Three things I heard yesterday.
1. Colombia’s National Bilingual Programme is a 16 – year programme and started 11 years after a new language policy was enacted.
2. China is engaged in a 40-year language programme.
3. The UK Education acts of 1911 and 1918 which liberalised curriculum did not translate into progressive practice in the classroom until the 1960s.
What about India?
Among the many fascinating statistic’s in David Graddol’s address last night,one comment resonated with me, and with many others if my conversations at the reception that followed were typical. Any programme is only as good as the teachers on the ground. Teachers sometimes attend training at the start of a new initiative but are then left alone to get on with it.
In Sri Lanka, there is a network of 30 Regional English Support Centres (RESCs) with well trained and committed staff who act as mentors to teachers at the local level. The more I interact with the RESC staff the more impressed Iam.
Is there such a netwrork in other places that provides continuing in-service support to teachers and is it well supporgted from the centre?
There has been an awful lot of talk about c ontent and language integrated learning (CLIL) over the last few years and a number of well publicised initiatives around the world. More recently there has been a reversal in policy in Malaysia on CLIL. Is this the beginning of the end or just teething problems?
There is an ongoing debate here in Sri Lanka about which variety of English should be taught and tested in schools: Sri Lankan English or international English. Industry seems to support international English but there are strong voices from Academia which insist that Sri Lankan English is the variety that must be taught and tested. What do you think?
In Sri Lanka there are around 600 bilingual schools. All children study English as a subject from 1st grade but in bilingual schools children can opt to study 3 or 4 subjects in the medium of English from grade 5 onwards. The number of bilingual schools is set to double by 2011. What’s the situation in India?
I’m Seamus and I’m a Senior Training Consultant for Project English based in Sri Lanka. I’ll be blogging my way through the third policy dialogue giving you my impressions and talking to other delegates and giving you theirs too.
I’m looking forward to hearing about David Graddol’s research for English Next India and the debate around his findings. I’m particularly interested in how this might relate to Sri Lanka and will be talking to the Sri Lanka delegation to get their reactions.