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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 24th, 2009, 02:16 pm
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Default How to Better yourself as a teacher?

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to ask how everyone else is improving themselves and their teaching skills.

I have heard of taking courses like Celta to improve your teaching and classroom presence but I have heard mixed responses about the effectiveness of such programs.

My friend has been an English teacher for 5 years and last year she took the Celta course. She didn't believe that she learnt much after being a teacher for many years.

Do you agree? Is it helpful to take courses after a couple years of experience or does experience teach you more than a course?

I'm just curious to know what others think.

Thanks
Diana
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Apr 5th, 2009, 06:24 am
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Default Re: How to Better yourself as a teacher?

One of the things that I'm doing--well, I say I am, but I've fallen out of the practice--is to try and learn French.

I studied German--and I live in Germany--and I think that's really helped me to relate to my students. I can say "This worked for me. . . it might work for you." And students say they listen more, because they don't think a native speaker who only speaks English can tell them how to learn.

The reason I'm learning French now is that I learned German in Germany. It's not the same as them learning English is Germany. So, I'm trying to put myself into their shoes.

Besides that, I really hope for good advice here. And I do a LOT of trial and error.
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Unread Jun 4th, 2009, 01:14 am
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Default Re: How to Better yourself as a teacher?

by educating virtue quality
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  #4 (permalink)  
Unread Jun 5th, 2009, 07:02 am
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Default Re: How to Better yourself as a teacher?

I can only speak from our experience as TEFL course providers. We have many English teachers who come to us for a refresher course or simply to challenge their knowledge further, learn new techniques and open up to new ideas.

The feedback we get from seasoned teachers is that there is always something new to learn and taking a course forces them to sit down and actually seriously think about new approaches. They find that the one to one exchange with our qualified and experienced teacher trainers who are active on the field - so to speak, is very helpful in getting them out of a staid mindset.

Of course a lot depends on the type of course one takes but overall I'd say challenging oneself within a formal educational setting like a teacher training course does help one improve their teaching skills.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 10th, 2009, 02:21 am
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Default Re: How to Better yourself as a teacher?

Learning to say "no" more often and standing up for myself in and out of class, especially when dealing with other teachers who think that the English hour is either a free time or a waste of time. I have had to lay down the law quite a bit when it comes to educating some of the native teachers on the importance of English study. A few years ago I would have been too scared to confront them or cause potential conflict.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 10th, 2009, 10:09 am
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Default Re: How to Better yourself as a teacher?

communicating with fellow ESL teachers on forums like this one
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  #7 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 18th, 2009, 08:14 pm
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Default Re: How to Better yourself as a teacher?

Hmmmm, interesting thread. I was thinking about doing some research on professional development, but considering there is SO MUCH already out there, I decided not to. Anyways, here is my input in no particular order:

1 - read practical articles
2 - associate with others in the same field
3 - go to presentations/conferences
4 - develop your own materials
5 - listen to students' needs and wants and use those to develop your lessons
6 - remember that you are there for the students and not vice-versa
7 - Appreciate your job and look for new ways to teach the same thing!
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  #8 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 6th, 2009, 01:59 pm
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Default Re: How to Better yourself as a teacher?

Can anyone suggest an online refresher course? The school I work for asks that we take a few courses throughout the year and I like the idea. I do go to Trinity conferences but would enjoy learning something new!
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  #9 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 14th, 2009, 07:14 am
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Default Re: How to Better yourself as a teacher?

@teaching made easy: You make it sound easy (it's in your name, eh?) but two questions. First, do you have a source you recommend for 'practical articles'? And second, how often do you really go to conferences and how much do you gain from them? I don't work for a school that'd pay for my attendance, so it'd be expensive. . . and I don't think I've ever been to a meeting that taught me much of anything. . . or a presentation that wouldn't be more effective in a book.

So, please, convert me. And I'm serious about the source for practical articles.

@dragonele: I have no idea. But, if you do find any decent online courses, let us know here! You can guess that I'd be interested!
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  #10 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 14th, 2009, 07:34 am
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Default Re: How to Better yourself as a teacher?

When you talk about "online refresher courses" what kind of things would you be wanting to learn about there? Latest techniques? Classroom teaching ideas?

I'm not aware of any such courses but it's an interesting idea!
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  #11 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 14th, 2009, 07:52 am
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Default Re: How to Better yourself as a teacher?

