Some of my personal aims for helping improve the ITT course experience in 2016

Here are 10 things I want to focus on in 2016 to help teacher trainees on our initial teacher training (ITT) course have a positive and productive experience:

  1. Making course info and documents like lesson plan proformas as easily accessible and workable as possible on- and offline.
  2. Managing the timing of input sessions so that there’s always some unstructured time at the end for questions, trainee-instigated extensions, or simply time for human connection.
  3. Finding new ways to facilitate the trainees’ connection to and interaction with the TP students outside of the ‘on the clock’ observed, assessed lesson time.
  4. Continuing to work on making TP feedback both focused and fun.
  5. Continuing to experiment with ways of making sure trainee’s takeaways from their last TP feedback translate into personally meaningful actionable goals for their next TP lesson.
  6. Finding ways to increase the trainees’ voice and experiences as a source of content for input sessions and course content using on- and offline tools.
  7. Keeping a consistent focus on simplifying and streamlining that which can be simplified and streamlined in order to avoid stress, confusion, and burnout.
  8. Communicating with co-trainers as much as possible to ensure we’re always on the same page.
  9. Not getting caught up in the intensity of the course myself and losing track of my time, health, and personal responsibilities.
  10. Having as much fun as possible, keeping eyes on the prize: the joy of teaching!

happy-students

What else might should be on my list (I love that double-modal construct)? What area(s) do you wish your own ITT experience was better in? Or if you’re a trainer, what are you currently focused on? Feel free to drop me a comment with any thoughts or suggestions!

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7 thoughts on “Some of my personal aims for helping improve the ITT course experience in 2016

  1. Hi Matthew,

    I’d say all docs to be read on Moodle, (or other LMS) all proformas on there, too, with exemplars. Keep the online repository tidy and intuitive. Nobody wants to go hunting at 3am for a template to replace one that’s been corrupted between iOS/OSX/Windows/Android transfer.

    Diaries and notebooks with pockets help my sanity immensely.

    Keep the blog up; I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’ve been using Google Drive, but it’s amazing just how messy things *can* get when a bunch of different people have the access to edit and share and upload docs in a group, then there’s . Toggling settings and reorganizing there may not be enough; a more stand-alone Moodle or similar just might be the right shift, as you suggest! Cheers Marc, and thanks for the blogging encouragement, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. BTW, I know Marisa at CELT Athens has a lot of experience and ideas with that one. It’s so great that she basically shares and writes about everything she does as well!

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    2. Thanks for the encouragement! I’m guessing you’d agree: there’s nothing like blog comments to do that. I’ll take one topical comment with a statement of appreciation attached such as yours over a million retweets and ‘hits’, whatever that really means.

      Between courses just now (we’ve had an uncharacteristically long gap just now…so much so I’m beginning to feel a bit untethered, heh) we’ve done a lot to also make copies of more course stuff (observation task sheets, etc.) out and available physically in files and bins in the trainee’s corner of the course room. Rather than doling them out as we go. More self-access both online and off. I figure it’s all good – and we certainly have the occasional candidate for whom paper, pen, and the three-ring binder is still very much the primary center of functional organizational reality.

      As you mentioned: “sanity”. That’s the simple and unmistakable name of the game when it comes down to it! 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This one: “keeping a consistent focus on simplifying and streamlining that which can be simplified and streamlined in order to avoid stress, confusion, and burnout” is what I’m keenly reading/watching all of Anthony Gaughan’s stuff online for, to try to wrap my head around more and keep front and center. He really seems to have stared that down, and with some so-called radical solutions. I’ll definitely try to post about how it’s coming along during the next course (beginning February 22nd).

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  3. “Continuing to work on making TP feedback both focused and fun.” – that’s a real challenge for me, as well as keeping it to time. I’d love to see what you do to achieve that.
    As for “keeping a consistent focus on simplifying and streamlining that which can be simplified and streamlined in order to avoid stress, confusion, and burnout”, did you see the review I did of a session from IATEFL 2015 about The Natural CELTA: https://sandymillin.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/iatefl-manchester-2015-celta/ (the last one) I think you’d be really interested in that.
    Good luck and I look forward to seeing how you manage to work on these areas!
    Sandy

    Liked by 1 person

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