EXAMINING THE IMPACT OF TEACHER PRACTICE ON STUDENT LEARNING IN INTERACTIVE RADIO INSTRUCTION (IRI) CLASSROOMS: LESSONS FROM NEW DELHI AND RAJASTHAN (INDIA)
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This quantitative study examines the impact of teacher practices on student achievement in classrooms where the English is Fun Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) programs were being used. A contemporary IRI design using a dual-audience approach, the English is Fun IRI programs delivered daily English language instruction to students in grades 1 and 2 in Delhi and Rajasthan through 120 30-minute programs via broadcast radio (the first audience) while modeling pedagogical techniques and behaviors for their teachers (the second audience). Few studies have examined how the dual-audience approach influences student learning. Using existing data from 32 teachers and 696 students, this study utilizes a multivariate multilevel model to examine the role of the primary expectations for teachers (e.g., setting up the IRI classroom, following instructions from the radio characters and ensuring students are participating) and the role of secondary expectations for teachers (e.g., modeling pedagogies and facilitating learning beyond the instructions) in promoting students’ learning in English listening skills, knowledge of vocabulary and use of sentences. The study finds that teacher practice on both sets of expectations mattered, but that practice in the secondary expectations mattered more. As expected, students made the smallest gains in the most difficult linguistic task (sentence use). The extent to which teachers satisfied the primary and secondary expectations was associated with gains in all three skills – confirming the relationship between students’ English proficiency and teacher practice in a dual-audience program. When it came to gains in students’ scores in sentence use, a teacher whose focus was greater on primary expectations had a negative effect on student performance in both states. In all, teacher practice clearly mattered but not in the same way for all three skills. An optimal scenario for teacher practice is presented in which gains in all three skills are maximized. These findings have important implications for the way the classroom teacher is cast in IRI programs that utilize a dual-audience approach and in the way IRI programs are contracted insofar as the role of the teacher in instruction is minimized and access is limited to instructional support from the IRI lessons alone.