I like the idea of learning more:
1) unusual activities for students who don't like to talk
2) ways to combine students at different levels
3) explanation of the 'unusual' grammar questions (when do you say 'tell' and when do you say, 'say,' really?)
4) lessons for teaching advanced grammar in a conversation setting (what are some conversation topics that'll allow you to practice using the present perfect progressive without really forcing it)
5) dealing with difficult classroom situations

And, I'd love to find something that helps me where I'm not even aware of needing help. I feel like knowing the problem has me at least experimenting to find a solution. I'd like to find someone who can honestly give a course in 'things you could do better, and you don't even know it.'

Is that descriptive enough?
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  #12 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 14th, 2009, 09:59 am
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Default Re: How to Better yourself as a teacher?

Hi guys,
Yes, i mean just that. News ways of teaching, new ideas, different ways for getting the students talking, a bit of everything. A kind of 'back to school' for us teachers! When I set out to find this kind of course I honestly thought I'd be bombarded with on-line courses once I Googled it...unfortunately I didn't find any at all that were what I was looking for. So, again, if anybody has any suggestions post them here!
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  #13 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 15th, 2009, 08:05 am
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Default Re: How to Better yourself as a teacher?

This isn't really a course but if you are just looking to do a bit of thinking on different topics, hear different ideas and thoughts on various aspects, try the ESL Teacher Talk podcast.
ESL Teacher Talk
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  #14 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 15th, 2009, 12:03 pm
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Default Re: How to Better yourself as a teacher?

Wow! Thanks Mesmark! Actually, I have come across your podcast a few times in the past but never listened to it just out of sheer laziness . BUT, after reading your post (maybe because it being directed to me I felt kinda obligated ) I must tell you, and anyone reading this, that in the last hour of listening I've written down eleven new games and variations of games that I already play! It may not be the 'refresher course' I was looking for but it certainly was a fantastic find and a great help.
Thanks for your hard work guys, much appreciated!
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  #15 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 15th, 2009, 06:14 pm
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Default Re: How to Better yourself as a teacher?

Quote:
Quote dragonele View Post
Wow! Thanks Mesmark! ... in the last hour of listening I've written down eleven new games and variations of games that I already play!
Cool! I'm glad it's helpful.

We try to keep it informal and fun, but at the same time professional, and hopefully people will take away a few things that might help.

Maybe STCrowley and teachingenglishmadeeasy will make an appearance on the show someday. ?
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  #16 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 16th, 2009, 08:33 pm
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Default Re: How to Better yourself as a teacher?

Getting fresh ideas is always very good. Thanks to the internet there is a lot of stuff out there. I simply think of something and google for it or visit a great forum like this to hear what others have to say. I have a habit of finding information on the internet, adapting and trying the ideas out in my classroom. Some work, some don't and that is how I continue to grow my teaching knowledge base. I then share what works on my websites.
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  #17 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 17th, 2009, 04:20 am
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Default Re: How to Better yourself as a teacher?

Thanks, Kisito!

I definitely agree about how great the Internet is. I mean, there's a ton out here. But, I've reached a point where I'm willing to start paying money for a book that organizes a lot of the information for me. (I really enjoyed Scott Thurnbury's "Teaching Speaking" and it's changed the way I think about English and teaching English.)

I've stayed away from "Teaching Unplugged," only because a cult seems to have formed around it, and I'm not like that. :-) But, well, I'm looking for great places to get this information.

Thanks!
-Toby
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  #18 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 19th, 2009, 02:45 pm
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Default Re: How to Better yourself as a teacher?

Hello.

Good question. Those of us who have been teaching for a while tend to get stuck in a rut. We don't get observed as much, since we aren't new anymore. This makes it easy to do the same thing over and over.

I haven't done any formal trainings in a while, so I don't know if there are any really good ones. I prefer to sit in on another teacher's class once in a while. I'll choose a day that this teacher is teaching something that I teach too. This way I can observe the different activities used. Every time I do this exercise I come away feeling like I learned something and I feel more motivated. As teachers we tend to get stuck in our classrooms and we don't get enough interaction with other educators. Try this out. Thanks
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  #19 (permalink)  
Unread Apr 24th, 2010, 08:40 pm
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Default Re: How to Better yourself as a teacher?

Quote:
Quote jellybeanenglisch View Post
communicating with fellow ESL teachers on forums like this one
yes, this helps a lot
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  #20 (permalink)  
Unread May 13th, 2010, 09:02 am
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Default Re: How to Better yourself as a teacher?

I'd say some Celta-type formal training is invaluable.
From what I've seen, the teachers who teach from experience only frequently have problems in understanding exactly what they are doing, and most importantly WHY they are doing it. The unqualified teachers I have observed (many) also lack flexibility and it is their lessons that students frequently find the least interesting.
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