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Lessons learned When I left post in Ethiopia in 2012 some substantial gains had been made and a process of reflection meant that a number of lessons learned could be applied to the development of self-access in Afghanistan. These lessons are described below and might well be relevant to any implementation of educational innovations. Innovation depends on people and not things The CPD described in this chapter aimed to provide training and support at each stage of implementing self-access systems and procedures for people, and to reduce risks perceived as resulting in many contexts from a focus on supplying things, such as infrastructure and resources. Resources are essential but, to the extent that implementing self-access has been successful in the contexts described, success has been just as much as a result of the development of the skills, beliefs and behaviour of a varied group of stakeholders and, in particular, in helping these stakeholders to reach agreement on what needs to be done and how to do it. Even following extensive CPD, some resources remained under exploited at some bases. Projects cannot just provide things in the expectation that people will simply find a way to use them. Innovation needs to take people’s beliefs (about what makes effective teaching and learning, for example) into account and provide opportunities for them to reconsider and restructure their beliefs No innovation can be successful unless stakeholders are helped to identify and articulate their beliefs and, if appropriate, restructure them. Un-reconstituted stakeholder perceptions of teaching and learning probably had the greatest potential to impede effective self-access implementation. A range of simple awarenessraising activities were built into our CPD to enable participants to articulate their beliefs, challenge and revise them, and apply them in real-life problem-solving and discussion of challenges. Trainee discussion (and any sense of urgency it had, as it was the participants themselves who would be implementing systems and procedures) was at least as important as any input provided by trainers. Even then, the primary focus on grammar, which remains at some bases in Ethiopia, shows how resilient beliefs can be. Innovation needs time In both countries, projects benefited from the fact that funding was available for intensive training over time for a relatively small group of stakeholders. The original course in Ethiopia would probably not have had full impact without an extensive follow up at bases, with recycling and a second review course (with a third planned for 2014) all taking place over time. In Afghanistan, logistical and security factors meant that CPD had to be delivered in segments over weeks and months but in many ways this has proved to be more effective than the intensive courses in Ethiopia as it has enabled trainees to go away, work on the design of items, implement them and return with fresh ideas to discuss their experiences. Innovation needs ownership The aim of CPD was to involve participants as much as possible in the design of systems, procedures, tasks and other self-access routines. This type of direct

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...