750 teachers, which resulted in modifications in approach and materials based on wide-ranging user feedback and ongoing project-wide research, monitoring and evaluation. Between 2014 and 2017 the project will scale up to work with 75,000 teachers across the country. In this chapter, we will look at the context within which CPD operates in Bangladesh and describe earlier and concurrent approaches to dealing with an overwhelming need for in-service training of teachers. We will then outline the innovative concept of mediated video that EIA has developed using materials on Secure Digital (SD) cards in accessible low-cost mobile phones to deliver a more personalised and reflective approach to teacher professional development, and also tell the story from the perspective of a teacher participating in the project. The chapter will conclude by discussing how the EIA approach is demonstrating the potential to be a very effective model for continuing professional development (CPD), particularly in development contexts, being scalable, adaptable, sustainable and economically viable for both teachers and governments.
A large-scale challenge: the context of CPD in Bangladesh English in Bangladesh The vast majority (98 per cent) of Bangladesh’s 156 million people use Bangla as a first language and 89 per cent are Muslim. Soon after independence in 1971 Bangla became the medium of education at all levels except in Madrasah schools and some English-medium schools in the cities (Hossain and Tollefson, 2007). Despite the small percentage of non-Bangla first language speakers, the number still amounts to around 3.1 million people who speak some 40 languages (www.ethnologue.com), with strong and deep-rooted linguistic, ethnic and cultural histories. As English has gained ascendency as a global language, it is now perceived as an economically valuable language in Bangladesh and as a useful, marketable skill. Some currently undeveloped economic sectors have the potential for major expansion that would be accelerated by the availability of English-speaking workers. In particular, jobs in the digital economy, where English is widely used, are a key part of the government’s growth strategy for Bangladesh, but lack of proficiency in English has been identified as a major barrier for the development of this sector (GoB and UNDP, 2010). As in other developing economies, in more recent years the Bangladesh government has actively promoted English language throughout the education system. English has been a compulsory school subject for all grades (1 to 12) since 1986 and throughout much of this period there have been a number of large-scale reform initiatives, aimed at developing the quality of learning and teaching of English. Ultimately, the government aim is to improve the profile of English in the country to prepare a workforce that is better able to participate in the global economy (GoB and UNDP, 2010). Yet, despite the importance the government attaches to English and the investments made by the government and funding agencies such as the United Nations, the World Bank and bilateral donors such as the UK, the level of English language competence among students and their teachers is often low. In 2009, prior to the EIA intervention, a baseline study of 4,171 students’ spoken language competence found there was 228
| English in Action in Bangladesh
Published on Aug 29, 2014
Published on Aug 29, 2014
The publication, edited by David Hayes offers global perspectives on the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of English language teach...