Welcome back to the penultimate blog of the year. Last week I was musing on blogs gone by, as one tends to do at this time of the year, and I realised that my attitude to English and English teaching had probably been overly influenced by my ‘Initial Training Course’. This short, introductory course, although excellent, taught me classroom survival skills, rather than any deep understanding of language. How could it, in only four weeks? My colleagues and I were provided with a teaching formula, in the form of P.P.P. (Present, Practice and Produce) which we applied to every class we taught. Long and Kurzweil, 2002 refer to this form of instruction as ‘a craft model’ of training, which focuses on being able to ‘carry out teaching procedures correctly instead of how to focus on student learning.’.
Had I ‘thought’ more about how language was actually being used, rather than trying to learn classroom ‘survival skills’ and ‘the rules of English grammar’ early on, I may have saved myself some sleepless nights. However, I’m still doing this brilliant job, because where else do you get the opportunity to meet people from all over the world on a daily basis, become friends and learn so much? Now, as a teacher trainer conducting Initial Training Courses myself, through ETC/Athena Teacher Training, I try to make sure there is a balance of understanding why you’re doing things as well as how to do them. Next week, the final blog before the Christmas break, I’ll try to make it a cracker!