Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Digest of first days on the BTT course - Part 2

After a very busy first week, here's a new, long-awaited entry to which I've given the enticing title...

First days on Bell's Becoming a Teacher Trainer (BTT) course at Homerton College, Cambridge (part 2) (Yeah, you got it. I'm going through a temporary creative block)

A picture is worth a thousand words, so the adage goes. So I'll insert some nice pics that will give you an idea of what we're doing here so that you don't have to read an account of many thousand words.

Monday July 27th

Nothing like a nice quiet breakfast to get you ready for a first day, right? Well, we've been having plentiful meals in the friendliest college in Cambridge. No wonder everyone here's in a good mood :-)

This is the Great Hall, where we have breakfast and dinner
It's SO COOL to have your meals in such a place!

After breakfast, the welcome session in the Science Auditorium outlined different aspects of the programme and provided safety instructions as well as guidance over several issues.

In the Science Auditorium
A slide listing the 24 nationalities of the teachers taking courses at Bell these two weeks
At the end of this introductory talk, each tutor led their students to their corresponding classrooms. Our tutor is Lindsay Warwick, a teacher trainer and materials writer PLUS a delightful person!

It's lucky I got to be in a very international group, particularly when you see that others don't get to mix with such a wide range of nationalities as I do in my course. Compare these two lists to understand why I'm saying this:

My group
CLIL group

Ours was a very productive first day. We started the session showing each other different ice-breakers we use in our classes and suggested possible adaptations to them. We then moved on to discuss different stages of group development (Tuckman 1965; Heron 1999). We also had time to reflect on the teacher's role and what makes a competent teacher, and ended the session discussing the distinctive traits of both experienced and expert teachers.

An ice-breaker with cookies!
Our tutor Lindsay Warwick
Tuesday, July 28th

We started the session ascertaining the factors (aka interventions) that most count toward impact on learning. Wanna know what the top three are? Here:

  1. Student expectations
  2. Teacher credibility 
  3. Providing formative evaluation to teachers

(John Hattie: Visible Learning, 2012)

Then we went through a number of articles about the skills, knowledge and qualities needed to become a teacher trainer/teacher educator. Food for thought...

Our table after group work summary of the articles

Last notes at the end of the session

...Speaking about which, after the morning session I rushed for a quick lunch in the buttery. There was no time to waste! The afternoon and evening were going to be busy too.
White tea, sandwich and fruit
"For better results eat away from your desk in plenty of sunshine" :-)

Disadvantages of course books and how to overcome them

In the afternoon I attended the workshop "Getting the most from your course book", with Mike Furber. We even got to adapt a random page of a well-known course book in order to make it more attractive, relevant and culture-specific. Time well spent :-)
As for the cultural talk, I found it really hard to choose one, because I wanted to attend several of them. In the last minute I decided to attend a talk on a topic I wasn't really interested in, just because I thought it would open my mind to new things. However, to be honest I found it poor and ended up disappointed.

Finally, after an early dinner lots of us went for a guided tour.

There we go!
Teachers waiting to cross the road to meet tour guide

Sandy, our guide

That's all for now!
I'll show you pics of this beautiful city on my next post ;-)

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