Those of you that know me intimately (well, maybe not “that” intimately) will know that I spend some of my “free time” working with teachers and school leaders on various development programmes and LEARNing opportunities (gotta plug the blog – it is, afterall a brand new year)!
Actually, as I get so little time in the classroom these days – I love this (always have)!
Right now, I’m getting ready to work with a bunch of ELT teachers – who have taken the “leap” and are planning the “transformation” into the role of ELL Teacher Educator (sounds so much better than “ELT Trainer”, dunnit)?
I was pulling together some on-line “bedtime reading” resources together as pre-sessional prep – and actually went back to one of my very first posts (almost a year ago to see what had changed – to see if I have changed)!
In that post, I made a few observations – as have others before and after me:
- There is no one best “route” for becoming a teacher educator – and sometimes many of the so-called “trainer-training” programmes that have sprung up over the years are a waste of time!
- There is no one best “trainer profile” – trainers and teacher educators come in all shapes and sizes (but many of them are “rounder” than most – and, not sure why, a large proportion of them still smoke)!
- Teacher training or educator LEARNing, as a job, is about “service” – to teachers and the profession. It’s about“serving” - not being “served”.
- Teacher-training is really about who you are, what you know, what you stand forand how you share all of that and get others to “find their voice” and share what they have to offer.
- It’s bloody hard work – not just about “winning the crowd” or “having a laugh” (what I call the “ka-ka-kee school of teacher training”) – and requires a lot of varied and multiple experiences if you really want to add value to the LEARNing and teaching of others.
NONE of these have changed – over the past 12 months!
What had changed for me, however, was the resources I was recommending to people. In my early days as a teacher trainer, I focussed vey much on “content”. If I was working with ELT professionals, all my recommendations were about ELL – if I was working with engineering lecturers, all my stuff would come from the literature about “engineering education” (go on, I dare you, try and find that kind of stuff)!
With the recommendations I have been making more recently, there’s much more of a “variety” – much more “transdisciplinarity” (is that a real word, acaba)! This has got to be a good thing and it made me realise that I have another area in which I am walking-my-talk.
Yes, reading is good – and sexy – but reading outside of our disciplines, our comfort zones is sexier!
Anyways, I thought I’d share the most recent “bedtime reading list” with you – especially, if you are thinking of taking the “leap”:
REFLECTION, REFLECTIVE PRACTICE & REFLECTING
- Learning Through Reflection – a great “summary” article and way to start your own thinking.
- Questions for Critical Reflection – a very practical set of questions everyone should know.
- A Critical Reflection Framework – a great “potted” summary of the best key elements.
- REFLECT yourself to GREATNESS… – a little post from my own blog, allthingslearning (this is the “most important” bit of bedtime reading for this section).
- Critical Reflection – an introduction to Mezirow’s work (1990). It’s a bit more “academic” but you do not have to spend too much time on it.
BECOMING A TEACHER TRAINER
- Becoming a Facilitator of Teacher Learning – a great little article from Robert Feather
- Am I ready to be a teacher trainer? – a really good “Think-Piece” from Tessa Woodward.
- How to be a trainer – this is the follow-up article Tessa wrote to the one above.
- Becoming an ELT Teacher Educator – a great blog posting from Marisa Constantinides.
- “T” is for Teacher Training – from Scott Thornbury and his excellent blog.
- Becoming a Teacher Trainer – a great (short) blog post from John Hughes.
- Towards Being a Teacher Trainer – another very useful post from John.
- Training or Learning? – a very good question and one that all teacher trainers need to think about. This a great little read from BusinessBalls (yes, I love this site)!
PLANNING WORKSHOPS & TRAINING EVENTS
- The Socratic Method: Teaching by Asking Instead of by Telling – a really good way to start thinking about techniques in teacher training (the basics, yani).
- Teacher LEARNing: What do we NEED and what can we DO for ourselves? – another post (from my own blog) with some key issues all teachers and teacher trainers need to think about.
- Training, Coaching, Mentoring, Training and Learning Design for Developing People – a great set of resources from BusinessBalls (not for teachers really – but some super ideas).
- Techniques & Approaches in Teacher Training – a great set of very readable posts (again from John Hughes) on what teachers “do” and “how” we do it (there are around 6 short articles here – should take you 15 minutes to read the lot)!
- Running Workshops – some very practical ideas on what to do (and not to do when planning workshops).
- As “Conference SEASON” approaches – again from my own blog. This was prepared for people giving a conference paper (for the first time) but the basic ideas remain true for doing workshops and running training events.
- Teambuilding Ideas, Games and Activities – again from BusinessBalls, loads of great resources here.
What I will say, to wrap up, is also that a few other of my ideas and bits of advice (from last year) also remain unchanged.
Just as we are starting to realise that “intelligence is learnable” (finally), we are starting to see that teacher training abilities can be learned – but require Disraeli’s “three pillars”.
So, what does all this mean for teachers who are thinking about moving into teacher training (or educator LEARNing):
- Watch a lot – go to as many training sessions as you can, check out as many conference papers as you can, get on the web and find other presenters. LEARN like your hair’s on fire!
- Reflect a lot – think about the sessions you go to and draw up a list. Think about the “best” training sessions you have been to – ask yourself: What worked? What mattered most? What did the presenter/facilitator “do” and how did that make you feel? – DO IT! Also, think about the “worst” sessions you went to – ask yourself: How did I feel? What got in the way of my learning? What stopped my engagement? DON’T DO IT – EVER!
- Read a lot – to start things off take a look at Tony’s TEACHER TRAINER Library .
- Get your hands “dirty” a lot – as a wise man (I actually thought it was a woman last year) once said:
You will LEARN more by doing “teacher-trainer-type” things and “failing” than by reading a book – and you will figure out how to make it happen, if you really want it!