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Being a teacher trainer

Nicholas Northall

n.northall@sheffield.ac.uk

Thanks for joining the course. We do hope you enjoy studying with us. Your team of Beth Melia-Leigh and Nicholas Northall welcome you to this Being a Teacher Trainer course. We hope you find the material engaging, stimulating and interesting and that you are able to implement ideas and activities in your own training context. To get started, please watch the videos below which outline the contents of the course and give information about how to access it. All the best!

Introductory videos

Hi and welcome to the English language teaching centre’s Being a Teacher trainer course. This is a practical online course aimed at anyone in TEFL and TESOL who works with other teachers.  

My name is Nicholas Northall and along with Beth Melia-Leigh, I am responsible for running this course. 

We designed this course as we wanted to make new and inexperienced teacher trainers feel more confident and comfortable as they make the move to working with other teachers. We also felt that there was a need to support those who perhaps aren’t teacher trainers but who work with other teachers: for example for those who deliver input sessions to their colleagues or for those who observe as part of their management responsibilities. 

We wanted the course to be practical in nature with the opportunity to share ideas, resources and good practice. However, this doesn’t mean that we don’t recommend more theoretical further reading to help give you a rounded and balanced view of teacher training. 

As well as the initial orientation unit, there are eight units to work. Whether you are taking the whole course or perhaps just a unit or two, we hope that the course or the units you take gives you the skills and confidence to succeed in your context. Further information about the course can be found under the ‘Course aims and outline’ button below. You can also find additional links including information about additional resources and answers to most questions you may have. 

 

As you work through the course, you will find that it consists of different tasks and activities including watching videos, answering questions and reading texts. We have also included several ways of interacting with the course and each other. 

We recommend that you now watch the ‘Site Orientation’ Video and then get started on the Orientation Unit. 

We really hope that you enjoy the course and that you get a lot from it. We are also looking forward to working with you.

Thanks and bye for now!

This video runs through the main features of the website and its navigation. 

In this video we’re going to talk you through the main features of the course site and its navigation. 

Homepage 

If you’re watching this, then you must be on the course homepage, so this is where we’ll start our tour. Before we get started, although this course is optimised to display well on all devices, due to their size, some interactive features might not display well on a mobile, so we always recommend you use a laptop or desktop computer to interact with the course if possible. If you are using a mobile device and something isn’t displaying well, try switching between portrait and landscape to get the best view. If something is still not accessible for you, please let us know and we will make sure we find a way to get the content to you in a way that you can access. Okay, so now, let’s begin.

Profile

The first thing to note is in the top-right of the course homepage where you will find your PROFILE menu. This is where you can update your profile in formation and also find any working groups that you will be a member of as the course progresses. The course materials will guide you through adding a profile picture, contacting other course participants and finding your groups as and when you need to do these things, so don’t worry about that for now, but feel free to have a look through these menus and maybe add some information to your profile. 

Quick links

Moving down the screen now, below the welcome videos, first you’ll come to the useful links section where you can quickly access a few important documents and pages: the course outline, an additional resource section and a course FAQ. As you scroll through the homepage, and the rest of the site, you’ll probably notice the Take notes tab following you around. This is a note-taking tool that is built into the website and is available for you to use throughout the course. You’ll be introduced to the note-taking tool in the Orientation Unit but for now you just need to know that there’s a link on the homepage to show you all of your notes. 

Meeting room

Next you’ll find a link to a video-conferencing room that will be available throughout the course. As you’ll see, there are two suggested times for meeting up but you can use the room at any time if you want an online space to meet with other course participants. There is no booking system, so this might mean, of course, that you enter the room and it’s already being used, in which case we just ask that you respectfully let the people who are already in the room finish before having your own discussion. 

Forum

When it comes to taking part in forum discussions, we strongly recommend you wait until you encounter the forum tasks as you work through the units, as each forum task is embedded into the sequence of activities and will draw upon the content that leads up to it. However, on the homepage you will be able to see a summary of the latest posts. So this is provided to help you keep up with the development of the forum tasks you have already contributed to. You can also click the View complete forum button to see all forum topics on one page. This opens in a new page, so once you’ve finished here, the easiest way to return to the homepage is to close the tab. 

