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Supported Open Learning for English Teachers in Central Asia

(a 6 day planning workshop)

Why a project?

1. The demand for English has been growing in all spheres of life in post-Soviet Central
Asian countries over the last 12 years since independence. Consequently, the demand
for qualified teachers of English is becoming even more urgent. However the current
situation in English language teacher education does not meet the growing demand. The
British Council, Tashkent has recently undertaken an INSETT needs analyses and ELTE
base line study in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan which highlighted the following:

- Under-resourced INSETT institutions
- Outdated and inflexible curricula and methodologies for INSETT
- Apparent absence of trainer training
- Need for innovative but pragmatic and context-sensitive methodology and teacher
training material.

2. There is a strong desire on the part of the Ministries of Education in both countries –
Uzbekistan and Tajikistan- to reform the INSETT especially in higher education

3. The British Council has experience of developing a successful distance course for
teachers of English in Romania, which resulted in the publication of a course book.

4. The British Council in Uzbekistan has considerable experience and expertise in the
area of open learning provision which could be successfully transferred into the area of
INSETT

First steps

So, we thought we need a planning workshop for the project to bring together specialists
from Romania, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to discuss lessons learnt from the Romanian
project, to discuss local INSETT contexts, external factors, risks and assumptions based
on the English Language Teacher Education baseline study and INSETT needs analyses
in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and to produce a detailed action plan for a 3 year pilot
project to develop Supported Open Learning for INSETT in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
This idea was supported by the BC, Romania.

Prior to the workshop we started an e-forum for the project participants -this was our first
team building and knowledge sharing exercise. Anca Cehan and Rada Balan from
Romania contributed to discussions.

Planning workshop in Tashkent

The workshop was held on November 8-13, 2004 in Tashkent and brought together 24
participants including a project team member from Romania –Rada Balan, 3
teachers/teacher trainers from Tajikistan, 4 members of the BC Open Learning team, 16

we worked on a series of tasks. Head of Higher Education Department from the Ministry of higher and specialized secondary education of Uzbekistan contributed to discussions on the first and the last days of the workshop. The first day of the workshop consisted largely of input: • a report on the findings of the Open Learning for English Teachers Needs Analysis carried out in April-May 2004.outline programme . We discussed and agreed on the: .list of the needs that could be satisfied through the project . The workshop was facilitated by Hywel Coleman.programme principles .overall programme objectives .teachers/teacher trainers from 4 regions of Uzbekistan. Tashkent). Commitments Now the BC. .scope of the project . generating ideas and materials for the new project.core module objectives and produced a detailed action plan for a three year pilot project for Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Thereafter.mode of delivery . Workshop outcomes As a result of workshop participants developed as a team and expressed strong commitment to work together on the project and produced a Team Contract. UK (funded by BC. Leeds University.programme procedures . supplemented by some of the findings of the Tajikistan and Uzbekistan Baseline Studies • discussion of a series of awareness-raising case studies • an introduction to the concept of Open Learning and the principles underlying the British Council’s Open Learning Centre in Tashkent • an introduction to the process by which the Romanian In-Service Distance Training Course was developed • an introduction to the Romanian In-Service Distance Training Course materials • presentation of the parameters of the Open Learning for English Teachers in Tajikistan & Uzbekistan Project.working name of the programme .target audience . for the rest of the workshop. Uzbekistan has committed itself to a three year pilot project to develop and pilot a flexible open learning training for college and university teachers in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. During the workshop some very important decisions were made.

the main work is yet to be done. It seems to be specifically designed for a Hornby scholar with a TTELT degree to fulfil their utmost professional ambitions: developing a whole course and materials based on the reflective model of learning.Ministry of Higher and secondary specialized education of the Republic of Uzbekistan and Ministry of Education of Tajikistan are keen to provide any possible support to the project. but I am looking ahead with optimism. Project key stages 1st year (2004-2005) Needs analyses Selection of the team Planning workshop MOU with Ministries of Education Programme planning workshop Training for material developers Pilot material development 2nd year (2005-2006) Small scale piloting of individual activities Workshop on the results of small scale piloting Pilot material development (cont) Recruitment of the pilot programme participants (2 intakes) Training for mentors/counsellors Pilot planning meetings Print of the pilot material Pilot programmes in 3 key INSETT institutions in Uzbekistan and 1 in Tajikistan Evaluation Material and programme revision 3rd year (2006-2007) Agreement with the Ministries of Education on the joint professional development certificate Publication of the material Promotion Project goes ‘live’ What project team members think about the initiative? Below is the feedback received from the workshop participants: “Taking part in the Open Learning for Teachers project gives me a profound professional as well as personal satisfaction. The programme will be piloted in 4 key INSETT institutions in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Of course. English Teachers’ associations in both countries have expressed willingness to co- operate on the project.’’ Alexey Ulko .

‘It is very difficult for us to travel to residential trainings in FPK from remote parts of the country’.As being a representative of my region I'll get much experience which will help me in my future career It will be a good chance for all of us to exchange the ideas and discuss the challenges we face”. ‘there is no motivation for us to attend those courses’.It's a privilege to work with British Council . teacher centred classes. So.I hope this Project will help our region English teachers in their difficult but prevelegious job . Taking into consideration the condition of teaching contexts in our countries. carried out by our team and sponsored by British Council.Hornby scholar Med TTELT Samarkand ***************** “I took part in the survey of Teacher education in Uzbekistan. Anvar Zakirov Tashkent Region Teacher Training Institute Uzbekistan **************** “I am participating in this Project because . Khujant state University Tadjikistan ******************** On behalf of the OL for English Teachers project team Jamilya Gulyamova . From the research we’ve carried out I can give some examples of lecturers’ opinions about the training they are getting currently.I think the project would assist us to improve the process of teaching English and teachers would benefit of the outputs of the project. Saidmuhtor Djalolov English teacher. agreed that there is a great demand for retraining the teachers of English in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.poor teaching resources. ‘FPK (university INSETT department) uses old methods of training’. outdated textbooks. During the workshop we. So. I can really appreciate the importance and urgency of the new project which is targeting one of the most lacking aspect of teacher education in Uzbekistan as higher education EL teacher training. as a local researcher in this field I can mention that British Council’s new project is going to be very important development stage in FPKs” . I mean all the participants. old traditional methods and methodologies of teaching English . Hulkaroy Kayumova English teacher Andijan Development Centre ****************** I personally think that the project is really worth to be implemented.

Learner Services manager British Council Tashkent .