On Saturday, 13th November, I attended ‘The Future of Training Conference’ hosted by International House London. Although I would have loved to have been at this event in person, being able to attend online was better than I had anticipated. I was lucky enough to see some familiar faces in breakout rooms and listen to some talks that have given me food for thought.
Here are some of those reflections:
Thinking about students’ needs is so important. Chia Suan Chong gave a talk on Interpersonal skills for better communication which made me think about how much of myself I give in lessons and whether my students were really as interested in the lessons I chose for them as they could be. One thing that really stuck in my head was that it’s important to not judge when students are being resistant to your beliefs and how adapting and trying new ways of teaching is important.
I have found that explicitly stating to students the goals of a certain activity helps them feel motivated and engaged. For example, I have a student who is interested in doing a standardized test, but who needs to improve their General English first. Showing them how the examiner would interpret the use of a language point enables them to link why General English will help them achieve the score they need in their exam.
Listening to Marie Willoughby's Shifting Sands: causes, impacts and strategies to manage trainer imposter syndrome talk made me reflect on why I procrastinate over starting tasks which require me to be out of my comfort zone. I really related to what she said about perfectionism and not wanting to start tasks until too late. The belief being that if something goes well and we achieve something, then it was down to charm or our personality. And how we reinforce beliefs that we are not good enough. It is important that we don’t fall into this trap by being aware of this, and actively giving ourselves ‘a good talking to.’ I think as teachers we need to encourage our students to put themselves in situations where they are out of their comfort zones, but also to be mindful and to give them support. In this way they can grow into their language goals.
Jessica Andrews' Unlearning myths about leaders so I could become one talk was about the process she went through to dispel the belief that she wasn’t a leader. Talking about what she felt about herself and being brave was inspiring. It reminded me of a task, which we set in the University of the Arts London, where I got students to design a logo to represent their own values. Danny Norrington-Davies and Khassoum Diop's interview about using WhatsApp for teachers and students made me think about how I use WhatsApp as a tool for feedback. Using it to do peer correction in writing as a way that all students can share content that is useful even with limited resources.
There were so many other reflections but these were some that made me realise how much I need to be more involved in the online community. Do you have some ideas you’d like to share?