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Teaching in the Low-resource Classroom: Voices of Experience

Throughout the world English is often taught in ‘low-resource’ classrooms, but there are few training materials which are derived from and which reflect this reality. Here is a sample of materials which have been created to help fill this gap (the full set of materials will be posted on the British Council's TeachingEnglish website in 2016). [UPDATE (1.5.16): The materials are now all available here: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/low-resource-classrooms. Overview here: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/sites/teacheng/files/Overview_teaching_in_low-resource_classrooms.pdf]

The materials feature 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 was directed and facilitated by Richard Smith with Amol Padwad and Jovan Ilic. The materials consist of video-recorded oral presentations by teachers, with accompanying questions for reflection and discussion.

In the first video below, Joya Senchowa and Babita Hapila from Assam, India, talk about the challenges of multi-class teaching i.e. where more than one grade or age group are taught in one room with no partitions. In the second video, Fehmina from Pakistan explains how her chance encounter with three street kids marked the start of a ‘garage’ school for the poor and disadvantaged. Reflection/discussion questions following the videos below.

Handling several classes in one room

01:06, Sat 25 Oct 2014

Joya and Babita on 'how to handle multiple classes in one room without partitions' (based on finding out what other teachers in the school do or suggest)

(MP4 format, 7:30, 147 MB

Download

A 'garage school'

01:01, Sat 25 Oct 2014

Fehmina's success story

(MP4 format, 8:32, 99 MB

Download

Reflection/Discussion questions:

First video:

Q1: Do you work in a multi-class school? If so, how do you manage to maximize learning while maintaining discipline? If not, how do you think you would manage? Which of these tips would you use? Can you suggest any others?

Q2: The difficulties of a multi-class context for teachers are clear but what about the students? Do you think there are any benefits from learning in a multi-class environment?

Second video:

Q1: Fehmina created simple wipe-clean resources which can be used over and over again, like mini-whiteboards. Have you ever thought about making mini-whiteboards for your learners? What do you think you could use them for?

Q2: Do you have very poor and disadvantaged students in your classes? How do their needs differ from those of other children? What additional support do they need to keep them motivated and help them achieve?

Further resources 

For teachers in low-resource classrooms: http://telcnet.weebly.com/resources.html]

Further resources for teacher educators: http://www.warwick.ac.uk/go/telc/training]

Join the TELC (Teaching English in Large Classes) network here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/146198305504251/]