Government teachers complete Tier 2 of intensive English training | Aga Khan Academies

Government teachers complete Tier 2 of intensive English training

22 June 2017

The Academy Outreach Department launched Tier II of PLES (Professional Learning for Educators Series) in June 2017 for 30 government secondary school teachers, aimed at English language acquisition and improving classroom pedagogy. The teachers had completed Tier I in March 2017. During Tier II, they went through two weeks of intensive classroom sessions consisting of a mixture of activities under the able guidance of Manager of Outreach Rajan Thampi, Master Trainer Wendy Elliott, and Course Facilitator Dan Arnold.  

As part of an MoU with the Telangana State Education Department, the Academy has pledged to train 500 government educators over a three-year period through PLES, which was developed for implementation throughout the network. This resonates with one of the fundamental goals of the Aga Khan Academies, to strengthen the profession of teaching in the region by investing in educators’ professional development both within and beyond its walls.

“The PLES programme is unique in that it specifically targets teachers who are engaged in English language classroom teaching,” explains Ms. Wendy, a Canadian citizen who has been working with the Academy for three years. “The aims of the programme are two-fold: first, to develop and further English language competency in teachers; and second, to develop methods of communication so that teachers and students may engage in language learning as equal participants through authentic exchange.”

PLES is taught over three tiers with an aim to develop, foster and further English language learning and teaching at the local level. Built into the program is a subsequent Training of Teachers (ToT) Programme, which trains graduates of PLES to become facilitators and trainers of PLES themselves.

The focus of Tier II is on the development of communication skills and teaching practice. Activities included lesson plan evaluation, writing skills, and a critical look at lessons which encourage active communication and exchange in English.  In addition to the two-week face-to-face sessions are six full-day in-situ sessions, and classroom observations (two per teacher) conducted by the Outreach team on-site at local government schools. From there a report is written and feedback is given to teachers on an individual basis.

“Our programme has been very successful this year,” remarks Mr. Rajan. “Participants have started a PLES Whatsapp group where they exchange information. In addition, two participants have been given additional teaching duties in English due to a marked improvement in their grasp of the language.”

The Outreach department has also recently initiated English classes for the Academy’s housekeeping, security, maintenance and gardening staff. Over 130 support staff are learning basic English vocabulary and grammar in order to improve confidence and broaden their capacity to assist other staff in the sphere of their work.