Harry Kuchah Kuchah

Developing and Fostering Pedagogic Partnerships for Meaningful Learning

A large part of the response to the challenges imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic has been on how teaching can best be sustained rather than on how learning can be developed. While teachers in technologically advanced contexts have focused on identifying the best possible platforms to teach their students, this has not been the case in low-to-no-tech contexts, where teachers and children have either been forced to abandon formal education completely or have resorted to locally available resources such as radio and paper-based teaching and learning. In both contexts, questions about how learning - rather than teaching - can be sustained have still not been fully answered. The central argument of this presentation is that for effective learning to happen, we need to recognise, acknowledge and engage learners as experts in learning and develop collaborative inquiry-based practices which put them at the forefront of pedagogic processes. To illustrate this, I draw from an ongoing teacher-association research project I have been involved in, as well as from my own experiences of teaching and researching young learners and teenagers to demonstrate that instilling a sense of shared responsibility for investigating the praxis between teaching and learning can help students develop a sense of autonomy which is essential for their language learning in the real world. The presentation concludes with some reflections on global citizenship, autonomy and authenticity in language pedagogy for young learners and teenagers.

Harry Kuchah Kuchah is a Fellow of the British Higher Education Academy and Lecturer in Language Education at the University of Leeds, UK, where he also serves as Leader of the MA TESOL, Young Learners programme. He has also been involved in a range of teacher education and materials development initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia and Europe. More recently, he has served as a Consultant with the Council of Europe in Albania, with Windle Trust International and ELT Consultants in South Sudan and with the British Council in Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Afghanistan where he has set up English language teacher communities. In 2016 Harry was recognised by TESOL International Association as one of ‘30 upcoming leaders’ in ELT globally. He is currently President of the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) and member of the British Council English Language Advisory Group. His research interests include Teaching English to Young Learners, English Medium Education, Language teacher education and continuous professional development as well as Language education in challenging contexts and he has published extensively in these areas. His is co-edited (with Fauzia Shamim), of International Perspectives on Teaching English in Difficult Circumstances (Palgrave Macmillan) and of a forthcoming book (with Annamaria Pinter) Ethical and methodological issues in researching young language learners in school contexts (Multilingual Matters).