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General ‘busyness’ of the start of the new academic year in March – for teachers and mentors alike.

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In some cases, insufficient information was collected for mentors to contact participants (contact details of some participants were not accurately recorded).

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A delay in establishment of contact between mentors and participants in many cases; one of the four mentors (responsible for 15 participants) made no attempt to contact mentees but could not be replaced until June.

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Moodle did not prove successful as a platform for the project; many teachers did not access it or used it only sporadically; most mentors, as well as teachers, found it difficult to access, navigate and use.

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The official letter from the Ministry of Education, which had been promised to teachers to support participation in the project locally, was not forthcoming until July.

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Inadequate time for discussion among co-ordinators and mentors regarding follow-up to the initial workshop before the workshop, due to lateness of project approval.

In light of these serious ‘teething problems’, it is probably unsurprising in retrospect – although it was a source of concern to the mentors and co-ordinators at the time – that no more than 40 teachers (in other words, half of the participants in the January workshop) were in contact with their mentors at the mid-point (July). Of the remainder (the 40 who had apparently ‘dropped out’), some 20−30 participants had not once been in touch with their mentor, and in this sense cannot be said to have really begun to participate in the project, as opposed to the initial seminar. On the positive side, according to mentors’ interim reports and information gathered from regular Skype meetings between the academic co-ordinator and mentors, good progress had been shown by many of the 40 still-participating teachers, to the point that they had findings and experiences worth sharing with others by the mid-point (July). There had also been cases of good, sometimes very good, practice by mentors (regular contact with mentees, beginning soon after the workshop and continuing weekly; editing and publication online of mentees’ reports; effective record-keeping via use of Excel; encouragement to report on progress via user-friendly reporting forms; and feedback to some individuals). Mentors had generally settled into their role, developed good experience and appeared fully committed to the project. Also, an effective means of mentor-mentoring had been developed whereby the academic co-ordinator would Skype individual mentors once per month. Thus, several problems mentioned above had been resolved by the mid-point (July), or were less serious than they had been. All mentors had developed a clearer picture of who their participating teachers were and how to contact them. Mentors reported a willingness to make a fresh start on the part of some teachers who had not yet been participating actively. A new website (http:// championteachers.weebly.com/) was established to bring together progress reports and advice on the programme, and a Facebook group was set up – these served as a complement to Moodle and quite quickly became a much

Teacher-research as continuing professional development |

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Innovations in the CPD of English language teachers  

The publication, edited by David Hayes offers global perspectives on the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of English language teach...

Innovations in the CPD of English language teachers  

The publication, edited by David Hayes offers global perspectives on the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of English language teach...

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