English in Action (EIA) is a bilateral English language education program between the UK government and the Bangladeshi government that is implemented by a partner consortium. The program officially runs from 2008-2017, with the goal of eventual institutionalization in Bangladesh.
EIA facilitates the learning and comprehension of the English language with low-cost technologies through two approaches: a schools component (primary and secondary) and a media & adult learning component, "BBC Janala."
After a study revealed that 84% of Bangladeshi people believe that they would see economic benefits to their life if they improved their English, EIA decided to make learning English more accessible to adults in Bangladesh. BBC Janala (“janala” meaning “window” in Bangla) is a multiplatform, self-conducted program that uses television, mobile phones, the internet, newspaper, and peer-to-peer learning to engage people ages 15-45 in learning English. Highlights of their programs include a TV drama and complementary English learning show, an English lesson that runs 4 times a week in Prothom Alo, Bangladesh’s most popular newspaper, and a mobile phone service that sends English lessons to mobile phones at nominal rates.
Under the schools component, EIA works with the Government of Bangladesh’s Ministry of Primary and Mass Education and Ministry of Education to lead in-service teacher training programs for primary and secondary school teachers. The teacher training programs stress the importance of using communicative language teaching in classrooms through various interactive activities. Training sessions last 2.5 days and teachers receive continuous support for the following 16 months. Every 6-8 weeks, teachers hold cluster meetings to strategize and discuss English classroom problems. EIA supports the professional development of teachers through provision of audiovisual and print-based materials. EIA also provides audio resources for students to be used in the classrooms. All EIA teachers and students' materials are closely linked with Bangladesh's English for Today textbook.
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EIA has projected that by March 2014, they will have trained more than 12,500 teachers, reached more than 1 million students, and have had more than 8.5 million people access EIA media products on a regular basis.
EIA was piloted in 22 Upazilas (local areas) of Bangladesh and, after initial success, has been scaled up to 35 areas of Bangladesh.
The eventual goal of EIA is to have the program scaled up to 105 Upazilas and to have EIA institutionalized in Bangladesh.
Monitoring & Evaluation
The EIA program draws on a strong evidence base of existing research and its own baseline studies to assess the overall environment for English language teaching and learning in Bangladesh. These studies look at a number of areas:
- English language proficiency
- Motivations for learning English
- Employers’ demands and requirements for English
- Teachers’ classroom practices
- The media and technological environment
The research and evaluation of the changes made by the EIA schools program is directed at:
- Understanding teacher and student views about their experiences with learning English
- Examining classroom practices
- Measuring teacher and student English language proficiency
The key research themes for the evaluation of EIA's media and adult learning program are:
- Motivations and barriers for adults learning English
- Access to, and use of, media and technology
- Measuring adult learners’ English language proficiency
Standardized Assessment Performance - Other | Over the period of one year (2010 to 2011) the following improvements occurred:
- The proportion of primary students achieving Trinity GESE level 1 or above (and thus a passing score) increased from 35% to 50%.
- The proportion of secondary students achieving Trinity GESE level 1 or above increased from 75% to about 90%, with nearly 25% scoring at elementary or intermediate levels.
- All primary teachers passed the Trinity GESE in 2011 (1.7% failed in 2010) and a majority (96.9%) achieved the criterion level (Trinity GESE level 2) to teach grade 3.
- The proportion of secondary teachers achieving Trinity GESE level 3 (the criterion level to teach grade 6) increased from 77.8% to 90.8%.
Internal Assessment Performance - Other |
- Primary teacher talk time in English increased from 27% (2009) to 72% (2011). Secondary teacher talk time was 79% in 2011.
- Primary student talk time in English increased from 4% (2009) to 81% (2011). Secondary student talk time in English was 85% in 2011.
Primary and secondary students reported regularly taking part in and enjoying EIA sponsored activities (2011).
98% of primary and secondary teachers reported that EIA helps them to improve their own English (2011).
Funding allocation of £2 per learner
Over 90% of teachers reported designing communicative activities for students to use English in the classroom (2011).