Providing development opportunities for English language teachers
In November 2013 thirty four participants from Nepal, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh came together for a five day Hornby Regional School residential in Kathmandu.
Dr Richard Smith, associate Professor of University of Warwick led the facilitation team that included Dr Amal Padwad, a Hornby Scholar from India and Dr Jovan Ilic, Head of Programmes at British Council Nepal.
The Low Resource Classroom
Titled ‘The Low Resource Classroom’, the residential was designed to help teachers be more resourceful by encouraging them to explore all of the options available to them in their surroundings.
The participants were predominantly teachers from the state sector, with a small number of teaching assistants, trainers and lecturers from both the state and private sector.
The key aims of the residential were for participants to be able to:
• exploit the learners and other teachers as ‘resources’ and as a source of ideas for the classroom;
• create teaching and learning materials from basic materials or any materials readily available in the environment; and
• have contributed to a handbook of action research on low resource activities.
An excellent cohesive group atmosphere was established very quickly, thanks to the goodwill and enthusiasm of the participants who were happy to engage with each other’s differing backgrounds and work together.
There were useful and thought provoking contributions on how constraints can be opportunities, and how sharing issues can help work towards potential solutions. Most significantly, the predominant focus on low resource ‘success stories’ throughout helped engender an atmosphere of positive thought and mutual support.
Comments from participants included:
”I found it inspiring to see people working in more difficult situations [than me] and still trying to do something…”
”Nobody had asked me to write my success story before. I felt like someone was interested in and willing to listen to what I did. I felt valued. I will also take an interest in others’ success stories in my own school…”
Participants are now planning activity schedules to complete their action research projects in their classrooms, before writing them up for a planned handbook of action research on low resource activities.