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Kerilee Barrett, Sandra Randall - Taking responsibility for professional development

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In this presentation, Kerilee and Sandra talk about the large-scale ELTDP project - an initiative to develop teachers' skills in Malaysia.

About the webinar

The ELTDP was a project to develop English teacher skills in Malaysian Primary schools in Borneo. A key performance indicator was sustainability in which teachers would continue to develop their skills long after their mentors had left. Acting as mentors, we worked with around 40 teachers in Tawau, Sabah. Initially, we started off providing input and facilitating sessions that teachers identified as important, such as phonics and language arts. After each session teachers were asked to reflect, as this was considered an essential skill for teachers to take responsibility for their own development. As more highly skilled teachers were identified, we asked them to provide input in small sessions which eventually grew into full sessions developed with support.

Over a period of 18 months a core group of teachers planned and delivered sessions for their colleagues in their areas of expertise. Those who started off extremely shy ended up confidently presenting whole sessions, organising venues and catering as well. Teachers of other subjects attended some sessions and cascaded back to their own subject groups, going on to use some of the methods presented. Seven teachers presented at a British Council conference for the project, one presented at the BC ELTECS conference in Myanmar and one presented at the MELTA/ASIA TEFL conference. Due to unforeseen circumstances the mentors had to leave early, however, the teachers continued and developed a local area-wide forum for teachers, increasing participation to all local schools. This case study looks at what was done to successfully have teachers take responsibility for their professional development and how this was achieved, and how this could be replicated in other contexts.

About the speakers 

Kerrilee Barrett currently works for the British Council Jordan on the LASER project, teaching Syrian refugees with the aim of getting students into higher education where their education has been interrupted. She has been over 8 years experience teaching English in Asia and Jordan. She has a Cambridge DELTA and an MA in Education. She worked as a mentor with Primary School teachers in Borneo, Malaysia for over 3 years, and has presented at conferences in Burma, Malaysia and Jordan. She also supported teachers to present their own ideas at 2 conferences in Malaysia as part of the project in Borneo.

Sandra Randall currently works for the British Council Jordan. She has over 14 years experience teaching English in East Asia and Jordan. She has a Cambridge DELTA, an MA in Education and a Graduate Diploma in Primary Teaching. She worked as a mentor with primary school teachers in Borneo, Malaysia for 20 months and she was a materials writer of Primary Plus for two years for the British Council.

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