AzETA joined a regional project on Newly Qualified Teachers

This SIG is for the teachers in their first to fifth year of ELT. The necessity of establishing this SIG emerged from the fact that lots of newly qualified teachers (NQTs) joined AzETA in the last 2 years.

In 2006 AzETA joined a regional project on Newly Qualified Teachers (NQT) where Teachers’ Associations of Bulgaria, Georgia, Macedonia and Romania are included. It was a two-year project funded by the British Council. In June 2008 the British Council handed the Project over to AzETA.

After the handover process AzETA approached the Ministry of Education for financial support of the Project to involve more teachers from different regions of Azerbaijan. As the request is under consideration, AzETA did not want to waste time and started to cascade this Project to two groups (30 teachers) of NQTs that work in different education institutions of Baku, including Azerbaijan University of Languages, Baku Slavic University, University of Tourism, 21st Century School, Humanitarian Lyceum and different secondary schools.

On 22 November I was observing the trainers, two young teachers from the University of Languages, who were among 60 participants of the NQT project. It was real pleasure to see the professionalism the trainers demonstrated and the involvement of participants. The training will consist of 12 sessions and will be delivered every Saturday in AzETA office at Baku Slavic University.

The second session of the training was conducted on November, 29 and all the participants were actively involved in “Planning lessons and courses”. During the training the participants learned not only how to plan their lessons, but also how to do pair, group work, how to manage the classroom. Thus they gained practical skills during the sessions and enjoyed them a lot.

The next session took place on December, 6, Saturday and it was the third session on the topic “Grammar and Vocabulary presentation and practice issues”.

The sessions will continue from January 2009.

It is worth mentioning that the newly qualified teachers, beneficiaries of the Project have been delivering workshops for teachers (about 500 NQTs) in their schools, Universities and Teacher Training Institute for 2 years with their own initiatives.

Below is the detailed information on the Project implemented with the financial support of the British Council in 2006-2008:


British Council has always been interested in the quality of teaching the English language in schools and this time the genius idea was to support newly qualified teachers. Sue Leather – a highly qualified educational specialist prepared a survey of the needs of newly qualified teachers in the south-east European region. Main challenges for NQTs were defined and areas in need of support were clearly identified. In the report on ELT NQTs Survey Sue Leather noted: As far as the practical aspects (skills and areas of teaching) of their profession are concerned, the areas in need of attention is ranked by respondents in this order (starting with the areas perceived as in most need):
1. dealing with disruptive behaviour
2. lesson planning
3. evaluation
4. choosing (or possibly designing) materials
5. teaching cross-cultural issues
6. teaching listening
7. teaching writing
8. teaching speaking


On 23-25 February 2006 the British Council initiated a seminar in Sofia, Bulgaria with the Project partners. As it is a regional Project, there were representatives from Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. The aims of the seminar were:

1. To give participants an update on progress so far.
2. To allow participants to give feedback on draft materials being produced as a result of the qualitative survey.
3. To form a small consultative group to inform the development of the packs for NQTs.
4. To plan the next steps in the project.

Ragsana Mammadova, AzETA President, Brian Maguire, ELT Projects Manager of the British Council Baku office and I represented Azerbaijan in Sofia seminar.


Sofia seminar was followed by online discussion of the Project participating countries with Sue Leather who was responsible for developing the Started Pack pursuant to the Project. Amalya Musayeva and I worked on some units online – giving approval or changing something according to the needs of newly qualified teachers of Azerbaijan. We regularly contacted with Gulshan Huseynova, British Council ELT Projects Co-ordinator and Brian Maguire. The Project demonstrated high level collaboration between the British Council Baku office and AzETA.

The online work was finished successfully and a new Starter Pack was developed.


To discuss the Project materials trainers from the Project countries joined a summer school held in Sinaia, Romania. The summer school started on 31 July and lasted until 6 August, 2006. There were very qualified trainers from Macedonia, Romania and Georgia.

