Focus group discussion with students during needs analysis in 2013

The Government of Madhya Pradesh, in partnership with UNICEF and the British Council launched a three-year English Language teacher training programme in November 2014. The programme aimed to improve the quality of English language teaching and learning in primary schools in Mandsaur, Neemuch, Ratlam, Shajapur, Agar, Dewas, Sehore and Ujjain districts. It aimed to develop 9000 primary teachers’ use of learning-centred classroom approaches, improve their confidence in using English and offer increased opportunities for continuing professional development (CPD).

Project objectives

The objectives of the project were to:

  • build a sustainable infrastructure to support improved in-service teacher training (INSET) and the continuing professional development (CPD) of English teachers with the potential to provide a model for other subject disciplines and other bodies
  • build the English language skills and confidence of primary teachers in Mandsaur, Neemuch, Ratlam, Shajapur, Agar, Dewas, Sehore and Ujjain districts
  • develop these teachers' skills and knowledge so they conduct more learning-centred and learner-friendly lessons in line with the recommendations of the NCF
  • build a cadre of Master Trainers that has the English language skills, classroom pedagogy, training skills and mentoring competencies to support ongoing in-service professional development of English teachers in primary schools across the state.

 

Key activities

  • Selection of 221 suitable Master Trainers, based on their English proficiency, pedagogical understanding and motivation.
  • Development of Master Trainers' teaching and training skills, English language confidence and engagement, via a range of CPD inputs including 37 days of training facilitated by the British Council.
  • Development of 9000 teachers' skills in classroom methodology and English language confidence, via 13 days of training in their districts facilitated by Master Trainers, with other CPD inputs.
  • Orientation of key district officials to familiarise them with the project and enable them to support the project activities on the ground.
  • Capacity building of the government to design, plan and monitor and evaluate future teacher development initiatives by selecting a State Resource Group comprising faculty from District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs) and other key teacher education institutions. This group received 25 days of training and a range of other CPD tasks.
  • Baseline, midline and endline observations of Master Trainers and teachers’ classrooms and training rooms to identify project impact and understand further training needs.

 

Impact

EMPower made substantial progress towards achieving its stated objectives. Through the capacity building of the State Resource Group, it has laid the groundwork for more effective programmes of in-service training for primary teachers in future. In addition, the project team guided the State Resource Group’s development of previously absent teacher notes to accompany Class 3 English subject textbooks. This resource is now in use across schools within the project sites and the process of development can now be replicated for other class levels.

Observations provided evidence of expected standards being met or exceeded by teachers and Master Trainers over the course of the project. Nine of the primary indicators explored during these observations (including teachers’ use of learner-centred approaches; praising learners; appropriate teacher talk time) showed an improved of between 17 and 48 per cent between baseline and endline.

What the stakeholders have to say

‘We like everything that is done in English class because we like learning English. We get to play games and sing in our English lessons. Also we learn new words. At times teacher make us learn with the help of pictures. Sometimes she brings the objects to classroom. She also explains the words in Hindi and we understand the English names.’ – Primary school student

 ‘The learners have started using words and phrases in English. Before attending EMPower training, we hardly ever used English to teach English but now we use some English and conduct activities and games because of which learners are very much interested and enjoy being in the class. Sometimes, we put them in pairs/groups and they enjoy talking to their friends.’ – Primary school teacher

 ‘If the teachers can deliver the teacher notes produced by the SRG members, the scenario of the primary classrooms in Madhya Pradesh will change significantly.’ – SRG member

 ‘EMPower […] has laid the groundwork for an effective programme of in-service training for those primary English teachers that it has been able to reach. The development of Master Trainers has been a particularly strong element in the project’ – External reviewer 

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