Our Improving Teacher Education in Sri Lanka Project, part of our larger TRANSFORM Programme, moved away from its normal face to face teacher educator training in March 2020 and moved into the virtual world. The British Council in partnership with the Ministry of Education was poised to start the delivery of English for Teaching 2, a course for B1 English language level secondary school government English teachers and aimed at increasing their English language proficiency from B1 to B2 on the Common European Framework of Reference and develop their classroom teaching practice, in March 2020 when the pandemic hit.
Reluctant to abandon English language teacher training because of the pandemic, the online version of the English for Teaching 2 course was investigated for its potential for delivery here. Fifteen local Ministry of Education trainers were trained to be e-moderators on the pilot run of the course between June and December 2020. Then 5 e-moderators were selected for further training, and in January 2021 delivery began with eight cohorts of the six-month 120 hour course started. Sixteen teachers were in each cohort with a mix of participants islandwide. This course finishes at the end of June.
For a presentation on the course and a discussion about the potential for online English language teacher training in Sri Lanka, watch our webinar which was first broadcast on 1 June 2021. Louise Cowcher, Director Education and English, situated the online learning courses in the larger context of the British Council TRANSFORM Education Programme. Dr Lesley Dick, ELT Projects Manager, then told the story of the online courses. Course participants and e-moderators commented on their experiences in the delivery of the courses. Finally, a panel of experts - Gavin Dudeney, Director, Consultants-e, Sanath Jayalath, Deputy Director English and Foreign Languages Branch, Ministry of Education, and Coordinator Improving Teacher Education in Sri Lanka (ITESL) Project, Sajani Somatunge, Assistant Coordinator ITESL, Ministry of Education - discussed the practical challenges and possible solutions for a country embarking on online teacher training delivery from a global and local perspective and recommended a way forward.