One of the wonderful things about a site like this is that...

...we, as teacher trainers, have a question we want to ask of our professional community, we can put it out on the ‘cyber waves’ and have the chance of getting responses from all over the world.!!! So, in that spirit…

I wonder if there are any pre-service teachers reading the site? Maybe not. But for sure there are thousands of in-service language teachers reading the site!! There may be teachers of from two to 40 years experience reading this site right now! If you are one of them, I expect you have views, maybe strong views, on what you do and don’t like about the teacher training process, the topics often covered, the manner of the trainers, the way training sessions are structured and so on. Would you spare a little time to educate us as to how you see things? I am sure many teacher trainers browsing here would, like me, really love to know more from the client, the customer, the hard working teacher who is interested in professional development and knows how they want it to proceed.

So Dear Teachers, over to you?

All good wishes and looking forward very much to learning about your point of view!

Tessa Woodward

 

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Comments

Hello everybody and warmest wishes to you Tessa from Turkey from Zeynep the smoker:) (unfortunately I still do smoke) It was so good to watch your interview on and so to be able to see you. I've missed you and I hope I'll have an opportunity soon to visit you or meet you in a conference.

Some very interesting discussion has been going on in the blog and having given a few sessions on communication and teacher effectiveness training, I thought it could be a good idea to share some teacher reactions (verbal, non-verbal) and prejudices to certain student behaviours or utterences. Actually, we cannot say this is a real case study; however, most of the situations and utterances have been taken from real life situations from teachers and students.

I've categorized the situations and utterences into two:

A) CLASSROOM        B) STAFFROOM

A) CLASSROOM:

Student utterance

Teacher’s reaction

Alternative approaches

‘ I hate writing’

(when T gives a writing assignment)

‘ Though luck! You still have to do it’

(T closes all the doors)

1)S feeling insecure because he/she thinks he is not good at writing. This could be a S.O.S- a cry for help.

(T is willing to open doors and see what the real problem is’

2)

3)

‘ Why are we spending so much time on modals’

‘ Because modals are very important!’

1)

2)

3)

‘ Oh no! Not again! I hate this reading book!’

‘ Tough luck! It is a part of the curriculum and we have to use it’

1)

2)

3)

‘I’ll never be able to finish this assignment on time’

‘ Stop complaining and get your work done’

1)

2)

3)

‘ I can’t see the logic behind this grammar rule. It’s so silly’

‘ Well, it might be just because this is NOT a logic lesson. This is an English lesson’

1)

2)

3)

 

 

 

B) STAFFROOM:

Situation

T’s assumption

Alternative approaches

S late to class

Cannot take responsibility

1)      How does he/she come to school?

2)      Traffic jam?

3)       

S never does homework

Lazy

Doesn’t like English

1)

2)

S daydreams during the lesson

Doesn’t like English

Disrespectful

1)

2)

S asks irrelevant Qs during the lesson

A slow learner

He/She can’t see clearly

Very confused

 1)

2)

S doesn’t participate in group work/ pair work

Antisocial

Disturbs class

 1)

2)

 

The third column is for you to fill in and of course you can come up with new situations and student utterances. NLP presuppositions and Dr. Thomas Gordon's book: ' Teacher Effectiveness Training' are good resources in this area, by the way.

Alternative approaches to situations and utterances can also be used in teacher training (there are several parallels between them:)) Once we get the idea and the gist and train ourselves they can be applied everywhere.

That's all for now, ı hope I haven't disappointed you coming with a different idea. ı thought this was similar to a case study.

