In collaboration with the Ethiopian Ministry of Education and USAID/Ethiopia, AIR launched the Teach English for Life Learning (TELL) program in December 2008, with the primary goal of improving the skills of 20,000 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade English teachers across all nine regions and two chartered cities in Ethiopia. TELL teacher training was designed to empower teachers to utilize active-learning English textbooks created specifically for this program by Alabama A&M University, with funding from USAID’s Africa Education Initiative. Teachers were trained in literacy instruction, including strategies for improving students’ listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Teachers also learned classroom practice skills, such as effective lesson planning and classroom management strategies. The program was then extended to train 52,300 grade 1-4 teachers over the course of two years. Over the program’s three and a half year performance period, TELL trained 71,129 grade 1-4 and 6-8 English teachers through a cascading model that has reached teachers throughout the country in a limited amount of time and in a cost effective manner.
The program’s cascade teacher training model developed master trainers and teacher trainers, and supported the capacity of the Regional Education Bureaus to identify trainees and training sites, and to manage logistical details during regional trainings. In order to monitor the impact of the large-scale teacher training effort, each year TELL trained supervisors in teacher observation skills to monitor the performance of the teachers trained in English language instruction under the TELL program. The program supported these supervisors to conduct teacher observations, but also developed a supervisor guide and observation protocol that will provide the tools for ongoing teacher monitoring and support by Ministry of Education staff. Through TELL capacity-building support, the Ministry of Education now has the framework for, and experience in, mounting a large-scale, nation-wide teacher training effort, and the tools to monitor and support continued English language instruction improvement.
In December 2010, the TELL program was tasked with the administration of an English language Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA), receiving an extension through March 2012 in order to administer the assessment, analyze the data, and support the MOE with understanding and disseminating the results. The English language EGRA was administered in October 2011.