Providing master trainers/teacher educators with the freedom and flexibility to select the materials they use when they train their teachers so that they can ensure it meets teachers’ needs within the context and, therefore, makes the training more effective, is our ultimate goal. However, in the Indian context, where trainers and teachers in the government sector are on the whole unfamiliar with how interactive pedagogical approaches look and feel in practice, having had little or no practical training, and where the concept of autonomous or experiential learning is relatively new, we have found it better to start with relatively prescriptive approaches that focus on building trainers’ and teachers’ techniques first. In parallel, they are provided with plenty of opportunities to discuss and reflect upon real problems and solutions. This scaffolding builds confidence and engagement in the early stages and prepares them for the increasing level of challenge as the project progresses.
The master trainer or teacher educator is provided with a number of resources to use in their own training programmes for teachers: a teachers’ workbook, a set of training notes, a teachers’ journal, a portfolio and supplementary resources such as a grammar self-study book or a DVD of teachers teaching English in India. However, because the reconstruction of knowledge is important in ensuring deeper understanding, we encourage master trainers and teacher educators to work together to plan their training sessions and ensure they are confident that the activities are relevant and meaningful for their teachers. In Tamil Nadu, groups of teacher educators were brought together by the state government for several days in advance of the training to do this. In Assam, groups of master trainers piloted the materials with a sample group of teachers first, and then recommended changes and improvements to both the materials and the notes before the wider roll out of courses across the state. In Bihar, initial training included co-conducting of the first day of training for teachers with British Council Training Consultants, and, depending on their confidence and aptitude as trainers, the British Council trainer would withdraw into a monitoring role or continue more direct support over the course of a three-day programme. As new resources were developed specifically tailored to the local context, teacher educators were actively involved in initial generation of ideas for content, delivery of pilot materials and in-the-field feedback on their applicability to the local teaching context, as well as their suitability in terms of their own ability to use the content effectively with teachers.
In all projects, we endeavour to provide time for master trainers/teacher educators to practise newly gained teaching techniques and skills in the classroom with their students before they train other teachers. We have found these approaches to be successful in helping trainers to internalise key training messages, which enhances their own confidence and credibility in the training room, and enables them to reflect upon and share their experiences when responding to teachers’ problems.
| Continuing professional development in action
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...