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British Council launches "Outside World 2015" in CQ

Last week, the British Council launches “The Outside World 2015 - English Teacher Development Programme” at Chongqing Nankai Middle School. To provide children from disadvantaged families residing in remote mountainous areas with better channels to explore "the outside world", expand their vision and enrich their spiritual and cultural life, in 2011, the British Council established "The Outside World"--an official IELTS charitable undertaking, as a part of fulfilling the organization’s long-term social responsibility goals in mainland China. To 2014, "The Outside World" project has been implemented in 5 schools in Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan provinces and in Chongqing, with the support of nearly 3,000 university students across southwest China, providing care and bringing social benefits to nearly 6,000 students in remote mountainous areas.
Making sure that every child gets an education is a prerequisite to improving the living standards and creating a foundation for economic development across Western China. The levels of scholastic achievement vary widely from area to area across the region, and this is reflected by the variance in the demands for knowledge acquisition, the ability to absorb and retain what is taught as well as the level of communication skills. The quality of the individuals who teach and train in each region can be directly deduced from the demands. Based on the experience of the college students who taught in the region over the past three years as well as two years of research and discussion, we found that providing resources to the teachers in the remote mountainous areas is just as important as sending college students to the region to assist in the teaching.

This year, the British Council decided to combine their own unique advantages and high quality resources and work closely with the Chongqing City Board of Education and the Education Department of Yunnan Province. As a part of the cooperation, the British Council has selected 24 English teachers from the middle schools in remote areas, with 12 chosen from Chongqing and 12 from Yunnan province, for a week-long English teacher development program in Chongqing. The agenda of this component of The Outside World 2015 - English Teacher Development Programme includes:
Visits to schools

Arrange visits to local middle schools to observe qualified educators as they teach their classes, followed by consultative sessions with the educators.
English teaching symposium

The British Council’s selected courseware, Classroom Activities for English teachers, a programme based on the Council’s experience gained during the last ten years, has been presented during the symposium by experienced foreign English-language experts.
Senior educators share their experiences as teachers
Arrange visits to local middle schools to observe qualified educators as they teach their classes, followed by consultative sessions with the educators.
Response to and handling of emergency situations
As natural geological disasters have been occurring with elevated frequency in Southwest China in recent years, specialists in dealing with such situations spoke on best practices for teachers as they respond to and handle such emergencies.
Juvenile psychological counselling
Psychological counselling for children and adolescents is in short supply in village and town schools, especially in dealing the children who have been “left behind” by parents who work in a far-away city or region. Such counselling can greatly improve communication between teachers and students and help minors establish a healthy attitude towards life.
Dawn Long, Area Director South West China, British Council | Consul (Cultural and Education), British Consulate-General in Chongqing said that "the British Council is the United Kingdom's international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. Adhering to the principle of equal opportunity, tolerance and respect for diversity, we create professional development opportunities for teachers from all over the world and provide English learners with learning resources and support. We are glad that English teachers working in the remote mountain areas and areas inhabited by ethnic minorities can benefit from this teacher development programme.”

The British Council actively meets its social responsibility goals by undertaking a variety of actions. Evidence of the British Council’s efforts are visible throughout China: the council’s construction of small libraries in primary schools under the aegis of the Hope Project and its many English teacher development projects provide valuable learning materials and information sources for students in rural areas as well as advice and training on practical skills for teachers and teaching personnel. We plan to continue to pass on the caring legacy of “The Outside World “programme in a move to allow the greater society to become aware of the shortage of qualified educators in rural areas, and to eventually solve this shortage.