Course Structure

At the bottom of the page you will find the course outline. The course is divided into 8 units and each unit is further divided into a number of topics, or lessons. Under each unit, you’ll be able to see when it goes live. When approaching a unit for the first time, we suggest you click on the Unit title as this will take you to the Unit welcome page, which includes the unit’s aims. When you are coming back to a unit you’ve already started, you can click on the Expand arrow which will show you the list of topics in the unit so you can navigate back to where you left off. Each of these little circles indicates your progress through the topics so you will easily be able to see where you left off.

Navigation within a course page

We’ll now have a look at a typical course page. First let’s look at navigation. Each topic begins with a statement of the lesson focus and the estimated time to complete. At the top of the page you will see buttons to navigate to the next and previous page, and you’ll find these repeated at the bottom of the page too. Under this you’ll find the breadcrumbs, these links which you can use to return to the unit summary page or back to the course homepage. To the left you can see the course structure and this can be used to hop directly to a specific topic. You can also return to the course homepage by clicking here. 

Think first

Throughout the course you will find a wide variety of activity types and we’ll explain what you need to do as we go, but I’d just like to highlight some of our main activity types, which can be seen in this page. First we have a Think first activity. For these activities we would like you to spend a few moments thinking about the question first, and it might be helpful to make some quick notes. These kinds of questions will be easy to spot because of the switch at the top. After you have spent some time thinking about your answer, clicking on the switch will reveal an answer, suggested answer or some other kind of feedback. 

Reflection questions

Next, distinguished by the thinking icon, are reflection questions. These will require a deeper level of thinking and generally involve relating the material to your own context, so there isn’t a suggested answer for these questions. Although we won’t keep telling you to take notes, these questions would be really useful points to stop and take deeper notes because they may come in handy if you are applying for a teacher training position, to show you are able to relate key issues to your own context. 

Interactive tasks

The course also has many interactive tasks which appear in these shaded boxes. These include quizzes, flashcards, drag and drop activities and activities like this one where you will need to enter your answer into a text box. 

Forums 

One more activity type I’d like to mention is the forums. I’ve already mentioned these, but I just wanted to show you an example. So here you can see how the forum discussion is an integral part of the topic structure, so please wait until you encounter the forum topic before getting involved in order to get the most out of it. You can then use the summary on the homepage to keep up-to-date with the discussion.

Final thoughts

The second to last topic in each unit is called Final Thoughts. This is a place for you to share thoughts, ideas, resources, questions and anything else you would like to share about the unit. Although it appears at the end of each unit, you don’t need to wait until you work through all of the material in the unit if there is something you’d like to share. Just use the navigation menu on the left to skip ahead and add your post in the relevant comment. As you work through the unit, even if you haven’t posted yourself, have a look at the Padlet (which might involve using the scroll bar) and read any comments left by others and of course we’d love it if you respond to anything you find interesting or can help with. 

Useful links

Meeting room

Throughout the course you will have access to an online meeting room where you can meet, discuss the course and plan any group work tasks. Please note that this is not compulsory. It is there for you to use in any way that you find helpful, but of course you are welcome to use any other platforms that you prefer. 

We’ve suggested two meet up times per week. These won’t be staffed, but feel free to drop in and chat with other course participants.

  • Every Wednesday (from 20 October – 15 December) between 4pm-5pm (UK)
  • Every Friday (from 22 October – 17 December) between 4pm – 5pm (UK)
 
You are also welcome to make use of the room at any other times to work together.

Forums

Recent forum comments

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Reply To: BaTT U6: Lesson observation and recording feedback

Dear All, Thanks for your sharing your completed feedback in this forum. You all picked up a number of strengths ... Read More
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Reply To: BaTT U6: Lesson observation and recording feedback

Feedback on video S2670004 Overall - a confident, purposeful conducting of the lesson; learners were engaged and cooperative and activities ... Read More
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Reply To: BaTT U6: Lesson observation and recording feedback

Feedback on video S2670004 Overall - a confident, purposeful conducting of the lesson; learners were engaged and cooperative and activities ... Read More
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Reply To: BaTT U4 – What makes a good lesson plan?

Thank you for your comments, Marcia. Regarding timing, I tend  plan too much, apparently... so it was tight indeed ... Read More
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Reply To: BaTT U6: Lesson observation and recording feedback

Mine is hot written feedback given to one of the peers I recently engaged in peer observation with. It was ... Read More