This is my first post in the NILE MATD series (Trainer Development course). I hope to be able to write one at the end of each unit, and summarize what I’ve learned. 🤞

Posts might not always be tidy. The format might also vary; sometimes just bullet points will do, questions or learning paragraphs might follow.

The Trainer Development course has begun and I’ve just completed 2 units. The first one was mainly an introduction to the course and tutor as well as getting to know each other, so I’ll just start with my reflections on unit 2.

Unit 2 Summary

Teacher training  and teacher development 

Training can be managed by others whereas development is something that can be done only by and for oneself.

(Wallace, 1991:3)

When I think of Teacher training, these words come to mind: received knowledge, obligatory, assessment, extrinsic motivation. Expectations more than goals.

Teacher development sounds more like a process of experimenting, reflecting, self-evaluating. Growth. Caring about your profession. Intrinsic motivation. Also, taming your ego. Moving from “I know what I’m talking about” to “I can learn more about x“.

An interesting question

“Do we need to train people how to develop?” 

What I think.

Also can we? Perhaps not but we can encourage and inspire by practising what we preach. Allow teachers to observe you frequently and let them comment on your lesson. Encourage them to read articles and why not write for magazines. Or perhaps start a collaborative blog? Encourage them to plan and run training sessions from time to time.

I realised that

An inspiring and charismatic trainer can make a huge difference. I started thinking about all the tutors/trainers I’ve had and started to evaluate them in my head. 🧐

3 different models of learning.

Craft model

The expert models their skills. The apprentice observes , learns, imitates. Experiential knowledge is key. Context-based. Appropriate perhaps for novice teachers? I remember watching the DVD from Learning Teaching before the CELTA. I learned so much and these videos helped me ace my first TP.

Applied science model:

Learn from research, use evidence-based techniques. Some critical evaluation is always necessary. Are they relevant to my context? I liked what Malderez and Wedell (2007) wrote that we know our own context better than anyone.

Reflective model.

Intrinsic motivation. Combines theory and practice, action and reflection. But wait until you gain some experience, otherwise it might be a little overwhelming.

Watching a million webinars or reading too many blogs/books can be overwhelming. Learn something new, try it and evaluate it. Create a lesson plan or write a blogpost and share it with the ELT community. Personally, I feel lost if I don’t practise what I learn.

Reflective model (Wallace, 1991, p. 15).  

Knowledge and skills needed to teach learners/ teach teachers.

I realised that

..there’s a lot of knowledge and skills I can transfer to training. Pedagogic competence (planning and teaching), language awareness, self-awareness, deeper understanding of my learners’ needs. And of course patience, passion, dedication. I’m also doing my best to develop my methodological competence and the DELTA has helped a lot.

PRESET participant needs

What I think is missing from PRESET courses is a more structured approach to reflection. I remember getting stuck when writing my CELTA post lesson reflections.

We read an article about using a cyclic syllabus, eg. a holistic approach followed by a discrete item approach. Put simply, input sessions being replaced by lesson models (trainees being taught lessons) and then discussing what they noticed, for instance what was taught and why it was taught this way. The next stage would be trainees teaching lessons with some tutor support, which is gradually removed as the trainees feel confident enough to work alone. Modelling, coaching fading. Sounds interesting but I’m sceptical about its effectiveness it on a course with novice teachers only. I’d love to see it in action or hear from anyone who’s tried it.

useful reminder

PRESET courses can be challenging for trainers as they have a mix of practising and novice teachers.

I realised that:

..of all the courses I’ve taken, the most stressful and difficult to pass was the CELTA.

Finally..

Our tutor asks us so many questions that I’ve created a word document called Martyn’s questions. 🙂

I’m really enjoying the course so far. It’s quite challenging as I don’t have much training experience but at the same time I’m learning a lot from my peers’ comments and reflections.

I’ve also been reading a lot about supervision, observation and feedback but now is not the time to expand on that. One step at a time!

References

Malderez, A. and Wedell, M., 2007. Teaching teachers. London: Continuum.

Modelling and ‘cognitive apprenticeship’ in teacher education | ELT Journal | Oxford Academic (oup.com)

Wallace, M., 1991. Training foreign language teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.