In Bangladesh the penetration of the mobile phone has been rapid, rising from below one million subscribers in 2001, to 36 million at the beginning of 2008 and almost 116 million in February 2014 (source: www.btrc.gov.bd/content/mobilephone-subscribers-bangladesh-february-2014). Thus, teachers are generally very familiar with using a mobile phone and, following a brief training session on how to access the SD card materials, have had minimal problems in using them. The mediated video concept Despite initial attempts to use Bangladeshi classroom teachers in the pilot phase video, it was not possible to locate appropriate people and the project was therefore obliged to use actors, and build a classroom in a film studio. Although feedback was generally positive it was also obvious to the teachers that this was not authentic and represented an idealised reality that was far removed from their own lives and professional experience. Their responses to it included such comments as: ‘I couldn’t do this in my classroom,’ ‘I have too many students to do this activity,’ and ‘I have to use the course book every day.’ It became obvious that in order to get ‘buy in’ from teachers the project needed to grasp the realities of the average teacher’s life, both inside and outside the classroom, and provide materials that reflected that reality, using the government textbook and showing actual teachers modelling good practice in recognisable classroom situations. While it was true that in 2008–09 it was impossible to identify suitable teachers for filming, by early 2011 the project had access to teachers from the pilot phase who had adopted a range of communicative classroom practices. A group of ten teachers was therefore selected (five primary and five secondary) from across the country in mainly rural locations, and classes were filmed following lessons from the government textbook English for Today over a period of two months at the end of 2011. In general, there was about 30 minutes preparation time with each teacher, and then filming commenced. The criticisms that the pilot teachers had levelled at the video-based TPD resources were all addressed, i.e. non-authentic teachers/ classroom/students; not using the government textbook; extra classroom resources not available to most teachers. All classroom videos were based on English for Today lessons, using teachers from the pilot phase teaching their own students in their own classrooms with no resources other than blackboard, chalk, textbook, the audio recording of textbook dialogues or stories on the teachers’ mobile phones and posters supplied to all teachers in the scaling up phase of the project. However, as the video resources are designed to be used partly in a self-access context, the classroom film alone was not considered sufficient to offer focused and reflective professional development. Teachers would need to be guided through the video, for example in a workshop scenario, in order to make them aware of the objectives of the activities and techniques, and how to take them into their own teaching practice using the coursebook. The authentic classroom film needed, therefore, to be delivered to the teachers by an ‘expert’ who could deconstruct what the teachers were seeing in the classrooms on the video and enable them to find ways of applying these techniques to their own students. While developing the EIA approach, we felt an important element of the materials should be the forging of the social presence of a Bangladeshi video guide, who is essentially the ELT expert voice, speaking directly to the teachers from their mobile phones. In the human-computer interaction (HCI) field, research indicates that the human face is one of the most
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...