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British Council

The trainers train us to meet real and current needs in teaching of whole class. Ongoing reflection and discussion between trainers and teacher educators are excellent during the training and teacher educators apply new information and methods in the workplace and to real-life problems.

Education College Principal

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Life cycle

2014-2017

Country/Region

25 locations across Myanmar

Client/Partner

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

Vision

The English for Education College Trainers (EfECT) Project aims to develop the classroom teaching, teacher training and English proficiency standards of Myanmar’s teacher educators and give the teacher educators access to, and an understanding of, modern teacher training resources.

Situation

Following decades of isolation under military rule and very low investment in education, teacher training in Myanmar comprised repetitive learning and chanting. English proficiency of teacher educators, including those tasked with training student teachers to teach English, was low. With little access to the outside world, training resources were old-fashioned or non-existent and teacher educators had little awareness of more modern approaches to teaching and training. At the same time, Myanmar’s educators were aware of having fallen behind in the ASEAN region in terms of education and strongly aspired to develop more interactive teaching based on critical thinking.

Implementation

Two international teacher trainers were based in each of Myanmar's teacher training institutes, one from the British Council and one VSO volunteer. Following comprehensive participatory needs assessment with teacher educators, EfECT devoted the first year of the project to English proficiency teaching, delivering six hours of English teaching to each teacher educator. The second-year was devoted to teaching methodology, building on the Myanmar pedagogical tradition of whole-class teaching by authoritative teachers. The project promoted structured instructional techniques which built upon and fitted with this tradition, providing training in questioning techniques, ‘think-pair-share’, setting learning objectives, reflective practice and use of plenaries. A one-year extension of the initial two-year project extended opportunities for learning new techniques.

Impact 

Rigorous monitoring of impact for participants included English proficiency testing; moderated lesson observations, pedagogical knowledge tests and self-rated self-confidence. 

In total, 2,334 education colleges staff members had contact with EfECT, including principals who voluntarily attended classes. Over 1,665 were core beneficiary teacher educators with a full data set, substantially above the 1,300 target for the project. A review of collated data for this group by independent evaluation confirmed:

  • 80.8 per cent improved their English proficiency test score by at least one CEFR band
  • 76.5 per cent improved overall confidence in the use of English and teaching skills
  • 81.2 per cent improved their theoretical knowledge of teaching methodology
  • 77.0 per cent improved observed teaching on at least four of six teaching competencies 
  • 92.6 per cent improved observed competence in questioning and teaching interactively.

Mutual benefit

The EfECT project came about in the context of a request during a state visit to the UK by Myanmar’s then President, Thein Sein. During the visit, President Thein Sein asked former British Prime Minister David Cameron for support in bringing Myanmar’s teacher educators up to international standards. 

As the first donor-funded education project to work across the whole of Myanmar, EfECT helped to cement ties between the UK and Myanmar in the context of Myanmar’s emergence from decades of military rule. Sadly, democratic progress in Myanmar, underlined by elections in 2016, stalled in 2021 with the military coup d'état and return to military rule.