2020 Rainmaker Readiness: Building English Language Teacher Training Capacity in Cambodia: Integrating innovation into practice in the post-COVID19 era

  • Lian, Ania (Principal Investigator/Chief Investigator A)
  • Lor, Tithchanbunnamy (Co Investigator/Chief Investigator B)
  • Lian, Andrew (Co Investigator/Chief Investigator B)
  • Keuk , Channarith (Co Investigator/Chief Investigator B)
  • Sok, Soth (Co Investigator/Chief Investigator B)
  • Mam, Socheath (Co Investigator/Chief Investigator B)

Project: Research

Project Details


Currently, the government of Cambodia is in the process of modernising its education systems, including the quality of teaching of English language at all levels of schooling. However, our preliminary research shows that in practice, both policymakers and research invest in and advocate for changes that are expensive and reminiscent of pedagogies that fail to account for the transformative aspects of learning that characterise modern curricula. Learning continues to rely on following textbooks, while the ground-breaking outcomes of education projects by international scholars, such as Sugata Mitra, are ignored. Book printing is expensive and incurring ongoing costs. There is a need for new models of learning that are better equipped to comply with the new education policies of Cambodia and present more satisfying and cost-effective alternatives for all stakeholders.

What we are doing.
The National Institute of Education (NIE) provides teacher education in Cambodia. This project engages with the NIE and connects with education scholars with expertise on Cambodia and South East Asia. The study will provide Professional Development for secondary English language teacher educators with a view to orienting the process of students’ learning away from textbooks and toward activities that link students with the community, thus contextualising students’ learning within a broader set of needs and values. To this end, the concept of “learning as community engagement” will be introduced and connections between different school subjects will be encouraged to enable students to personalise their learning according to their interests, while also discovering the power of these connections. NIE educators will also learn about modern technology for English language learning and its innovative uses. The NIE educators will be assisted to modify their training materials. Any challenges that will emerge will provide everyone with opportunities for further discussions and learning. The impacts of this PD training on NIE educators and pre-service teachers will be investigated, as will be its application in schools. Ten schools with diverse student population will be involved.

How it helps
This is a pilot study that will provide educators and policymakers in Cambodia solid data on the challenges and opportunities that building modern education models for English language presents in Cambodia. Cambodia has a high attrition rate in upper secondary schools and traditional textbook pedagogies fail to build active meaningful connections between schools and the young females and males, who have left the school prematurely. The “learning as community engagement” model takes education to the community and brings the community back to school. The project will help to better understand how Cambodian educators grapple with contexts, where teaching and learning hinge on students and teachers exercising their agency, a true indicator of sustainable education. The project will also inform Initial Teacher Education programs in Australia, where connections between schools and the community are a challenge that needs addressing.

Partner organisations
The Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The National Institute of Education (NIE), Cambodia
Suranaree University of Technology, Thailand.
Effective start/end date29/07/2028/01/22


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