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Policy Implications for English Teaching and Learning November 28, 2009

Posted by Anooja in English for Progress.
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Hello everyone

It was a pleasure watching the conference sessions live online yesterday. I urge those of you who wanted to attend the conference but could not, to use this facility provided by British Council to watch it live and even take part in it by adding comments. You comments may get discussed.

I tuned in for some of the sessions. Some- like, ‘building skills for employability’- were gripping as well as hilarious. Especially the speech by Manish Sabharwal; was it eloquence epitomized!  Some were eye openers–Policy implications for English teaching and learning. It was quite informative.

‘Policy implications for English teaching and learning’ dealt a lot with scenario in schools in different parts of India. I guess good English teaching and learning in schools will lead to ‘building employability skills’ in the long run!  This points to the lacuna we have in India in this area.

Isn’t that one of the reasons that makes ‘building employability skills’ a necessity now? I have heard private school principals lamenting about the difficulty they face in recruiting good teachers. They have to place the good teachers in high school so that the 10th grade results are not compromised. So most often the worst teachers end up in the primary section.

Rod Bolitho, Academic Director of Norwich Institute for Language Education (NILE), raised many questions which I felt are very relevant.

Some questions, about the shortage of English teachers in India, are listed below.

  1. How attractive is teaching as a career in India in general?
  2. What is the reason behind the English graduates choosing fields other than teaching as profession?
  3. Is there any appropriate formulated initiative in India to raise the number of English teachers in training?
  4. Has the government decided what the probable number of teachers required to be trained is in order to meet the demand in, maybe, the next 10 years?
  5. Are there enough institutions training teachers?

      Some others, about the quality of English teachers/education, are below.

      1. What is the minimum qualification for school teachers? Is there any standardisation of qualification for the primary school teachers teaching English across India?
      2. In some states the minimum qualification set for the teachers of English is far lower than the others. So is bad English being perpetuated through the system?
      3. What type of pre-service training do they undergo?
      4. What kind of training is going on in pre-service level and how practical is it?
      5. Are the pre-service training institutions calibrated completely against the needs of the teachers?
      6. Are the skills of the teacher educator the skills which are needed to produce methodologically and linguistically competent teachers?

        What is your opinion on these issues? Please write in your comments, would love to hear your ideas.

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        How long do we have? November 20, 2009

        Posted by Seamus in English for Progress.
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        Three things I heard yesterday.

        1.  Colombia’s National Bilingual Programme is a 16 – year programme and started 11 years after a new language policy was enacted.

        2.  China is engaged in a 40-year language programme.

        3. The UK Education acts of 1911 and 1918 which liberalised curriculum did not translate into progressive practice in the classroom until the 1960s.

        What about India?

        Who supports the teachers? November 19, 2009

        Posted by Seamus in English for Progress.
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        Among the many fascinating statistic’s in David Graddol’s address last night,one comment resonated with me, and with many others if my conversations at the reception that followed were typical.  Any programme is only as good as the teachers on the ground.   Teachers sometimes attend training at the start of a new initiative but are then left alone to get on with it.

        In Sri Lanka, there is a network of 30 Regional English Support Centres (RESCs) with well trained and committed staff who act as mentors to teachers at the local level.  The more I interact with the RESC staff the more impressed Iam. 

        Is there such a netwrork in other places that provides continuing in-service support to teachers and is it well supporgted from the centre?

        CLIL: the way forward or just a fad? November 13, 2009

        Posted by Seamus in English for Progress.
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        17 comments

        There has been an awful lot of talk about c ontent and language integrated learning (CLIL) over the last few years and a number of well publicised initiatives around the world.  More recently there has been a reversal in policy in Malaysia on CLIL.  Is this the beginning of the end or just teething problems?

        Bilingual Education November 6, 2009

        Posted by Seamus in English for Progress.
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        In Sri Lanka there are around 600 bilingual schools.  All children study English as a subject from 1st grade but in bilingual schools children can opt to study 3 or 4 subjects in the medium of English from grade 5 onwards.  The number of bilingual schools is set to double by 2011.  What’s the situation in India?

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