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ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > Teacher Training    

Teacher Training


Teacher Training
Hi, dear colleagues!
I īve just been thinking lately how this autumn will bring new teachers to our schools, and daydreaming how lovely it would be to get some people who really love what they īre supposed to do, who ask when they don īt know something, accept given advice, learn fast and share their knowledge with their students and their colleagues. I know some of you, like me, are teacher trainers, in addition to being teachers, so I was wondering what īs your stand on this subject? Do you like training new teachers? Has it changed much during the last decade? What have your past experiences with it been like? What īs the best piece of advice you īd give a new teacher? What do you like/dislike about trainees? Even if you īre a trainee yourself, what would you expect from your mentor, and what do you think mentors expect from you? And for those of you who are parents, what sort of teachers do you wish for your kids?
(PS: I won īt be able to be here the whole time, but I īll check in every now and then. Thanks in advance for all your replies.)

28 Jul 2010      


In my country young teachers go to teachers training colleges two days a week and get their theoretical training there. In school they get practical training - trough us experienced teachers.
What strikes me more and more is that what is demanded from them by their professors in training college is very much removed from everyday school life.

For their show lessons (for which they get grades of course) they have to stick meticulously to all the rules they have learned and to whatevre style or method or idea every single professor fancies most. It īs almost an act of prostitution because the young teachers know (and we older ones tell them) that if they were to teach like they do for their professors they would have burnout-syndrome within two years and would never survive.

So they bend over backwards for their professors (to the point that one young teacher in my school made turkey and other traditional food FOR THE ENTIRE CLASS for a single show-lesson about Thanksgiving in the USA) and do anything to impress them.

The ones who teach them the tricks of the trade are the experienced teachers in the schools. I enjoy that a lot - to see how an insecure stammering ex-student develops into a competent young teacher within a year or two is a beautiful experience.
Their training time in my part of Germany is two years. In the first year they learn from us, in the second year we begin to learn from them!

28 Jul 2010     


I just want to share some thoughts about the young teachers facing students for the first time, without any assistant or trainer or professor. I see them in my school (high school-college) - they can īt help themselves being surprised how the teenagers act in a school!!!! They go to the class and come after 50 minutes amazed and confused. As elderberrywine said.... the difference between what they were taught and what they see is quite huge!!!! And , more than that, they are taught to teach for average-intermediate students and unfortunately they do not have the chance to start teaching with such students! The students we deal with come from ...not so cultural/select backgrounds and it is difficult to deal with their behavior first of all....then the level of knowledge and then their ability and capacity to learn. 
As a comparison....it īs like studying at Geography about jungle: it has tall trees, wild animals like this and this, beautiful birds, colorful plants and insects and when you get there you get bitten by a snake! 
This is why most of the young teachers think about changing their job as soon as possible when they face the real school.

I know there are good schools and great students....but I talk about the majority of schools here. 

28 Jul 2010     


Hello Anita,
Very interesting subject. I īm not a trainee nor am I a mentor, but as a "young" teacher (with little or no experience: I graduated from the University long before I decided to be a teacher. Before I used to be an interpreter and even taught arts in a studio in a kindergarten) I was "assigned" to a senior colleague-mentor for the first 3 years of my teaching experience. The mentor is supposed to guide you by sharing their experience. You īre both supposed to attend each other īs classes (from time to time) and have dairies with comments on your attendance. So I  have a so-called portfolio of a young teacher, ie a file where I keep various documents (new requirements to assessment of ss ī work, etc.), educational articles that I īve studied, my own research reports on some topics (creative writing for example), materials from some proficiency development courses, demonstration lessons ī plans, "mutual attendance" diaries, some tips on how to maintain discipline in a class or how to be a better teacher. Whenever the inspectors from the city education department come to our school (which has happened quite often for the past 2 years), they look meticulously through that portfolio (and other documents too) to check on your work and progress. 
Every 4 years teachers in my country are to attend proficiency development courses and then get assessment of their work the next year.
During the English language weeks (usually sometime in April) all our teachers ("young" as well as more experienced ones) prepare demonstration lessons. We have a schedule when each of us can attend some of those classes. I love it because I guess that īs the way I learn the most.
Sorry this post turned out so lengthy, I got carried away...Embarrassed
P.S. 2 Dona: Been there, done thatConfused Totally agree.

28 Jul 2010     

regina. di

In Brazil, the reality most universities show us when we are studying to be a teacher is very different from the real one we face when we are having practical classes at school or even after graduating . It seems that teacher trainers at university are out of reality (at least I felt this with my university course), and only the practice of years is going to teach us how to prepare and behave in our classes.
For all this, I think it īs very useful for schools to have a department specialized in English with a teacher trainer to show them the reality and give them hints. We don īt usually have this in our schools in Brazil, but it would be just great if all of them could have. If we are talking about language institutes then it īs very different. There is usually a coordinator to help you and make you feel better. I have some experience with helping the coordinator at the language institute I work at with teacher training and it īs been just great. We usually give them some theory to read and discuss, practical workshops and then they have to present a microteaching. It īs good because the trainees feel more comfortable to face a classroom.
Well, I think that īs it!!
Best wishes  

28 Jul 2010     


In my country, it differs a lot if you work in a state school or a private one. But as far as what they teach you at university vs. reality is concerned, it īs obviously the same everywhere. I was amazed, when I started teaching, to see how different it is from what they taught us at university. Amazed and shocked. What Dorothea says about the Thanksgiving lesson is absolutely shocking to me - in ous state schools, most mentors actually demand that you stick to the curriculum so stiffly that the lesson is actually boring. If you taught like that for real all your students would probably hate your subject, and so would you. Well, not all mentors - when I was finishing university my mentor was great. It īs sad, actually, to see how little proper work is done to prepare teachers. I work at a private school and we think it īs very important, so we invest a lot of time into it - visiting each other īs lessons, organising workshops, etc. and it īs all practical, about what you teach for real, practical ideas and advice. We rarely have problems Dona mentioned, but when we do have them, young teacher can ask us for help, and we come to their lessons to see what is happening and how to solve it, if possible, or bear it, if not. What is sad in this situation is when you get a young teacher who won īt ask or won īt listen, because he or she doesn īt care - they say when they go to work in a state school, they don īt have to try as much... Can you believe it?

28 Jul 2010