English Language Fellow Abigail Hoyle, along with Ibu Meutiati A. Ranthy, a lecturer and teacher trainer at Universitas Indonesia, conducted a two-day workshop on teaching math and science in English.
Teaching English to speakers of other languages is challenging, but teaching math or science in English to speakers of other languages is an even bigger challenge. Hoyle and Ranthy wanted to equip teachers with the tools they need to present subject materials in English. Training English teachers in these skills raises the quality of secondary-level English language teaching, which better prepares students to use English for math and science at the university level or professionally.
About 40 teachers attended the 2-day workshop. The attendees came from secondary-level educational institutions, including SMA (equivalent to high school), SMK (high school vocational), and SMP (middle school). All were math or science teachers who taught physics, chemistry, biology, various math disciplines, or general science.
Hoyle and Ranthy led input sessions about interactive teaching, basic principles of teaching other subjects in English (giving instructions, student-centered versus teacher-centered instruction), and material adaptation. The workshop included three of these input sessions as well as peer teaching sessions to practice and utilize new techniques. Participants were divided into groups of five and each group conducted a team teaching episode of 30 minutes. After each group, there was a 30-minute feedback session led by the facilitator. An “active learning” approach was used, which encouraged teachers to serve as facilitators and the learners as active participants.
Feedback on the workshop was very positive, and the attendees asked thoughtful questions throughout the input sessions and showed interest in learning more about the resources presented in the workshop. The attendees were encouraged to organize workshops and informational meetings for their colleagues at their schools to share they had learned.