The aims of Sinaia summer school were:
1. To familiarise the participants with final version of “Steps to Success”, NQT Starter Pack.
2. To prepare the participants for the training sessions, using materials of the Starter Pack and micro-train parts of them.
3. To focus on key local issues by the participating countries in NQT teacher development.

Monica and Cristina from the British Council Romania worked hard to make the participants feel home and work fruitfully. Sue Leather organised the sessions so that the participants achieved practical knowledge useful for adopting the Starter Pack for local NQTs. The participants had to prepare micro training sessions for NQTs there. It was Sue’s genius idea to find out how the manual could be introduced by local trainers.

All in all, the summer camp was a hard work, but thanks to the organisers from the British Council Romania the participants had a chance to visit Brashov – one of the most famous towns of Transilvania

At the final session guest speakers – Doina Fleanta and Ada Vuscan presented the Romanian variant of NQT project.


On November 12-13, 2006 a trainer training session was held in Crescent Beach Hotel in Baku by the financial support of the British Council Azerbaijan for the trainers of the Azerbaijan side. 8 selected trainers attended a two-day seminar.

The aims of the training session were:

1. To raise the trainers’ awareness of the problems of NQTs
2. To develop the trainers’ training skills for teaching NQTs
3. To identify future steps of the Project.

The trainees were observed by the British Council representatives and 6 of them were selected to work in the Project: They were: Amalya Musayeva and myself to train NQTs in Baku Farida Huseynova and Ayna Sadigova for Sumgayit, Khalida Aliyeva and Vafa Maharramova for Ganja


The first training with NQTs were organised in Baku, Sumgayit and Ganja in January, 2007.

The training covered the first two units from the Starter Pack:

– Unit 1: Managing your classroom and your students
– Unit 2: Planning your lessons and your courses.

The materials from the Pack were adapted to the needs of local NQTs and almost 60 selected NQTs were trained. The sessions were observed by qualified observers. According to the trainees’ feedback they appreciated the sessions and expressed their great interest in the Project. The results of the training were analysed by the AzETA and British Council officials and the necessary remarks were made for further successful work of the Project.


The second training sessions took place in Baku, Sumgayit and Ganja in April, 2007.

The next two units of the Starter Pack,

– Unit 3: Grammar and Vocabulary: presentation and practice issues
– Unit 4: Practicing language skills1: listening and speaking

were introduced to the trainees at these sessions.

The training materials were chosen very carefully and the trainers focused on developing the practical skills of the trainees using the basic ideas from the Starter Pack. The observers Afat Huseynova, Huzura Agayeva and Hijran Huseynova observed Sumgayit, Ganja and Baku sessions and gave feedback. Their comments were analysed by the AzETA NQT trainers and the further steps were defined.


In June the third round of NQT Project training took place. The Project trainers trained NQTs in Baku, Ganja and Sumgayit based on the materials of the Starter Pack, adapted them to the needs of the local NQTs. The materials were observed and discussed by the representatives of AzETA and the British Council. The experiences of the two previous sessions were considered to make the sessions useful for newly qualified teachers. The sessions covered the topics from:

– Unit 5: Practicing language skills 2: reading and writing
– Unit 6: Assessment.

The observers: Gulshan Huseynova for Baku, Huzura Agayeva for Sumgayit and Sudaba Sadigova for Ganja gave their feedback. The participants also gave their feedback and these materials are discussed by the AzETA and British Council officials and necessary comments were made.

All training sessions were organised with the financial support of the British Council of Azerbaijan. The Project Manager Gulshan Huseynova helped the trainers a lot with necessary guidance and AzETA President Ragsana Mammadova always showed great interest in the Project and encouraged the trainers to work harder and more effectively for the benefit of our newly qualified teachers. I also gave a presentation on the topic “How to Have Our Students Speak”. The participants showed great interest in the lesson and in the Project. The British Council observers also participated at the presentation and gave their positive feedback.

