A micro-history of an in-service teacher training programme in post-Revolutionary Libya

  • Benedict Gray

Student thesis: Phd


This PhD study focuses on the Libyan English Teacher Training Scheme (LETTS), a cascade-based in-service training programme for teachers of English launched in Libya in 2012 by the British Council and the Libyan Ministry of Education. This thesis examines the ideas and events that led to the decision to organise LETTS, how the programme was set up and managed, why - despite high expectations on both sides - it failed and what future education reform planners can learn from this experience. The study adopts an approach which is not typically used in the field of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Data was mainly gathered using document collection, focus group and semi-structured interviews, and notes from the researcher's diary. A historical methods approach was used to examine the data and produce a microhistory of LETTS. This was then analysed, together with further analysis of the collected data, and the main factors that influenced LETTS and contributed to its failure were organised into a set of key strands. These strands were then examined and interpreted, with the results used to produce a set of lessons learned from the LETTS experience. The study found that mismatched expectations on both the British Council's and the Libyan Ministry of Education's part, along with the former's attempt to impose a training model onto a system lacking the capacity to facilitate it, meant that LETTS suffered from a series of inherent weaknesses. These, combined with a number of wider influences, meant that the chances of LETTS succeeding in its initial format were slim. Furthermore, a failure by the programme organisers to comprehend that LETTS was on course to fail meant that a window of opportunity to fix the programme was missed. The study concludes by arguing that when organising education reform programmes, planners need to consider a number of issues, in particular partners' perceptions of the reform and their required contributions, and the suitability of the initiative for the context in question. It also suggests that, if possible, planners conduct a feasibility study and/or pilot programme prior to launching the full reform.
Date of Award1 Aug 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorDiane Slaouti (Supervisor) & Juup Stelma (Supervisor)


  • teacher development
  • in-service
  • teacher training
  • cascade training
  • Libya

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