Supporting development through improving English language teaching and learning in Bangladesh

Power, Tom and Erling, Elizabeth (2014). Supporting development through improving English language teaching and learning in Bangladesh. In: Supporting development through improving English language teaching and learning in Bangladesh.

Abstract

English language teaching has a prominent role in the education policy of Bangladesh, as it is framed in policy discourse as a means of supporting the economic development of individuals and the nation. In 1991, English was made an obligatory subject from Grade 1. However, since that time, it has been the most commonly failed exam subject (Hamid and Baldauf, 2008). Less than 10 per cent of primary teachers have a level of English as high as the primary textbooks (Rahman and Janan, 2011). Previous training has failed to provide teachers with the necessary skills for effective classroom practice (Kraft et al, 2009), and student participation in lessons is usually passive (EIA 2009).

In this context, as partners with the Government of Bangladesh, the English in Action programme (EIA) has been working to identify ways of improving teaching practices and student learning outcomes in English, in both primary and secondary schools. This paper reports on an intervention that has so far shown impact on changing teacher and student perceptions of learning, classroom practices and learning outcomes. These pedagogic successes are also being linked to economic gain for individuals.

This intervention attributes its success so far to its school-based approach to teacher development which harnesses technology. New ideas and practices are introduced through offline audio-visual materials provided on low-cost mobile phones. As well as facilitating the formation of peer networks and the mentoring of teachers, technology allows the intervention to reach rural communities and marginalized groups.

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