Sal Consoli writes:
Edited by Richard Smith, Amol Padwad and Deborah Bullock. London: The British Council, 66pp. Online: https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/teaching-low-resource-classrooms-voices-experience
This book was inspired by the recognition that in many countries around the world English is often taught in ‘low-resource’ classrooms, and therefore what mainstream research and published pedagogical materials offer is not entirely suitable for such contexts. Indeed, there are few training materials which are derived from and which reflect such ‘low-resource’ classroom realities. Thus, this book intends to make a step towards bridging this gap. The stories and accompanying reflective tasks included in this volume can be used informally and adaptively by teachers for reflection on and as part of their own practice as well as for discussion in teacher groups/associations or in-service workshops. They could also be used in formal teacher education for trainee-teachers who may work in difficult circumstances.
The key actors behind the development of the book are teachers from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan who took part in a five-day Hornby Regional School in Kathmandu, Nepal on ‘Teaching in the Low-Resource Classroom’. The workshop itself was directed and facilitated by Richard Smith with Amol Padwad and Jovan Ilic. (For a sense of what went on in the school watch this short video.)
The book accompanies – and is linked to — a set of video-recorded oral presentations by teachers, with accompanying questions for reflection and discussion which focus on success in low-resource primary and secondary classrooms. In these presentations individual teachers share recent experiences which they regard as ‘successful’. There are also presentations centring upon materials and methodology in low-resource classrooms, managing low-resource classrooms and diversity in low-resource classrooms. These presentations were an opportunity for groups of teachers to share ideas for good practice which they had gathered from other teachers at the school in relation to particular issues which were important to them.
The central theme which emerges from the book and from the video-recorded presentations is that of ‘resourcefulness’ – the teacher and students themselves can be valuable human resources, and this is especially necessary when material resources are lacking. Whilst this does not mean stopping any endeavour to develop better material resources for such settings, it is worth noting that there are already crucial human resources which should not be ignored.
Amol Padwad writes:
The AINET International Teacher Research Conference, the first of its kind in India, is being held on 14-15 September 2017 in Nagpur. The event aims to bring together teachers with some experience of and/or interest in teacher research (TR), mentors and leaders who have been supporting TR work in India and overseas, and representatives of various agencies involved in teacher education and training. While many teachers share their TR studies in the conference, several speakers will dwell on issues, challenges and opportunities in TR. There will be some hands-on workshops on different aspects/ skills of TR, which beginner teacher researchers may find particularly useful. In a unique session some mentors will share insights and ideas from their TR mentoring experience. We hope that this event triggers a strong and widespread TR interest and begins the building of a TR community in the country and the region.
For more details, visit http://theainet.net/ainet-international-teacher-research-conference-14-15-sept-2017-nagpur/ or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amol Padwad is Secretary of AINET, the All-India Network of English Teachers.
Exploratory Practice discussions at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), 26 July 2017
Report by Cecilia Nobre
The afternoon (see more information here) started with a display of various posters around the patio. Teachers were engaged in talking us through their puzzles and promptly answered all questions I asked. Some teachers were paired up, while others worked individually. Some posters showed pictures of their students, written work or drawings designed by their students.
I had the chance to interview some student-teachers (see the link above for my interviews) and ask them how exploratory practice helped them identify and investigate their own beliefs as well as students’ beliefs and assumptions. One of my favourite posters was about a puzzle where the student-teacher asked “Who are my students” and “Why do they mock each other all the time?”. The student-teacher wanted to investigate why it seemed that their teenage students did not focus in class while they mock their peers.
The second part of the event took place in the classroom where student-teachers, course tutors Ines Miller, Sabine Mendes, Maria Isabel Cunha and visitor-teachers gathered together to share their experiences, some slightly emotional, in taking part in the exploratory practice sessions.
I’m really glad I had the opportunity to attend such event. It was a great afternoon of learning and sharing. I hope to bring some of what I learnt to my future practice.