Our new series Explorations: Teaching and Learning English in India brings together thirty three research papers written by practitioners in the field of English language teaching and learning in India, whether teachers, lecturers, educational department personnel or in other roles that involve day to day contact with the teaching and learning of English. All writers participated in the English Language Teaching Research Partnerships (ELTReP) Award programme which supported them in undertaking action research in a wide range of contexts.

The papers are presented in a series of eleven issues, each containing three papers and each addressing one of the professional practices detailed in the British Council framework for continuing professional development. Topics include a focus on understanding learners, managing resources, the use of information technology, assessing learners, taking responsibility for continuing professional development and using inclusive and multilingual approaches.

Issue 1: Understanding learners – researching learners’ needs

Issue 1 looks at the professional practice of understanding learners and in particular the needs of students, especially for future employability. Barasha Borah makes suggestions on how a more communicative, task-based approach can be used to develop students’ speaking skills for students in secondary schools. Seemita Mohanty looks at ways in which the motivation and self-confidence of young people can be increased. Sutapa Chakravarty investigates how a range of multiple intelligences can be addressed inside and outside the primary school.

Issue 2: Assessing learning (I)

Issue 2 looks at the professional practice of assessing learners. Jayati Chatterjee and Dhriti Sundar Gupta investigate current ways of testing learner language skills at secondary school level and recommend both formative and summative testing. Kirti Kapur also researches current practice, finding that approaches are inconsistent and proposing the design and use of standardised rubrics. Kuheli Mukherjee and Kalyan Chattopadhyay investigate how secondary school teachers can give feedback on the writing performance of their learners and suggest more focused and consistent feedback to help learners to gain greater writing competence in English.

Issue 3: Managing resources

Issue 3 looks at the professional practice of managing resources. KN Shoba reports on the successful use of ‘word walls’ in the classroom and recommends their wider use in the teaching of English for specific purposes. M Vijaya Lakshmi describes her use of comics to teach lexis to young learners. Sujata Noronha reports an investigation into what kinds of stories encouraged young learners to respond enthusiastically and effectively in a mobile library project in an under-resourced housing community.

Issue 4: Understanding learners – exploring and applying theories of learning

Issue 4 looks at the professional practice of understanding learners and how theories of learning can be applied. Robert Slattery investigates how teachers generally teach grammar in high schools, and recommends alternative ways of helping learners to achieve greater grammatical competence. Subhra Sarita Samal suggests that phonological awareness training leads to the development of more effective reading skills. Shahila Zafar and Zaved Ahmed Khan recommend the use of a project-based learning approach and provide evidence of its effect on motivation and performance.  

Issue 5: Taking responsibility for professional development (1)

Issue 5 looks at the professional practice of taking responsibility for professional development. Deepa Kiran looks at ways to help primary school teachers to increase their motivation and their proficiency through storytelling. Balantrapu Kalyan describes experiences of encouraging teachers in Andra Pradesh to take responsibility for their own continuing professional development including diary writing and action research. Krishna Dutta Deka reports on a teacher development programme in Assam and identifies both the achievements and the scope for further development for the programme.

Issue 6: Using inclusive practices and multilingual approaches (1)

Issue 6 looks at the two professional practices of using inclusive practices and multilingual approaches. TR Muralikrishnan investigates the use of translation and the place of the L1 language in the L2 classroom. Bhanu Shankar demonstrates the effectiveness of a bilingual Shared Reading approach and how it can support young children’s comprehension, language and ability to communicate. Digambar Ghodke examines the bilingual/multilingual context of primary classrooms attended by children from the Waddar community and the challenges these children face in their learning.

Issue 7: Managing resources and integrating ICT

Issue 7 looks at the two professional practices of managing resources and integrating ICT. Jeena George reports on the successful use of diary writing to help students develop their vocabulary and how it leads to higher learner performance and confidence. Sudipta Singha Roy examines practical ways of motivating students through theatre and drama. Chanchala Tiwari and Ranjit Singh investigate teachers’ attitudes to information technology and the extent to which teachers feel supported in developing ICT skills.

We hope you enjoy Explorations: Teaching and Learning English in India series and find it helpful for the context you work in. 

Issue 8 will be released in February 2018.