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New English Curriculum and Books for Cambodia Grades 10 – 12

Adrian Tennant

In 2018 Transform ELT bid for a curriculum and textbook writing project for Cambodia being funded by The Nippon Foundation, an NGO, through Kizuna.

The rationale for the project was that as a member of the ASEAN community Cambodia needed to upgrade the provision of English in state schools. The previous books, English for Cambodia (written over 15 years ago), were dated in terms of design, pedagogy and cultural references. In terms of production they were black and white with basic line drawings and the quality of the books was rather poor with smudged printing and sub-standard quality paper.

The first task was to update the curriculum using a framework provided by the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport (MoEYS). This also needed to be linked closely to the levels indicated by CEFR. This work was undertaken by the consultant – Adrian Tennant – working on behalf of Transform ELT.

The next step was to write the textbooks for Grades 10, 11 & 12. One of the key beliefs held by Transform ELT is sustainability and capacity building. It was therefore decided to put together a team of ‘local’ writers who would then write the books with the guidance and support of the consultant.

In February 2019 a selection process was conducted. This lasted for two days.

Four local writers were selected (two Cambodians, a Filipino and a Brit who both lived and worked in Cambodia).

Two days of training then followed.

The writer were then allocated units and given a template to follow.

Key requirements were to make the books:

  • student friendly (we wanted students to be able to know what to do in the case of absent teachers or lack of support).
  • a balance of skills
  • communicative activities
  • step-by-step activities leading up to a final communicative task
  • relevant vocabulary that would enable students to communicate in everyday situations.

Over the following 18 months the writers, illustrator, designer, consultant, the Kizuna team and advisors from the MoEYS wrote, edited and designed the Student and Teacher’s books for all three grades. These were finally approved in June 2021.


Adrian Tennant

Freelance Teacher Trainer, Writer & Consultant

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