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Apr 2019 - Year 21 - Issue 2

ISSN 1755-9715

Stopped Teaching? Don’t Stop Developing!

Sandy is the Director of Studies at International House Bydgoszcz in Poland. She is also a CELTA trainer and materials writer. In February 2018, she self-published ELT Playbook 1, a book of tasks to help new teachers settle into their career and begin to build up an online support network. ELT Playbook Teacher Training should be published by April 2019. You can find more information on her blog:
http://sandymillin.wordpress.com and contact her via Twitter @sandymillin.

 

 

 

 

There is a lot of information out there for teachers who want to continue to develop professionally, and there are a couple of other articles in this magazine about it too. However, there is nowhere near as much information about how to keep developing if you are still involved in language teaching but not in the classroom every day, for example working in academic management, training teachers, or writing materials. Although you can continue to use many of the methods recommended for teachers, such as writing a reflective journal, it can be difficult to know where to find specific resources relevant to these career paths. This article aims to remedy that.

 

Developing as an academic manager

The starting point for all three of the areas I have mentioned is the relevant IATEFL Special Interest Group (SIG). For academic managers, this is LAMSIG, the Leadership and Management SIG. They have a blog, facebook page and Twitter handle, all of which are quite active at the time of writing. These are a great way to find out about upcoming events and to build a network of managers who can help you out. They also host regular webinars, with the recordings available to members. The most recent previous webinar can be viewed on their site. Andy Hockley’s post about LAMSIG for the IATEFL blog tells you more about what the SIG does and how it could help you continue to develop.

There are various bloggers who write about the experiences of working in academic management. Josh Round is the Director of Studies (DOS) at a continuous enrolment school in central London. Although Josh does not currently publish very often, but it’s worth going through the back catalogue of Be The DOS as there are lots of insights there. I have a Director of Studies category on my blog, where I write about being the DOS at a school in Poland. I also share reflections on the International House Academic Management and Trainers conference, which takes place in January each year for staff from IH schools. Lizzie Pinard has a collection of links entitled ‘How to be a good Director of Studies’.

#ELTchat is a very active Twitter hashtag which I would recommend to anyone involved in language teaching at any level. The weekly one-hour conversations which happen on a Wednesday have covered a huge range of topics since the chats started in 2010. You can find summaries of these on the summaries page of the #ELTchat blog. Beyond the wealth of ideas and links available in general here, there have been a few chats specifically aimed at academic management. In 2011 they discussed What makes a good DoS? In 2013, there was a discussion on what good teachers can learn from good managers. In 2018 one topic was how academic management can support teachers. #ELTchat are always looking for new questions, so you could suggest other topics for future discussions via the hashtag or the facebook page.

Other ELT specific places you might want to investigate include management articles in the IH Journal and the book From Teacher to Manager by Ron White, Andy Hockley, Julie van der Horst Jansen and Melissa S. Laughner.

 

Developing as a teacher trainer

There are two IATEFL SIGs which are relevant to teacher trainers: TTEd SIG, the Teacher Training and Education SIG, and TDSIG, the Teacher Development SIG. TTEd SIG is aimed primarily at teacher trainers and educators. Their facebook page contains all of the latest information about what upcoming events as well as other useful links for trainers. You can also follow them on Twitter. TD SIG is for all teachers at every level of the industry, and shares lot of different ideas for how to develop through their website, facebook and Twitter. They also have a regular podcast called Developod and web carnivals, which draw many different types of social media together.

Blogs with a strong teacher training focus include Anthony Gaughan’s Teacher Training Unplugged. As part of it he has a series of four posts on how to become a CELTA trainer. Zhenya Polosatova’s Wednesday Seminars has a whole series of reflections on being a trainer in a range of different contexts. Muddles into Maxims is Matthew Noble’s videos and blogposts talking about his current thoughts about training, often connecting it to Buddhist philosophy. I have a range of teacher training posts on my blog, often with links to other useful resources. Jason Anderson has a lot of training-related research on his blog.

Whether you are involved in Cambridge CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL or not, it’s worth following the #CELTAchat hashtag on Twitter and looking at the related blog to see discussions about key issues in initial teacher training. Jo Gakonga has a lot of resources for CELTA trainers on ELT-Training.com, particularly related to giving feedback and varying it. She also runs another website at TeacherFeedback.org, designed as a space to reflect on how you give feedback to developing teachers, whether pre-service or in-service.

If you prefer something paper-based, John Hughes has written A Practical Introduction to Teacher Training in ELT, which I found to be an accessible and easy-to-read guide to starting out in this area of our profession. He also has some related articles on his website. I will also shortly be publishing ELT Playbook Teacher Training, which will contain 30 short reflective tasks to help trainers consider a range of aspects of their jobs.

 

Developing as a materials writer

MaWSIG, the Materials Writing SIG, is one of the youngest IATEFL SIGs. They share content in a huge range of places: their website, blog, facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Another members organisation which you might consider joining is MATSDA, the Materials Development Association. They have an annual conference in the UK, and also publish a regular magazine. You can see some sample articles on their website.

The founder of MATSDA, Brian Tomlinson, is an expert in materials development. Googling his name brings up lots of useful resources, including his Principles and Procedures of Materials Development for Language Learning. Although I haven’t read Materials Development in Language Teaching, many people have recommended it to me, and it’s certainly on my list! Other books which you might find useful are ETPedia Materials Writing, which contains 500 ideas to develop your writing, and the series of ebooks and paper books in the How to… series created by ELTTeacher2Writer. Their titles include How to write excellent ELT materials, How to write teacher’s books and How to write pronunciation activities. I have found all of the books I have used from this series to be very useful. Last but not least, blogs which have a materials writing section include those by Peter Clements, Lizzie Pinard Emily Hird and John Hughes.

If you are involved in English Language Teaching but have now moved beyond the classroom, I hope these resources inspire you to find new ways to keep developing. I would also be very happy to hear of any other resources you can recommend.

 

Please check the How to be a Teacher Trainer course at Pilgrims website.

Please check the English Course for Teachers and School Staff at Pilgrims website.

  • Sailing to Success: The Motivational Seascape of English Language Teachers’ Associations
    Beatrix Price, Hungary

  • Continuous Professional Development: The Dos and Don'ts
    Grazzia Maria Mendoza, Honduras

  • Stopped Teaching? Don’t Stop Developing!
    Sandy Millin, UK and Poland

  • On Growing Older, Becoming Bolder and Teaching On
    Valéria Benévolo França, Brazil

  • A Paper for The Operation of the New School
    Roy Andersen, UK