In Thailand, the British Council recently completed an intensive 5-week Boot Camp teacher development project in partnership with the Thai Ministry of Education.
Boot Camp, which took place in March-April in Pattaya, aimed to develop the communicative teaching skills and methodological practices of 347 Thai state school English teachers, at the same time as improving the teachers’ own English proficiency. A team of 16 British Council teacher trainers facilitated the development of 157 primary teachers and 190 secondary teachers from all over Thailand.
Course participants volunteered to take part in the project, and those with a minimum of B1 level of English on the CEFR scale were accepted. The primary and secondary teacher development courses were bespoke 150-hour courses, with training materials selected from British Council global products, catering specifically to the needs of Thai primary and secondary teachers. Particular focus was placed on communicative, learner-centred activities, providing a fun, dynamic training environment while equipping course participants with tools they need to maximise learning in their own teaching contexts.
A smaller group of 28 Thai master trainers were also selected from the main cohort in the second week of the project to participate in a separate trainer development course. They were selected based on their higher levels of English, greater understanding of ELT methodology and their ability to reflect on classroom teaching and learning. This trainer development course was a shorter 90-hour course that included training on workshop design, reflecting on classroom observations and micro-training sessions.
By the end of the Boot Camp project, course participants had made a significant improvement in their understanding and practical application of communicative methodology. As demonstrated in weekly microteaching assessments, participants showed visible improvement in their ability to plan and manage lessons.
One course participant commented on the Boot Camp course:‘I think this kind of training is very useful for English teachers. It lets us have a very good chance to develop our English teaching skills and also communication skills. Thanks a lot for holding this camp for us and if possible I really want to attend the camp like this again’.
Follow-up school visits are planned for this first group of Boot Campers to evaluate the success of the project and plans for the next cohort are already in the pipeline.