I joined the Open University in 2010 as a member of the university’s international teacher education and development team. Since then the projects I have worked on are: English in Action (EIA) Bangladesh 2010 -2017; Improving Gender Attitudes. Transition n Education Outcomes (IGATE-T); Zimbabwe from 2017; Supporting Adolescent Gils’ Education (SAGE) Zimbabwe from 2019; Towards Results in English and Education (TREE) Myanmar from 2019, for which I currently act as Academic Director
Currently, on TREE Myanmar The Open University works as a consortium partner with The British Council, Montrose International and Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) to support the government of Myanmar in developing its network of 25 Education Colleges across the country. Funded by the UK’s Department of International Development, the 5-year project contributes to the teaching of English and other subjects in primary and secondary schools by supporting the government of Myanmar in developing capacity in 25 Education Colleges across the country. More than 2000 teacher educators receive professional development support through TREE, with specific focus on English language proficiency and pedagogy, continuous professional development, inclusive education and systems strengthening. Drawing on our extensive experience and expertise in supporting distance and remote learning in diverse contexts, the Open University’s role in this project cuts across all four of these focus areas by developing a customised delivery model utilising both offline and digital resources and platforms in such a way as to lead to long-term sustainability. Within the consortium technical team I advise specifically on on issues around delivering professional development at scale while ensuring quality.
Previously, within the remit of International Teacher Education for Development I worked full-time in Bangladesh, from 2010 to 2017, on the DfID–funded English in Action project. This large-scale project made innovative use of mobile technologies within a blended open and distance programme to develop the quality of English language teaching in thousands of primary an secondary schools throughout Bangladesh, particularly in rural and underprivileged communities. During my time in Bangladesh I worked extensively on capacity building for the projects’ team of teacher development coordinators and for the network of over a thousand school-based community-level teacher facilitators.
I was closely involved in developing content for English in Action’s core learning materials: these included sets of authentic teacher development videos demonstrating communicative language teaching practices, and also videos showing participatory professional development activities aimed to support facilitators. For the project’s final and largest-scale phase, as Head of the Primary sector intervention, I also led on producing a full range of printed self-access support materials targeting the various key stakeholder groups: teachers, head teachers and teacher facilitators.
Within that role I travelled extensively around Bangladesh: providing professional support and research/monitoring inputs in schools and to professional development events at local, regional and national levels. I contributed to the projects’ Dhaka-based progrmame management team, providing input to strategy development and to advocacy with stakeholders, especially with regard to the projects’ on-going institutionalisation and sustainability strategy.
Since the completion of EIA in late 2017, I have been fully engaged, under the auspices of the ITED team, on another DfiD-funded project in Zimbabwe: Improving Gender Attitudes: Transition and Education – T (IGATE-T). My roles so far on this project have included being a co-investigator on a pre-intervention rapid analysis exercise; contributing to strategy development; leading co-design and material development workshops with Ministry and other national partners in Zimbabwe; development of sets of teacher professional development materials focusing on foundational literacy; co-designing a series of local level launch workshops and supporting World Vision district teams and district government stakeholders to deliver these in a wide range of locations across the country. In early 2019 I acted as principle investigator on a qualitative study, researching current practices of foundational literacy and numeracy in primary schools in four of the project’s nine districts of Zimbabwe.
I have represented the Open University with presentations on English in Action at international conferences in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, the UK and also at UNESCO mobile-learning week in 2014.
Prior to working for the Open University I had spent more than 20 years in the field of international teacher education in project management, strategic and practitioner roles. I worked long-term on national education reform projects with education ministries in the Czech Republic and Afghanistan as well as undertaking several short-term engagements in China, Egypt, Iraq, Indonesia, Syria and Venezuela. My original professional roots in English language teaching covered almost ten years in secondary, tertiary and adult learning sectors in Japan, Lithuania (during Soviet era) and the UK.
Areas of professional interest