By Tom Westcott.
Tripoli, 2 February 2013:
Nearly a hundred Zliten teachers have learnt new English language teaching skills on a course run . . .[restrict]by a voluntary group of teachers from Australia.
The intensive two-week course ‘Educating dynamic English teachers through English conversation’ attracted applications from 120 primary and secondary school teachers.
Bernie Power, who organised the training, told the Libya Herald: “I was surprised that the general English level was so good, and more than 90 percent of the teachers had the minimum language requirement.”
During the fortnight, Libyan teachers learned a wide range of advanced teaching skills and methods, including role plays, presentations and games. Run by Australian-based Cross Culture Connect, the course encouraged teachers to use dynamic methods rather than just teaching grammar from course books.
“It’s primarily a conversation-based approach,” Power explained, “using English teaching methods that move away from the traditional focus on a textbook.” He added that, whilst the teachers showed an excellent understanding of grammar, they rarely had the opportunity to practise their spoken English.
“I think the course gave teachers greater confidence,” said Power, “as many of them have never been outside the country.”
Eight experienced lecturers ran the sessions. Stephen Caughley from New Zealand said: “Many of the teachers were reticent at the beginning, but by the end of the course they spoke with confidence.” He added that he thought the teachers gained a lot and really enjoyed the experience.
“I was amazed at some of the understanding of teaching methodologies,” added Caughley.
Cross Culture Connect has run similar courses in Iraq and Sudan. The eight teachers who volunteered to come to Libya did so at their own expense although, once here, their stay was sponsored by a local language and computer institute.
“We had really positive responses at the end of the course,” Power said, “the teachers were asking us to stay.”
He added that the Mayor of Zliten, Abdul Manam Alsari, who presented certificates to the 91 Libyan teachers who successfully completed the course, was very enthusiastic and urged Cross Culture Connect to come back. “He was even talking about us coming back to teach doctors and nurses,” Power said.
The course promises to have a legacy. Power said that those who participated were so inspired by the experience that they are now going to set up a Zliten English Teachers Club. [/restrict]