Humanising Language Teaching
About THE TEACHER TRAINER
The appearance of the initial numbers of The TEACHER TRAINER, that happened in the mid-eighties, was one of the signs that EFL in the UK was moving into a phase of maturity. The generalist magazines for teachers, like ELTJ, Modern English Teacher and Practical English Teacher ( since strangled by its publishers ) were simply not specialised enough, good job though they were doing.
Pilgrims sensed the need for more specialised forums and launched two parallel initiatives around the same time. One was the founding of THE TEACHER TRAINER and the appointment of Tessa Woodward as its editor and the other was the founding of a SIG ( Special Interest Group ) within IATEFL to draw teacher trainers round the world together. It took around a year of discussion to get the IATEFL central committee to agree that teacher trainers could really do with their own SIG- the founding of this SIG was staunchly opposed by Adrian Underhill, current IATEFL Chair and then Chair of the Teacher Development SIG: he argued that teacher trainers would be very welcome in his SIG. Mario Rinvolucri, on the central committee, championed the fledgling SIG's right to exist while Tessa Woodward gathered the first members together and was elected its first Co-ordinator.
Today both the IATEFL TT SIG and THE TEACHER TRAINER offer their members and readers, respectively, a place to exchange ideas, to moan, and to inspire one another. The existence of these specialised forums of discussion are part of the maturation of our discipline and bear witness to the positive changes that have taken place in English language teaching, at least in UK, over the past 20 years.
The appointment of Tessa as editor of TTT was one of the best Pilgrims has made in the 25 years of its existence. Tessa has become one of the major methodological minds in the world of language teaching and has dedicated major energy partly to bringing together and partly to creating a specific set of techniques for successful, humanistic teacher training. Naturally the magazine has hugely benefited from being part of this creative process.
But Tessa has insisted on making TTT a wide open forum for teacher trainers from all backgrounds and of every persuasion. She has painstakingly coached and helped dozens of writers to express themselves adequately in addressing a world-wide audience. Maybe a complaint I have had over these l3 years is that she does not write enough of the magazine herself- why should I sometimes read rather mediocre copy when I could be reading top-class stuff of hers? Tessa, though, is firmly anti-elitist, and at bottom I share this value with her.
If you are a trainer of trainers, then this magazine is a 110% must for you.
If you are a teacher trainer then this is your house journal and bedside companion, three times a year.
If you are an experienced teacher with an eye on doing some teacher training then you should have a look at an issue or two.
If you are one of those new young teachers who sees the future clearly and knows that they will one day move into training as one way up a shallow promotional ladder, then these pages will tell you a bit about what being a trainer entails.
And what if you are an ordinary, decent human being participating in an initial EFL training course? THE TEACHER TRAINER might be a key to half-understanding the minds and ethos of the two or three extra-terrestrials who are your current trainers!
To find out how to subscribe to THE TEACHER TRAINER, click here.