Creating space for language practice for young learners
BRAC Institute of Languages (BIL), as a part of its commitment to the betterment of society and ensuring social justice, has successfully completed a free English Language course entirely run by MA in TESOL students. The participants of the course were children of employees of BRAC and BRAC University, whose monthly salary is not more than Tk20,000.
As a part of Teaching Practicum 01 course (TSL 507) of MA in TESOL Programme, students need to practice classroom teaching at diverse levels to make them competent as language teachers and practitioners. Teaching Practicum Course is a functional approach to teaching and this course creates spaces where fundamental language teaching skills are expressed through organising and utilising students’ learning experiences. Furthermore, it provides students with first-hand experience of implementing course concepts, language theories, teaching methods, approaches, and techniques in real life settings.
Usually, students of such professional courses utilise lab schools for class observations and practice teaching tasks of practicum course on which they are required to write reflective reports. Parallelling Lab Schools, BIL initiated this unique opportunity for the TESOL students by inviting students of the outreach community. This internship-like experience allows the TESOL students to gain valuable educational experiences, apply the language teaching skills in real settings, investigate the gaps between theories and practices, and contextualise theories with the classroom settings.
In order to ensure that the TESOL students get the maximum benefit of exposure, BIL has created a space for them to practice teaching by inviting participation from school and college students affiliated with BRACU and BRAC families. Based on the needs assessment carried out for the invited students, two groups were made, namely beginner level (grade six to eight) and elementary level (SSC to HSC). TESOL students were also put into various groups to teach their target students. The course teacher of Syllabus Design designed the syllabus for the participants, whereas the course teacher of Teaching Practicum 01 guided the TESOL students on preparing and using materials for hands-on practice.
As the classroom teaching approach was functional, interactive and participatory, the invited students received exposure to various innovative and effective classroom experiences. It was noticed that they became extremely enthusiastic and motivated and were eager to continue the course. This exercise in providing the platform for teaching practice in authentic setting has proved to be another feather in the cap of the MA in TESOL program of BIL.