Gerry McIntosh, who is the Business Development Manager and Teacher Trainer for British Council in Kyiv, Ukraine, held the first session given by the voices from different parts of the world. His session was on the in-service teacher development project conducted by the British Council, Ukraine. Gerry started with some numbers representing the number of teachers and learners in Ukraine.
- There are 37,280 primary and secondary teachers whereas there are 1,122,579 primary school learners and 2,347,998 secondary learners.
- Students get 3-7 hours a week of ELT in secondary schools, the norm is 3 years though.
- Simple maths shows that the need for teachers is great in Ukraine.
- Pedagogical universities and linguistic universities are available for people who would like to teach English.
- Teachers are required to take an INSETT every five years to renew their qualification.
- The last major reform was experienced in 2002 and the need for a reform was actually highlighted by teachers and the Ministry of Education in October 2011.
After setting the scene, Gerry listed the aims of the In-service teacher development project;
- Encourage thinking beyond knowledge-based development
- Encourage reflection on learning and teaching
- Promote classroom-based action research
- Encompass task-based learning
- Develop classroom skills
- Ensure long-term impact
They designed a common core syllabus and offered teachers some optional modules considering their various needs along with some elective specialist modules. They considered the British Council CPD Framework. Teachers were asked to complete Career e-portfolios. There was also the opportunity for a blended learning programme. They have been following the time frame below;
- October 2011: initial concerns analysed
- November 2011- March 2012: materials selection and editing
- November 2011 – November 2012: training, piloting, monitoring
- November 2012: programme launch
- November 2012 – November 2013: monitor, evaluate + tweak
Gerry promised to communicate the comments and the feedback along with some outcomes in next year’s IATEFL. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
MENA (Middle East and North Africa) REGION
The next session was held by a group of teachers who have worked in the MENA region, which was represented by teachers working in the UAE, Tunisia, Libya, Morocco, Algeria. Nick, who is the project manager from the BC the region, did the introduction. There are 16 countries in the region of MENA.
Nick summarised their mission in the region: It is to create and provide training opportunities for teachers at all levels of (primary, secondary, vocational and tertiary) in the public and private sectors. They aim to improve the teaching of English in each country in the MENA region. With this mission in mind, they offer the following services to the teachers in the region.
- Face to face training courses
- Online courses
- National and international conferences
- Working with Ministries of Education
- Working with the private sector
Following are some of the projects they presented:
1. Libyan English Teaching in Universities Project (LETUP): this started in 2006 to establish English language teaching in universities.The need for improved English language skills in Libya is growing rapidly as Libya’s commercial and other links with the rest of the world develop. However, since there was little or no English teaching in Libya for a considerably long time, there is a dearth of trained English teachers and very low-levels of English spoken generally throughout Libya.
So far, the BC have helped establish ten university language centres, supplying a core curricula, teaching & learning resources and classroom equipment: including Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs) & ELT software. Most centres are still developing the self-study rooms and computer labs but they are there and in use.
The teacher representing Tunisia, mentioned the the aim of the English for Employability programme which is to enhance the quality of vocational English training and through this the employment prospects for Tunisian youth in vocational education. The programme proposes to do this by creating a system of continuing professional development for English language teachers, creating a group of master trainers. These trainers will then be able to train new recruits to the system, as well as develop skills in curriculum development and materials design.
The programme is based on research carried out over the last three and a half years into Tunisia’s English language needs for the world of work and the availability of a considerable and growing resource of British Council English products. These trainers had not received any training for the best part of 15 years (!) so this project is a significant step forward for them. They are presently discussing what their status and job description will be as Master Trainers and look set to be part of the decision-making process, which theycannot imagined having happened before Jan 2011.
3. Morocco. the representative of Morocco mentioned two important things:
MENA facebook site for learners – 500,000 likes
Participant Voices went on with presentations from India by Kalyan, the Americas by Gabriel and Turkey by Burcu. The summaries of these will be in the coming post.