The British Council has worked in partnership with the state government of Tamil Nadu, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), SCERT and UNICEF on various English language teacher education and development programmes in Tamil Nadu since 2007. These programmes have focused on improving confidence in using English and encouraging child - centred and activity-based teaching and learning methodologies in the classrooms, in line with the state curriculum. 

2014–2017: Tamil Nadu Teacher Education and Development (TN-TED) programme

In partnership with Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and SCERT, the British Council has supported the further professional development of a cadre of 300 Teacher Educators from the Block Resource Centres (BRCs) across the state to enhance the quality of teaching and learning in primary schools. 

In Year 1 (2014) Teacher Educators received 10 days of split training, developing their training skills and equipping them to support the classroom practices of 40,000 primary school teachers in the Activity Based Learning (ABL) schools (Standards 1-4), with a focus on early literacy development.

In Year 2 (2015) Teacher Educators received a further six days of training developing their mentoring skills and preparing them to support the classroom practices of an additional 31,000 ABL primary school teachers and 32,000 upper primary school teachers in the Active Learning Methodology (ALM) schools (Standards 5-8).

Year 3 (2016-17) was extended as several events affecting Tamil Nadu State interrupted the programme. The group of Teacher Educators was expanded to 600, all of whom received training to train 46,023 teachers of lower and upper primary in techniques for English language teaching. They also trained 3,700 Tamil Nadu Teacher Educators on how to train teachers more effectively. The British Council conducted introductory training on establishing Teacher Activity Groups (TAGs) and produced a report on Exploring digital learning options for teacher development in Tamil Nadu. This was based on findings from a small-scale research project and secondary data, to build the local-level sustainability for teacher education.


  • to develop a cohort of 300 Teacher Educators with training and mentoring competencies, to a pre-agreed quality standard. They will then be able to support the ongoing teachers’ in-service professional development in primary schools across Tamil Nadu
  • to build the teaching and the English language proficiency skills of primary school teachers in Tamil Nadu  
  • to enable these teachers to conduct learner-centred lessons in line with their syllabus
  • to develop teachers’ confidence and fluency in spoken English and enhance the quality of teaching and learning of English in primary classes 
  • to 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.

Key activities:

  • needs analysis and scoping study to align interventions to teacher development needs of the state
  • training of two groups of 300 Teacher Educators
  • training of over 100,000 primary school teachers
  • orientation of 70 Assistant Education Officers and Assistant Programme Officers
  • monitoring and evaluation of the project to ensure quality standards of training and teaching


  • Teacher Educators are able to effectively support the professional development of teachers through training sessions, workshops and school-based mentoring
  • Teachers are able to teach English more effectively through learner-centred and activity-based teaching and learning methodology
  • Teachers and Teacher Educators have gained more confidence in their own ability to communicate effectively in English, especially in the classroom and training room
  • Teachers and Teacher Educators are able to reflect on their own performance and evaluate their own practices
  • Teachers and Teacher Educators have developed strategies to take responsibility for their own continuing professional development
  • Teacher Educators are able to support the professional development of teachers through the use of self-access materials.

2012: Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation workshop

A five-day Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) workshop was conducted by the British Council with Tamil Nadu text book writers in Chennai. This workshop resulted in a guide to writing CCE-focused materials.

Following the CCE workshop, the Directorate of Teacher Education, Research and Training requested further support in implementing CCE into the classroom practice of upper primary school teachers.

The British Council team then delivered a five-day training programme to six batches involving 240 participants over a three-week period in February-March 2012. 

2011–2012: English in the Primary Classroom films series

The English in the Primary Classroom film series offers the primary teacher an opportunity to observe learner-centred methodology at work in the Indian classroom. It clearly demonstrates how English can be taught using games, activities and songs complementing the curriculum and textbook. Through the live lessons filmed in actual classrooms in Tamil Nadu, teachers see how they can use interactive and activity-based methods to teach English thus making English learning fun, easy and engaging. While the focus is the Standard 5 textbook from the Tamil Nadu State Board, the accompanying materials help teachers adapt these ideas to other contexts.


The aim of these materials is to enable teachers to

  • use the textbook as a resource to teach English more communicatively
  • teach the four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) as integrated lessons rather than isolated activities
  • teach grammar and vocabulary through games, activities and songs
  • have access to versatile and quality teaching resources which they can use either in groups or individually
  • equip teachers to adapt and map the resources to their curriculum
  • encourage peer support through sharing ideas with colleagues both face-to-face and online.

There is a training manual which has been designed to be used in face-to-face training situations along with the participant’s workbook. There is also a self-access booklet with comprehensive answer keys and resources to online links and further reading materials. These can be downloaded here.

The films and related materials can therefore be used as part of a face-to-face training programme for teachers, as teacher development sessions for school-based training and mentor workshops, or for self-access study as part of teachers’ continuing professional development.

2010–2011: Tamil Nadu Master Trainer middle school programme

This programme was designed and implemented by the British Council in collaboration with the Tamil Nadu Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and UNICEF to improve the teaching and learning of communicative English to upper primary school children attending government-funded schools. This included an eleven-day Master Trainer training programme and a ten-day teacher training cascade programme at the district level.


  • to improve teachers’ confidence in using and teaching English, particularly speaking
  • to develop teachers’ skills and knowledge in how to use appropriate, interactive teaching methodology to teach English to their young learners
  • to develop key training techniques and skills so that Master Trainers can effectively cascade their training to other English teachers.

Approximately 1000 participating teachers were selected to cascade training to the remaining 80,000 English teachers in the state. 


  • 1200 Master Trainers
  • 62,000 teachers
  • 3,000,000 upper primary learners

2009: SSA/UNICEF/British Council English teacher education programme

This programme was designed and implemented by the British Council in collaboration with the Tamil Nadu Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and UNICEF to improve the teaching and learning of English among primary school children attending government-funded schools. After an initial needs analysis and diagnostic assessment of potential participants, the British Council designed and delivered an initial 5-day training programme for teachers. 


  • to improve teachers’ confidence in using more English in the classroom
  • to develop teachers' ability to create more opportunities for the students to interact in English in the classroom within the existing curriculum
  • to encourage the teachers to use more child-centred and activity-based methodology in the classroom.

The first five days of training involved the Classroom Language course, a British Council global product which aims to increase the confidence and use of English in the classroom. The second five-day phase was based on the Tamil Nadu Standard 5 textbook that gave teachers the skills to enable them to devise and deliver activities which encourage learner interaction. 


  • State-level training of 900 Master Trainers
  • District-level training 125,000 teachers (by Master Trainers) 
  • 5,000,000 primary school children benefitting from improved teaching skills

2007: Communicative language teaching, language improvement and methodology course

This 120-hour project with Alagappa University aimed to develop the teaching methodology of higher education lecturers, training them in communicative language teaching and improving their English language skills. A total of 22 lecturers were selected from different departments including English, Education, Physical Education, Physics as well as research scholars.

The objective of the project was to improve the quality of teaching and learning in higher education, and to equip students with the communicative competencies they require to acquire places in reputed institutions in India and abroad.

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