Page 246

Learning points When reflecting on the project’s progress since 2008, a number of critical factors come to mind, which may be useful to those aiming to replicate the approach elsewhere. Firstly, teachers often required support to help them get over some basic ‘bottlenecks’ with the technology. Though all were familiar with the mobile as a tool for communication, few of them had experienced it as a tool for individual learning. Some initial intensive guided practice in navigation around the filing system of the video folders, supported by trainers and peers, proved essential. However, in almost all cases, this process was relatively quick and the teachers had soon acquired sufficient skills to fall into a routine of accessing and viewing the materials. Teachers also needed some initial guidance and direction on the ‘etiquette’ of using the mobile for professional development; for example, it took some time and direction for all of them to routinise the use of headphones to avoid disruption in the peer support group cluster meetings. Some also needed reminding of the implications on the integrity of the professional development data if they wanted to use the ‘project mobile’ for personal purposes such as taking photographs. At a pedagogical level, it was found that teachers do not always see in the videos what we want them to see. The mediation through the video guide and reflection with peers in the cluster meetings is therefore essential in taking many of the teachers through initial ‘bottlenecks’ caused by what amount to distractions, possibly alienation, while viewing other teachers in the videos. Some clips in the early modules were frequently met with far more comments about features such as the video teachers’ pronunciation, standing position and board work which were actually peripheral to the main techniques that were the intended focus. Though these comments were frequently valid and the teachers should certainly not be discouraged from personalised observation, some of them also needed initial guidance in focusing on the intended target methodological points and techniques. Close and clear linkage with the school curriculum and the textbooks has been essential in selecting the lesson materials to be filmed; it has certainly appeared to be a major attraction in convincing teachers that the pedagogy being demonstrated is viable in their own situations. However, the risk has to be faced that the curriculum will be changed; thus, as we found in the second year of the scaling-up phase, there needs to be flexibility both at technical and support levels. Teachers at the early stages of the programme would often be quick to dismiss a video clip as irrelevant to their context if it was explicitly labelled as, for example, ‘Class 3, Lesson 3,’ if that was no longer valid in the new textbook edition. In such cases we found that there is an important role for the print guide material and peer group facilitators in stressing the generic nature and easy transferability of the techniques. Finally, adequate orientation and support for the various stakeholder groups who support the teachers in following the programme has also emerged as something vital that could not be left to chance. Not only the peer group facilitators and head teachers, but also local- and national-level administrators have played a critical role in terms of advocating for the approach and providing teachers with space and encouragement, both to work through the CPD materials and equally to apply and

242

|  English in Action in Bangladesh

Innovations in the CPD of English language teachers  
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...