TransformELT has been working since October 2017 in close collaboration with the British Council and the Ministry of National Education in Algeria on the ELT strand of Supporting School Reform, a project funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The project is a result of the ongoing bilateral cooperation agreement between the UK and Algerian governments.
This was a capacity building initiative, informed by extensive needs analysis, and designed eventually to cascade new methodologies to teachers at middle and secondary schools throughout the country. The consultants worked with teams of school inspectors, who, in addition to quality assurance, are responsible for teachers’ professional development, to co-create cascade training manuals, drawing on both international best practice and local needs to develop approaches, strategies and outcomes that would work with and for the Algerian context.
As well as developing classroom practices, the first phase of inspector training, with a core group of around 70 inspectors, addressed coaching and mentoring skills, continuing professional development, approaches to peer observation, and professional challenges in the work of school inspectors. The second phase of the project involved a group of 30 secondary inspectors, and was aimed specifically at developing learners’ speaking skills, with a particular focus on language for STEM subjects. In 2019-2020 our work with a group of 60 secondary inspectors focused on approaches to writing skills, again with an emphasis on written genres for STEM subjects, but also going beyond the curriculum to include creative writing as a means of enhancing self-expression. The TransformELT team were also involved in planning, initiating and supervising the first level of cascade training, with inspectors acting as trainers to colleagues who will subsequently cascade their training to teachers of English in their local areas. This work was interrupted in 2020 by the outbreak of Covid, and successfully concluded online in 2021, when we also worked with 65 middle school inspectors on approaches to developing receptive skills.
In the last phase we built on the experience of remote training, as well as the experience gained by the inspectors of delivering their training online. In 2022 we worked again on receptive skills with a group of 70 secondary inspectors, and with the 2021 cohort of middle school inspectors, on training methodology to enable them to disseminate the receptive skills training to colleagues, and prepare them ultimately to cascade to teachers throughout the country. Unanticipated benefits of the remote approach to training necessitated by the pandemic have been the natural acquisition by the inspectors of a new set of technical skills and increased confidence in the use of both synchronous and asynchronous tools for online communication in their own work as trainers.
This short video, produced and edited entirely by a group of Algerian Master Trainers, encapsulates the training led online by a team of TransformELT consultants in March and April 2021 and the first stage of a subsequent cascade programme.