Monthly Archives: December 2014

World Voice Project: Workshop and Showcase

With a frosty breeze & a brilliant sun peeking out, at the same time, Kullu is the quintessential hill station; a small town set in the heart of Himachal Pradesh. Kullu provided great promise as the venue for a World Voice Project (WVP) Workshop and Showcase with the WVP India Champion, Mohit Chauhan! Complementing the WVP Workshop was an introduction to the Drama in Classroom Project (DCP).

The workshop saw 120 teachers attend sessions conducted by British Council trainers and the state-level-master trainers. The teachers were introduced to an arts-integrated learning approach through music & drama and took to the program quite enthusiastically. The trainers also had the opportunity to train a large group of children and give the teachers insight and a hands-on approach on using music & drama as additional pedagogical tools in their resource kit. The beauty of the concept was that Indian students were learning traditional folk songs from Senegal & England, giving them a brilliant taste of different cultures.

The icing on the cake was the WVP showcase on the final day with the WVP India Champion, Mohit Chauhan, held at the historic Kala Kendra. Mr. Chauhan, who hails from Himachal Pradesh, walked out to an explosive round of applause by a whopping 1,400 strong audience and the local band playing his best numbers. The showcase included him singing along with the trained children, exhibiting WVP in the truest form possible. It also saw Ms. Shaguna Gahilote, the State Project Director for SSA, Mr Ghanshyam Chand & the Himachal Pradesh State Pedagogy Coordinator, Ms Manjula Sharma, deliver talks on Arts Education. The showcase ended with a press conference where Mr Chauhan was happy to share his views, candid and in-the-flesh.

The Kullu locals, teachers & students alike were fascinated and intrigued with the education-through-arts approach and showed promise for inculcating this approach into their curriculum and teaching methods. With a fruitful tour in Kullu, ending with a cracker of a showcase, WVP & DCP left Kullu yearning for more.

Until next time!

Post by: Kshitij Sahney

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Quality at the core

It was a day-long conference dedicated to raising standards of quality in education. The speakers and audience — some of the best teachers, trainers, heads of schools and representatives from expert education bodies like NCERT, Quality Council of India, CBSE, IATEFL, AI-NET, NCTE, Accreditation UK and English UK — made it an unforgettable experience.

Organised by the British Council as a part of a week-long series of programmes around schools, the Quality Standards in Education conference held in Delhi on 29 November aimed to advance the debate about quality standards in education, to look at current thinking and practice in relation to quality in schools and what currently is happening to ensure that quality.

ELT expert George Pickering addresses a session the Quality Standards conference in Delhi

ELT expert George Pickering addresses a session the Quality Standards conference in Delhi

Presentations looked at the factors that can influence quality in the classroom: our teachers and the way they develop professionally; our examinations and attainment targets; the role that teacher associations play; we are particularly interested in discussing how professional associations for schools can be influential in supporting school development and in setting standards. They looked closely at the English Language Quality Standards Programme and the benefits it brings to participating schools.

There were discussions around institutional capacity building and the importance of quality being embedded in a school’s systems.

Experts from various organisations spoke about their experience in the area of quality in education and how they contributed to it. Discussions revolved around continuous professional development for teachers and forming associations for schools as a means to further quality.
The audience participated enthusiastically and many interesting questions were posed to the speakers. An audience member passionately asked about what could be done to raise the profile of teaching as a profession to encourage more talented people to aspire to become teachers.

Ashok Pandey, Principal, Ahlcon International School, while presenting a session on a roadmap for an Indian professional association for English medium schools, stressed on the importance of knowledge sharing among peers and said that only schools that share their knowledge and expertise can remain competitive in today’s day and age.

More information on the English Language Quality Standards Programme is available at

Or you can write to

Contributed by Shivangi Gupta

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Schools of the future: digital, inclusive and empowering

Action Research success stories by accredited teachers were in focus on the second day (3 December 2014) of the Teacher Accreditation programme organised by the British Council in Delhi .

The first session chaired by Dr Angela Cook included discussions on International Learning and Global Education where action researchers addressed global issues in the education domain prevalent in most countries and how they are being addressed internationally. The researchers experienced that kids learn better when they are empowered and given responsibilities, whereby they can interactively mix with other children, be more confident and innovative in their thinking and actions. Not only children but this serves as a learning process for teachers as well.

