Students and teacher. (Image credit: Mat Wright)
On World Teachers’ Day, Michael Carrier, our Head of English Language Innovation, recognises the efforts of the world’s 12 million English teachers, whom the British Council strives to support in conjunction with ministries of education around the world.
All of us can remember a teacher who inspired us when we were at school — someone who gave us extra support when we were struggling to understand, someone who passed on to us their passion for their subject.
Today we celebrate World Teachers’ Day, and perhaps should take a moment to remember our own teachers, to pay silent tribute to the ones who helped us become who we are, who made an impact on our lives or inspired us to take a certain path.
If you’ve not had the chance to go back to school reunions and talk with some of your teachers, you’d be amazed at how much they remember of their pupils (including moments you would rather forget!) and how much they appreciate being remembered and recognised for their contribution to your life.
One of the biggest contributions the British Council can make in the still-developing world is to support teachers by helping ministries of education to build teacher capacity for their countries, and by empowering teachers to give the next generation the best possible education that will allow them to reach their potential.
We estimate that there are about 12 million teachers of English in the world, and around 95% of these are non-native speakers of English. Many of these teachers are working in difficult conditions, working in two jobs or giving private lessons to make ends meet, and they themselves have often not had the benefit of quality training and opportunities to improve their own English proficiency. They also need extra help with training, with language improvement, with new resources to help them motivate their students, which we at the British Council can provide in partnership with the ministries.
We know that the best way to learn a language is by being immersed in the daily use of the language, in its home culture, living the language and learning from experience as much as from formal study. This is why 600,000 students annually come to the UK to improve their English: living the language. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could offer this opportunity to more of the 12 million English teachers?
Happy World Teachers’ Day!