality—and not only in the developing countries, as some might suspect.

In this Teachers Media International video, students at the Mulberry School for Girls in London learn about the history of gender equality from the women and former strikers who worked at the Ford Plant in Dagenham before and after the Equal Pay Act in 1970. Teachers also discuss the school’s focus on improving student confidence, knowledge, and leadership skills through curriculum.

Mulberry was one of the schools chosen to receive celebrity guest, the US first lady, Michelle Obama, during a tour for her Let Girls Learn initiative, which aims to remove the barriers that keep 62 million girls out of education around the world.

Global economists and researchers know that investing in women isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s smart economics— studies show that a $1 investment toward improving women’s economic opportunities yields up to $7. Plus, there’s a ripple effect that spreads into the wider community. A mother’s education, for example, has a huge impact on her children’s opportunities. Indeed, there is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls.

Unfortunately, in some developing countries, getting an education is difficult. Only 22 per cent of eligible girls in Ghana, for instance, attend upper secondary school. It’s a trend some leaders there are hoping to change.

Take a look at this inspiring video to see how bursaries and extra training are helping girls in Ghana stay in secondary school and shape their future.

How are women’s rights being discussed in your community?

Be sure to check back tomorrow as we take a look at some “X” factor teachers who are making a difference in global education. We’re almost through the #AtoZChallenge. How are you doing on your journey through the blogosphere?

~ The Teachers Media Team

#AtoZChallenge: V is for Vietnam


For full details about the A to Z Blogging Challenge, click here. Now load up that suitcase because we’re headed to Vietnam.

Engaging passive students in Vietnam

Education plays an important role in Vietnamese life. Sparked by Chinese influence and rooted in the country’s belief in Confucianism, devotion to study is not only one of the society’s core values, but education is also recognized as a chance for advancement in Vietnam. Indeed, parents spend considerable time and money to find good schooling for their children.

This commitment to education has clearly paid off. For example, Vietnam students recently participated in standardised testing for the first time, with impressive Pisa scores that outranked countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom.

Despite this progress, instruction quality still varies greatly between teachers, and many students in Vietnam take part in a more “passive” learning style, which sometimes can lead to boredom and teacher challenges when it comes to subject matter.

The Vietnam War, in particular, is difficult to teach, as some academics and politicians believe that educating students about a “heroic” victory against the Americans makes poor economic sense.

This “gap” in Vietnamese history—highly contested by some of the country’s war veterans—is identified and “filled” in this Teachers Media International video where a group of students from Vietnam are taught an eye-opening and engaging lesson about the Vietnam War.

What are some of the ways you engage students with history? We have a number of resources on the Teachers Media website that look at unique ways of bringing Social Studies “to life.” If you’re not already registered, give the service a try—our Lite service is free!

That’s it for today, but tomorrow we take you not to a country, but to an important “W” issue that impacts societies from around the world. See you then, as we continue our global trek on the #AtoZChallenge.

~ The Teachers Media Team

#AtoZChallenge: U is for the UK, USA, and Uganda


For full details about the A to Z Blogging Challenge, click here. And then climb aboard as we head to three very important “U” countries.

~   ~   ~

Students discover what it means to be British

The United Kingdom is a melting pot of diverse cultures and backgrounds—and never is that more acutely felt than in schools, where many students see Britain as a place of difference and division.

In this Teachers Media International video, six children from a variety of backgrounds go on a camping trip where they take part in a number of activities that explore identity. The trip is intended to help them get along, and become friends, but at its core, their time together is designed to help students answer this foundational question: Am I British?

letterU5Along our travels this month, we’ve identified the countries in which Teachers Media International has “on the ground” offices. We’re proud to note the United Kingdom on this list—the company—set up by the award-winning team behind Teachers TV—originated here, and is home to our thriving head office. 


Managing issues in developing countries

Throughout the month, we’ve highlighted a number of education systems in developing countries, such as Kenya and South Africa, where poverty often limits students from attending school.

In countries like the United States, however, student population isn’t the issue—there are more than enough kids in the classrooms—but that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges. In fact, larger schools and the ever-evolving social dynamic can lead to bigger challenges.

In this Teachers Media International video, we see how an innovative leader at a large secondary school in North Carolina has turned a low-performing school into a place where students are engaged in active learning. Despite this inspirational progress, there is still much work to be done. Here, the teacher calls on behaviour expert John Bayley for help. We’re sure you’ll glean some great ideas from his visit.

letterU6The US marks another spot on the world map where Teachers Media International has set up shop. We’re proud to deliver professional learning to educators throughout the country with face-to-face learning opportunities and a customized website packed with more than 3,500 resources.


