a ministry or other employers’. An offshoot of this approach is the prevalence of a culture in which teachers depend on an external expert for solutions to their problems. The constant provision of solutions by experts through training events de-skills and de-motivates teachers to a great extent. While teachers’ experience is rarely taken into account in the design and delivery of such programmes, evaluation and follow-up are also considered unnecessary as the training is thought to be complete in itself. Mezirow (1991: 5) stresses that: ‘[a] crucial dimension of adult learning involves the process of justifying or validating communicated ideas and the presuppositions of prior learning’. But the usual INSET programmes normally demand unconditional acceptance of ideas delivered by experts. The spirit of teacher learning ‘by doing, reading and reflecting (just as students do); by collaborating with other teachers; by looking at students and their work; and by sharing what they see,’ (DarlingHammond and MacLaughlin, 1995: 2) is mostly missing from them. As a result, two key goals of training – promoting qualitative changes in classroom practice and teachers’ professional development – are rarely attained in spite of frequent training programmes. In these circumstances, one important casualty is teachers’ motivation for learning and development, manifested in the defensive stance teachers take by claiming a complete helplessness in the face of challenges such as lack of resources, the rural background of learners or extra workload. It is against this backdrop of CPD in India that we need to view and understand the genesis, role and contribution of the Think Tank experiment.
Part 2: The Think Tank Genesis of the Think Tank The CPD Policy Think Tank emerged out of the annual international English for Progress Policy Dialogue series (2007–09) hosted by the British Council, bringing together key decision makers from academia, government, industry and NGOs to discuss and debate the role of English in the socio-economic future of the region. The third and last event in the series at Delhi in 2009 made a number of recommendations related to four key areas in English language education in India – CPD, in-service teacher education, pre-service teacher education and curricular reform. It was envisaged at that time that the Policy Dialogue series would be followed by a Policy Think Tank series for each of these focus areas, the first of which was CPD. Thus, the CPD Policy Think Tank was launched at its first meeting in November 2010 in Delhi and the group worked until November 2012. In all, the Think Tank spent two years working on a range of practical and theoretical issues in CPD and exploring examples of CPD practices. It will be useful at this point to look at the thinking that led to the setting up of the CPD Think Tank. A key part of the Third Policy Dialogue was the pre-publication review of David Graddol’s book English Next: India (2010) and a special panel discussion session on the important issues it raised. There was general agreement on the analysis and arguments Graddol presented in the book about the status and immediate future of English in India and about the conclusion that English language education (ELE) was a key factor in overall development in the country. In this and many other CPD policy ‘Think Tank’ |
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...