School Based Teacher Support Initiative

School Based Teacher Support (SBTS) is an initiative aimed at providing sustained instructional support to teachers at school level .


  • To promote creativity and innovation in teaching and learning processes
  • Establish a structure for implementation of SBTS leading to adoption of Community of practice
  • To assist teachers to improve their content mastery and pedagogical skills.
  • Promote creativity and innovativeness in the presentation of different concepts leading to achievement of learning outcomes

The overriding goal of SBTS initiative is to improve the achievements of learning outcomes inline with CBC

SBTS’ key tenets and core activities are similar with those of a more comprehensive School Based Teacher Support System (SBTSS), which is also being implemented in Kenya among teachers of English, Science and Mathematics in Class 7 and 8 and Form 1 to 4.

EGM teachers participating in SBTS, just like those of SBTSS, will learn as they interact during peer teaching, reflection, peer support, professional critique, collaborative planning, and mentorship and coaching, and Specific activities in both SBTS and SBTSS include lesson study, peer-teaching, lesson observation, action research through reflective teaching, clusterbased peer learning, and knowledge and innovation exchange. The ultimate goal of SBTS is to enhance teachers’ content and pedagogical knowledge, skills, values and attitudes necessary foraugmenting acquisition of higher order skills in Mathematics.


For an effective SBTS structure, actors establish and maintain a mutual working relationship guided by the principle of honesty and candid conversations. The structure is made up of:
Teachers: They identify learning gaps as well as problems affecting the learning process and work collaboratively in order to address the issue(s) at hand. A learning gap is represented as the difference between the anticipated learning outcome(s) and the actual learning outcome(s). On the other hand, a learning problem could manifest itself in the form of low performance generally, inability to understand certain concepts and/or learning difficulties.
School Based Teacher Support (SBTS) Champions: They are meant to champion the search for effective solutions to the learning gaps and problems as identified by teachers. Equally, they assist the CSOs to coordinate the SBTS activities at the Cluster level .
Head teachers: As Instructional Leaders, they support their teachers, monitor the in-school activities as well as facilitate the teachers for the out-of-school SBTS activities.
Curriculum Support Officers (CSOs): As their title suggests, they offer professional guidance to teachers in the identification of gaps and/or learning problems, sourcing for appropriate learning resources as well as seeking for possible solutions to the identified concerns. Additionally, they coordinate the implementation of SBTS activities in the zone.
Quality Assurance and Standards Officers (QASOs): The Quality Assurance Officers also support the working relationship that exists among the parties involved; that is, Head teachers and the teachers. The desire is to see the parties doing the right things and equally benefiting from the established relationship SBTS Activities
As conceptualized, the School Based Teacher Support (SBTS) Initiative is operationalized through four (4) avenues; that is:
a) Inservice Education and Training (INSET);
b) In-school Activities: This entails three (3) sub activities; that is
(i) Peer Lesson Observation,
(ii) Lesson Study and
(iii) Action research.
c) Out-of school activities: This entails the teachers’ interactions through cluster meeting
d) Virtual learning communities
In order to support the working of the SBTS, QASOs, CSOs and other Field Officers provide close
supervision of the various activities undertaken together with the required professional guidance
through regular visits.

The next part offers an in-depth discussion of the various platforms that support the implementation of
the SBTS.

This is a process by which teachers engage in further education or training to refresh or upgrade their professional knowledge, skills and practices in the course of their employment (ILO, 2012). INSET is thus part of continuous professional development for teachers.

A cluster is a group of schools located in close proximity to each other. Cluster meetings are gatherings of teachers and other education professionals working together in clusters of several schools to support each other, build capacity and share information on professional development. As cluster members, you will meet twice a term in an agreed upon school. Activities at the cluster level will be highly participatory and facilitated by you and your colleagues.

Cluster meetings will:

Provide opportunity for peer learning and support. During the cluster meeting, you will have opportunities to share your innovations and experiences.

Allow teachers of varying capacity to complement each other. Although the schools in your cluster may have similar educational inputs, over time teachers may specialize in a particular area.

The cluster meetings will provide you with opportunities to demonstrate your skills in the areas in which you excel and at the same time learn from others’ experiences.

Provide opportunity for sharing resources among schools. While facilitating learning, you will observe that various materials are developed/ adapted in different schools and some of them can easily be shared like reading materials, teaching resources and the like.

Provide opportunities to identify and develop local resources. If you, and/or your school head teacher, are performing very well and have developed a good understanding of quality, you will be identified as a local resource. Hence, you will be a resource in your areas of specialization in your fortnightly or monthly meetings. You will also be asked to support a particular school by demonstration or by sharing your experiences with them.

A lesson study is a form of classroom research in which several teachers collaboratively plan, teach, observe, revise and share the results of a single lesson. It helps teachers to reflect on their teaching in order to address common classroom challenges. Lesson study also serves as a forum for induction of new teachers as well as research on new subject content. Teachers who teach the same subject in the same school form the lesson study team.

Lesson study has two research objectives:

Facilitation of specific content: How can we design a lesson so that learners learn a concept or skill better than they have in the past? Thus the strand of the lesson should usually be one which learners or teachers have previously struggled with.

A broad teaching/learning goal that is shared by the lesson study community (e.g. all teachers of Mathematics at the school), and that goes beyond any particular strand or grade level and may even be cross-disciplinary. This second research objective is referred to as the research theme. Lesson study is an intense process and one cycle typically spans 6 to 10 weeks. Therefore, lesson study in Mathematics will be carried out once in a term. This ensures that what is learned applies to many lessons and the more the cycles the better the results in terms of improved learning outcomes.

Lesson study process consists of three main stages namely:

  1. Planning
  2. Lesson implementation
  3. Post-lesson activities

This is a practice where teachers voluntarily observe each other’s lessons and provide feedback. You will meet regularly with other teachers in your learning area to study standards, plan joint lessons, share instructional techniques, examine learner work and solve common problems related to the content being taught in the early grades. Any one of you facing challenges in the classroom can improve your skills in a safe and inclusive learning environment by observing a peer who has mastered the skill.Whenever one of you acquires new skills or ideas at conferences, they can model the new approaches for the rest of the colleagues.

Teacher action research is any form of systematic inquiry conducted by teachers into their own practice in order to improve or refine their instruction. Action research will allow you to study your own classroom, school or educational setting in order to understand it better and improve its quality and effectiveness. You will conduct action research either individually or in subject-specific teams to address specific questions, concerns or problems within your classrooms. The steps in action research include:

  1. Identifying the problem, for example, poor comprehension and analysis of Mathematics word tasks;
  2. Identifying the causes of the problem, for example, limited vocabulary or lack of technique in solving Mathematics word tasks;
  3. Identifying the objectives of the research, for example, improving pupils’ mathematical vocabulary or developing pupils’ techniques in solving Mathematics word tasks;
Ministry of Education
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