Earlier this month I wrote a post about a project for experienced teachers of English in Ukraine we won a grant for.
One of the reasons for writing it was my preparation for a presentation in Kyiv informing the audience about this opportunity. The session was called ‘Teacher Training Essentials 2020’ and the abstract said the following:
The title describes the name of a program and the year of its launch. In Ukraine people sometimes refer to themselves as ‘teacher trainers’ after delivering a workshop for colleagues, or speaking at a conference. ‘Training’ sounds like something ‘higher’ (and better?) than teaching. My session will be a conversation starter, and an invitation to look deeper into the meaning of helping teachers grow as opposed to ‘training’ them.
As a part of my preparation for the session I asked my fellow trainers and PLN-ers (blog readers and Twitter followers) to complete two sentences sharing their beliefs about teacher training:
As promised, I am sharing the results. I am full of gratitude to everyone who found the time to respond!
Teacher Training is __________.
- a continuous and collaborative process, for the trainer themselves, as well as teachers
- effective if teacher trainers engage their trainees in critical reflection on theory and practice, and thus encourage them to constantly challenge received opinion and orthodox ELT practices
- based on the teachers’ experiences
- going to teach you a list of things you’ll have to actually teach yourself in your own classroom.
- about raising awareness and becoming better at what you chose to be your profession
- an opportunity to share my teaching experience, brush up on my knowledge and get a lot of new knowledge and experience at the same time
- helping teachers help their learners learn better
- the founding ground for anybody willing to work in the educational field as well as the bottomless platform for continuous growth.
Zhenya’s brainstormed list (many things are similar!)
- leading, serving and helping
- having a helper/mentor you wanted to have
- an exciting job
- hard work and fun
- a number of skills
- further development as a teacher
- facilitating discussions
- an occupation/profession in ELT
Teacher Trainer is not (necessarily) _______.
- someone who has completed a program that is accredited specifically for this purpose
- a native speaker or someone with a PhD, but should be someone with plenty of practical teaching experience
- someone who *just* gives workshops at conferences
- someone who can give you the answers, but they will help you figure out what questions to ask and where to look for your individual solutions
- a guru who tells you how to teach in your classroom but rather raises the right questions.
- a person who knows everything and wants to TEACH how to teach, but a kind of an open-minded facilitator for other teachers who shares knowledge and experience, inspires and shows a way to self-development)))
- the one who knows all the answers. For me it’s always important to notice what a teacher does that I’d never think of, but it works well for the learner(s)
- a person who is aware of all the world information regarding their field, neither do they have to be knowledgeable about global issues
- ignorant of world changes and is NOT dogmatic, with their ideas set in stone
Zhenya’s brainstormed list:
- a guru
- an expert
- a constant presenter/speaker
- above the teachers, not a teacher’s boss
- a step in the career ladder
Thoughts: my good friend and fellow trainer messaged and asked if I wanted to ask what people thought teacher training is/is not about, and/or teacher trainer is/is not about. I wonder if doing it in the reverse order now would be helpful? For example, to me, being a teacher trainer is about being in the state of ‘becoming’, having ‘beginner’s mind’ (shoshin), or an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions. No matter how experienced I am, or how many training courses are run, this ‘zero attitude‘ helps.
So… what about the beliefs shared above:
- Are some of them the same or close to your mind/heart? Please comment/respond.
- Are some of them different/opposite? Please comment/respond.
Thank you for reading!
P.S. If you are a teacher of English from Ukraine, you may want to apply for our Trainer Training Program yourself, or pass the information to someone thinking to become a trainer or an academic leader in ELT in the near future.