Tag: CPD

Classroom and MethodologiesEnglish Language TrainingLearning and Skills DevelopmentMust ReadQuick Tips

Blended Learning: Using technology in and beyond the language classroom

Pete Sharma & Barney Barrett

Macmillan Publishers Limited

Oxford, England

 

Review

Blended Learning introduces teachers into the use of technology inside and outside the classroom. Though there is no doubt about the role of technology in our classrooms, it is rather a challenging task to search, combine, and take advantage of all the variety of tools and materials that one may find on the web. Pete Sharma and Barney Barrett have managed to put together a guide where they present different items of technology to be used in a language class. Their objective is to provide instructors with all the advantages of the tools, present possible problems and solutions that may come in handy, and examples of the way to enhance your classes, as they include a few model lessons plans for different levels of expertise.

If you are looking forward to introducing technology into your EFL classrooms and do not know where to get started, this book will take you by the hand on how to promote your classroom into the 21st century, engaging your students in different and diverse ways of learning.

  • It provides basic information for new technology users, though it also includes helpful websites for more advanced users too.
  • The book not only presents new technological tools, but also directions for the creation of new material.
  • It contains two appendices for beginners with detailed guidance for the use of Internet and the World Wide Web.

Check it out!

 

 

 

 

Business and ManagementMust ReadQuick TipsTopicsWorld View

Millennials and Talent Management Today!

By Academic Committee

The new trend in companies now geared towards the 21st century focuses on technology and globalization. Millennials, today’s leaders, with easy access to the global market, and native to technological surroundings transform Startups to billion dollar companies overnight leaving their competitive advantage to Talent and Creativity.

Whereas, CEO’s are now enforced to redefine their recruitment process within the four pillars of Talent Management considering as a starting point the Millennial’s way of thinking, use of technology, and globalization.

I. The Recruitment process:

The recruitment process is the first step where changes need to occur. Before, CEO’s through Human Resources office scouted people that would perfectly match the position requirements. In today’s global market, the focus is on talent and adaptability. In the modern globalized economy, companies weigh employee’s ability to acquire new knowledge and collaborate. Also, gaining experience and developing individuals’ skill-sets becomes essential.  Employers would now prefer to have energetic, malleable workforces who can learn on the job and help one another to innovate and create new solutions.

II. Learning Development

Today’s candidates are not looking for a career inside a company; they are looking for an experience. This immense change in the status quo of what people wanted at their workplace comes from the changes needs directly connecting to the economy. Thus agile workforce is required.

Millennials’ inherent values and life skills set imply hands-on the job and learning by doing. So, development of learning is shifting towards business leaders who progressively identify the lack of competence as a dominant obstacle to the implementation of their company’s strategies; thus, ensuring the need for creating opportunities and space for learning.

Millennials’ creative workforce considers of high added value the emphasis on continuous learning to the point that when they are not learning, they leave organizations. The key lies in creating conditions for learning to happen as part of their development aligned to the recruitment process and meeting the needs of the changing economy and its workforce.

III.    Periodical Check-ins

Annual Reviews are a thing of the past; today proved ineffective and inefficient in fostering high performance.  According to talent managers, Annual Reviews do not promote employee engagement or talent. Instead, valuing a year full of work and noticing changes that would require follow-ups until a new year comes and which results directly connects to compensation derives in demotivating collaborators. Millennials whose mindsets focuses towards learning and gaining experience that fosters talent and creativity need immediate input hence constant check-ins lead to direct real-time improvements.

Also, lifelong learning is the key to adjust performance through coaching and skills development rather than just evaluations. Today, Millennials value instant feedback given after direct performance if it is active and constructive. They feel the need to be geared towards their responsibilities and progress within the roles and duties they perform; hence their results drive the companies’ culture and employee’s engagement as they feel valued and take part of the system and for those that need improvement creating a support system that helps them grow. If leaders provide constant feedback on performance they are also building future leaders, coaches, and mentors who drive the economy and their responsibilities to fulfillment fostering teamwork; as a result creating new leaders. Also, instant check-ins goes hand in hand with clear objectives and results since they bring transparency and efficacy to the job performed which Millennials highly value.

IV. Career Development and Compensation

Unlike the traditional idea of career development which meant reaching the next step in the corporate ladder, the 21st Century economy places great importance on providing opportunities and support to middle-level operations to advance and create development opportunities for employees to meet the rapidly changing needs of the company. Talent Managers should focus on three primary drivers- purpose, autonomy, and mastery- to meet Millennials mindsets expectations for development.  Ideally, employers should create opportunities for young, talented, creative minds to experience different functions, roles, and markets for them to gain experience and build adaptability to change in employees; from now on, creating a more stable job opportunity to the collaborator. This career development opportunity leads to a change in view and although Millennials are ambitious and strive for financial success, they also prefer a collaborative work culture environment and value transparency.

