Jan 24, 2008

The only blogs I've really dealt with so far have been of the Joe variety, so this is going to be a new and wonderful adventure for all (both?) of us.

For the sake of simplicity I will start with the day before yesterday and our latest staff training encounter. These are regular four-weekly occasions and, to everyone's credit, are a very enjoyable and productive part of our working schedule.
What were the themes? It was a back-to-basics talk: are we meeting our students expectations, not in terms of providing rewarding and enjoyable 'lessons', but in terms of ensuring a 'course' that delivers the hoped-for goods?
Primarily: are we maybe conducting lessons at a pace which we as teachers find congenial but which might not match the potential (or preference) of learners whose priority could be to get as much as possible from the investement they've put into this six or eight months? Do we want our students to be thinking 'well that was very good but I think I should have learnt more'? Of course we don't.
Clearly this is a many-sided and many-shaded theme and there was no attempt to find 'the answer', other than to perhaps shake up our thoughts a wee bit and check if our priorities are in tune with our students' each time we walk into a classroom.
We have already agreed to discuss with each class what they preceive as 'progress' or 'improvement'. Is it simply 'quantity' i.e. to learn as many words as possible? Is it increased accuracy which they can measure in terms of making fewer and fewer mistakes? Or does it mean the growing sense of feeling 'at ease' in speaking English? I'm looking forward to hearing what teachers report back from these talks.
This is not what is usually meant by the misleadingly enticing title 'learner-centred teaching' but it is, in practical terms, largely what I see it as. But more of this at a future point.

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