In this talk, Richard and Amol look at the challenges of teaching in difficult circumstances and offer solutions for effective teacher development in these areas.

Date: 6 October 2016

Link to the recorded talk: http://britishcouncil.adobeconnect.com/p27h964wbb4/

This presentation aims to address the usually neglected needs of teachers working in ‘difficult circumstances’ (i.e. in low-resource classrooms, with large class sizes, in developing country contexts) and to help such teachers realise that they have the potential to take charge of their own development via collaboration with others in similar settings, locally and internationally.

Another aim is to show teacher educators how they can support colleagues to take the first steps in this process, despite constraints. The presentation is structured around two practical training tasks used successfully in a Hornby Regional School in Kathmandu on 'The Low-resource Classroom', which we illustrate using brief excerpts from video-recordings.

We begin by defining 'difficult circumstances' and establishing the nature of participants' own classroom settings. We then show that there is value in collaboratively sharing examples of successful teaching as a starting point for further development.

In the second part, we highlight the usefulness of another form of collaboration among teachers, this time to address problems of teaching in low-resource settings. Following elicitation of such problems from participants, we show, with reference to these, how by turning identification of particular issues into questions (e.g. 'how can I ...?') a constructive inquiry-oriented approach can ensue. 

Finally, encouragement will be given to teachers and trainers alike to document and share their experiences with the above tasks further (e.g. via the TELCnet and Teachers Research! websites), as a contribution to the wider field.

About the speakers:

Amol Padwad is Associate Professor of English at J. M. Patel College, Bhandara, India and the National Convener of All India Network of English Teachers (AINET). He has published several articles and led some innovative projects on teacher development groups, CPD and teacher research. A collection of teacher research studies edited by him is forthcoming in 2016.

Richard Smith is a Reader in ELT/Applied Linguistics at the University of Warwick. He is the co-founder and coordinator of the Teaching English in Large Classes network (TELCnet) and outreach coordinator for the IATEFL Research SIG.  He has given invited workshops and plenary talks in many countries and has advised on several projects, including in Cameroon, Chile and India. His publications in this area include three co-edited e-books: Teacher-Researchers in ActionTeachers Research! (both for IATEFL) and Champion Teachers: Stories of Exploratory Action Research (British Council).

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