Millennials focus on collaboration and equality and draw towards projects that connect their strengths and abilities leading to career fulfillment since social networks are their essence, they expect an open culture without barriers of any levels; subsequently, they also favor leaders who create opportunities for training and development.

Millennials now connected to the world through technology; they embrace cultural diversity and change as essential to their environment.  The creation of culturally diverse leadership teams and workforces with divergent backgrounds, perspectives, and ideas enables collaboration, inclusion and ensures equipped leaders for future challenges.  Lastly, considering that new challenges lie ahead, a succession of employees is essential to the fulfillment of positions with great talents, creativity, and better-equipped life skills. Such replacements can fulfill the needs throughout the organization connected to the economy, and its global trends requiring an immediate change in the Talent Management process where Millennials are taking over.

References

Haak, Tom. “10 Talent Management Trends for 2016 | HR Trend Institute.” HR Trend Institute. HR Trend Institute, 2016. Web. 28 Aug. 2016.

Martin, Jean. “How to Keep Your Top Talent.” Harvard Business Review. Harvard Business School, May 2010. Web. Aug. 2016.

English Language TrainingLearning and Skills DevelopmentMultimediaPodcasts

Podcast – Continuing Professional Development

In this podcast, Alejandra Mora addresses what is Continuing Professional Development; the features needed when carrying out CPD and provides alternatives of CPD teachers can do.

 

 

MAMMaria Alejandra Mora (MSc. TEFL, SPLITT, TBI, and TEFL Certified) has over 18 years of experience as a teacher, teacher trainer, academic consultant and curriculum developer and has led teacher training workshops in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Peru. She has a master’s degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and has a wide range of interests including program development and training and project work. She is currently working as program developer for the International Language Institute in Keiser University Latin American Campus.

 

Business and ManagementEnglish Language Training

The Ins and Outs of Continuum Professional Development (CPD)

By James Cordonero

Were we to know what the future holds in store in our teaching careers, and were we to have foreseen all the challenges that lay ahead, there would be no need for in-service training in today’s world. This gap is where continuum professional development comes to provide instructors with opportunities to keep abreast of new and emerging trends in teaching practices and theories.

In Nicaragua, opportunities for career competency growth may not be as ubiquitous as in developed nations, but some educational institutions strive to offer workshops and other types of related meetings as part of the professional development experience, which is praiseworthy considering the many budget constraints that many schools face. Nevertheless, there is research evidence suggesting that “teacher development has moved beyond simple in-service workshops and has expanded into a more robust system of continuing education” (Quattlebaum, 2012). This trend in teachers’ competencies development is gaining new ground and having an impact on the quality standards of education worldwide.

The OECD, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, defines professional development as a series of “activities that develop an individual’s skills, knowledge, expertise and other characteristics as a teacher” (2009). According to Hassel (1999), professional development is “the process of improving staff skills, and competencies needed to produce outstanding academic results for students” In other words, this new approach to teachers’ training proves essential in meeting today’s educational demands. But what clear goals can continuous professional advancement serve beyond pre-service training? The OECD establishes the following:

• to update individuals’ knowledge of a subject in light of recent advances in the area;
• to update individuals’ skills, attitudes and approaches in light of the development of current teaching techniques and objectives, modern circumstances and new educational research;
• to enable individuals to apply changes made to curricula or other aspects of teaching practice;
• to allow schools to develop and implement innovative strategies concerning the curriculum and other aspects of teaching practice;
• to exchange information and expertise among teachers and others, e.g. academics, industrialists; and
• to help weaker teachers become more effective in their practice

For professional development to be effective, it has to be ongoing and in-depth, include practice and feedback, and provide adequate time and follow-up support. It should not be brief and shallow as it currently happens with some of the single training sessions most instructors receive.

Since a great deal of effort in specialized training and development has been diluted in the elusive pursuit of achieving higher standards of education in many developing countries, some scholars have argued that the term “professional development” is a misnomer and that we should be thinking about “professional learning” instead. The former, meaning that teachers passively acquire knowledge intended to “influence their practice”, while the latter denotes “an internal process in which teachers create expert knowledge through interaction with colleagues and other educators in a way, that challenges previous assumptions and creates new meanings.” Hence, professional learning is what will enable instructors to overcome deeply rooted problems that call for “transformative rather than additive change to teaching practice” (Timperly, 2011).

