Tag Archives: Teaching

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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Building ELT research capacity in India

Richard Smith, University of Warwick

In late July I completed a week-long consultations tour at the invitation of the British Council India, visiting two locations – the English and Foreign Languages University (EFL-U), Hyderabad, and the Central Institute of Education, Delhi University.

The aim of my visit was to initiate a three year (2013-16) project plan for an ELT Research Survey of India, adapted from the UK ELT Research Directory (a British Council funded initiative for which I have been the primary consultant). The proposed Survey will, for the first time, bring information about ELT research in India onto a single, fully-searchable online platform. While The British Council is the prime mover behind this project, work is in progress regarding a multilateral partnership between Warwick University, EFL-U and Delhi University in the first phase, and growing in subsequent phases with British Council contribution and management tapering off in a planned manner.

Consultations with EFLU and other South India-based ELT academics

Consultations with EFLU and other South India-based ELT academics

Consultations in Delhi

Consultations in Delhi

This visit follows on from a preliminary desirability and feasibility study that I undertook in February 2012. During the trip just completed we made very substantial progress in terms of:

  • securing firm commitments from key partner organisations and individuals
  • formation of an academic core team with participants from EFL-U and Delhi University
  • project planning for all three years of the programme.

This visit included consultations with over 30 leading academics in ELT from seven key ELT and Education organisations across India (with two joining the Hyderabad consultations and the other five the Delhi one).

Debanjan Chakrabarti, Head of English Research and Publications for the Council in India, also secured an important meeting with Dr Jagdish Arora, Director of INFLIBNET (the library network that connects all HE institutions in India). He immediately saw the merit of the project and offered to host it on the INFLIBNET server, subject to a MoU /contract that is also ratified by his organisation.

In addition to the core project consultations and planning, I also conducted a series of capacity building and mentoring symposia – two in Hyderabad (one for 40 Ph D and M Phil students, and one with research supervisors) and one in Delhi, jointly with Professor Rama Mathew, Dean and Head of the Department of Education / Central Institute of Education, for 30 PhD/ M Phil students and academics.Prof Mathew and I had previously made the final recommendations for the first ELT Research Partnership Awards, the results of which were publicly announced on 29 July.

The talk has been recorded and will be edited and shared on the British Council India website as part of capacity building support for ELT research and also to provide guidance for the next round of ELTRP Award applicants.

Hyderabad's iconic Charminar

Hyderabad’s iconic Charminar

It was evident from my consultations with academics and other leading ELT professionals, from evaluating the ELTRP applications and from conversations with research students in ELT and Education that there are pressing needs for support and research capacity building in the field of ELT in India which the British Council is beginning to fill.

 

 

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