Category Archives: Teacher Training

Claire in Cuba

Claire has recently returned from a two-week trip to Cuba, where once again she was working alongside Alan Pulverness from TransformELT (https://transformelt.com/) on the annual ELT Roadshow. The Roadshow was organised by the British Council Cuba as part of their collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education to support their new English language policy, which aims to improve the level of English that is attained by university students upon graduation. This year the focus was on the CEFR and on the assessment of speaking and listening.

This year, Alan and Claire presented their plenaries and workshops at University ‘Marta Abreu’ of Las Villas, Santa Clara and University Enrique José Varona University of Cuba, Havana. They were joined by Tom Connelly (TransformELT) and Robert Williams (University of Westminster), who ran parallel sessions in University Oriente in Santiago de Cuba and University of Holguin.

In addition to the 50-tertiary level, highly qualified and experienced English teachers, who attended the three-day events at each university, this year’s plenaries were also attended by junior and senior high school teachers, and undergraduates, which made for an interesting dynamic. Claire would like to thank all the participants for their enthusiasm and participation during the sessions. She would also like to thank all those involved in the planning of the Roadshow, which is a significant undertaking, and the universities for their kind hospitality.

In Rabat and Liverpool with Claire

Claire has had a busy couple of weeks. She paid a return visit to Rabat to work with the same group of Middle and High school English teachers on the LearnEnglish Teens (http://learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org/) mapping project. During the two-day workshop they finalised mapping the content from Teens to their Year 9 & 10 coursebooks. The teachers also created lesson plans to accompany the Teens content that they will pilot with their students later this month. They designed some excellent lessons and Claire wishes them every success with the trial.

After Rabat Claire travelled to Liverpool to attend the 53rd International IATEFL Conference (https://conference.iatefl.org/). She focused her attention on sessions related to teaching with technology and trainer development and came away with a couple of ideas to pursue! Best of all she caught up with a number of former colleagues and friends. She was especially delighted to meet the Cuban team, who she had worked with last year with her colleague Alan Pulverness, TransformELT namely, Yailet Landrove, British Council, Dr Santiago Rivera Pérez, Ministry of Higher Education, Dr Eduardo Garbey, University of La Habana, and Zoe Dominguez, University of Matanzas.

Training in Tashkent and Skopje

Claire has recently returned from Uzbekistan, her third trip in six months, where she had been running the fifth in a series of NILE led workshops for teachers at the National Guard Institute, as part of a British Council managed teacher development project. This time her focus was developmental lesson observations designed to support the teachers in their work with Campaign, which was introduced in November. She was delighted to observe them in action and to see first-hand how well they are coping with the coursebook. Claire was really impressed by the amount of preparation they put into their lessons, their openness to constructive feedback, and their willingness to act upon it immediately, adapting their techniques by the very next observation.

She would like to thank the National Guard Institute for their warmth and hospitality, and the teachers for their friendship and generosity. Last, but not least, she would like to thank the British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Mr Christopher Allan, for presenting the certificates on the final day, and the British Defence Attaché, Wing Commander Andrew Strefford for accompanying him.

Rob was also out and about last week. He was back in Skopje, Macedonia, working with the STANAG Testing Team, writing and moderating Listening items for Levels 2 and 3.

Claire in Rabat

Claire recently paid a flying visit to the beautiful and fascinating city of Rabat, Morocco’s capital. She was there to run a two-day workshop for English and subject teachers from Middle and High schools on the British Council’s LearnEnglish Teens website (http://learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org/). The aims of the workshop were to familiarise the participants with the website’s extensive content and to present a template for them to map, in a principled way, this content against their English language coursebooks for Years 9 and 10. The teachers also had the opportunity to practise mapping the digital content, a task that they will complete post workshop in readiness for a short pilot study during which they will use LearnEnglish Teens with their students.

Claire would like to thank the participants for their hard work and insightful input during the workshop and to wish them every success with the pilot study.

A Masterclass in Minsk

Rob spent last week in Belarus delivering a Masterclass in Teaching course for 14 Military Academy teachers at the Central Officer’s Club in Minsk. The course was jointly organised by the Military Academy, the Belarus MOD, the Defence Section of the British Embassy and the British Council in Ukraine. The revised British Council Certificate in Vocational English Language Teaching (CiVELT) course was used as the core of the programme, supplemented with McIlwraith Education materials.

The course considered all aspects of ESP teaching and the teachers were introduced to new ideas and activities for skills based lessons, and vocabulary and grammar teaching. The event was closed by HM Ambassador to Belarus, Ms Fiona Gibb, and Colonel Susha, Deputy Commandant for International Co-operation at the Military Academy.

Teacher Training in Novi Sad

Rob spent this last week in Novi Sad in Serbia training a group of military English teachers from Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro on behalf of the British Embassy in Belgrade. Nine teachers spent the week looking at planning different kinds of lessons, considering new ideas for reading skills lessons (the Deep Text and Dual Text approaches), developing listening and video lessons, and thinking about how to create better information gaps. At the end of the week, the participants worked in groups to develop lesson plans and materials based on the ideas explored in the seminar. These will now be polished, trialled and shared.

Reviewing and Revising Tests and Curricula in Skopje

Rob spent last week in Skopje, Macedonia working with the Centre for Foreign Languages teaching team as they started the revision of their English language course curricula. The team looked through the current STANAG descriptors and identified what tasks and topics were not currently included in the curriculum and added these. Then all the course curricula were reviewed and revised in detail, the course length and number of hours were reconsidered, and the placement testing process was revised. The teachers now have to complete the revision process ready for the new curricula to be introduced in January 2020. Skopje is currently enjoying a lovely golden autumn and was beautiful in the warm sunshine.

Claire on the Campaign Trail in Uzbekistan

Last Friday Claire returned from Uzbekistan where she had been running the second in a series of NILE led workshops for teachers at the National Guard Institute. This particular 10-day workshop focused on how to teach using the military English coursebook Campaign, which the Institute will introduce this academic year on the English language programme for their cadets.

The workshop was highly practical and gave the teachers opportunities to jointly plan and teach different sections of Campaign in micro-teaching sessions. Overall, the teachers did an excellent job and Claire has very confidence in their ability to effectively use this coursebook. She wishes them all the best and hopes that they, and their cadets, enjoy using Campaign!

Claire at the National Guard Institute in Tashkent

Claire has just spent two weeks in Uzbekistan working as the Project Lead Consultant for Norwich Institute for Language Education (NILE) on a British Council Professional Development Programme for Military English Language Teachers Project. She delivered the first of what will be a series of workshops to teachers working at the National Guard Institute in Tashkent. This initial workshop focussed on language teaching methodology. The second in-country workshop, which Claire will run at the end of October, will build on the first with a practical focus on teaching using the military English coursebook Campaign.

Her thanks go to the National Guard Institute for making her feel so welcome and to the teachers for their enthusiasm and hard work during the workshop. Claire is very much looking forward to returning to deliver the next workshop at the end of the month and to enjoying Tashkent life once more.

Rob in Minsk

Rob was in Minsk last week delivering elements of the British Council Certificate in Vocational English Language Teaching course (CiVELT) to a group of 25 teachers from institutions from around Belarus. The 35-hour intensive course took place at the Minsk State Linguistic University in the centre of Minsk. The course covered modules on ESP, professional profiles, needs analysis, creating positive classroom interactions, using authentic materials and evaluating coursebooks. The participants were extremely positive and enthusiastic about learning and developing their professional skills, and hopefully this course will mark the beginning of a period of sustained engagement for us in the Republic of Belarus.