Remote in-service teacher training for English

Programme name: Ceibal en Inglés

Country: Uruguay

Partner: Plan Ceibal

Value: Pilot phase US$294,000. Expansion phase US$6.7 million

Lifecycle: (Expansion phase) January 2013 to December 2015 

Scale: 4800 classes per week to 1000 schools and 120,000 students

Remote teacher training offers an affordable solution for countries wanting to invest in massive in-service teacher training solutions to improve both the teachers English levels and their English teaching methodologies.

Ceibal en Inglés – an overview

The project aims to improve the teaching of English in Grades 4 to 6 of Uruguayan primary schools by providing an integrated package which includes:

  • a detailed syllabus and lesson plans
  • digital and non-digital materials located on a content management system
  • remote teaching for up to 4800 classes per week to 1000 schools and 120,000 students throughout Uruguay 
  • a supported on-line English language improvement course for Uruguayan class teachers 
  • face-to-face orientation courses for class teachers 
  • on-line training for remote teachers 
  • on-line evaluation of achievement.

The Uruguayan teachers deliver three 45 minute English classes a week. One of these involves team teaching with the remote teacher via CISCO telepresence technology.  Online mentors help prepare the Uruguayan teacher for all three classes. 

Project impact

  • Children given an achievement test in November 2012 after four months of teaching gained average scores of 72%.  A baseline test is now being given to all new students and to carefully matched control groups. A second version of the same test will be given in November 2013 to assess progress and compare results. 
  • From March 2013 the number of remote lessons being taught each week expanded from 50 to 500. From July 2013, the numbers doubled again to 1000 remote lessons each week.  600 of these lessons are being taught by remote teachers subcontracted by the British Council and 400 by teachers from Uruguay itself. One exciting new development is that since the beginning of August 170 lessons each week are being taught by remote teachers from the Philippines. Full quality assurance is provided by the British Councils, including on-site in the Philippines. 
  • By March 2015 there will be 4800 remote classes each week, reaching 90% of the target age group in Uruguayan primary schools. 
  • 91% of children surveyed in November 2012 agreed or strongly agreed that remote lessons had made them more aware of the English language and 95% agreed or strongly agreed that the lessons were fun.

Testimonials

  • “Today’s class was a pleasure for us. We were a little nervous, but in the end all of us were very pleased. We loved your teaching style and were surprised by the technology: to be able to communicate like this is really quite special for us.” (Mariela, a Uruguayan class teacher, emailing her remote teacher counterpart in the Philippines)
  • One teacher said the project “…is opening the children’s heads – they are using a different hemisphere of their brain!”

To find out more about the Plan Ceibal project or about how the British Council can advise and support you in developing remote teaching solutions for teacher training, please contact Paul Woods.

Credit for photos: Canal Ceibal