relationships with their students. Above all, teachers felt empowered by the experience, or in the words of one teacher: ‘You realise that you can make a change and that it is in your hands’. Challenging conditions are also faced by Andy Keedwell (Chapter 6) in his account of the introduction of self-access centres within the Peacekeeping English project in Ethiopia and, particularly, the English for Security and Defence project in Afghanistan. These range from the polar opposites in Ethiopia of neglect of self-access resources (non-functioning computers, dilapidated buildings) to their over-zealous protection (unwillingness to allow users to borrow books, a single key-holder for the centre often called away on other duties) and the physical dangers of the security situation in Afghanistan. However, it is not these conditions that Keedwell identifies as the biggest threat to the establishment of effective self-access systems; but, rather, the prevailing beliefs at all levels about what constitutes teaching and learning, which failed to acknowledge the very concept of autonomous learning. In this situation a systematic CPD programme was critical to changing attitudes of key stakeholders to autonomous learning and to ensuring that resources were effectively utilised. Keedwell found that it seemed to be easiest to influence the attitudes of those closest to the chalk face – not surprisingly, as the centre teacher-coordinators had the most direct experience of teaching-learning. Yet, consistent with experience discussed in other chapters of this volume, it was other gatekeepers – in this case senior military administrators – whose understanding of autonomy and choice for language learners was most needed if the project was to succeed. There is an unfortunate tendency among project managers to focus on the disbursement of resources as indicators of success in establishing self-access systems, but the central lesson of Keedwell’s chapter is that ‘innovation depends on people and not things’. There is little point in providing sophisticated infrastructure for self-access centres if the concept of autonomous learning is not understood by those responsible for managing and running the centres. As the chapter illustrates, CPD can be instrumental in shifting the focus from things to people. Beyond self-access centres, information and communication technology (ICT), in its various guises, is increasingly being regarded as an essential ‘thing’ for education and, concomitantly, e-learning is nowadays seen as a central element in continuing professional development for teachers in many systems. Four of the chapters in this volume showcase the potential of ICT for CPD in a variety of contexts. The first of these, by Russell Stannard and Savraj Matharu (Chapter 7), discusses the development of Stannard’s award-winning, innovative site www.teachertrainingvideos.com (TTV.com), which was designed to help teachers use technology in their teaching, as well as another site www.multimediatrainingvideos.com, which supported a ‘flipped’ MSc in Multimedia course, providing training in the use of software through online videos and thus freeing classroom time for more engagement with students in tutorials. Key to the success of TTV.com is its flexibility and ease of access – allied to the fact that there is no cost to users. Individual users can work at their own pace, can stop, start and review videos as they wish, when they wish. In this way teachers are truly in charge of their own CPD, choosing not just the topic they wish to learn about, but also controlling how they proceed through the materials, bolstering their confidence before they use the technology in their own classes. Both sites demonstrate
Published on Aug 29, 2014
Published on Aug 29, 2014
The publication, edited by David Hayes offers global perspectives on the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of English language teach...