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English and Employability Skills for Higher Education Students in Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh Higher Education English Communication Skills Project lays emphasis on supporting teachers in their professional development and building institutional capacity of the state.
British Council directly trained 114 Master Trainers in teaching and training skills so that they are prepared to cascade ten-day teacher training programme to approximately 2500 teachers in Andhra Pradesh.
Master Trainer Training was conducted from 15 May to 20 May and 29 May to 3 June 2017 (two blocks, six days each) at Sri Padmavati Mahila Visvavidyalayam in Tirupathi and Acharya Nagarjuna University in Guntur.
Six British Council Training Consultants trained Master Trainers for 12 days. The materials for this training were specifically written to cater to the needs of Andhra Pradesh teachers who are at different levels of teaching and training experience. The materials on the course covered topics including the role of the Master Trainer in the project, developing skills in teaching speaking and writing, introduction to the learner course and its delivery in the student classroom, pedagogical awareness, reflective practice, development of training skills and approach to continuing professional development. The training involved a combination of input, practical demonstrations, microteaching, micro training, developmental feedback and reflection to help teachers to bridge the gap between the training room, classroom implementation and help personalise learning.

The feedback received on the Master Trainer Training Programme suggests that the course met expectation of 94 percent of the participants and 98 percent felt that they improved in their training skills. Furthermore, more than 94 percent of the participants stated that they acquired new skills and knowledge in the training programme.

Ajayendra Rudraraju, one of the Master Trainers, shares his experience of being a part of the Master Trainer Training programme and its impact on his professional practice, his students and peers.

Being a part of the Andhra Pradesh Higher Education English Skills in the capacity of Master Trainer gives me immense pride and satisfaction. Even though the Master Trainer Training Program was for only 12 days, I have learnt a number of things from the trainers from the British Council. I have met like-minded people, whose objectives are to evolve and improve as a teacher, during the training period.

Being able to interact and reflect on the teaching methods and approaches, which I employ in planning my lessons, with the English teaching community was one of the highlights for me.
The real highlight, for me, was learning great number things from the trainers from the British Council. I found the concept of ‘elicitation’ very useful, while delivering lessons in the classroom.
I have come to understand the importance of ‘reflection’ and ‘Continuous Professional Development’ in the evolution of a teacher. The Master Trainer workbook designed by the British Council gave a chance to work on my shortcomings and overcome them.

Before the training commenced, I was optimistic about learning something from the program. But I didn’t anticipate the profound and immediate impact it had on me during and after the training. I expected that the program would let me know of the new methods of teaching English.

It got more than I expected as new approaches, activities and techniques were looked at in an interesting way.

Once the training program was over, I promised myself that I would make use of the takeaway tips from the sessions and implement the activities and techniques in my classrooms. The results are being overwhelmingly positive. The students are more involved in the classes now. They enjoy taking part in the activities. Since I have come to know of the different learning styles of the students, I could cater to all of them now.

I have understood the ‘role of a facilitator’ very well and I could see that my students are very creative than I originally gave them credit for.

During the cascading phase, I made the teachers understand the importance of less TTT and more STT. They took it very well. My colleagues have started incorporating certain activities into their lesson plans. I have been constantly speaking to them about the importance of reflection and CPD.
Low key, I have learnt how to work within the given constraints. I started planning my lessons keeping the constraints in my college in mind.

I would like to take up courses, attend workshops and training programs of this ilk in order to keep evolving professionally.

The impact of the Master Trainer Training program and Teacher Training Program would be huge in the coming months and years. The teachers would facilitate the process of making the students come forward and talk and express their ideas.

This would enable the students to express themselves without inhibitions, enhance their communication and employability skills. The course designed by the British Council would be greatly beneficial to the teachers and students in this regard.

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