Earlier this month, Edinburgh College started working on a new project to upskill English Language Teachers in sub-Saharan Africa.
Over five weeks, the College’s ESOL team are delivering an online English Language and Teaching Methodology course to a group of 24 high performing English teachers from twelve different countries across the continent (Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Guinea (Conakry), Mali, Mozambique, Niger and Senegal).
The course is part of the English Connects programme, jointly funded by the FCDO and the British Council, which aims to connect African youth and the future generation of leaders with the UK through English. The core of this is through English language teaching and learning, particularly in French and Portuguese speaking countries in sub-Saharan Africa, with the aim of creating opportunities for young people to study, improve their employability and expand their networks.
For Edinburgh College, involvement in the programme follows on from a similar course delivered to English teachers from Rwanda in autumn last year, and adds to the College’s growing portfolio of projects in Africa.
International Business Manager Sarah Gore, said: “We’re delighted to be starting this new project. Africa is a region where we see huge potential for future growth in our international work. Countries across the continent are looking not just to improve competency in English language, but also to develop their technical and vocational skills systems, and I believe Edinburgh College is well placed to support this process. I’m confident that this new project is a further step towards deepening our engagement with Africa.”
Sarah Donno, Curriculum Manager for ESOL, who has led on the design and delivery of the course said: “Our team are really looking forward to starting work on this new project and to working with talented teachers across sub-Saharan Africa. In designing the course we’ve had to think very carefully about the context in which these teachers are working: secondary school English language teachers in many of the countries that are part of this project face large class sizes, up to 100 students in some cases. Our aim, as ever, will be to provide training that is relevant to the local context and to support these teachers to develop their pedagogy and practice.”
The course is being delivered in two parts. Earlier this month, the participants undertook a week-long intensive language and teaching methodology course delivered remotely by Edinburgh College trainers. For the second part of the course, participants have now returned to their classrooms to implement what they have learned, with shorter weekly follow-up sessions providing the opportunity for participants to feedback on their progress, and for Edinburgh College trainers to continue to provide guidance and support.
Speaking after the intensive part of the programme, one of the teachers attending the course from Benin said: “We successfully completed the intensive part of the course. It was really enjoyable. We shared experiences and knowledge during the one-week intensive course. I liked the collaboration and the active participation of each awardee. The Edinburgh College trainers were excellent. We gained more insights from them as well. I actually took advantage of that opportunity to improve my teaching practices for the benefit of my learners. I’ve already started sharing the acquired skills with my colleagues locally.”