Panama Bilingüe – Language immersion and teacher development
In 2015 Edinburgh College became one of the first institutions in the UK to be awarded a contract to train Panamanian English language teachers, as part of the Panamanian Government's "Panama Bilingüe" programme. Panama Bilingüe is a five-year programme which aims to achieve a step-change in English language competency in Panama by upskilling up to 10,000 teachers in English language and pedagogy. The programme was launched in 2014 by President Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez and is run centrally through the Panamanian Ministry of Education (MEDUCA).
Edinburgh College has so far welcomed over 300 English Language teachers to Edinburgh in 15 cohorts. These have included in-service elementary and high school teachers, who follow 8-week programmes, and pre-service elementary school teachers, who follow 16-week programmes.
In addition to General English classes to improve their English Language competency, the teachers have undertaken methodology training covering topics including classroom management, teaching vocabulary, grammar presentation techniques, communicative activities, and developing skills. Participants use ideas and examples from the input sessions to develop materials and activities which they can use in their own classrooms and try out the new ideas and techniques in peer teaching assignments.
As the courses have taken place in Edinburgh, trainees have had the opportunity to observe English Language classes at Edinburgh College, to visit local schools to compare with their own teaching contexts, and to stay with homestay hosts, giving them a complete immersion experience of the language and culture of Scotland.
The project has been a great success, and Edinburgh College looks forward to receiving more teachers from Panama in the coming months.
To find out more about our Panama Bilingue project watch the video and hear from our students.
Teacher Training and Development in Uzbekistan
In April 2018, Edinburgh College was chosen by the British Council to run a 4-week course in teaching methodology, English language development and British culture for a group of four English teachers working for the military in Uzbekistan.
This course was finely tuned to the needs of the participants and provided them with the opportunity to reflect on and improve their teaching methodology while immersing themselves in an English language environment for a month. During the programme, our Teacher Training team worked closely with the participants to discuss English teaching in Uzbekistan and to undertake a needs analysis of the particular learning needs of teachers in this context.
Following from this course Edinburgh College has continued its partnership with the Uzbekistan MoD by working with the British Council to provide a series of teacher training and trainer training programmes, delivered both in Edinburgh and in Tashkent. These courses included (in November 2018) a teacher development programme focused on Materials Adaptation, Assessment and Course Planning and (in November 2018 and January 2019) two 2-week teaching methodology courses focussed on improving communication with native speakers and increasing awareness of British culture.
In February to March 2019, Edinburgh College delivered a bespoke follow-up programme for participants on earlier courses which was designed as an introduction to the concept of Teacher Training for teachers of English who would like to make the transition from teacher to trainer.
China – ELT Teacher Training
Edinburgh College has been working with educational departments in China since 2004, delivering bespoke English language teacher training programmes, as well as courses designed to prepare candidates for Cambridge ICELT (In-service Certificate in English Language Teaching) and TKT (Teaching Knowledge Test).
In autumn 2016, July 2017 and July 2018, Edinburgh College tutors have delivered bespoke training courses to cohorts of 100 teachers in Guangzhou. The format of this course is four weeks of online tasks completed by distance learning, and four weeks of face-to-face training in Guangzhou. The online component prepares candidates for the work they will carry out during the face-to-face course, and refreshes their current knowledge. Participants complete online tasks and reading, as well as completing self-reflection and observation tasks in their own classrooms. The face to face course is divided into four main components: (a) language in the classroom (b) methodology (teaching grammar) (c) methodology (teaching skills) and (d) materials evaluation and design.
In 2014 Edinburgh College tutors travelled to Beijing to deliver Cambridge TKT preparation training to 300 primary, middle and high school teachers, again following the 4+4 model of online training followed by face-to-face classes in China.