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Tune in for teaching tips

TeachingEnglish Radio India is a newly-launched initiative by the British Council. The 12-episode radio series, which is broadcast on AIR, aims to guide teachers across the state

Primary and secondary school teachers across Maharashtra often have a thankless task at hand, what with the low pay and lack of teaching aids. To address their teaching concerns, the British Council has launched a unique initiative, titled Teaching English Radio India (TER).

Radio India
An audio recording in progress, during a student-teacher session

The 12-episode series offers tips and ideas on learner-centred teaching for teachers of English. It is being broadcast across Maharashtra (from February 24 till April 6), on 20 Akashvani stations, with two episodes aired each week; each episode is 15 minutes long.

Speaking about the project, Alison Barrett, Director, English for Education Systems, South Asia, British Council, says, “The project has taken a year to conceive, record, edit, pilot, create worksheets and broadcast. We were keen on including teachers’ perspectives from across India. So, we travelled to record teachers and teacher educators discussing how to make lessons more learning-centred.”

Barrett adds that the project aims to provide teachers with a training resource that is easily accessible and relevant to their needs.

The medium of airwaves was chosen as it has a massive reach: “Radio can reach wide audiences, thus supporting teachers from isolated and inaccessible areas of the country. The programmes are flexible enough to be broadcast, downloaded, distributed on CDs and micro SD cards.”

Some of the topics that are included in the series are how to teach reading and listening skills, how to use activities with children, how to use group work, how teachers can develop their English and plan their lessons optimally.

Each of the episodes is accompanied with a worksheet that the listener can complete while listening to the episode, to reinforce key points and encourage active listening.

For the project, Frances Cox, an expert in radio production from the UK, was commissioned by the British Council to interview 40 teacher educators across India, along with Rustom Mody, Senior Teacher Trainer West India, British Council.

“We recorded the opinions of children, and you can listen to activities being conducted in classrooms in Karnataka, Delhi and Assam,” states Barrett. The British Council plans to broadcast the series in Bihar and Karnataka as well as in other states, eventually.

Log on to: www.britishcouncil.in/teach/ for details on the series, the broadcast schedule for each city and the TER India workbook. Frequency is 537.6 (Medium Wave) or 41.4 (Short Wave).

In the pipeline

By March-end, the British Council, in partnership with the Government of Maharashtra, will launch 15 mobile learning videos showcasing primary school teachers using learning-centred activities in their classrooms. Teachers can watch the clips on their mobile phones or online.

Their ongoing programme, TeachingEnglish Radio India, is being aired in 20 cities including Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Jalgaon, Kolhapur, Aurangabad and Ratnagiri.

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