BRFLS English Teachers Take Oxford University Press Professional Training
Last weekend the teachers of RFLS had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a professional development course which was presented by Oxford University Press. Over the course of two days the teachers attended four sessions where they explored the qualities of learners in the primary grades. We discussed lesson planning, classroom management and ways to ensure that all the learners in the classroom are actively involved in the lessons.
The presenter of this course, Mr. David Stevenson, is a very talented and knowledgeable presenter. He has taught in a variety of classrooms from kindergarten to adult classes. This puts him in a great advantage of having a good sense of what works well in a classroom and what would be challenging to implement.
It was a great opportunity for the teachers to discuss strategies with each other in an environment where sharing is encouraged and promoted. The teachers were able to share valuable ideas and teaching strategies which they have implemented in their own classrooms. Furthermore, the teachers discussed the benefits and disadvantages of these and ways that certain strategies could be adjusted to suit a specific classroom environment.
During the first session we mainly discussed ways of encouraging learners to speak in the English Classroom. This is often difficult in an ESL classroom because learners are shy or lack the confidence to speak out loud. David was able to give us some practical ideas on how to overcome these issues and encourage more students to actively participate in the classroom.
After lunch we continued the discussion by dealing with certain behavioral problems that may arise in your classroom and how to overcome these in order to have a classroom where holistic education can take place harmoniously. As a team we debated on the best practices and devised strategies to use in the class, like class agreements and how to prevent certain behaviors from becoming a problem.
During the second day the main topic of conversation was managing the needs and challenges that arise from having learners with varying academic levels as well as differences in skills and interests in the same class. This is often a stumbling block for teachers as it takes a lot of planning and time to cater to the needs of individual students. Again, David was able to give us practical strategies to implement and adjust our lessons to suit our different classes.
To conclude, during the two day course, hosted by Oxford University Press, the participating teachers of RFLS were exposed to an array of practical and theoretical methodologies to use in our classrooms. The teachers from different departments were able to come together and discuss factors that they find challenging and ways to overcome this, and lastly we were able to learn in a collaborative and supportive environment. It was definitely a very rewarding and productive weekend.