‘Before attending this course, we just had a few ideas about how to teach English to primary students. It was very difficult for us to help teachers of English at primary schools when they needed some supporting. However, we ourselves did not have enough knowledge and understanding about teaching English to younger learners to teach them. Furthermore, we had no experience in delivering the workshop to help teachers share their ideas and solve their problems’, writes Ngo Thi Thuy Huong, a lecturer from Hoa Binh College of Education commenting at the final closing ceremony of this year’s Primary Innovations Train the Trainer programme delivered by the British Council Vietnam for the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET).
She was one of the 62 university lecturers and primary school teachers who attended the Primary Innovations course for six weeks over a nine month period. This was a perfect combination according to one of the Primary school teachers. ‘We have experiences in teaching and the lecturers are good at theory. We share our experiences together and when we get stuck, we always receive the support from the Master Trainers’ said Ngoc Anh, Primary teacher from Kim Ngoc Primary school, Ha Giang province at the closing ceremony.
Primary Innovations, now in its fourth phase of delivery in Vietnam is a training programme designed to support cadres of local trainers to improve their skills in training primary school teachers using child friendly approaches, classroom management, lesson planning and course design. The idea behind this is to build capacity amongst local trainers and develop trainers who are skilled in training Primary school English teachers.
Course participants felt they learnt a lot from the course. Ngo Thi Thuy Huong writes ‘This course provided us with the knowledge about children’s characteristics in learning a language, the techniques in teaching English to young learners, especially, the skills to deliver what we had gained from the course to the primary teachers in our own provinces in the form of workshops. With the very skilful presentation of the master trainers, we not only acquired the language in teaching but we also learnt the techniques in delivering the theories that we can somewhat apply in our real teaching setting effectively. This is also the chance for us to meet teachers from primary schools, understood more about their difficulties in teaching English to young learners, share with them and find the solutions to their real problems. And after completing this course, we are confident enough to do our job as key trainers.’
It is hoped that these trainers will be used by MOET, and local departments of education and universities ‘to deliver workshops to provide English teachers at primary schools in our provinces with what we had gained from this course to help them to improve their teaching methods.’. The teacher trainers are not only equipped with the skills for helping teachers of English at primary schools to innovate their teaching methods, but also to provide pre-service training in primary English teaching to students at colleges or universities and this helps to contribute to MOET’s 2020 goal of improving the standard of English language teaching and learning in state schools.