This ambitious project, which began in East Asia in November 2005, has been welcomed by the Ministries of Education in the countries concerned, as it brought a new and stimulating dimension to the teaching and learning of English in their schools.
Client, stakeholders, partners
- Ministries of Education
- ELT specialists
- Teacher trainers
- Contemporary British literature as a language learning and cultural awareness tool
This ambitious project, which began in East Asia in November 2005, has been welcomed by the Ministries of Education in the countries concerned, as it brought a new and stimulating dimension to the teaching and learning of English in their schools. Overall, it has had an extremely positive impact, reaching over 1,000,000 people in 2008 alone.
The project's aim is to engage more young people with literature. It focuses on three major areas: performance poetry, reader development, and seminars for education professionals from the UK and East Asia. Education is at the core of the project. It is based on an exploration of how working with writers and performance poetry can increase interest and attainment in the classroom, and how techniques such as reading groups can be applied successfully to an English teaching context.
Central to the project was a series of seminar programmes. These have had remarkable impact across education systems in East Asia. For example, the Ministries of Education in Thailand and Malaysia have agreed a memorandum of understanding to share best practice in literature teaching.
Another of the project's many success stories is that a reader development training package for English teachers has been created by the Ministry of Education in the Philippines. This has led to 1,500 teachers becoming ‘Master Trainers' of reader development techniques.
The project has involved many exciting names in contemporary British literature, including Roger Robinson, Francesca Beard and Jacob Sam La Rose, to name but a few.
Another legacy of the project is Speechless, which brings together new poetry by five writers from across East Asia and four UK-based poets, working on the theme of freedom of expression in a unique, multi-lingual spoken word show that toured the UK in October 2008.
Following the success of Animating Literature seminars in Malaysia and Singapore in 2007/8, a further seminar is to be held in Kuala Lumpur in February 2009, which will focus on developing visual literacy in the English language primary classroom.
What the stakeholders say
The contribution from the British Council in the field of reader development is really important with us. We highly appreciated the workshop on ‘Reading development' led by Tom Forrest, UK consultant. We will apply what we have learnt from the workshop to our work here at the National Library.
Mr Pham The Khang- Director of the National Library, Vietnam
Thank you for the wonderful, awe-inspiring sharing sessions.... I will implement your suggestions on organising and facilitating reading circles with my students. Your sessions have triggered some interesting pedagogical and classroom teaching strategies....I hope to unleash their natural curiosity and develop passionate and well-informed readers who are comfortable to share their thoughts and responses to the texts as exemplified by the active and articulate participants at your sessions.
Participant in a reader development workshop in Singapore