Simon Etherton, Head of English at the British Council Ukraine, has said that his organisation supports the New Ukrainian School reform and is doing its best to support the professional development of English-language teachers in Ukraine. He was speaking at a roundtable entitled "Will children know foreign languages after they complete the New Ukrainian School programme?" and co-organised by Gorshenin Institute and the British Council Ukraine.
"Studies show that the biggest factor affecting the quality of teaching is not material resources, not classroom boards, but a well-trained and enthusiastic teacher. We work precisely to make Ukrainian teachers like that. Institutes, methodologists, our 'agents of change' work to achieve this. As regards learning English, we followed the guidelines and requirements of the Education and Science Ministry and supported the New Ukrainian School reform. There are very many English teachers, and it took all our attention and our resources. And after talking to colleagues, we realised that we should focus on new ideas, new methods, new ways to interest teenagers in learning languages. And this is critical," Etherton said.
According to a representative of the British Council, a pilot project is already working in a number of schools, introducing new approaches to communicative teaching of children in classroom.
"Now we are actively working in 100 pilot schools where new approaches to the professional development of teachers from the bottom up are being introduced. We have trained facilitators for teacher professional development groups. We have given them resources, structure and ideas. They can meet, communicate in person and on social networks, use massive online courses, and conduct micro-research together. This type of professional development is not just about attending courses but about joint professional development, and it has shown good results. We are very pleased to see this new potential and new opportunities," Etherton said.