Professional Development of English Teachers at Primary Level in Bangladesh


Teaching English is really a pervasive phenomenon. It is not a one-size-fits-all formula that serves the purpose of all equally and effectively. Learning English means learning the four basic skills of English ie listening, speaking, reading and writing. Keeping this point in view, competency based curriculum was introduced at Primary Level in Bangladesh in 1992 for improving the quality in Primary education.

It is no denying the fact that a vast majority of our Primary-School-teachers especially English teachers are not aware of communicative English Language skills. Exploring quality issues are quite dark to them. From my 15 year-class room-observation-experience, I can say – "Where are the teachers? Where are the students? Where is the curriculum?" It is also true that primary teachers are supposed to take one year intensive training under PTIs (Primary Training Institute) but we find very little change or no change in their class room teaching after having this training in terms of considering pedagogy. As a result, students are being deprived from the real taste of teaching and achieve very little from their desired competences.

By the five years cycle of education students are supposed to learn how to master the 4 basic skills of English. More clearly, they become confident in understanding what the teachers say in the classroom, they will read and understand from the text, they will speak in English in the classroom and outside the classroom and they will be able to write freely on familiar topics using simple words and sentences. Story building is another important area for the students to enjoy and learn that helps them to broaden their imagination and create moral values ​​into their minds and attitudes. We know that children are born with innate qualities. To sprout their latent talents, we need to provide them with excellent opportunities and positive environments.

To promote quality learning depends on to promote teachers professional development. Undoubtedly, they need quality training. And the quality training depends on the quality trainers.

Managing classroom refers to considering teachers emotional climate, establishing and maintaining teachers-students relationship, promoting teachers competencies, teachers self-reflection, preparing need-based materials for the students, students involvement in a variety of enjoyable ways, summarizing the key ideas, giving positive feedback by the observers being a critical friend and so on.

The most pitiable thing is that most English teachers take their classes in their native tongue, I mean in Bangle. Students, therefore, reply in Bangle and memorize some words, rhymes, translation and paragraphs or essays only to cut a good figure in the exam. Consequently, students fail to achieve their goal from this competency based curriculum. And teachers' unconscious efforts end in smoke. To make the teaching-learning activities interesting, enjoyable and meaningful, we should make quality teachers developing their knowledge, skills, understanding and outlook.

The English teachers should be given the high quality training with the light of communicative approach that helps them to teach English Language in the classroom more effectively and more appropriately. English teachers should involve their students giving them individual work, pair work, group work, different games and riddles, making interesting stories giving their voices etc. English in Action (EIA) might play a vital role to develop the weaknesses of the English teachers of primary and secondary level through introducing communicative English Language Skills to them as well as raising awareness on professional development issues so that the concerned teachers can cascade their new knowledge and interesting ideas to the classroom more effectively. English teachers should remember that they should teach the language, not about the language. "When we listen, we forget when we see, we remember when we do, we really understand."

Source by Md Mazharul Islam


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