|Claudia from Plan Ceibal addressing classroom teachers in Artigas|
The first of these took place in the north-west of Uruguay, in Rivera and Artigas (see picture left), near the border with Brasil.
One thing that's special about this project is that the classroom teachers who take part in the project are all volunteers. They are not forced to join and participate in the primary English programme. Fortunately, there have been no shortage of classroom teachers willing to join so far, and the project has benefited from word-of-mouth from participating classroom teachers and the overwhelming positive feedback from kids and parents.
The orientation course format used to be two days, but has been reduced to one day because it was felt that this is sufficient as an introduction for the teachers. The course has been supplemented with an excellent 12-hour online self-access course (specially developed for the project by the consultants-e) that classroom teachers do before the teaching starts.
|Gabriel from Eureka giving a remote lesson to classroom teachers|
Because very few of the Uruguayan classroom teachers speak English, both the online course and the orientation course are delivered in Spanish. The programme of the orientation course starts with an introduction to the project and then the 100 or so classroom teachers are split into two and receive input sessions on Learning a Second Language (see presentation below), the Role of the Classroom Teacher and Remote Teacher, LearnEnglish Pathways (the online self-access English course written by the British Council that all of the classroom teachers are obliged to follow).
There is a demonstration lesson held via video conference so the teachers get a clear idea of their role during a remote lesson (what we call Lesson A) and this is followed up by an example of the practice lessons (Lessons B & C) that the classroom teacher does on their own. They are able to do this because of scripted lesson plans that detail the activities they need to do in class. They are supported in this task by the remote teacher during a weekly coordination session, that we recommend takes place in real time (via Skype or using the VC equipment). The Lesson Plans of the project, specially written by a team of writers in Argentina are also presented (see presentation below)
The orientation courses continue every week in different parts of Uruguay (Montevideo, Rivera, Artigas, Salto, Paysandu) throughout February and March. When classes start again in March/April, primary schools in all departments of Uruguay will be covered by the project. The expansion planned for 2015 is expected to be the final expansion, and the plan is to reach all primary schools in the country (give or take some rural schools where the fibre-optic cable does not reach) - an estimated 4,500 classes per week.
Read more blog posts about Plan Ceibal English here.