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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 132 | August 16 , 2009|


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Helping Primary School Teachers Teach English
Cfl-BRACU comes forward

Mahdin Mahboob

THE Center for Languages at BRAC University (Cfl-BRACU) has recently launched a program to help primary school teachers at the BRAC schools, spread all across the country, to better teach English to their students. Still in the phase of being a pilot project, the department now plans to go full scale, covering teachers from all the primary schools of BRAC, spread all across Bangladesh.

BRAC, the largest NGO of the world in terms of the number of employees has established a network of 35,000 schools all across the country. These one-room schools usually have one female teacher who has passed the SSC (Secondary School Certificate) examinations and teaches 30-40 children. Through extensive research conducted in these schools, it was found that most of these teachers lack the basic communication skills and English language skills that are necessary in a school teacher.

To resolve this problem, Cfl-BRACU has launched this unique programme to enable the teachers to teach English better to students. Several faculty members from the department trained the school teachers in different aspects of English language including speaking, reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Through a 12 week training started in January this year, divided into 4 phases, the teachers were equipped with all the necessary skills to teach English better to their students. Emphasis was given on language, speaking grammar, methodologies (CLT Method), content based learning, drama performances and others.

In the drama performances, participants (trainees) were asked to write scripts about different socio-economic scenarios and much to the amazement of the trainers, all these dramas were of superior quality. The participants were also provided diaries to write their personal journals, with the topics to write about being of increasing difficulty over the weeks.

The seven teachers of the department who coordinated this training program tried to ensure that the primary school teachers who attended the program had the following necessary skills after the programme ended:

-- be able to speak English well

-- be able to teach English well and explain subject matters in a clear and concise manner

-- be able to teach through different methods and be flexible about the ways of teaching.

Most of the trainees showed marked improvement after the training and became more confident in delivering their lessons. The department hopes to soon go to the next stage of this training programme and train teachers from all the 35,000 schools of BRAC countrywide.

ISD regional toppers received UNSW Gold Medals

Star Campus Desk

INTERNATIONAL School Dhaka (ISD) is proud that two students of ISD have been awarded UNSW Gold Medals by Educational Assessment Australia, of the University of New South Wales, Australia, (EAA-UNSW) for securing the highest grade among all participating students of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Mauritius, Maldives, UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq in 2008 IAIS/IAS in the respective categories. UNSW Gold Medals are awarded only to the Regional Toppers in each subject, at each class level. The students are Serena Ayesha Ahmad of Grade 8 and Vrijen Attawar of Grade 11. Both of them secured the highest grades in English. They are also the country toppers. Another student named Priyanka Krishnamoorthy of Grade 10 secured the highest grade across Bangladesh in Science. She received EAA-Macmillan Medal by EAA-UNSW and Macmillan Publishers India Ltd, which is awarded only to the toppers of each country in each subject, at each class level.

200,401 students of Classes 3 to 12 from 2650 schools have taken 345,490 tests in English, Science, Mathematics and Computer Skills in 2008 IAIS/IAS. Of these participants only 127 students were awarded UNSW Gold Medals and 282 were awarded EAA-Macmillan Medals.

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