Strengthening Teachers’ Associations: 2006-2009

Project Aims

British Council is launching a major project to strengthen associations of teachers of English both nationally and regionally, across the borders of Central and South Asia. Participant countries are Bangladesh, Iran, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The project will help teachers’ associations (TAs) to expand and develop their activities and memberships by delivering training in marketing and communications, project and events management, and website design. It will develop regional networking through establishing a durable mechanism for peer reviews, which will enable TAs to build on their strengths and share good practice.

Project Outcomes

By strengthening the management and marketing capacities, the TAs will be more effective in improving the teaching and learning of English in their countries. They will be more effective in influencing or leading the development of ELT. Their memberships and activities will be broader, deeper, more sustainable. A strong regional TA network will sustain the continued growth and development of the younger organisations.

Project Rationale

British Council has always supported TAs and has helped many into existence. In 2004 we held regional TA workshops in Colombo, Sri Lanka in February and Karachi in October so that TA representatives could tell us how the British Council could support them. This was the birth of this project, which reflects the voiced needs of TAs in the region, needs which we have checked with all participating TAs.

For the British Council, working in partnership with stronger TAs will enhance our own contribution to English teaching and learning in the region. This is a key area of our work and we are recognised as a world authority in ELT. One of our key objectives is increasing opportunities for self-development for the people of the countries we work in. We work to create sustainable and mutually beneficial partnerships wherever we work.

Project Outline and Outputs

There are three main phases to the project which will run up to March 2009.

TEA Leaders with the BC team and George Pickering

Broadly, these are as follows:

The first phase, which will take place mainly in 2007, will comprise delivery of training in strategic and business planning, project management and implementation, marketing and promotion, sponsorship, publicity and communications and website development. The modular training will be delivered in each participating country by UK specialists and regional British Council trainers. Practical assignments, related to the direct needs of individual TAs, will ensure immediate benefits are felt by the TAs. Between 20 and 30 participants from each country will receive the training.

Selection for the training will be carried out by the British Council and the applicant’s TA. Application forms are available from local BC offices and TA’s

Concurrent to this training we establish a regional website, linking all participating TAs and the British Council. One immediate benefit will be access to a range of British Council sites for teachers and learners of English.

During phase two (late 2007 and early 2008) peer reviews of TAs will be carried, using a mutually agreed mechanism. Each TA will be reviewed by a small team of colleagues from TAs from other countries. These reviews, which will be supportive and developmental, not judgmental, will provide action plans for self-help and mutual help by TAs and further the benefits of networking.

During this phase there will also be cascade training of inputs from the first phase, again delivered in-country.

The third main phase (from mid 2008 to March 2009) will see project participants organising a major regional ELT conference with BC support. This will be the ‘proof of the pudding’: evidence of enhanced project management and marketing skills.

Beyond the Project

After the closing of this project the British Council will, of course, continue to support TAs throughout the region. We hope though that we will be working with more strongly networked TAs who can work with us to deliver further projects. From 2007, in fact, we will be working on enhancing the language skills of English teachers in the region, using a variety of means of delivery, including workshops, CD distribution and on-line delivery. We will be looking to TAs for partnership in this.

Who can participate?

In identifying the initial participants in each country for the Strengthening Teachers’ Association Project, we will be working closely with TAs. We want to involve practising teachers or trainers who are already active with their TA: people who are dynamic, will embrace change and who can give the investment of time needed over the three years of the project. TAs will be disseminating further information and details of how to apply.