IH Bristol wins bid to support teachers in Cuba
International House Bristol will improve the skills of English teachers in Cuba after submitting a winning bid for a national project.
Our project is one of 20 winning bids to work with English teachers in countries around the world including Argentina, Guinea Bissau, India and Vietnam.
PRELIM – the Partnered Remote Language Improvement Project is being run by The British Council, English UK (the national association for English language teaching centres) and IATEFL (the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language). They have allocated funding via the British Council to each winning bid and contracted Norwich Institute for Language Education (NILE) as managing consultants to create a community of practice for the UK schools and facilitate the project.
IH Bristol is one of a wide range of English UK members - from universities to small independent centres – which won bids to work with IATEFL-associated ETAs.
“It’s an exciting opportunity to work with teaching professionals in Cuba and explore innovative approaches to using social platforms for language teaching” says Joe O'Hagan, IH Bristol's Assistant Director of Studies, who is leading on the project. Our partner organisation in Cuba is the English Language Teaching section of the Cuban Association of Pedagogues, and we'll specifically be working with teachers in Havana, Pinar del Rio province (West), Granma province (a mountainous region in the East) and Guantanamo province in the East.
Roy Cross, Principal Consultant, Partnerships in English for Education Systems at the British Council, said the quality and enthusiasm of the language schools and their bids were excellent, allowing the project to expand to fund 20 grants instead of the 13 originally planned. He added: “I believe benefits will include more confident teaching and classroom practice for association members, an enduring relationship for the school with the partner and country and a mentored experience which will make the school more confident in delivering a remote course.”
English UK’s business development director Tim Barker was excited by the opportunity provided by PRELIM for members of all sizes and types to bid for and deliver international projects, often building relationships with new markets and becoming more experienced in planning and delivery in the process. “This is truly innovative and a very ambitious way of delivering this. It’s positive that we’ve ended up with 20 bespoke, innovative courses which will be delivered before the end of March for 20 different associations and 17 English UK member centres. It’s a very cool project. We’ve never done anything like this before – but we hope the experience will lead to more major tenders being broken down into smaller components like this, and encourage our members to diversify into bidding for them.”
IATEFL’s chief executive Jon Burton said: “Language proficiency is an important requirement for language teachers, and a lack of it can affect teachers' confidence, both in their classrooms and in their communities of practice.” He hoped PRELIM would support excellent teachers within IATEFL’s associates who did not otherwise have the opportunity to improve their language skills, helping build their confidence to improve their teaching and be more active in their teaching associations.
He said: “Collaboration, between UK institutions and teaching associations around the world, as well as continued collaboration between IATEFL, the British Council and English UK, both of whom we have worked closely with for many years, can only be a positive thing and benefit all.”
One unique aspect of PRELIM is the involvement of NILE as managing consultants to create a community of practice and support for all the schools taking part. Director Thom Kiddle said “We are very excited about helping the individual projects develop, to provide confidence and language skills for English teachers in their classrooms, but also about coordinating the Community of Practice among the UK-based language schools, to share ideas and solutions for working remotely in such diverse contexts.
“We have seen great enthusiasm so far from all participants, and can foresee some really important potential outcomes in teacher language competences, and also in the capacity and experience of the UK providers being able to take the best of English UK member language provision to new areas – in global and operational terms. We feel this collaboration between English UK members, IATEFL-affiliated English Teachers Associations, and British Council English for Education Systems is unique, innovative and will lay foundations for great partnerships and programmes in the short, medium and longer term.”
Delivery of the project will begin in the New Year - we can't wait to get started!