Professional Development Workshops for TEFL teachers

Teachers in the TEFL industry decided to restart Professional Development Workshops to network, share knowledge and best practice. These workshops are led by industry professionals - or anyone with something to share - and hosted by UCT's English Language Centre.

A great example of a Digital Story

Years ago, Cape Town’s English schools used to organise professional development workshops which were a space for teachers and experts to share expertise and grow together.  But these stopped, so UCT decided to restart these workshops to enable us to share knowledge, network and continue building the ELT teaching profession with other TEFL teachers.  

For the first workshop on 8th June, we initially expected around 20 people but had to organise a bigger room because we had close to 55 attendees! Clearly, there is demand for this chance to grow.  As well as some teachers coming on their own, teams from Good Hope Studies, Language Link, TIES, Oxford English Cape Town, Eurocentres, Cape Town School of English, Scalabrini, Stellenbosch University, English One and UCT”s English Language Centre participated.

Here are some notes about the two topics  that we discussed and also some links that may be of interest to you in your own Professional Development. 

‘Unbooking your coursebook’

This session was led by Juliette Hartmann, the TEFL Co-ordinator at UCT’s English Language Centre and the premise for this discussion was around the fact that using coursebooks ALL THE TIME can have many disadvantages, including students and teachers becoming bored, formulaic, not exactly what the students need, and many other reasons.  

In groups, teachers came up with these suggestions to avoid using the coursebook all the time: 

• Pre-teach / Predict / Prepare – all these can be done without the book. 
• Personalisation (experience, reaction, opinion) – before or after the main task. 
• Integrating skills / varying skills
• Real life use – how would you use this language in a real life situation? 
• Alternate learning. 

Then teachers discussed further points that are important if you want to use the course book less and how you could do so:

• Competition
• Games
• Meaningful communication
• Visuals
• Movement
• Humour

Think about how to Maximize Entertainment, Appropriacy and Learning.

Digital Storytelling

Catherine Scott, a teacher here at the English Language Centre led this session and all those present participated in a practical in how to make a digital story, with some hilarious results.  

Some useful links and tips for using this in your classroom are:

For a very short, very silly video made by our Principal Simon and Teacher Alex, follow this link

Thank you to those who attended.  It was great to have so many people there to share and contribute. 

The next workshop in this series of professional development workshops is on 3rd August. The topics are Language Learning through Mobile Devices and Helping Students Recognise Implied Meaning led by Warren Lilley and Daniella Favis respectively. The workshops are free and open to anyone.

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