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‘After the course, my role is changed from a dominant and rigid teacher to a democratic and flexible counsellor.’ (Teacher co-ordinator, Ethiopia)

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‘[The CPD] helped me to transform the traditional teacher-based teaching approach to more effective learner-based language learning in the classroom and the SAC. I think this is a milestone in my entire professional career.’ (Teacher, Ethiopia)

Other stakeholders had also evidently taken on board new concepts of choice and learner autonomy: ■■

‘Before the course, I had limited knowledge about autonomous learning. Through this course, I’ve realised that self-access, which is a completely new culture in Afghanistan, is the most effective culture.’ (LC co-ordinator, Afghanistan)

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‘One of the major changes which we learned and implemented after taking the course was giving users the choice and fair level of autonomy.’ (Programme manager, Afghanistan)

Participants had clearly come to see the SACs and LCs and how they could operate in a different way. Ethiopian participants were asked to describe the self-access centre using a range of shop metaphors (derived from Gardner and Miller, 1999: 143): ■■

‘The SAC is like a supermarket that stocks a wide range of goods where the customer has to choose what they like. You can ask for help but you make the decisions yourself. There are things you can’t buy anywhere else.’

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‘The SAC is like a fast food shop because it meets your immediate needs and provides quick satisfaction when convenient. It is also very easy to use.’

One aspect of self-access-oriented CPD (and methodology courses for teachers which were run in parallel with it) was an identification of the need for a shift from factory operative to a facilitator of learning. Teachers often seemed to find this transition and the idea of choice quite liberating. They came up with new metaphors for the coursebook – a tool, a springboard or a menu: ‘A deep lake from which we can draw water when we need it’. The idea of freedom was stressed: ■■

‘The training gave me the freedom to think – it helped me understand that the coursebook is not a holy book.’

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‘It made me feel confident to go out of the coursebook and help learners in the SAC.’

Teacher co-ordinators recognised that there were advantages to the lockstep mode of working with software in that it led to effective language learning in a specific, finite language area, was easy to control and possibly more suitable for the lowest levels. But they also concluded that: ■■

‘All learners are forced/obliged to all do the same thing at the same time and have no opportunity to share ideas. It makes the learners over-dependent.’ (Feedback from a group of Afghan teachers and co-ordinators)

In contrast, through discussion during CPD, alternatives of providing choice to users had been identified and were implemented, with one Afghan co-ordinator summing up his new awareness of the idea of choice in this way: ‘A diet of only cheese is not enough’. The house of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ |

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Innovations in the CPD of English language teachers  
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...