Educating the educators | Daily News

Educating the educators

On September 29 Ministry of Education officials, Council for Business with Britain (CBB) committee members, Regional English Support Centre (RESC) mentors and British Council staff gathered in the auditorium of the Ministry of Education to celebrate the long running CBB English Language Teacher Training Project. This project has been running since 2005 and it draws to a close this year. It grew out of 6 weekend workshops round the country and developed into the annual delivery of English language teacher training to approximately 200 English language teachers nationwide.

Over 2000 teachers have been trained through this project impacting on over 310,000 pupils. The course is a distance teacher training course with study sessions run by the trainers at the 31 RESCs across the country leading up to the University of Cambridge Teaching Knowledge Test.

Speakers at the event included Professor K Kapila C K Perera, Secretary to the Minister of Education, Roshanie Moraes, CBB President, British High Commissioner, Sarah Hulton, and Louise Cowcher, Director Education and English, British Council.

Because of Covid 19 the project was unable to have its annual awards ceremony. Instead the Cambridge Teaching Knowledge Test and British Council teacher training certificates were given to the teachers at their RESCs. A collage of photographs taken during these smaller ceremonies was displayed at the event. The RESC mentors attended the event and were given certificates for their work on the project.

The publication, A Celebration of the CBB Teacher Training Project: 2005-2020 - Case Studies from across the country by the Council for Business with Britain and the British Council was launched at the event. The projects legacy is the cadre of trainers and teachers it created who then impacted on hundreds of thousands of pupils. This publication collects their often very personal stories.

They talk about how the project impacted their lives, their schools and their pupils. Within their narratives are the techniques they learnt like the use of the correction code to make error correction more motivating, resources they added to their teaching baskets like authentic materials and puppets, and teaching skills they adopted like more communicative lesson planning and using concept checking questions to check understanding of meaning. Their stories show children becoming more confident in their use of English and becoming more motivated to use English. Teachers also cite the increase in their pupil marks in end of term tests and in O and A levels. The case studies clearly illustrate the move from teacher to student centred classrooms and a corresponding increase in teacher and student confidence.

The event also showcases this year’s addition to the project in the form of an employability poster competition. Teachers on the project worked with their classes to produce a poster on a topic connected to employability. These posters were shortlisted by the RESCs, then by the British Council, and the finalists were selected by members of the CBB committee. The winning teachers whose classes submitted the successful posters received their awards. The posters were on display at the event and also included in the case study publication.

Roshanie J Moraes, President, CBB, speaking at the event said “this was CBB’s contribution to upskilling the future work force of Sri Lanka in the English Language and we are extremely proud to have positively impacted a large number of teachers and students through this in the last 15 years. We hope the teachers and the mentors take this programme forward and engage in continuous development and continue to serve our society”.

The CEO of HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives, the principal sponsor, emphasized the importance of the project. Mark Prothero elaborated, “The importance of developing English literacy skills is a highly-topical and necessary national debate. It is important for the learning community, in particular the teachers, to foster a generation of students who can use the language as a base in their future careers. HSBC has been the principal sponsor of this project since 2006 and we are very proud of what we have achieved with the programme.”

Louise Cowcher, Director Education and English of the British Council, further elaborated on its importance” This has been a key project in supporting young people develop their language skills, which is vital for enhancing their employability. Over the lifespan of the project 2,352 teachers have developed their professional skills to internationally benchmarked standards with the benefits passed on to approximately 310,400 secondary students. This is indeed an achievement to celebrate with CBB and the Ministry of Education!”