Primary English language teaching in Bangladesh: classroom practices and teacher identities

Shrestha, Prithvi (2023). Primary English language teaching in Bangladesh: classroom practices and teacher identities. In: Zein, Subhan and Butler, Yuko Goto eds. Teaching English to Young Learners in Asia: Challenges and Directions for Teacher Education. Routledge Research in Teacher Education. Oxon; New York NY: Routledge, pp. 106–128.



This chapter draws on the data from a large-scale donor-funded (£50 million) mobile-technology-based ELT project called English in Action (EIA) in Bangladesh which lasted for nearly 10 years (2008 – 2018) and aimed to promote communicative language teaching (CLT). The chapter gives a brief account of English language education and teacher education in Bangladesh, especially focusing on primary ELT practices. This is followed by a brief introduction to the EIA project to contextualise the paper. The data used consists of surveys with primary English language teachers (N= 103), and large-scale classroom observations (N= 440). The results show both traditional and CLT-oriented primary classroom ELT practices. Drawing on language teacher identity research such as Varghese et al. (2005), I identify fluid and multiple teacher identities (e.g., Authority, Resister) in the survey and classroom observation data, unlike widely used life history and narrative interviews, with regard to these classroom practices in the sociocultural context in which teachers operated. The chapter critiques large donor-funded ELT projects and ends with implications for primary English language teacher education, teacher educators and ELT researchers.

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