English in Action’s Primary Teaching Learning Programme (PTLP) is engaging students and teachers through innovative training and resources.
It is bringing major pedagogic changes to primary teachers’ practice in the field of language teaching and learning. Research shows clearly that this changed practice results in significantly improved English language proficiency of both students and teachers in Bangladesh.
PTLP has a twin strategy for achieving its goals. Its attractive and stimulating classroom materials include an interactive audio instruction package supplemented by visual materials (posters, flash cards) and detailed guidance for teachers. The teachers’ professional development strategy is based on regular face-to-face training and distance learning materials in audio, video and print form. All audio and video resources (both for training and classroom use) are hosted on a low-cost mobile phone, given to all EIA teachers. Teachers are also supplied with an amplified loudspeaker so that they can use audio in their classroom teaching.
All resources are also closely linked to the national curriculum and its English for Today text books. At the time of writing, the classroom materials are being rewritten to fit the new national textbooks.
PTLP materials, with their lively dialogues and songs and colourful posters have perhaps made the greatest impression, but face-to-face teacher training and support, which help teachers develop their pedagogic skills through practice and reflection, are just as important to PTLP.
Our teachers’ professional development programme follows three important principles:
1. Continuity of support: teachers build on their learning through regular meetings over a long period of 16 months.
2. A school-based approach: teachers develop their skills in their own classrooms, and have opportunities to reflect on their experiences with the support of EIA’s team of Teacher Facilitators, and with their fellow teachers. Teacher Facilitators also make supportive visits to teachers in their classrooms.
3. Local capacity building. EIA’s teacher facilitators are serving teachers and headteachers; through their involvement with EIA they are developing training and teaching expertise of lasting benefit to their communities.
English in Action PTLP is supported by a wide and varied team. It includes:
- English teaching and teacher training specialists from The Open University (OU), UK;
- Core Trainers (CTs), a group of specialist trainers, who act as mentors and facilitators to the Teacher Facilitators (TFs) and sometimes to teachers,
- Teacher Facilitators (TFs), specially selected and trained Government teachers, who act as facilitators and mentors to the teachers in schools in their locality.
All teacher training and support activities in each upazila are implemented through and with support from existing Government structures with the valuable help from officials such as Upazilla Education Officers, Asst. Upazila Education Officers, Upazila Resource Center Instructors and others.
Quality assurance is essential to all EIA activities, whether it be material development, teacher training or teacher support. We use different techniques (observation, interviews, group work, etc.) and instruments to collect quality-related information about our materials and services to the teachers and Teacher Facilitators. The information is then fed back into the next round of activities to ensure quality of services in PTLP (with necessary decisions, measures and steps). Feedback from teachers and many other sources, is highly important to the revisions to the classroom materials.
By April 2014, more than 12,500 teachers and almost a million students have been reached by the programme. By 2017, we aim to reach 51,000 teachers and over 7 million students.