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Whether stated officially or unofficially, inconsistencies and lack of capacity in initial teacher preparation for much of both the primary and secondary sectors have left space for an important role to be played by in-service or CPD programmes. For English teaching in particular, there has thus been a long history of government initiatives, with and without international support at least from the late 1980s. Here again, levels of provision and access have been highly diverse with opportunities for professional development for serving teachers varying greatly in duration, appropriacy and quality. However, many of the programmes themselves share a number of common features. For the majority of in-service programmes, teachers would be away from their school for one block of time, six days under the government’s current subject-based training programme and commonly about three weeks for secondary teachers on the English Language Teaching Improvement Programme (ELTIP), which ran from 2000 to 2010, and with the Teaching Quality Improvement initiative (TQI). Generally these would be once-in-a-career opportunities and the participants would often attend as the only representative from their schools. The professional development content would generally have been designed by mixed teams of national and international teacher education specialists and, certainly in the case of the larger-scale internationally supported programmes, there would be a clear leaning towards communicative approaches. Cascade models of delivery would be common, with most teachers receiving their training from a local master trainer. Current levels of practice Despite some changes in classroom practice traceable to the ELTIP project (Das and Bentinck, 2013), by the late 2000s the government remained concerned that attainment in English by school learners was still low and that teachers were not managing to work with the textbooks in the communicative way that had been envisaged. When, in 2009, the new English in Action project carried out a series of pre-initiation baseline studies of classroom practice the findings were quite striking. As well as confirming that the majority of teachers in primary schools had low levels of English language skills, they also revealed a continued reliance on reading-based, grammar-translation methods. Among the findings from 252 classroom observations were the following:

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Teaching was based almost entirely on the blackboard or textbook.

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Interaction and participation by learners was extremely limited; in the majority of the lessons, fewer than half the learners had any opportunity to participate.

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Learners spoke English very rarely.

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By far the most common type of interaction was closed questioning; other kinds of activity including open questioning; learners reading from the textbook were found in ten per cent of the lessons.

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Teachers used more Bangla than English (in 67 per cent of the lessons).

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Teaching aids were used in less than six per cent of the lessons.

|  English in Action in Bangladesh

Innovations in the CPD of English language teachers  

The publication, edited by David Hayes offers global perspectives on the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of English language teach...

Innovations in the CPD of English language teachers  

The publication, edited by David Hayes offers global perspectives on the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of English language teach...

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