Last April I published this post, to reflect on my training approach.
- a tutor for Notting Hill College.
- holding consultations with LanguagEd trainees.
⏱️Time for reflection.
These are the main skills (I believe) I’ve honed so far:
1. Deeper awareness of my trainer talk
Trainer talk is crucial in supporting and scaffolding teacher learning.
This year, I’m trying to:
✔️Speak less, listen more. Listen without prejudice. When teachers are understood, they are more likely to move forward.
✔️ Avoid IRE. I used to praise teachers for their contributions in order to motivate them to participate. Although this was supposed to be a supportive intervention, praising promoted IRE, ( initiation-response-evaluative feedback) which prevented other teachers from taking a turn and increased my trainer talk.
✔️Use more exploratory talk instead. Exploiting participants’ contributions by asking follow-up questions, is a more effective follow-up move. “Tell me more, give me an example, what do the rest of you think?”
✔️Weave more! 🧵🧶 That’s another thing I’ve learned from Martyn Clarke. Rather than summarising (listing) teachers’ contributions at the end of each stage/session, pull discussions or contributions together ‐ like weaving a cloth. E.g. “We talked about… Some of you said..the rest..so we agreed that…”
✔️Refrain from sharing my perspective too early and instead wait until the end of the session, after teachers have established shared principles. Help teachers find their voices first.
✔️Practise uninterrupted silence for seconds (known as the post-trainer question wait-time). Just like students, teachers also need thinking time. So I mindfully allowed 7-10 seconds of uninterrupted silence. We tend to want to fill the silence. It’s good practice to try and resist that urge, both for teachers and trainers! 😉
2. Creating materials for DELTA input sessions and the SBTB course.
The principles which underpin the design of my materials are:
✔️The departure point should be enabling participants to identify their existing values, attitudes, and beliefs (VABs) before new information is presented and processed. Otherwise, it may be hard for them to open up to new perspectives.
✔️There should be a variety of input formats, such as videos,mini lectures, blogposts, etc.
✔️ Materials should promote interaction and co-construction of knowledge within the group.
✔️Materials should include a range of both Low-Order Thinking Skills (LOTS) and High-Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) tasks, such as listing, comparing, analyzing, evaluating, and creating.
3. Adding ‘Dogmements’
During SBTB , which was a conversation course for teachers, I made space for Dogme moments, or dogmements as my friend Khanh-Duc Kuttig calls them. This means helping teachers with feedback on:
1. emergent language: an error correction slot, or reformulating teachers’ utterances to push their level up.
2. metalanguage: Feed in professional vocabulary to describe what teachers were partly saying, e.g. implicit/explicit teaching, inductive /inductive, reactive/proactive, intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, etc.
It’s been a huge learning experience..
.. working with all these lovely teachers from Greece, Spain, Italy and Egypt. I am grateful for their active participation and positive feedback. And of course, for all that I’ve learned by being their tutor. 🙏
Photo by revac film’s&photography from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-in-white-and-black-sneakers-standing-outdoor-during-daytime-68257/
And we’re grateful to have you, Rachel! 🙂
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Thank you for your support, as always! 🙏
Reading through your journey reminds me of the quote “… and miles to go before I sleep.”
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