Teacher Training Through VideoA timeless collection of teaching techniques gets a modern day makeover
Teacher Training Through Video is a classic remake. While this 2 DVD series was originally recorded on good old fashioned VHS in the early 1990s, the teaching techniques and principles it demonstrates are absolutely timeless. Once you accept that fashion has moved on somewhat, you are left with an impressive range and depth of material for teachers, trainers and trainees at all levels of experience to tap into.
The DVDs are broken down into 12 sections, each featuring key teaching approaches and techniques. They are Lesson Planning, Total Physical Response, Early Production, Language Experience, Beginning Literacy, Dialogue/Drilling, Information Gap, Focused Listening, Role Play, Problem Solving, Life Skills Reading, and Narrative Reading.
Each chapter allows the observer a window into the classroom of experienced ESL teachers, an opportunity that teaching staff are not always afforded due to the constraints of their school or institution. The key stages of each lesson are explicitly highlighted by a narrator and interviews with the class teacher in question are woven in to provide the methodology and thinking behind key steps. I like this because it offers something different for those viewing who may range from a trainee getting to grips with the basics of lesson planning to developing teachers or trainers looking to contrast something with their own beliefs and methodologies. Each segment lasts between 15 and 20 minutes, ensuring that training or study sessions are flexible and manageable.
At first glance the lessons look dated. However, the teaching on show is dynamic and engaging and large classes provide the platform to demonstrate an impressive range of activities, learning strategies and classroom management techniques. The importance of identifying and teaching language which meets the immediate communicative needs of the learners and the emphasis placed on connecting language practiced in class with real life situations are reiterated throughout the series. While the series of lessons sets out to provide training in teaching listening, reading and speaking skills across level regardless of specific technique, there is a definite accent on teaching at the lower end of the scale (teaching literacy and beginners). Although this is more an observation than a criticism, it would perhaps take a more experienced observer to adapt certain approaches to suit higher level classes. The featured students are all adults and again a little more variety to include young learners for example, might have offered extra insight. Having said all that, I believe that having access to this bank of varied and well prepared lessons is a valuable resource for any school, trainer, teacher or trainee. As a relatively green teacher myself, I’m confident I will be able to draw on the techniques included here long after my latest togs are out of fashion.
December 2009 | Filed under Teaching
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