For most of the last week I’ve been in suspense. On Thursday I discovered #ELTchat, and then had to wait patiently until Wednesday in order to be able to participate. For those who don’t know, #ELTchat is a weekly online discussion for ELT professionals all over the world, held via twitter. Yesterday we spoke about the skills teacher trainers need to have in the 21st Century. I’m not a teacher trainer (yet!) but it was still interesting to chat to some other teachers/teacher trainers and find out what they think.
We started our chat by discussing the role of technology in teaching and in teacher training. Almost everyone agreed that the 21st century teacher trainer should be comfortable with the use of technology, and encourage their trainees to use it too.
- Digital literacy- an ability to integrate technology, not just use it, and to know when a pen and paper works too! (@EilidhSingh)
- I think the first thing that comes to mind to me is the rise of online training – have done a couple of online CPD courses (@thebestticher)
- So handling input in different ways including learning the tech is key these days (@Marisa_C)
- I think being comfortable with tech is a necessity (@SueAnnan)
- Tech is not to be feared, it should be under any T educator’s belt as another means to any end necessary (@ManosSY)
- Different skills needed for example to be a moderator on an online forum rather than an in-person trainer (@thebestticher)
- E-moderation still not ‘normalised’ not part of trainer training courses (@Marisa_C)
- When I was doing TT the Ts didn’t want online, they wanted face-to-face. Hope things are evolving (@GlenysHanson)
- Some people still prefer the face-to-face – some are OK with non contact courses – it’s changing yes (@Marisa_C)
- one huge advantage of tech though is that you get to access a much wider range of ideas/people/experiences – like this for example! (@thebestticher)
- So a key 21st cent skill for trainers is to be early adopters of tech and highly connected (@Marisa_C)
- I see it as their job to model connectivism and pedagogically sound use of tech in class (@Marisa_C)
- thr shud b a purpose of using tech. Tech 4 d sake of tech is meaningless. (@SarhandiSuhail)
- tech is another tool – educators have to be proactive – even tho terrified themselves, they must encourage other teachers to use it (@ManosSY)
Different students, different teachers
We briefly discussed changing ELT markets, and whether or not this should have an impact on how teachers are trained/what they are trained to do. (This is something I’d love to explore further!)
- Are 21st C students the same? Notice more business/specialised, more YL, less GE (even over last 5 yrs) (@thebestticher) (@SueAnnan)
- So should our training reflect more specialised areas (rather than CELTA just training to teach GE)? (@thebestticher)
- I think people are more able to use Google for a lot of general stuff and webpages to help. ESP/YL less so. (@getgreatenglish)
- I think the main focus in 21st C is on how to use different strategies in teaching (@betbet_i)
21st Century Skills
We also touched upon the idea of how ’21st century skills’ are usually defined within pedagogy, and @Marisa_C shared this interesting diagram. Several people suggested that both CPD and networking/connectivity should be seen as vital skills for teachers in the 21st century, and so these should be encouraged by teacher trainers.
- Wonder if maybe we should be training teachers to teach ‘life skills’ as well as English then! (@thebestticher)
- in a sense i find myself doing that when i say “blog, connect, go on twitter, etc (@Marisa_C)
- important in encouraging teachers to continue their own prof development as well as teaching their students. (@thebestticher)
- Once trained, that is not the end of Ts development. We need to foster a wish for CPD too (@SueAnnan)
- Certainly the connection is important. It is no longer a good idea to be an island (@SueAnnan)
Some skills still relevant
Overall, we came to the conclusion that whilst some elements of teaching (and teacher training) have evolved, many elements remain the same. The role of the teacher trainer is still to provide rich and varied input, offer practical experience, and to allow their trainees the space to develop their own style and understanding of teaching – but in the 21st century we have access to new means and methods of achieving these things.
- V still do wt teachers hv done all time, just wd diff tools NOW (@SarhandiSuhail)
- practical experience and helping trainees find their own understanding is important too (@SueAnnan)
- I believe that general sound pedagogical principles should not be lost to us (@Marisa_C)
- Trainers need to practise what they preach – even at celta level this is in the heart of the trainer’s toolkit (@Marisa_C)
- I think it’s important that trainers still teach as well – goes with practising what they preach (@thebestticher)
- I think we have to allow teachers room to find their own style too (@SueAnnan)
- I do believe in providing rich and varied input in a variety of ways & using diff media – is my role (@Marisa_C)
I really enjoyed being able to participate in #ELTchat, and although it wasn’t a topic on which I can profess to be hugely knowledgeable, it was wonderful to speak to other ELT professionals and to learn from others in the English teaching world. For those who are interested, the full transcript for our conversation can be found here and more information can be found on the #ELTchat blog. The next #ELTchat will take place on Wednesday 30th March at 9pm GMT.
*EDIT: The time for the next #ELTchat is being reviewed, please check the blog/twitter hashtag for the time!