Radio broadcast, particularly in lower resource contexts, is an effective means of providing educational input for school children. Governments worldwide responded to the Covid-19 crisis by helping teachers and other educators to write the content for radio and (low-budget) TV initiatives, aiming to ensure that children were able to continue with their education to some degree. Remote teaching support seems here to stay, and radio is the best option for many students as it does not depend on internet connectivity or even electricity, ensuring inclusive accessibility across the nation.
Much of the content which was broadcast during the Covid-19 crisis did not engage students and there is need and demand for further support in creating remote lessons and building the skills of potential writers, so they can produce better content more efficiently.
The British Council responded to this demand by developing CELLCR (Creating English Language Learning Content for Radio), a course which focuses on writing content in the context of radio production.
In collaboration with the Pakistan Federal Ministry, the British Council EES (English for Education Systems) team delivered the pilot in Islamabad in February 2021. Participants made up of ministry employees, educators, radio production teams and consultants from NGOs followed the intensive 30-hour course face to face to find out more about Interactive Radio Instruction, and improve their skills in creating English language scripts, which incorporate the learning outcomes of the Single National Curriculum. The participants also received training in the radio production process, learning how to get quality content broadcast to students. Although the pilot was delivered face to face, the course can be delivered remotely or in a blended version, over a longer period of time.
Interactive Radio Instruction can be broadcast to students studying at home, e.g. during lockdowns, in the absence of schools in the area, or due to the child being out of school for various reasons. It can also be used in schools during regular classes, and teachers can access engaging quality material to enhance lessons. This is useful if teachers are not experienced, as effective teaching is modelled during the broadcast, and the content can be incorporated in a professional development programme.