Teachers teaching teachers in Uganda

In the East African developing country of Uganda, most families have four—or more—children, each with the possibility of attending school. This population influx has created a strain on the country’s education system, primarily in its need for trained teachers.

Inspired by a visit to Uganda, a school in the UK has used video production and face-to-face training to support professional learning for teachers in Uganda. In this Teachers Media International video, we take a look at how teachers in the UK and Uganda are tackling global issues—together.

letterU4Teachers Media International also provides on the ground support in Uganda, with a small office and team of professionals that are keen—and equipped—to support professional development for Ugandan teachers.

Today marks the first day of the last stretch in the #AtoZChallenge. We hope you had time to browse through the other blogs taking part this weekend—or were able to catch up on our archived posts. Tomorrow, we visit Vietnam!

~ The Teachers Media Team

#AtoZChallenge: T is for Teachers Media International, Tanzania & Turkey


For full details about the A to Z Blogging Challenge, click here. And then pack up your luggage, because we’re globetrotting to Tanzania and Turkey.

 ~   ~   ~

Teachers Teaching Teachers

thTeachers Media International (TMI) is a global provider of online professional development services whose aim is to ensure teachers and educators around the world are trained, inspired, and supported to be the very best.

With offices in the UK, Belgium, Canada, Kenya, Botswana, Uganda and Turkey, TMI is committed to providing a scalable, sustainable education ecosystem, multi-language platform—rooted in exemplary professional development—that works for all those involved in education across the world.

TMI is currently in the process of building a global community of highly-skilled educators trained to exemplary standards, sharing and supporting each other. Want to be part of this community? Register here to access more than 3,500 professional learning resources including videos, articles, packs, and interactives.

letterT3On the ground in Turkey

Teachers Media International is proud to be “on the ground” in Turkey with an office and a team of professionals that are helping to alleviate educational issues within the Syrian refugee camps.


Sustainability key in Tanzania


Finding innovative ways to remain sustainable is key in Tanzania where high levels of poverty mean limited access to water, energy and food. Students at Edmund Rice secondary school are taking this challenge to heart.

Not only is the school’s food locally produced, the energy comes from the school’s herd of cows via a slurry that is made into biogas. Sawdust from the carpentry workshop is fuels a stove and termite mounds are mixed with cement to build new classrooms—indeed, it is a school where nothing goes to waste.

And it’s clearly making an impact on student education. In the space of less than 20 years, the school has expanded it curriculum and facilities to keep pace with an increases in population and new world living.

As of March 2016, Edmund Rice students scored excellent results on their national tests, and the school continues to rank in the top 10 percent of schools in Tanzania—despite having large numbers across a wide range of family backgrounds.

Sign on to the Teachers Media International website to watch this inspiring video on Edmund Rice school.

Whoot! We’re on the home stretch now! The #AtoZChallenge takes a break tomorrow, but we’re back for the last week on Monday with the letter “U”—can you believe there’s only one week left? Hope you take some time tomorrow to catch up on your laundry—and check out the other blogs taking part in the challenge, of course. Until Monday…

~ The Teachers Media Team

#AtoZChallenge: S is for South Africa, Syria & Sweden!


For full details about the A to Z Blogging Challenge, click here. And then pack up your luggage, because we’re heading to three new countries on the next leg of our educational world tour.

~   ~   ~

SOUTH AFRICA: Singing through the curriculum

Access to quality instruction and proper facilities remains a challenge for students in South Africa, but in the past decade, the country has taken giant leaps of progression when it comes to teaching and learning.

Part of that progression shines through in a love of singing that not only transcends the country’s 11 languages, but is also infused within the school curriculum, providing a short reprieve from the often heavy issues of poverty and unrest.

In 2007, English composer Howard Goodall was appointed National Ambassador for Singing. In 2008, he travelled to Durban, in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. In this Teachers Media International video, we follow Goodall’s journey as he learns how students are being inspired to sing their way through the curriculum.

For more videos about teaching in Africa, register for the Teachers Media International professional learning platform service. Our “Lite” service is free!

Teaching about Syrian refugees

Right now, there are more refugees than at any time since the end of World War II—and there has never been a more appropriate time to talk about the issue in class. But for many educators, it’s difficult to know even where to start.