On May 26, 2007 at AzETA regional conference in Gabala Gulshan Samadova and Amalya Musayeva gave a joint presentation on the topic “Teaching speaking: NQT Project”. The participants were actively involved in the activities and everybody enjoyed the session.


A new round of NQT sessions took place on 17-24 November in Baku, Ganja and Sumgayit.

This is the fourth NQT session. It was on the topic:” Teaching Culture. Teaching language. Visual Aids”. The participants demonstrated active involvement in the process of the training. Their growing professional skills are obvious. The example is their participation at the last AzETA conference. Some of them even attended as the presenters of the conference.

The observers: Huzura Agayeva, Hijran Huseynova, Gulshan Huseynova and Gene De Fosse ((Peace Corps Volunteer, Ganja) noted the growing language skills and professional confidence of the participants. After each session the results are discussed.

According to the participants’ feedbacks the sessions were “highly professional”, “well organized” and the participants expressed their gratitude to the trainers for the well chosen visuals and technical equipment.


Making Learning Enjoyable and Memorable

The 5th NQT Project trainings on Units 9 and 10 (Starter Pack) were held on February 3rd in Sumqayit and Ganja.

There were 12 participants in Sumqayit and 13 participants in Ganja session.


The observer of Ganja session Gulshan Huseynova was satisfied with the preparation work done by both trainers: Xalida Aliyeva and Vafa Maharramova. Apart from observing the sessions, Gulshan Huseynova also spoke about Global Projects and encouraged the trainees to participate in these projects.

The observer noticed that the trainers managed to lower the affective filter and thus, the trainees were not shy any more. In comparison with the previous sessions, they were more confident in expressing their views, making comments, sharing experiences.

All in all, it was a joy to see this improvement.


Trainers were Farida Huseynova, AzETA SIGs Co-ordinator and Ayna Sadigova, AzETA Editor-in-Chief. As in previous sessions, the participants were motivated, encouraged to work in groups, pairs learning to present warmers through games, songs and to learn about their developing in such trainings. The trainees got a lot of skills how to develop personally; working with computers, getting information from online, creating projects, reading newspapers, magazines, being interested in media, TV programs, etc. They were given effective and useful handouts.

The observer of Sumqayit session Gulshan Samadova highly appreciated the great support by Sumqayit Education Department given to our trainers Farida Huseynova and Ayna Sadigova in organising the session. Both trainers and the observer are thankful for the support, in particular, for the venue.


Baku session was held on February, 10 Sunday. Everybody was waiting for the session eagerly, as we promised the trainees a surprise. Yes!!! The trainees got discs with their photos and two lovely melodies.

Furthermore Senior English Language Fellow from Georgetown University Ronny McDonald made a 30 minutes presentation on International Professional Associations for English teachers as well as on his activities within AzETA which also was a surprise for the NQTs.

Baku session trainees and observer, especially noted Amalya Musayeva’s wonderful performance and high level organization and conduct by Gulshan Samadova during the session.

The observer of Baku session was Huzura Agayeva, AzETA Regional Co-ordinator. She observed Ganja, Sumqayit and Baku sessions at different times and her professional feedback helped the trainers design their session’s in a better way.

An article on NQT project was published in the official issue of Ministry of Education of Azerbaijan “ELM, TEHSIL, MEDENIYYET” (Science, Education, Culture) on February, 8 . The article highlights the importance of the project for the NQTs and gives information about regional sessions.

The last session under the Project will be held in March.

For the sustainability of the current Project, the NQT SIG has taken it a commitment to continue it after accomplishing the project funded by the British Council.



Although Novruz (national holiday) was approaching, Ganja trainers worked hard to prepare for the last NQT training on units 11 and 12 –“ Making the most of your collegues and students “ and ‘Networking beyond your local context”.

The training was organised on 15 March. The trainers presented the materials on observation and feedback, and then the participants made presentations. There were 12 teachers and they all demonstrated microteaching sessions. Some of them were excellent. The trainers did a lot to improve their teaching skills using the Starter Pack. Everybody noted the great importance of NQT project for their professional development.

