From the 14th to the 18th of January, I put on the student’s hat again (or rather, the one of a teacher who would become a trainer) and took what is one of Cambridge Assessment English’s richest courses, in my opinion: Train the Trainer.
The course took place at São Paulo Open Centre, which, in case you’re not familiar with yet, is a reputable institution, acting in the state of São Paulo as a Cambridge Assessment English Authorized Platinum Exam Centre, delivering high-quality exam solutions, as well as offering several others for Teacher Development. Their vacation programmes are definitely worth checking! Moreover, the course wouldn’t have been nearly as good had it not been for the brilliant tutoring of Andrea Luccas Baena, one of the most talented people in ELT I’ve had the chance to work with.
Seizing ownership of your own professional development by taking holiday courses is one of the most important things a teacher can do. The fresh boost of energy and enthusiasm we all have after holidays is one of the reasons such courses are always successful. In my case, it couldn’t have been any different. I had the chance to do some very important networking, develop partnerships, meet old and new colleagues and feel accomplished after one intense 40-hour course week. Not only that, but the way the ideas flourish in your mind and your professional plans unravel afterwards are nothing short of extraordinary.
As for the content of the course, you can find it in more detail here, but it deals mainly with basic knowledge a Teacher Trainer needs to have. From practical ideas, such as what kinds of tasks you can use with your group of teachers for warm-ups to writing input sessions to delivering them, to watching real-life feedback sessions, nearly always (re)writing, (re)planning and improving everything.
Highlights of the sessions were the very deep and rich discussions which gave each of us trainers the chance to see the core syllabus from the perspective of what Cambridge expects from newly-appointed tutors as well as in our own realities. Last but not least, the very common round table discussing the myriad of possibilities teachers have to be accountable for their own development also took place and showed that this new experience of helping teachers develop is just starting.
Would I recommend the course? One million times!
First, I found out that the course stands in a Proficient > Expert stage on the Cambridge English Teaching Framework, which is totally surprising. For one thing, it is a much more accessible course than the Delta, for instance, both cognitively and financially speaking. Also, while the Delta will help you delve deeper into worlds of ELT and sharpen your research skills, Train the Trainer will help you develop a very specific set of other ones. On the other hand, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that your perspectives on teaching change completely, but you might reconsider many of your practices and how you see teaching. The focus shifts from learners to teachers and sooner rather than later, you’ll find out that it’s an entirely different beast. I surely did.
To cap it off, I learned that I had been appointed an official CELT-P/S Tutor by Cambridge 4 days later, working in Campinas on behalf of São Paulo Open Centre. It couldn’t have been better, for sure. I’m looking forward to working with teachers who are eager to learn and grow professionally, for the first time in my career, this time, officially. More importantly, all knowledge acquired will definitely be a very important asset in the process, as will all the tips.
See you in the next one!