All the best,

Zeynep

Hi Tessa, Thank you for the opportunity to voice my bug bear. In many of my situations as a trainee, I got sick of open discussions. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate their value and always create time for them, but too many trainers seem to use it as an excuse not to prepare anything themselves. I can imagine them hurried the night before. "Oh dear, I have twelve trainees who want to know about classroom behaviour. Let me see, it's a four hour seminar. I think 2 case studies and ten questions should just about do it." The following day, the students read the case studies and then debate the questions for the remainder of the day. Theirs plenty of debate and light moments of humour too. The discussion extends well beyond the allotted time. It seems a success. Well, I knew what Sandra and Milos were going to say from the first. I've never understood a word Peter has said. Dick always gives us lots of barely related anecdotes about his world travels, while Alex uses psychological babble to hide that he hasn't a clue. A sleeps. B writes continuously in her jotter. C tuts and hums and watches the clock. D and E pass notes back and forth. No one has actually learnt anything. The trainer and three or four participating students go home feeling that was a day well spent, because they enjoyed the discussion, but the remaining trainees leave bored and disappointed, because they learned nothing because the trainer didn't clarify Peter's comments, or set a time limit for Sandra and Milos to stop blowing gas, or interrupt Dick for irrelevance, or cross question Alex, OR actually share with them any of his or her experience. I believe some trainers allow trainees to waffle on because they are afraid of hurting their adult pride; but the result is the other trainees suffer. To put it bluntly. I don't much care what an inexperienced teacher thinks is the best way to do something. They are probably wrong. I know I was. I want an experienced teacher to educate me. I want the trainer to train me. Sometimes I wonder in training sessions - and sometimes on these pages too - if the leader actually has anything to offer or whether they are just researching ideas for their new books. That said, the majority of my trainers have NOT been like this! They've been very informative and helpful!! Rant concluded, giganick

Dear All,
I personally think that what most teachers need is group management and leadership training prior to all methodology trainings.
What are the intra-group processes?
How do people react to group phenomena?
What roles do they play?
What stages does the grup go through ?etc
We may all be well-acquainted with current teaching trends, exam requirements and students'interests but still unable to teach efficiently due to various problems apeearing inside the group itself or on the teacher- group level.
Best regards:)
Magda

Hello Zeynep!  Long time no see! I am delighted to hear from you again!
Thanks very much for taking the time to give us these two situations...(classroom and staff room) and some real life-based teacher reactions to student behaviour and utterances. The third column I see is for people to open up alternatives and so to understand the utterance or behaviour better, rather than simply closing down avenues of exploration and discussion with a brusque remark.
I agree with you about Dr T. Gordon's TET book. I have lost my copy so I will go on Amazon and see if I can get another. It is a classic!
Thanks for the reminder! And thanks for the many micro case studies!
Hope to see you again before too long!
All the best
Tessa
 

Dear Magda,
Thanks very much for your comment!
I think you have hit the nail on the head! Since nearly all us teachers and trainers spend most of our contact time in groups rather than one to one, we really really need to understand as much as we can about how groups act or work.  I have learned a lot myself from Gaie Houston (and from her "Red book of Groups") and from Bernard Dufeu (and his  "Teaching Myself") . 
As for leadership....the person who gave me my first job as an in-service teacher trainer  warned me that, once I had stepped slightly forward from the main rank of teacher, I would act like a lightning rod on the top of a building. He suggested I imagine that I was on a building and also a little apart from the building and so, if there was any static electricity in the air, I would surely attract it just by being there. Remembering that has really helped me at moments! 
All the best
Tessa

Dear Giganick,
Thanks for livening us up with a great rant!
I was once in a situation perhaps a little similar to the one you describe. I had saved up  money and time to go on a course. I had been conducting class discussions myself as a teacher for years and so I was really REALLY ready either for some "Input", or for some very well-handled discussion based on close reading of interesting articles or on lectures or case studies etc. I was desparately disappointed to be in badly handled groups again and again for long sessions, re-inventing the wheel (as I saw it!) ! Well, I left the course. You can always vote with your feet. That is the wonderful thing about adult education!
And having left it, I slowly grew to understand that there are huge differences between collusively pleasant chat where nothing much is explored or learned, unpleasant wrangling that is about power and status more than about ideas, and the kind of co-ordinated intellectual activity that Neil Mercer  calls 'interthinking' in his "Words and minds" (Routledge 2000) book. Recognising the latter when it happens and knowing how to encourage it is something that is definitely learnable, I feel.
I don't feel the same as you about beginner teachers though. I think if people are in a professional field for a long time and are very experienced, we can tend to get over routinised, to see what the profession expects us to see. We name things and categorise things the normal professional way. Beginner teachers dont know any of that and so they can sometimes hit upon truths and insights which are fundamentally important. I like being around those kinds of 'new eyes'.
There is a book called "Beginner's Mind"  a zen book as you have probably guessed, by Shinryu Suzuki. I think that book was what prompted my thoughts in this area. 
By the way, I had to laugh at the descriptions of your inner thoughts about your discussion partners. Oh ! you are naughty! But I am sure we all think stuff like this when we are stuck in unproductive discussions but are too shy or politically correct to admit it! 
Thanks again for the rant!
Tessa
 
 

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