In yesterday’s #AtoZChallenge blog post we shared heartwarming video stories from the mouths of young refugees. Here, popular young adult author John Green provides a good primer for understanding some of the factors behind the current refugee situation. The video is suitable for students and is 10 minutes long.

For your Friday Feel Good, watch this lovely video, which follows three young brothers who arrived in Lebanon as refugees four years ago and are now sharing their talent and passion for rap.

Talking about sex in Sweden

While some countries, like Russia, tend to steer clear of potentially taboo topics in the classroom, Sweden has a long-established history of teaching sex education—it’s been a compulsory subject in schools since 1956, sometimes lasting for up to eight weeks.

Teachers don’t shy away from heavy topics such as teen pregnancy and rape, either. In fact, last year, an animated student video about consent went viral, and Sweden has some of the lowest teen pregnancy rates in the world.

But sex och samlevnad (as it is called in Sweden) extends beyond sex, covering other important topics such as alcohol, mental health, and more.


Sex education isn’t the only thing educators in Sweden are passionate about. Visit the Teachers Media International website to view a video on the country’s impressive early learning program.

Whew! Time to pack up that suitcase—there’s one more stop on this leg of the world tour before we take a quick break, and then hit the final stretch of the #AtoZChallenge!

~ The Teachers Media Team

#AtoZChallenge: R is for Russia


For full details about the A to Z Blogging Challenge, click here. And then grab your suitcase because we’re globetrotting across the world in search of leading educational  best practices.

What’s trending in Russian Education?

Russia’s education system has undergone significant changes in the past decade, as the government struggles to create new mechanisms to address the needs and demands of the modern world.

A primary focus at the Moscow International Education Fair held earlier this week. From those discussions, five key education trends for Russia were identified as:

  • Focusing on early career guidance and jobs of the future
  • Encouraging parents to take a more active role in their child’s education
  • Creating a structure that makes graduates more employable
  • Partnering with businesses and corporations to create opportunities for students
  • Enhancing the engineering and robotics programming for secondary students

Russia also recently introduced standardised testing, though the move is still under debate with traditionalists who are content to stick with “old” ways.

Preserving history is key in this Teachers Media International video, where we tour two Russian cities that were German-occupied during the Second World War to see how they teach about conflict and its impact on the country.

History repeating itself

As Syrian refugees continue to seek asylum in countries across the globe, the potential impact to world education systems remains top of mind for educators. While some countries—such as Norway—are embracing the influx of students, others are looking for ways to talk to students about who these refugees are, and why they should be welcomed.

In this student-appropriate video from the Teachers Media International library, refugee and asylum-seeking children from around the world share their heartwarming stories. Although this video was produced a few years ago, the stories remain relevant.

Time to pack up that suitcase—we’re headed to a couple of “S” locations. See you tomorrow on the #AtoZChallenge!

~ The Teachers Media Team

#AtoZChallenge: Q is for Qatar


For full details about the A to Z Blogging Challenge, click here. And then grab your suitcase because we’re globetrotting across the world in search of best-practice education.

~   ~   ~

Oil rich country eyes education for future sustainability

AL-BairaqFor the people of Qatar, it might be easy to rest their laurels on a thriving oil and gas industry. Located in the Middle East on the northeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula, the country is indeed one of the richest in the world.

But one of Qatar’s prominent citizens, Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, understands that someday that oil will dry up—and he’s ensuring there’s a back-up plan in the form of scientific innovation, using oil and gas income to stay ahead of the curve.

In addition to pumping millions of dollars into university construction, a full restructure of the school system, and improving the country’s vocational training, Sheikh Abdulla was at the forefront of establishing the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), a multi-sectoral platform for creating thinking debate and purposeful action.

Each year, through its renowned awards program, WISE recognizes and promotes six successful innovation projects that address global education concerns from around the world. In 2015, one of those prizes was awarded to the Qatari project Al Bairaq, a hands-on course designed to spur student interest in science and create local STEM experience.

Intrigued? Check out this quick video to see some of the fascinating innovation taking place in Qatar.

As part of the program, students can also learn about sports science—fitting perhaps, since in 2022, the FIFA World Cup will be held in Qatar. Preparations are already underway!

Thanks for sticking with us through the #AtoZChallenge. We leave one of the hottest countries and head to somewhat cooler climates tomorrow as we continue our educational tour around the world.

~ The Teachers Media Team