The "silence-breaking" programme - classroom changes making a big difference

The "silence-breaking" programme - classroom changes making a big difference

Classroom changes matter

Teachers matter! International research shows teachers to be the linchpin of quality improvement and the entry point for changes in learning. How a teacher teaches in the classroom makes a huge difference to children’s learning. EIA therefore puts classrooms at the centre of teachers’ professional development.

Talking matters! To learn a new language well, students need to actively participate in their learning and have many opportunities to speak, communicate and use the new language. EIA teacher development activities are therefore all about more communicative ways of teaching.

 Inside EIA classrooms
Through the EIA teacher development intervention, classes are substantially more communicative than before, and students are now enjoying many more opportunities to speak and communicate in English.

Research by the Institute of Education and Research, Dhaka University shows that teachers are talking half as much as they did before; instead, they are using different activities that engage students very actively in their lessons. In EIA classrooms, students now talk for about one fourth of the total class time. In a 40-minute class students are speaking for 10 minutes, which is in line with international best practice, and nine minutes of that talk is in English. Teachers are also using more English than Bangla, with over 70% of their talk in English. In one District, EIA is now known as the “silence-breaking” programme!

As well as speaking skills, students’ other language skills (reading, writing and listening) are developing in a noticeable way. For example, Government Education Officers have observed that, in almost all (more than 85%) of classes seen, teachers are using group and pair work with their students in a wide range of learning activities.

School-based approach; magnified uptake

These changes in the classrooms are being driven by EIA’s innovative teacher development approaches and digital materials. EIA teachers report that using EIA activities in their classrooms, using teacher development videos and classroom audios, and support from their head teachers are very important for their professional development. Teachers also highly value regular local meetings with teachers from neighbouring schools.

Three quarters of primary teachers and two thirds of secondary teachers report that they use the videos at least once a week for their professional development. Almost all primary teachers and three quarters of secondary teachers report that they carry out EIA classroom activities every week.

Positive change
EIA approaches have brought a positive response from both teachers and students towards English teaching and learning. Nine out of ten teachers report that EIA helps them to improve their own English, and has an impact on the way they teach.

Nearly all (95%) students say that English is important for their life whereas, five years ago, half of them thought that it was not, and two-thirds now say that English is easy and fun to learn.

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English in Action programme is a UK Government
funded programme implemented by the
Government of Bangladesh and managed by
Cambridge Education, a member of Mott MacDonald.