Teacher Professional Development Using Mobile Technologies in a Large-Scale Project: Lessons Learned from Bangladesh

Teacher Professional Development Using Mobile Technologies in a Large-Scale Project: Lessons Learned from Bangladesh

Prithvi Shrestha (Department of Languages, Faculty of Education and Language Studies, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/ijcallt.2012100103
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Abstract

Mobile technologies have been influencing the field of education including language learning for almost a decade. The literature on mobile technologies for education reports a number of case studies that examine various aspects of mobile learning. However, the use of mobile technologies for teacher professional development, particularly in developing economies, is rarely reported. This paper presents a case study of the English in Action (EIA) project, a UK government funded English language development project in Bangladesh, and its use of mobile technologies which not only provides teachers with the ‘trainer in the pocket’ that helps them achieve pedagogical changes in the classroom but also serves as a tool for improving their own English language competence. The paper, in particular, reports on the design and implementation of audio and video teacher professional development materials for MP3 players and mobile phones. It also highlights implications for similar projects intending to deploy mobile technologies.
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English Language Learning And Mobile Technologies

English language learning and teaching methodology has undergone many changes over the last four decades: moving from a traditional grammar-translation method to more student-centred methods such as Total Physical Response, Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) and Task-Based Learning, which are more popular among language teachers (see Richards & Rogers, 2001, for an overview). CLT, in particular, appears to be appealing to many teachers. Although teachers from different parts of the world have viewed and practised CLT differently, it is widespread in the ELT world. In addition to the student-centredness of this method, communication (and hence meaning) is at its heart. In fact, CLT is all about developing learners’ communicative competence in a target language (see Folse, 2010, for a review). Communicative competence refers to a user’s ability to use the language observing appropriate linguistic (e.g., tone, pronunciation) and non-linguistic (e.g., politeness) features while communicating a message to other users of the same language (Hymes, 1972). Following this notion, CLT classroom activities are developed by drawing on real life communication (e.g., giving directions meaningfully to a tourist), which focuses on meaning making in a social context rather than learning about grammar (for a recent review, see Littlewood, 2007).

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