Thus, if we want to achieve qualitative changes in our educational system, “professional learning” is what we should be aiming for. To achieve such a goal and to reach higher standards, radical changes must also take place in the scale and quality of development opportunities available to teachers. High-quality professional learning for teachers should not be the exception but the rule. Teaching should be a learning profession where schools or institutions should provide plenty of opportunities to keep their academic knowledge and practice fully up-to-date.

We are at the dawn of new era, witnessing the start of a culture change in the English teaching profession. Professional development or learning, for that matter, may not be the panacea that will solve all the pedagogical issues that arise in our respective classroom settings, but certainly it is a step in the right direction, and instructors should grasp with both hands every opportunity for professional growth whenever it comes their way.

References

Hassel, E. (1999). Professional development: Learning from the best. Oak Brook, IL: North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL).

Quattlebaum, S. (2012). Why professional development for teachers is critical. The Evolution.New Jersey Public Schools. Retrieved from http://www.evolllution.com/opinions/why-professional-development-for-teachers-is-critical/Sheppard, B. & Dibb

OECD. (2009). Creating Effective Teaching and Learning Environments. The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.

Timperley, H. (2011). Realizing the Power of Professional Learning. New York, NY: Open University Press.

World View

Lessons for Educators: Which Countries are Miles ahead in CPD?

Adapted and condensed by James Cordonero

There is a growing number of teachers in different subjects trying to hone their pedagogical skills, and those who want to go the extra mile turn their eyes to other countries to find ideas about continuous professional development (CPD).

According to David Weston, chief executive of the Teacher Development Trust, we should keep track of what is taking place abroad in terms of professional development. However, he further states, “It takes a number of different levers to change what’s happening in a large complicated system, but professional development is going to be an important one.”

Bearing that in mind, the following is but a small sample of the world’s education success stories:

Languages: Malta and Sweden
The route to success in language teaching lies in a complex multitude of factors, from the curriculum to the culture and geography of a country. But, despite the caveats, teachers can still take ideas and inspiration from abroad.

In 2011, the European Survey on Language Competences highlighted Malta and Sweden as leaders in pupils’ foreign language achievements. The reason is simple: they speak the languages at home. In both countries, English is spoken by nearly 90% of the population and the media is in both native and foreign languages.

Nevertheless, it’s not all about home-schooling: effective teaching supports the multilingual culture. In Malta, for instance, language teachers report high levels of funding and, for pupils, it’s given prominence in the curriculum. Students’ attitudes may also make a difference to learning approaches: in Malta and Sweden, students say they find learning English easy – an attitude not found in other countries.

It is almost impossible to replicate the same level of language immersion that students in Sweden and Malta experience, but the techniques have nevertheless begun to emerge in the some countries such as the UK. In Bohunt School in Hampshire, for example, each new year a group is assigned a language, be it French, Spanish or Chinese. Then, lessons in ICT (Information and Communications Technology), art, PE, social studies and after-school activities are taught in that language.

Teacher’s professional development: Japan
Japan has become a notable case study for CPD, with a system that was a well-kept secret for decades. The Lesson Study scheme originated in the nineteenth century, and provides a structured program for peer-to-peer development.

Collaborating with a group of teachers, a lesson is planned, observed and analyzed. Together, the teachers learn from each other, and share insights into their pedagogy. The result is a more open and public forum for education, where there may be as many teachers as children in a classroom.

Critics say it creates an unnatural environment in schools, but the Japanese system has already been adopted by teachers across Asia and is quickly finding its feet in Europe.

Furthermore, the Lesson Study model has itself become internationally collaborative, as the system evolves in unique ways in each new country. Japan’s most important lesson is the importance of collaboration in professional development.

Maths: Singapore
Along with other East Asian countries, Singapore has been hailed for its innovative maths education, producing world-class results.

In Singapore, learning times tables parrot fashion is frowned upon. Children are encouraged to develop core maths skills in creative, noisy classrooms, using props and diagrams to explain abstract concepts. The system, which was developed in the 1980s, couldn’t be more different from the traditional approach used in other countries where students s are still encouraged to do rote-learning without making sense out of how time tables work.

Singapore’s success has caught the attention of schools in the USA, where some have adopted the system and it has enjoyed rave reviews. As always though, teachers’ pedagogy is only part of the equation. A recent study, which highlighted Singapore’s success, also claimed: “An early start is crucial in shaping children’s numeracy skills.”

Social and emotional learning: Sweden and USA
A British scholar recently explored classrooms in the US and Sweden to find out how they approached social and emotional learning.

