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Participants in Afghanistan listed the advantages of the process as including encouragement for learner self-assessment, helping to build a culture of selfaccess and learner autonomy in which the learner makes his/her own decisions, and increasing the teacher’s knowledge of learner needs; as an Afghan programme manager put it: ‘A win-win situation for both teachers and students’. They valued a system that was standardised, realistic and relatively straightforward. Involvement with the design and implementation of these systems and procedures meant that teacher co-ordinators took a different view of their own roles in the centre: ■■

‘Now I know that I have great responsibility to help the trainees – using the SAC log, I need to discuss their strong points and areas to be improved.’ (Ethiopian teacher)

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‘After the course, I know I need to give advice to users and counsel them and monitor their progress. By knowing their strengths and areas to develop in our users, they find a clear goal of using the Learning Centre.’ (Afghan LC co-ordinator)

Impact on exploitation of resources and task design ‘Accessibility’ became something of a buzzword with CPD participants, and the initial course led directly to a great deal of unlocking and emptying of cupboards, repositioning of shelves and introduction of loan systems. This process was enabled by the fact that the support of local military commands had been sought and obtained through awareness-raising sessions. Sometimes, these changes were quite small but effective – simple, routine changes in timetabling enabled users to have access to the self-access centre during their free time. Again, this process was gradual, sometimes frustratingly so. CPD participants emphasised retrospectively that at entry point they had only seen the SAC or LC in terms of IT – initially in Afghanistan, the LC was often referred to as ‘the Lab’: ■■

‘I was thinking that we must use only the computers and the software. I had no idea other than thinking it was a computer room.’ (Ethiopian teacher)

CPD led to a wider range of resources being used both in the classroom and in the SAC. Teacher co-ordinators reported a need for learner training in this area – novelty meant that the possibility of using the computers and software had something of a magnetic effect on users to the neglect of other resources. Nevertheless, by 2012 in Ethiopia, it had become common to see users in the SAC working with a range of resources. Some significant progress was also made in terms of task design. This was undertaken in the form of mini-projects with trainees working in pairs or small groups, producing drafts which were trialled, redrafted and modified. Examples of effective tasks included support for vocabulary development, reading and watching the news in English (a very popular activity in some SACs). Open-ended tasks were also developed collaboratively to exploit the British Army magazine Soldier (see Appendix 3).

The house of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ |

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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...