This I could not expect to learn or get a training during hard times due to COVID-19. The online CPD training is a genial contribution both to the fight against COVID-19 and advancement of teachers’ professional development.
Teacher Educator from one of the participating English Connects countries
Angola, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, DRC, Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Mozambique, Niger and Senegal
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)
To improve standards of the teaching, learning and assessment of English and create the world’s largest online English teaching community with professional development opportunities, pathways and resources for all teachers of English.
Economic development and the increasing presence of multinational companies in non-English speaking countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has spurred demand for English language skills. Ministries of Education (MoE) increasingly recognise that one of the biggest influences on student achievement is teacher effectiveness and therefore wish to improve the skills and professional confidence of English teachers. English Connects recognises that Teacher Educators are ‘crucial players for maintaining and improving the high quality of the teaching workforce. They can have a significant impact upon the quality of teaching and learning in our schools.’ (Supporting Teacher Educators, European Commission, October 2013).
Teacher Educators from Angola, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, DRC, Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Mozambique, Niger and Senegal participated in virtual training delivered by UK ELT experts. This training was then cascaded to the secondary teachers they are responsible for. Each local Teacher Educator became a member of a supported English Connects online trainer community of practice (CoP), whilst their secondary teachers were also members of CoP WhatsApp groups. Teacher development resources were created around teaching in large class, low resource contexts. Selected participants also undertook UK ELT provider online training courses.
Ongoing virtual follow-up and individual mentoring for Teacher Educators, as well as a variety of classroom action research projects are helping participants to reflect and identify where improvements can be made to their teaching techniques.
In 2020/21, MoE ELT Master Trainers (including 22 in Mozambique, 21 across Gabon, 8 across Guinea, and 40 across DRC) received initial virtual training alongside ongoing development of teaching, teacher training and mentoring skills. In total, 191 MoE ELT Master Trainers across Angola, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, DRC, Guinea, Niger, Mali and Senegal received follow-up virtual training (from the previous year), with further ongoing development of teaching, teacher training and mentoring skills. From observations, 126 trainers from 11 countries delivered cascade training to teachers, whereby this midline data was analysed against the 10 Teacher Educator Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Framework’s professional practices. Over 4,970 teachers of English participated in CPD via face-to-face cascade training and the online CoPs.
The CPD resources were developed and distributed to teachers in the participating countries. These included 19,054 Teacher Resource Books and a Teacher Video Resource (30,160 distributed on SD cards and USBs).
Based on initial feedback, participants from Cote d’Ivoire and Djibouti MoE indicated that English Connects is changing the way they think about their CPD practices.
In supporting 11 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa to improve standards of the teaching and learning of English, 2020/21 saw English Connects bring direct benefits to participating providers. This included seven UK English language teaching (ELT) organisations, two IT-related suppliers, a due diligence company and 12 individual UK consultants. One of the UK ELT providers stated that their experience of working on English Connects had enabled them to bid for and win several other tenders, with others reporting potential future indirect financial benefits.
A total of 89 per cent of local participants surveyed reported that they had a more positive attitude to the UK as a result of the training received. A further 92 per cent felt connected to the UK and 76 per cent felt more knowledgeable about the UK after the training.