The other simultaneous session chaired by Arijit Ghosh focussed on discussing digital Innovation in the classroom to enhance learning capacities. Action researchers through their experience learned that digital games are a smart way to teach, learn and map what is being taught to the curriculum. This is not only true for higher achievers but covers children with all abilities. Smart and digital media component attracts students easily and ensures complete involvement as children are always enthusiastic about playing games and in turn learning playfully.

After informal discussion and exchange of opinions over refreshments there were two simultaneous and engaging sessions for mentors and mentees. The former chaired by Karanam Pushpanadam focussed on challenges and opportunities for mentoring Teacher Researchers. The mentors came up with concerns which they face while guiding their mentee for the action research projects. They believe certain level of flexibility in the completion timeframe, regular face to face interaction with mentees for better understanding and communication, multiple review stages, restricted submission size are some aspects which if included as guidelines in delivering the 2 3 4projects would facilitate the mentoring process and enable achieving better and more result oriented outcomes.

The other concurrent session featured action research success stories which centred around projects aimed at inclusion and mainstreaming students and learners with special needs. This session chaired by Rittika Chanda Parruck featured some truly interesting cases where it has been observed that exposing children with special needs to activities is one of the best ways to assess their strengths and weaknesses and act accordingly. This is a positive and good practice of inclusion which makes children happy and gives them a direction. Susan Douglas mentioned a very interesting practice followed in the UK which is a more social rather than medical model of inclusion of children with special needs where a school adopts to the needs of a child rather than the other way round. She emphasized that every child is educable provided they are placed in the right settings which they deserve. The presenters acknowledged British Council’s support and effort to bring a positive change in the lives of children with special needs through their work in action research projects.

The final session of the conference featured a keynote speech from Andy Buck on Schools of the future: Time for change. He pointed out that as teachers their prime responsibility lies in instilling aspirations, resilience and confidence in children to face challenges to be successful as a human being and as a professional. A favourable climate is what he referred to in terms of the learning
environment in a class can immensely impact children to feel included. Teachers should
give their student a voice so that they may take charge and work together towards inclusive
growth. Andy acknowledged the work of all action researchers and their contribution towards
making a positive change in schooling for children.

The Teacher Accreditation Conference concluded with closing comments by the chairperson Susan Douglas who acknowledged the participation of all teachers, teacher researchers and all those who supported to make the conference a success.

Contributed by Ruma Roy.

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Teacher researchers – the agents of change

The Teacher Accreditation Conference being held in New Delhi as part of a week-long series of events around school education began on 2 December at with participants from all over the country enthusiastically contributing through various sessions in the field of action research not only in English but education system as a whole.

Susan Douglas who chaired the conference  and briefed the participants on the context of this  event.

Susan Douglas who chaired the conference
and briefed the participants on the context of this

The programme began with a welcome note from Susan Douglas who chaired the conference and briefed the participants on the context of this event. This was the first time that an electronically operated voting pad was distributed for participants to key in their opinion on Q&A polls held after each session. Instant statistics were generated and displayed, which ensured complete involvement. The result of these polls will eventually feed into a high level roundtable of policy makers to be held on
4 December.

Sam Freedman, Director of Research, Evaluation and Impact at Teach First

Sam Freedman, Director of Research, Evaluation and Impact at Teach First

Sam Freedman, Director of Research, Evaluation and Impact at Teach First spoke about the value of research in education system. He emphasized on the importance of creating research based professionals, the steps that leads to research based profession and the positive changes that teacher researchers may bring about.


A session on action research success  stories

A session on action research success

Next was a session on action research success
stories chaired by Rittika Chanda Parruck
where accredited teachers presented stories of
their successful research for Improving
Mathematics and Science Teaching. The other
parallel session chaired by John Shackleton featured presentations from ELTReP recipients and Connecting Classrooms researchers on English Teaching. There were interactive Q&A rounds after each session for the audience to share their experience and views on action research.

Dr Angela Cook spoke on the GTA programme in India

Dr Angela Cook spoke on the GTA programme in India

Dr Angela Cook, an independent consultant
in the education sector spoke about the
Global Teacher Accreditation (GTA) programme
in India. She pointed out the GTA model is adaptable for all students and this can develop a new level of professionalism and motivation in individuals associated with teaching at various levels.


The morning and noon sessions were followed by a round of informal interactions and knowledge sharing over tea while the participants viewed poster exhibition of research submissions by themselves and their fellow researchers. 


An engaging session by John Shackleton

An engaging session by John Shackleton

After a round of evening refreshments and discussions was an extremely engaging session by John Shackleton who interactively explained Continuing Professional Development (CPD) framework and how this could help a teacher develop as a professional and evolve into a Teacher Educator to contribute to the teaching profession in a meaningful way.


