Maharashtra: English Language Initiative for Primary Schools

 

The vision for ELIPS was to increase communicative and interactive language learning in learner and learning focussed primary classrooms in line with the principles of the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005.

In 2011, the Maharashtra State Government requested the British Council to design a sustainable training programme which would develop both the language proficiency and methodological skills of primary teachers in 67,200 government schools across the state. The ELIPS project planned to build institutional and systemic capacity to achieve this, as well as to develop parallel interventions through a number of innovative digital channels such as TV, radio and online. Subsequent to its successful completion, the Maharashtra State Government invited the British Council to recommend an extension to the project. This new project - TEJAS - was launched in 2016 in partnership with Tata Trusts.

 

Project objectives

ELIPS was designed to achieve the following broad objectives for teachers from grades 1 - 4 across 67,200 government schools in Maharashtra.
• Develop appropriate teaching / learning methodology and use topic related materials to encourage and motivate the learning of English in primary school classrooms by children of all abilities and from all socio-economic backgrounds.
• Enable these teachers to assess progress in line with the National Curriculum Framework (2005) and the policy of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE).
• Build a sustainable infrastructure to support in-service teacher training and the continuing professional development of English teachers that can provide a model for other subject disciplines and other bodies.
• Build the language proficiency skills of 67,200 primary teachers in Maharashtra.

Impact

Throughout the two years of ELIPS, the project team carried out comprehensive monitoring and evaluation including a baseline and endline study of cascade and classroom observations. Results indicate that there are several legacies of the project which include the following.
• The state now has a sustainable cadre of over 600 Master Trainers (MTs) for future training initiatives, including over 160 who are now contributing to the British Council / RMSA secondary level project (ELISS). 
• The MTs have improved their skills as teacher educators. 
• The ELIPS-trained primary school teachers observed are delivering more learner-centred lessons (over 350 observations conducted over two years).
• There has been a significant change in perceptions of continuing professional development (CPD), training and its inherent benefits amongst both MTs and teachers who participated in ELIPS.

Key activities

Project outputs and activities include resources that were collaboratively developed with the Maharashtra State Council of Education Research and Training (MSCERT).
• A rigorous Master Trainer (MT) selection process with a language proficiency test and interviews where 920 candidates were selected from over 1800 applicants.
• A 20-day MT course delivered in three phases over two years covering a variety of topics ranging from Assessment and CCE, Lesson planning, Action research, Critical thinking skills and Continuing professional development using the British Council's CPD Framework for teachers of English.
• Development of a set of standards and tools for monitoring and evaluating teacher training.
• A 20-day teacher training course, delivered over two years, focussed on developing teachers’ English language skills as well as basic interactive teaching methodology for lower primary classes.
• A CCE teacher training module and toolkit for primary school teachers to use in the classroom.
• A Teacher Journal to support and encourage classroom reflection.

Additional interventions

With all training complete, over 600 Master Trainers and 65,000 teachers have been trained in relevant methodology and pedagogy to equip them to teach English in a more learner-centred manner. The face-to-face training programme also included a focus on language development relating to using English in the primary classroom.

In addition to the face-to-face training, some MTs were also successful in taking the TKT (Module 1) examination while others attended the Teacher Educator Conference (TEC13 and TEC14) in Hyderabad and were able to share learning and knowledge with colleagues from around the world.

After the success of ELIPS, the participants of the project were eager to continue to develop their skills and knowledge. This was facilitated by two self-access multi-media interventions. TeachingEnglish Radio (TER) India, a series of 12 programmes covering English Language Teaching methodology accompanied by worksheets was aired in Maharashtra between February to April 2014. In addition, a series of 15 short film clips of ELIPS-trained teachers using learner-centred methodology and worksheets were distributed to local resources centres and government schools. 

 

What participants have said

Master Trainers
'It was great pleasure to be part of British Council training. In the beginning teachers thought that it was a regular training but when we started our activities they become surprised and they started to respect the ideas. We changed the teachers’ point of view towards the teaching of English.'
'I have learned new techniques, approaches and pedagogical methods for communicating with my learners as well as the teachers I train. I am a lot more confident than before.'

Teachers
'I had many problems with teaching English before this training but now I know many activities, resources and ideas. I have learned lots of things which are useful for my classes.'
'I have been given a new vision of teaching, I have decided to use more activities and make my English teaching joyful. I’m trying my best to build a young generation who can learn, speak, read and write English very well.'