Language and Learning Foundation

Language and Learning Foundation

Distance learning course for teacher educators to design early grade reading programmes

Professional Development for teachers and teacher educators to design early grade reading programmes

The Opportunity

Reading is a foundational skill since it forms the basis of most other learning activities in the classroom. Ensuring that students learn to read early and well is the most important way of ensuring that every child gets an equal opportunity to learn at the primary stage of schooling. The ASER 2014 findings show that only 23.6% students studying in grade 3 could read a grade 2 level text. This proportion improved to only 48.1% by grade 5. In grade 3, 14.9% students could not read anything, while 25% were still managing to only recognize the letters.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development has launched a programme called ‘Padhe Bharat, Badhe Bharat’ (Early reading and writing with comprehension and Early Mathematics Programme) under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in 2014. From 2013-14, each state and UT is expected to design and implement programmes for early grades reading. However, a quick review of the process for development of such programmes and the training modules shows that there is a huge scope for improvement in the understanding of principles and practices for teaching reading among the state and district level faculty of teacher education institutions (TEIs).

The Model

Language and Learning foundation conducts online / distance courses enable the teacher educators to develop instructional designs and other components of an early grades reading programme. Their flagship 9-month course includes 12 modules with essential and recommended readings, assignments to be completed after each module, fortnightly conference calls to discuss each module, and guidance to individual participants on email and phone. Each module is expected to be completed in around fifteen days.

LLF is also building other courses on specialized topics in early literacy and multi-lingual education, and conducting research around the same. Currently, courses are being conducted with teachers in 5 states. Over the next three years, they are looking to scale their impact by providing intensive technical support to 3 states through a variety of strategies that focus on bringing change at the classroom level.

Potential for Systemic Impact

Language and Learning Foundation’s interventions have set a precedent for launching research based professional development courses for in-service teachers on early literacy and language development. They also highlight best practices involved in design and delivery of distance learning courses
Working directly with states institutionalizes capacity building and development of improved early grade reading interventions in the government systems.