Power, Tom; Deane, Michele and Hedges, Claire
Equipping Language Educators at Scale: Open Educational Resources and Institutional Collaboration for Professional Development and Practice.
In: 8th International Language and Development Conference, 23-25 June 2009, Dhaka, Bangladesh, British Council.
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In much of South Asia (e.g. India, Bangladesh, Sri-Lanka) there had been a post-colonial emphasis on the use of mother tongue. For instance, in Bangladesh, a nation almost solely founded on the basis of the language movement (Bhasa Andolon) of 1952. About 98% of the country’s population speak Bangla . Bangla was the medium of education at all levels except in a small number of schools (Hossain and Tollefson, in Power and Shrestha, 2009). However, in an increasingly globablised world, English Language is now re-emerging as a significant factor in economic development. It is widely perceived that many graduates fail to gain employment because their English skills or qualifications fall below the required level of functional literacy. (British Council, 2009).
It has therefore become paramount to develop effective skills in the use of spoken and written English and some governments have been taking measures to address this need. For instance, the Bangladeshi government in collaboration with the Department for International Development (DFID) of the UK government jointly funded the English Language Teaching Improvement Project (ELTIP). (Power and Shrestha, 2009, p.2). But research evidence (Power and Shrestha, 2009, p.2) show that, despite the huge investments since the early 2000s, the quality of English remains low. This indicates that more needs to be done, or it needs to be done differently.
There is therefore a need to train or upskill large numbers of English Language Teachers (ELTs), both in relation to their own level of English Language proficiency, and in relation to their teaching skills and practices. The situation calls for responses that are effective, imaginative, and capable of operating scale. It may possible for such responses to transcend national boundaries, whilst recognizing local teacher identities and contexts.
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