The mission of the St Giles Educational Trust (SGET) is to is, ‘to build, nurture and deploy world-class ELT teacher development in order to improve people’s life chances through communication’. To this end it works in partnership with international agencies such as the British Council, overseas governments, NGOs, educational charities, universities and schools to help build capacity for the teaching of English in other countries. Below are just a few examples of the projects in which it has been involved:
During the first three months of 2019, the SGET worked in partnership with the University of Manchester to deliver two of the UK FCO-funded ‘English Connects’ programme under contract to the British Council. The programme aims to enhance the teaching and learning of English in Francophone and Lusophone Africa. The SGET provided tailored continuing professional development to groups of pedagogical advisors, teacher trainers and English language inspectors from these three countries as well as supporting them with the delivery of training workshops in their respective regions. The projects were underpinned by action research.
Since December 2017 the SGET has been working in partnership with the British Council and the Ministry of Higher Education in Cuba on the ‘Classrooms in Action’ programme: this targets under-graduate teachers who are studying at university to become teachers of English and recently qualified teachers. The programme raises their awareness of new methodology and international trends and enhances their practical teaching skills. A parallel programme of professional development has been run for professors of three universities as well as a recent course for professors drawn from different parts of the country. There is a strong emphasis on the identification and nurturing of ‘mentors’. A grant from the UK Embassy in Cuba has helped to take forward this work.
The next step after the programmes described above was the selection by the Cuban Ministry of Higher Education (MES) and the Cuban Ministry of Education (MINED) of 14 Cuban teachers from five regions of the country who had the potential to become teacher ‘mentors’. Most of these teachers had participated in the SGET courses in Cuba. The SGET worked closely with the two Ministries, the British Council in Cuba and the Universidad de Oriente (Santiago de Cuba) to plan further professional development for this group in the UK. Our combined efforts resulted in the ‘Mentors in Action’ course which ran for two weeks at St Giles Brighton in August 2019. The main objective of the course was to equip the teachers with mentoring skills to enable them to transfer what they had learned about teaching methodology to colleagues, peers and trainee teachers. Since they returned home, the mentors have been running workshops, giving demonstration lessons, delivering CPD sessions and they are also participating in ELT conferences in different parts of Cuba.
Since 2012, the St Giles Educational Trust has been working with the UK-Bangladesh Education Trust (UKBET) to develop the skills of secondary school teachers in Sylhet, Bangladesh. From 2012-14, this activity received additional support from the ‘Teaching and Learning English (TaLE)’ European Integration Fund project led by Learning Unlimited. The Bangladeshi teachers have taken Cambridge TKT and ICELT exams and the creation of a pool of teacher trainers from this group has helped to build local capacity for English language teaching. UKBET and the SGET’s work in Sylhet will shortly be supporting the trainers in their work with teachers in outlying rural areas.
For two consecutive years (2016 and 2017) the SGET helped the British Council in Jordan to deliver action research, teacher training and other practical elements of the HOPES and LASER projects for teachers working with Syrian refugees both inside the camps and in schools in Amman. This work was an integral part of the British Council’s ‘Language for Resilience’ programme.
In 2017 the SGET began to work in partnership with international charity Fe y Alegria which aims to combat social disadvantage and poverty. The SGET designed and implemented a needs assessment for primary and secondary school teachers in Lima and surrounding regions. This was followed by a customised training course which underpinned a regional strategy for an integrated programme of professional development.
The port city of Buenaventura is one of the most socially disadvantaged cities in Colombia. It has high levels of violence and poverty and it has long been one of the main export channels for the drugs trade. During the last decade, national government policy has promoted English language learning as one of the catalysts for the country’s economic progress. In 2017, the Colombian central government made a significant investment in Buenaventura to address some of its key problems. The SGET undertook a cross-organisational language and needs assessment for the staff of the Universidad del Pacifico (the major community university in the city) and helped the university to design a strategy for professional development.
In 2015 the St Giles Educational Trust assisted the British Council in Algeria with the delivery of an assignment for the Ministry of Education. This involved training 120 school inspectors to raise their awareness of communicative methodologies for English language training. The inspectors were also prepared for Cambridge TKT assessment and for the cascading of their learning to colleagues across the regions of Algeria.
In 2012 the SGET collaborated with Expand (Build Malawi) on the design and delivery of a professional development programme for 40 local secondary school teachers. Two teacher trainers were seconded to Chisala for one month to work with the teachers.
St Giles International has also supported Expand for a number of years by helping to finance a school sports centre, a vehicle and other resources.