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Europe and Central Asia Regional School

Tashkent, Uzbekistan

August 2002

1. Location
The Regional School was held in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. It was jointly hosted by the Uzbekistan Teachers of English Association (UzTEA), the State University of World Languages and the British Council.

2. Venue
The proposed venue was a medium-sized 'family' type hotel in the centre of Tashkent within walking distance of the BC Office and an attractive park. This hotel had two good-sized seminar rooms and a good restaurant.

3. Dates
The last 2 weeks of August (19-30/31)

4. Countries from where participants came
25 participants from the Central Asian countries - Uzbekistan (12), Kazakhstan (4), Tajikistan (2), Turkmenistan (2), Kyrgyzstan (2) and Russia (2).

5. Topic(s)

  • The School targeted teachers/teacher trainers working in rural contexts with poor resource bases.
  • Developing materials and making the most of what you've got.

For teachers who wished to develop their skills in producing their own materials for the classroom and in exploiting the limited resources they do have to the full. The course also involved discussion of how key content from other areas of the curriculum (for instance information on basic health, nutrition, drugs and HIV awareness and citizenship) can be effectively integrated with English. The course was very practical with participants actually developing materials which can be used with their pupils and disseminated more widely.

Methodology for secondary school teachers

This course exposed teachers to a wide range of approaches and techniques with an emphasis on the practical. Special attention was paid to examining techniques which encourage learner-centredness and integrated skills development but are also practical and effective in classrooms which may be poorly resourced and overcrowded. Strategies for dealing with mixed ability classes and developing topic-based learning were also considered. Participants worked in small groups to develop lesson plans/materials which make use of the new techniques/activities they have learned. Peer teaching provided opportunities to try out activities and receive feedback.

Electives included:

  • English for the Teacher (Advanced level language improvement)
  • Classroom assessment techniques
  • Intercultural aspects of ELT (Alex Ulko, ex Hornby Scholar, wrote his M.Ed. thesis on this theme and so would be able to contribute significantly to this course.)
  • Small-scale project design and writing grant applications

6. Relevance to country needs
The gap between educational provision in the urban and rural areas in Uzbekistan has widened dramatically since independence in 1991. Access to opportunities for professional development is very limited in provincial areas yet it is teachers from these areas who face the greatest difficulties and need more help. By focusing on teachers from predominantly rural areas the Regional School helped redress the balance.

7. Relevance to regional needs
The situation elsewhere in the region is very similar to that described above. The vast majority of teachers and students of English live and work in rural environments beyond the reach of existing networks. It was important that we bring such teachers into the professional fold.

8. Outcomes
A stronger regional network Practical materials generated during workshop sessions disseminated by participants to colleagues and made available on the internet An electronic discussion group Improved English skills among participants

9. Social Programme
Opening reception (and chance to meet leading figures in Uzbek ELT) in the garden of the Museum of Applied Arts. Traditional dancing and silk exhibition. Weekend coach trip and overnight stay in Samarkand - hosted by Samarkand UzTEA. Closing dinner in the 'Caravan Art Restaurant'. Also: picnic lunches in the park, visit to Navoii ballet/opera performance, tour of Tashkent's famous bazaars etc, etc.

10. Administrative support and management

  1. The British Council co-ordinated the event and took care of recruiting participants and trainers, making visa and travel arrangements and liasing with other offices and agencies in the region.
  2. UzTEA was responsible for the day to day logistics of the School and the necessary arrangements for the various social events.
  3. The newest Uzbek Hornby Scholar, Elena Volkova, soon to go to Marjohn's, managed the School with enthusiasm and great efficiency.

11. Partner institutions
UzTEA, the University of World Languages, the Soros Foundation and the Ministry of Public Education

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