Consider this a friendly reminder…. I recently was able to get my hands on my old school books and I found something that I’d wanted to see for years. These pages were taken from a class I had when I was about 14, and I wanted to see if my memory was correct. It was. As you can see, this teacher decided that this was the best way to give feedback to my work. Hopefully I don’t have to explain how terrible this is, but something you might want to consider is why it is one of my strongest memories … Continue reading Your words matter
A few years ago I wrote this cheeky post, reminding teachers that sometimes it’s a good idea to shut up for a while. I’m returning to this idea in a slightly more reflective way due to this post on Brainpickings about the twentieth-century novelist, poet, playwright, and psychiatrist Paul Goodman who examined “the nine types of silence present in life” in his 1972 book Speaking and Language. Continue reading I’ve Heard of TTT vs STT, But What Does That Really Mean?
If you’re responsible for teacher development in your school, you might sometimes find that it’s a burden to continually try and find ways to come up with new materials and approaches. Given the choice, I’m sure you’d love to invite Jeremy Harmer, Scott Thornbury or Penny Ur to come in and give a talk or do a workshop. However, thanks to the massive availability of talks and webinars online, it is possible for your teachers to be trained by the leaders in our field without the speakers even knowing about it.
I think the best way to use these materials in your training sessions is to use a flipped approach. Instead of watching the talk together, you can ask your trainees to watch it before the training session. They can make some notes of things they want to discuss and questions they have which they can bring to the session for discussion.
This was something I did a few months at my previous school. We watched Hugh Dellar’s webinar for BELTA, Five Golden Rules, on the Lexical Approach and then discussed the implications of his talk in the training session. What this achieved was that rather than being a solely trainer-led session, it was much more equal and discursive and offered an interesting variety to normal sessions. Continue reading “Flipped Teacher Training”
When I worked in Costa Rica, my school required teachers to be CELTA or equivalent qualified. They didn’t care where the person was from, whether they were local, a native speaker or a non-native speaker, as long as you had the qualification and experience, then you could work there. To my knowledge, it was the only private language school in the country that had that requirement. The only one. The other schools, and there were quite a few, did not require the same level of qualifications or experience. Most of them had a preference for native speakers (as I’ve written about here), but qualified teachers were not on their radar. As a result, the school where I worked normally recruited teachers from abroad to come to Costa Rica because, as my DoS once pointed out, all of the qualified teachers living in the country were already working there. Continue reading “TEFL Is An Iceberg – Reflections on CELTA and Standards”
Let’s face it, one of the hardest things for us teachers to do sometimes is to shut up. We can feel the need to keep teaching all the time and somewhere deep in our subconscious we have been led to believe that teaching means talking.
Maybe we don’t realise what we are doing, or we find it hard to resist. We might be waiting for the training that makes us realise it’s okay to be quiet for a while, or we might have a great story we want to share and half way through we realise we’re really going on a bit too much here. Continue reading “Shut Up!”