In this show I will be taking you to Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Cameroon and Zimbabwe. For example why do people learn English in Pakistan? And what do you think the best way of delivering training would be to the semi-literate migrant workers of Bangladesh? This show includes snippets of recordings made at the IATEFL conference in Manchester last month.
IATEFL stands for International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language and it is the word International which attracts people from all over the world. The conference is quite large but of course not everyone can afford the time and money to attend. So it’s really great that there is now a very professional service during each annual conference, streaming sessions and interviews online. If you are curious to see more then go to https://iatefl.britishcouncil.org/2015 where you can watch for free all the recordings that were made right up until the next conference in April 2016.
IATEFL is for teachers of English but intercultural matters often emerge because you have foreign teachers working far away from home, you have the question of whether it is right for the English language to dominate globally as it does right now and you also have questions about how far teacher training dreamed up in the West can be translated to other contexts, to name just a few of the issues which regularly come up at the IATEFL conference.
Umesh Shrestha talks about what Nepalese teachers expect their teacher trainers to look like. While Umesh is Nepalese, he works for the British Council and he often meets resistance … though maybe not for the reason you think:
There was a great deal about using mobile devices to learn English at IATEFL and perhaps unexpectedly this is also relevant to countries such as Pakistan where dumb (as against SMART) phone ownership is much higher than internet accessibility. We heard at the start of the show Bilal Ahmad talking about the direct financial effect of learning English so let’s now hear how Pakistanis are using their radio and their mobile phones to learn English as we go absolutely mobile:
We also heard about mobile learning for not just English but also intercultural communication from Mike Solly of Britain’s Open University who is hoping to build a collection of video content to view on your mobile phone for the migrant workers of Bangladesh. In this case video content helps train a target group that is often semi-literate.
Tarek Walizada explains why army officers in Afghanistan spend 15% of their officer training on English.
For our next two slots we’ll be moving to Africa to hear from two of the most inspirational speakers of the IATEFL conference. If you have the time to watch these two plenaries on the IATEFL website I really think you will find it worthwhile. Common to both was an absolutely bottom up approach to change. The first plenary speaker was Ann Cotton who discovered that there was not a systematic bias against girls in Zimbabwe. If you move on to the plenary recording you will find out that Cotton set up an organisation called CamFed which not only gives girls an education but helps them in the many other ways they need in order to set up an independent and useful life for themselves. This is a wonderful example of a bottom up initiative where Cotton helps by listening to those in need.
The next extract features Harry Kuchah Kuchah from Cameroon who learned how to teach classes of 250 students by enlisting their help. I must admit that this was not what I was expecting to hear with my head filled with stereotypes of authoritarian African teachers! Watch the full plenary here.
In the next show I produce at the beginning of July we’ll be hearing from Atiyyeh Al-Habal who links up his students in a very rural school of Palestine,Kharbatha Al-Mesbah, west of Ramallah, with classes all over the world and in fact he’s looking for more partner schools so if you are interested then mail him at email@example.com
Thanks to IATEFL for allowing me to use the recordings.
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The next show will be coming to you from Germany with Laurent Borgmann on June 5th so until then, stay tuned!
The host of this show is: Anne Fox