After microteaching sessions the participants were given feedback first by their peers, then by their trainers and the observer.

The trainers also spoke about networking and the participants learned the importance of networking for their creative work at schools and also for their professional growth.

Two Peace Corps volunteers observed the session. They congratulated the participants with the successful completition of the course and wished them to achieve good results in their teaching using all they had learned under NQT project.


The last session in Sumqayit was organised on 24 March. The weather was wonderful and both the trainers and the participants seemed very cheerful to start their last session on units 11 and 12 and the microteaching sessions. There were 14 participants at the session. The trainers – Farida Huseynova and Ayna Sadigova started the session with Unit 11. Then the participants demonstrated their activities. All of them were prepared carefully. They used different interesting materials on reading, listening , etc.

The local Education Department representative and the head of English language teachers’ department Gulbahar khanum mentioned the teachers’ improved skills and expressed their gratitude to AzETA and British Council for NQT project that helped the young inexperienced teachers to grow professionally and achieve such results.

The observer Gulshan Samadova also mentioned professional development of the participanting teachers and gave them information on the sustainability of the project in future. She noted the importance of collaboration between AzETA and Sumgayit Educational Department.


The last session in Baku was organised on 19 April. It was an important day for NQT project in Azerbaijan. Baku session started an hour earlier than usual- at 08:00. Amalya Musayeva spoke about the last home assignments and distributed the checked lesson plans to the participants. Then the participants were given the necessary information about the agenda for the day and then they were distributed various observation forms. While their peers were giving presentations they were taking notes. The participanting teachers demonstrated such good activies that nobody noticed how quickly the time passed and the trainers and the trainees went to the official handover ceremony organized in Aqua Park.


The Official Handover Ceremony

As the funding of the Project from the British Council is over, the latter decided to officially hand over the project to AzETA. It resulted from the trust AzETA had gained through the years co-operating with the British Council.

There were representatives of the Ministry of Education, Azerbaijan Teachers’ Institute, Baku INSETT Institute, British Embassy.

AzETA Prezident Ragsana Mammadova opened the ceremony and gave a brief information about the project – when and how it started and how it continued. She thanked all the people who had contributed to the Project.

Then Gulshan Samadova, AzETA NQT SIG Co-ordinator introduced the NQT trainers to the audience and thanked everybody who helped them to organize sessions, to obzerve the prosess of the seminars and the British Council and AzETA for their assistance and guidance during all these two years. Then she gave the floor to Brian Maguire, the British Council representative.

Brian Maguire was among the firstfooters of the project and he informed the participants of the ceremony about Sue Leather’s survey and Starter Pack. Actually, the project is based on the Starter pack which is originally compiled of the materials designed according to the needs of NQTs in Romania, Macedonia, Georgia and Aserbaijan.

Mr Farzali Qadirov, Head of Stategic Analyses and Planning Department of the Ministry of Education thanked the British Council and AzETA for their hard work towards improving English instructions in Azerbaijan. He spoke about the future cooperation between AzETA and Ministry of Education and noted that the Ministry was interested in supporting the project financially.

Gulshan Huseynova, Programmes Manager of the British Council who played an invaluable role throughout the implementation of the Project, thanked all NQT trainers and participants for their great work and expressed her hope that this project would successfully be continued by AzETA with the support of Ministry of Education.

The official ceremony was followed by presenting certificates to the trainers and NQTs and ended up with tea/coffee party.

After the handover ceremony the trainers and participants continued their last session. Feedback was given to the presenter-teachers’ microteachings. It was interesting to listen to different opinions about the same presentation. All participants were actively involved in the process. Then the trainers gave their feedback to each presenter and then the obzervation forms were discussed. The trainers draw the participants’ attention to positive and negative points of the forms. Amalya Musayeva gave the participants information about networking beyond local context.

NB: If you are interested in the Project, please contact AzETA Baku Office.

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