Tony Gurr

Posts Tagged ‘reading is sexy’

So, you wanna be an ELT Teacher Trainer…huh?

In ELT and ELL, Teacher Training on 04/01/2012 at 7:28 pm

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)!

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”:






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!

Most importantly:

  • 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 bookand you will figure out how to make it happen, if you really want it!


Bedtime Reading – the “Musical”…

In Book Reviews on 06/04/2011 at 9:33 pm

After watching Gray’s Anatomy this week, I got the sudden urge to “burst into song“….(I won’t spoil it by telling you whether Callie, and her baby, make it through the show – and whether Cristina can save the day with an innovative, but “dangerous” procedure – learned from Burke in the early days of the show) – that would just be unfair to all my fellow “soap addicts”!

Problem is I am still getting to grips with audioBOO – and you really do not want to hear me sing (ask my “big, little girl” or wife)!

So, you are going to have to make do with a “Library Update”


As some of you will know, I have been putting together some “Libraries” (mostly in the hope that schools and colleges around Turkey might actually decide that teachers need resources to help them learn). I try only to choose books that I know and have fallen in love with…

Tell your Principles and Directors that if they don’t “feed” the teachers, we end up “eating” the kids…!


The latest one (“hot off the press” today) relates to a “theme” we have been talking about this week: Tony’s GOOD TO GREAT Libraryis designed to help those teachers that want to take their practice up to “the next level” and is full of books that take an evidence-based approach to “great teaching”.

This ties in very nicely to the first ever “Library” I developed: Tony’s LEARNING Library. This set of books relates to those bits of bedtime reading that have “shaped” a lot of my current thinking – indeed, have helped changed that thinking.

And is an excellent partner for another of my favourite “Libraries”: Tony’s LEARNABLE INTELLIGENCE Library . This list of books looks at ideas to make us all “smarter” – and ways to help us help our students do more with what they learn, too.


If you click on this link: ALL Tony’s Libraries – you can access the full list of my “Libraries”…

Enjoy and REMEMBER…..