Teacher Training Essentials by Craig Thaine

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And so, for a while I’ve been a DoS at my language school (hence my erratic posting, let’s say I’ll try to stick to a post per fortnight, that’s more realistic, I hope). Now, I did expect working with teachers to be pretty much like cat herding – been a teacher for so many years I’m absolutely aware of some aspects of the job, but actually my fellow teachers are kind and patient and let me experiment with them a little bit. Apparently they are far less recalcitrant than I am.

I’m considering the idea of taking my DELTA exam this winter, but I’ll have to organise my reading list etc. as I simply can’t afford the course. So I’m self-studying and I’d like to review the books I’m reading. The book I’ve just finished is “Teacher Training Essentials” by Craig Thaine – a sensible position for all teachers, from pre-service to experienced ones. The book consists of three main parts, and each workshop includes trainer’s notes and worksheets (which automatically gives the book +20 to the general impression):

Classroom methodology

This chapter focuses mostly on teacher’s language (giving feedback, error correction, very useful), lesson planning, teaching particular skills, teaching exam classes (this is focused on FCE exam, though), exploiting authentic materials, promoting learner’s autonomy etc. While those issues may sound as if they’re good for a fresh teacher, there are some nuances appropriate for the more experienced ones.

Developing language awareness

This part focuses on, well, explaining grammar in such a way that students believe you actually know what you’re talking about. So, not only explaining tenses, but also making them aware of the context, functional language etc. I’d say this part is perfect for fresh teachers or, for that matter, native speakers (it must be really hard to explain grammar aspects you live with to students who have never come across e.g. Present Perfect before).

Background to teaching

I find this chapter most interesting, and indeed, all the workshops here are addressed for all types of teachers. Here we can find an overview of concepts connected with SLA, sociolinguistic perspectives, procedures associated with course design and – last but not least –  clarifying the role of test validity and reliability.

To sum up, I find this book really useful for EFL teachers at various stages of experience, you can find here not only ideas, but also help to conduct your own workshops, discussions and meetings.

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