Readiness to Begin a Course

Do you like making lists, mind maps and checklists? Well, I do. I think they work very well for the project-based type of work I have been involved in for the last 5 years or so. By a ‘project’ I mean an intensive training course for teachers, or for trainers, an online support/mentoring of a school or a site, or a curriculum development project.

This year I decided to experiment and see if I can create a kind of checklist to prepare myself for a coming project (and my blog seems to be an ideal storage place for such ideas — and a sharing opportunity of course!) The ideas below are focusing on an intensive teacher training course I am about to start.

Am I ready in each of these areas? What needs to be reviewed?


details and resources about the main project (timeline (beginning and end), defined objectives and goals, a team of people and their roles, reporting system, etc.)

ideas and (possible) resources for any side projects

social (especially for traveling)

‘Here’ — is all the housework planned/done? Family members taken care of?

There — am I in touch with the people I will be working with? Are we a team?

Are any other projects put on hold (and communication happened?) or delegated?

physical (relevant mostly for traveling)

climate, weather reports

fitness plan

practical (logistical) questions

Do I have the necessary details? What questions need to be asked?

Have I thought about the things to do/buy/bring/pack, etc.?

overall questions

Is my ‘positive regard’ hat on? (this article in Wikipedia describes it well)

Am I ready to be a learner?

Am I in ‘Beginner’s Mind’?**

** To see what this is about, read this post by Matthew Noble, aka @ NewbieCELTA


Have I forgotten anything else?

How do you prepare for a project?


My other possibly relevant posts:

The night before a course begins and Training Team

Thank you for reading! 🙂




About Zhenya

ELT: teacher educator, trainer coach, reflective practice addict
This entry was posted in Trainer Reflections and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Readiness to Begin a Course

  1. joannamalefaki says:

    I like lists too 🙂


  2. Hana Tichá says:

    Interesting post, Zhenya. When I think about it, I sometimes create lists, sometimes I don’t. It depends on the situation. I’d say that lists definitely make me feel safe. However, I don’t always need to feel safe; sometimes I just want to leave things unplanned. By the way, as I started reading Matthew’s post about Shoshin you referred to in your post, a question suddenly emerged in my head: doesn’t actually making lists kill the possibility of establishing *beginner’s mind* – an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions? Because lists encourage you to make conclusions and those conclusions don’t necessarily turn out to be relevant later on. What do you think? 🙂


    • Zhenya says:

      Thank you for the great comment Hana (and even a better question!) Excellent point about not feeling safe. In fact, this is what training in a new place/context often, or always brings to me. I would even say – too many factors I don’t have any idea about. The lists help me feel a bit safe, or confident, at the very beginning. I wonder about the part that made you think the lists in the post are about conclusions – really curious, because probably this is something I have to reflect on!
      Feeling grateful to have you as a reader – for the post and for the blog!

      Liked by 1 person

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