Andhra Pradesh – Quality English Language Teaching Initiative
Students of the Government Tribal Welfare Ashram school, Gandhinagaram

Objectives

This project aimed to improve the quality of English language teaching and learning in 64 primary and secondary schools in six mandals in Vishakapatnam. These mandals constitute some of the most marginalised areas of the district and fall under the purview of the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA).

This project involved teachers who belong to tribal communities and teach tribal children. For many of them, this was the first time they experienced learner-centred English language teaching. The project activities fostered inclusion through actions to improve the involvement of under-represented groups in our activities. 

The main focus was to:

  • support teachers with developing their English language skills and confidence in using appropriate classroom language 
  • ensure teachers have adequate knowledge and skills to be able to address the needs of learners about English language learning, to transact their lessons more effectively and to improve the quality of teaching and learning
  • provide teachers with a bank of British Council and other self-access resources for their own language development and to utilise in their schools and peer networks. This will ensure that they have the skills and confidence to facilitate effective knowledge sharing. These resources support and stimulate teacher learning within a coherent framework of teacher Continuing Professional Development

The pilot phase of this project involved two primary activities – ascoping study and the teacher training. These activities informed the design and activities of the longer-term project, including engaging with other stakeholders involved in the wider initiative.

Scoping study

The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the development needs of teachers and ascertain their beliefs and attitudes towards English language teaching and learning in primary and secondary classes. The study also explored teachers’ aspirations with regard to their continuing professional development, their perspectives on the current syllabi/curriculum policy on ELT and pedagogy.

Data related to learner engagement in the classroom, overall English language skills and access to learning resources was gathered through classroom observations of teachers, teacher interviews and focus groups with learners. Interviews were also held with head teachers and other key stakeholders to explore their perspectives.

Face-to-face training course for teachers

The British Council directly trained 128 teachers (two teachers per school, one each from primary and secondary classes, from a total of 64 schools). The training was delivered in two phases of five days each, using a split-training model. 

Language development was as a key component of the course for both primary and secondary school teachers. The potential outcomes of the course include:

  • participating teachers can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. 
  • participating teachers can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest, describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

The second focus of the course was on improving teachers’ classroom methodology according to the twelve professional practices outlined in the British Council’s Framework of Continuing Professional Development. The course included developing teachers’ skills and knowledge to use interactive and activity-based teaching methodologies enabling them to implement new skill-based language learning techniques in their classrooms. They also learnt to manage collaborative learning in large classes, evaluate and assess learners and create a positive classroom environment.

Supporting the continuing professional development of teachers

The face-to-face training programme was supported by a range of self-access learning solutions exploiting context-appropriate audio, visual, print and mobile media. These were decided based on the teachers’ needs and information regarding access to digital resources, drawn from the scoping study.

Impact

By the end of the project, the cohort of 128 primary and secondary teachers in six mandals

  • had gained more confidence in their own ability to communicate effectively in English, especially in the classroom 
  • were able to teach English more effectively using learner-centred and activity-based teaching methodology 
  • were able to create and foster an English-friendly learning environment within their schools 
  • were better able to reflect on their own performance and evaluate their own teaching
  • had developed strategies to take responsibility for their own professional development.