6 April 2017 Symposium on Teacher-research for difficult circumstances: IATEFL Conference, Glasgow

See summaries of presentations and video-recordings of the symposium below.



1. Introduction to the teacher research for difficult circumstances symposium

Richard Smith and Prem Phyak introduce the symposium

The papers in this symposium report on how teachers in difficult circumstances in various developing countries have become ‘teacher-researchers’. Teacher-research is shown to be an empowering means of addressing difficult circumstances including large class size, lack of physical resources, and so on. Reference is made to the University of Warwick Teacher-research for difficult circumstances impact initiative and the Teaching English in Large Classes research and development network. 

Prem Phyak (Nepal) was unable to be physically present, but his written introductory comments are here.


2. Four years of exploratory action research in Chile: taking stock 

Paula Rebolledo (Chile) and Richard Smith (UK) summarise the current stage of the ‘Champion Teachers’ project.

Since 2013 the Champion Teachers project has offered an alternative to top-down in-service training for schoolteachers in Chile. The recommended approach – ‘exploratory action research’ – was explicitly developed with over-burdened teachers of large classes in mind. We present an evaluation of strengths and weaknesses and ideas for deepening/widening the scheme’s impact.


3. Researching against odds: teachers’ voluntary struggle with research (video-recorded presentation)

Amol Padwad (India) summarises what happened in round 1 of the AINET teacher-research initiative, in 2015-16.

Amol shares some insights from AINET Teacher Research Project, in which several Indian school teachers voluntarily joined to research various practical concerns related to their classrooms. The year-long process was a difficult struggle against contextual, professional and conceptual difficulties. The project led to several practical and theoretical insights which may be useful in promoting teacher research.  


4. Teacher research 2.0 

Michelle Evans (UK) and Aslı Lidice Göktürk Sağlam (Turkey) summarise findings from the 2017 TESOL.CALL-SIG Electronic Village Online on ‘Classroom research for professional development’. 

The presenters describe and evaluate an innovative attempt to provide online teacher-research guidance for teachers with limited development opportunities who are working in difficult circumstances (large classes, low-resource classrooms, etc.). The intervention incorporated ideas from the ‘Teacher-research for Difficult Circumstances’ impact initiative (warwick.ac.uk/llta/research/trdc/) into a five-week TESOL EVO session.

Bonus: IATEFL Online interview with Michelle Evans and Asli Lidice Göktürk Sağlam!


5. Teacher association research in Cameroon: recent developments

Harry Kuchah Kuchah (Cameroon/UK) reports on an ongoing collaborative project within the Cameroon English language teaching association (CAMELTA).

This presentation reports on an ongoing collective and collaborative research project within the Cameroon English language teacher association and shows how this is currently being refined and extended. Through creative reflection around research questions framed by members of the association, teachers are able to improve their practice and assert their identity as informed practitioners.


6. Children’s voice and choice in Indian English classrooms

Annamaria Pinter (UK) describes a project co-led with Rama Mathew (India) in which teachers and learners worked together as co-researchers in Indian primary and secondary classrooms.

This talk is based on a British Council funded ELTRP project (2015-16) which focused on teachers and children working together as co-researchers in Indian English classrooms. We will share some data regarding teachers’ reflections about their own development with particular focus on data related to their local ‘difficult’ circumstances’.


Thanks to Jason Anderson for his work video-recording and editing the presentations.