Tamil Nadu English Language Development Programmes

British Council has worked in partnership with the State government of Tamil Nadu, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, 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 centered and activity based teaching and learning methodologies in the classrooms. 

2007: Communicative language teaching, language improvement and methodology course

This 120 hours project with the Alagappa University aimed at developing 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 aim of the project was to impact on the quality of teaching and learning in higher education, equipping students with the communicative competencies required for acquiring positions in reputed institutions in India and abroad.

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 Shiksa Abhiyan (SSA) and Unicef to improve the teaching and learning of communicative English to 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 teacher’s ability to create more opportunities for the students to interact in English with each other in the classroom within the existing curriculum
  • to encourage the teachers to use a more child centered and activity based methodology in the classroom

The first 5 days used Classroom Language, a British Council global product which aims to increase the confidence and use of English in the classroom. The second 5 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

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 Shiksa 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 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 develop key trainer training techniques and skills so that Master Trainers can effectively cascade their training to other English teachers

The course also focused on trainer training to enable these Master Trainers to cascade the module more effectively. Approximately 1000 of these 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

2012: Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation

A 5-dayday Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) work shop was conducted by British Council with Tamil Nadu text book writers in Chennai. This workshop resulted in a guide to writing CCE materials.

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

British Council then delivered a five day training programme to 6 batches covering 240 participants over the period of 3 weeks from 27 February 2012 – 16 March 2012. 

2011–2012: English in the Primary Classroom films

English in the Primary Classroom 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 on DVD filmed in actual classroom 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 to their contexts so that they can use them with their students.

Objectives: The aim of these materials is to enable teachers to

  • use the textbook as a resource to teach English 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 them to adapt and map the resources to their curriculum
  • encourage peer support through sharing ideas with colleagues both face to face and virtually through the internet.

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.

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 workshop, or for self-access study as part of teachers’ continuous professional development.

2014–2016: Tamil Nadu Teacher Education and Development (TN-TED) programme

In partnership with Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and SCERT, the British Council is working to support the further professional development of a cadre of 300 Teacher Educators from the Block Resource Centres (BRCs) across the state enhancing 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).


  • Develop a cohort of 300 Teacher Educators with training and mentoring competencies, to an agreed quality standard, able to support the ongoing in-service professional development of teachers in primary schools across Tamil Nadu.
  • Build the teaching competencies and the English language proficiency skills of primary school teachers in Tamil Nadu. 
  • Enable these teachers to conduct learner-centred lessons in line with their syllabus.
  • Develop teachers’ confidence and fluency in spoken English and enhance the quality of teaching and learning of English in primary classes. 
  • 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 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 a 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 use of self-access materials.