Chennai: This week sees the next phase of the British Council and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’s (SSA) partnership work to enhance teaching and learning in the Primary classrooms of Tamil Nadu State. The project continues to focus on enhancing the teaching and learning of English, and will also support primary level teaching and learning in the state’s Simplified Activity Based Learning classrooms by training teacher educators of other subjects.
The partnership commenced in 2014, when 300 of Tamil Nadu’s Block Resource Teacher Educators (BRTEs) participated in training on how to more effectively train and support English teachers. The BRTE’s then trained to 40,000 primary teachers, focussed on improving their English fluency and confidence in the classroom, enhancing the quality of teaching and learning and developing early literacy in English. The British Council also carried out extensive monitoring and evaluation of the teacher training at the block level.
This week this cohort of 300 Block Resource Teacher Educators who specialise in English language education will receive further inputs from the British Council on how to train teachers in the effective use of activity-based learning. This three-day training is taking place in Chennai and Madurai.
Later this year, a new cohort of 300 BRTEs will join the programme for the first time and attend six days training, while those who participated previously will attend for four days. These 600 BRTE’s will then go on to train 3,700 Tamil Nadu BRTE’s of all subjects from January onwards. This training will assist Tamil Nadu state’s teacher educators in how to support teachers, focusing on the beliefs and practices which influence children’s experience of primary education. They will also train nearly 48,000 primary teachers across the state.
Speaking on the occasion, Alan Gemmell OBE, Director, British Council India said, “We are delighted to strengthen our partnership with Government of Tamil Nadu with this phase of the programme. The British Council is committed to supporting teachers improve learning outcomes for young people in India and UK and across the world. We hope that the training has helped teacher educators and teachers enhance language skills, improve their leadership qualities and create great learning experiences in their schools.”
By the end of this project, we would have trained 600 BRTEs in English directly and 3700 BRTEs and approximately 170,000 primary teachers.
As part of this three year project, in October-November 2014, 300 BRTEs from across the state received a 10-day face to face training from British Council. This training focussed on developing their teacher training skills, English language skills and confidence. Additionally, it also provided an orientation to a 4-day teacher training course that they then went on to deliver to 40,000 teachers across the state using the day-release delivery model. The focus of the 4-day teacher training course was to develop the fluency and confidence of teachers’ and subsequently learners’, use of English in the classroom and to enhance the quality of teaching and learning in SABL classrooms, with special attention to developing effective early literacy practices. In addition to delivering training for the BRTEs, British Council also carried out extensive monitoring and evaluation of the teacher training at the block level.
Feedback from BRTEs and teachers has been encouraging. All BRTEs reported positive impact on classroom practices, seen in greater confidence among teachers in delivering their English lessons as a result of learning about and being encouraged to use simple classroom language including basic instructions, language chunks and also engaging in simple and fun classroom activities in English. Classroom changes observed included teachers using and teaching language chunks, using more songs, rhymes and chants, focussing storytelling, using TPR to practice vocabulary, a keener interest in early literacy methods such as practicing writing in the air and making big books and zig-zag books (also adopted in other subject classes).
In 2015-16, the project continued to engage with the 300 BRTEs, who went on to train a new cohort of 52,000 lower (classes 1–4) and approximately 32,000 upper primary teachers (classes 5 – 8). In July 2015, 300 BRTEs received a 6-day training course focussing on developing training and mentoring skills of the 300 BRTEs and providing them with a comprehensive orientation to the courses to be delivered to lower primary and upper primary teachers at the block level. Additionally, training at the block level was supported via video conferencing and other digital platforms and also through the Professional Development portfolios for Teacher Educators. As before, this entire process was quality assured by British Council.