Alan Mackenzie conducted an initial scoping study to identify the current state of teaching and learning of English in six vocational colleges across the country. Based on his findings, he developed a theory of change and formulated a series of recommendations. Following this, a number of projects related to implementing this change process were defined.
Alan wrote syllabuses at four sub-levels each of B1 and B2. These were designed as task-based with a strong project element. The aim of these documents was to act as templates for the development of similar curricula in other key industrial sectors. The desire was that through CEFR linking the curriculum according to key job roles learners would be able leave college with international standard CEFR-linked assessment at graduation as well as their vocational skill qualification.
Teacher Support System
A pilot project lead by Hellen Callanan and Andy Keedwell implemented a new CPD system within the colleges involving guided peer observation cycles resulting in significant observable changes in teacher beliefs and behaviours including improved classroom practices and increased teacher receptiveness to change.
As part of the recommendations for continuation of the CPD system, we highlighted the need for formulation of a specified road map for the project. However defined, this would require different forms of support for developing teacher skills and awareness through initial face-to-face training. This could be achieved through delivery of a tailored CELTA-type course.
Support for and coordination of teacher engagement in CPD activities is necessary to ensure the project does not lose momentum. Institutional support for the project is essential and there also needs to be some form of acknowledgement of teacher participation, as well as a quality assurance system.