A teacher an award for research

A teacher an award for research

The day concluded with a lot of enthusiasm and positivity over certificate distribution to successful Global Teacher Accreditation Awardees as a token of appreciation and acknowledgement of their meaningful contribution through their research efforts. Participants said they found the sessions engrossing and look forward to many more such effective engagements as this experience enabled them grow as professionals.

Contributed by Ruma Roy.

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Delegates from Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Taiwan visit Indian schools

The British Council is holding a week-long series of programmes around schools education in Delhi which began on 28 November with the international launch of its global publication Innovations in Continuing Professional Development for English Language Teachers followed by a conference on Quality Standards in Education on 29 November.

On the third day of the Schools Week, 27 Inward Study Visit Delegates from Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Taiwan visited Indian schools to observe the Indian curriculum in schools systems. The delegates were first taken to the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV) at Karnal which is a government-run residential school. This school, where 75% students are from rural and underprivileged backgrounds, is run by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.

Schools Inward Study Visit Delegates from Taiwan, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia at the JNV School, Karnal.

Schools Inward Study Visit Delegates from Taiwan, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia at the JNV School, Karnal.


The delegates were taken on a tour of the school and were explained various aspects the school system and the curriculum being followed through interactive sessions with the school authorities who also acknowledged the Connecting classrooms programme by British Council and its positive impact. The Connecting classroom programme is also a part of their annual report.

Next, the delegates were taken to the DLF School at Ghaziabad which is a recipient of the Global School Enterprise awards. This is a privately-owned school and markedly different from JNV Karnal. The principal of this school presented to the delegates the ways their association with British Council in the last five years has enabled them gain international exposure and build their capacity.

The contrast between the schools covered in the visit gave the delegates a view of the socio-economic range that Indian school system spans and of the adaptable model that runs equally well for rural and urban set-up of the education system.

Contributed by Ruma Roy.


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Changing lives through teacher development

A book launch and panel discussion which spanned two countries and reached out to others through a live webcast proved how easily technology could be used to connect teachers and teaching communities smoothly across  different time zones and across continents, helping them to share ideas and learn from each other.

From left: Prof Amol Padwad, Prof Santosh Panda, Rob Lynes and Alison Barrett launched the global publication Continuing Professional Development for English Language Teachers in Delhi on 28 November.

From left: Prof Amol Padwad, Prof Santosh Panda, Rob Lynes and Alison Barrett launched the global publication Innovations in the Continuing Professional Development for English Language Teachers in Delhi on 28 November.

The book was launched simultaneously in Delhi and London with a live audience in both cities listening to a panel of eminent speakers talk on “Can continuous professional development change lives?”

The occasion was the launch of British Council’s global publication Innovations in the Continuing Professional Development for English Language Teachers simultaneously on Friday 28 November in Delhi and London with a live audience in both cities listening to a panel of eminent speakers talk on “Can Continuous Professional Development (CPD) change lives?”

Rob Lynes Director British Council India, welcomed the audience in India, and spoke about “looking forward to engaging with ministry of education, school leaders, training organisations and teacher bodies in assisting their work in continuing professional development, in collaboration with the UK.” Prof Santosh Panda, Chair of National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE), gave a short introduction on the context in India, adding that “CPD was both the responsibility of individual teachers who needed to take the initiative and institutions who needed to provide support”.

Amol Padwad, Head, Department of English, J.M. Patel College, Bhandara, provided an insight into the innovative work and research of the continuing professional development policy think tank in India. This was followed by an illuminating talk on the professional lifecycle of teachers by ELT editor, writer and teacher Tessa Woodward, who spoke the important stages of CPD through a teacher’s life from the young entrant seeking to better their skills to veterans providing a mentoring role for colleagues.

The panel discussion followed with Alison Barrett, Director, English for Education Systems, British Council South Asia, Rama Matthew, Faculty of Education, Delhi University, Delhi and Amol Padwad in India, and ELT experts Rod Bolitho, Loraine Kennedy and Tessa Woodward in London.

The barrage of tweets #ELTCPD, over 140 transmissions of the webcast live and lively debate in London and Delhi made the event a compelling one for any teacher or educator in any country.

You can listen to Alison Barrett discuss her ideas on CPD, related to her experiences from her extensive work with teachers and policy makers in India here:

The book can be read online here

The recording of the webcast is available here:

More information on the British Council’s work in Continuous Professional Development is available here:


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