“The classrooms are full of mood meters and feelings charts as well as quiet areas that pupils can go to think, problem solve, reflect and resolve disputes using clearly-defined steps,” she writes about the US. “At the heart of the American school day is the importance of patriotism, national pride and the American flag.”

Although the approach stems from classroom culture, schools also use more formal frameworks to develop emotional learning, such as the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (RCCP). At the heart of the scheme is strong CPD, with a focus on teacher training and classroom management.

It’s a far cry from the freedom and autonomy found in Swedish schools. There, social and emotional learning is tied up with an emphasis on self-motivation. Pupils are encouraged to think independently, and have individualized guidance from teachers.

Source:
The Guardian
http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/oct/10/lessons-educators-countries-ahead-cpd

Topics

Professional Development in the XXI Century

by Gabriel Areas

Keeping up with new trends in ELT and learning about new gizmos for education can be a daunting task even for the most experienced educator.  Nowadays, professional development is not an option; it is a must.  Getting certified and learning new skills give teachers a competitive edge and an added value that can exponentially increase their career prospects.  There are many ways teachers can stay in the loop and not fall behind.  Three factors worth mentioning in this article are the Keiser International Language Institute Certification in ELT, MOOCS, and professional learning networks as ways to continue growing professionally.

The Keiser University Language Institute ELT Certification

The ELT is a five-month online teaching certification that gives new or experienced educators a solid foundation in methodology, lesson planning, and teaching principles which  have a profound effect in their teaching.  The program is divided into five modules where teachers read, write, teach and reflect on their teaching.  The course follows a blended format that combines online work and bi-monthly face-to-face meetings. The first four modules cover the areas of methodology, listening, speaking and reading.  The final module consists of a writing workshop and an action research paper that requires participants to apply everything they have learned throughout the course, and write an academic paper to eventually publish their findings in a quarterly newsletter issued by the Keiser International Language Institute. The program places a lot of emphasis on detail and personalized attention. Each participant has a mentor who provides guidance and follow-up, and works side by side with him or her to ensure their success.  Participants who fulfill all the requirements receive a First TEFL Certificate from the ELT Institute at Hunter College, City University of New York, and a Certificate from the International Language Institute at Keiser University.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC)

Let us start by defining a MOOC.  MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses and according to google, “it is a free course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people”.  Keep in mind that when we say a large number of people it can literally mean thousands.  MOOCS have become very popular in the ELT field in Nicaragua because of the great effort made by the US state department to sponsor their American English Webinar Series for English language teachers from around the world.  Registration for a MOOC is really simple, and as mentioned beforehand, they are free.  First, applicants need to find a registration link, which is usually shared by the host institution such as Coursera, www.coursera.com, or the American English website, http://americanenglishwebinars.com/main/authorization/signUp?.  MOOCs are usually short courses that can last 4 weeks or less, but they can also be extensive and last up to 12 weeks.  One of the most popular MOOCs on Coursera is “Teaching by Principles part 1 and part 2”, which reviews and expands on methodology  as well as new trends in ELT.  These courses can be useful for both the new and the experienced teacher because they review and expand on the most updated literature available in the field of ELT.

Professional Learning Communities (PLC)

A Professional Learning Community, also known as PLC, is a group whereby educators can share best practices and common goals.  In a previous article Bosco Bonilla, coordinator of the English for Professional Development Program at Keiser International Language Institute, presented the social learning network Edmodo (www.edmodo.com), which allows educators from around the world to join groups, follow learning communities and form their own PLCs. More information about Edmodo and PLCs can be found in this link:
https://assets.edmodo.com/images_v2/marketing/docs/edmodo_sellsheet2015_pdtools.pdf

A professional learning community can also serve as the platform where teachers can learn about new trends, share educational apps, and present new ideas to their peers.  Everyone in the community is interconnected in a kind of social learning network where educators can ask other fellow teachers for help, and receive the support needed from people who care and are willing to lend a helping hand when most needed.  Institutions around the world can take advantage of their own PLCs to conduct in-service trainings and to provide follow-up and feedback to their faculty.  The importance of joining a learning community is that educators become respected digital citizens who understand and follow proper electronic etiquette to connect with the world.  Other popular online services that professionals are using to make new connections are Google Groups and Microsoft Education.

To conclude, there are many technology resources available to continue growing in ELT.  Whether it is a teaching certification, a MOOC, a blended course, a social learning network or a professional learning community, they constitute new forms of professional development whereby teachers can collaborate, learn from one another and become truly global educators and a factor of inspiration and change in their communities.  The challenge still lies ahead and is up to each of us to take an active role in finding new connections and practical ways to continue with our professional growth.