Your PowerPoint slides are a masterpiece, your materials are back from the printer’s and the opening speech you drafted would put Martin Luther King to shame. But wait a minute, is that good training?I don’t think it is. ‘Less is more’ in art, design and architecture, and I think that less can also be more in training. Here are five principles that will set you on your way to becoming a minimalist trainer.
We’ve all been in there before. Pieces of wood strewn across the floor. Packets of seemingly identical (but vitally different) nails encircle you. At the center of this carnage you sit with furniture assembly instructions on your lap which require the Rosetta Stone to decipher.
Is this also how our students feel in your class? Listening to instructions in a foreign language can be every bit as confusing as assembling those bookshelves. Next time you give instructions for an activity, G-I-V-E instructions.
Picture a class of six-year old’s learning English. What do you see? Dancing? Coloring in? Flashcard games? Face-to-face lessons are naturally kinesthetic, meaning more blood flow to students’ brains, more engagement, and more variety. Online ESL classes can be the opposite: fidgety students struggling to overcome the compulsion to move. As online English teachers, we need more movement in our online classes. Where to start? The 5 ‘i's.
"What do you mean? How can I email you interactions, epiphanies, questions, reactions, reflections and learning?”
"Just send your PowerPoint deck".
When did people start to think that “PowerPoint” is a synonym for “training”? Do they think the “T” in “PPT” stands for “training”? Training is so much more than a series of slides, handouts and bullet points. If your new year’s resolutions included cutting down on fats, sugars or caffeine, here are five reasons to add PowerPoint to your list of things to avoid in the new year.
Maybe you hate your school. Maybe you’re working undercover for a competitor. Maybe this is your next gig after hacking the American election. Whatever the reason, you’re in good company; there are a lot of people dedicated to destroying teacher development. Little has been written about the field of destroying teacher development (or “DTD” for short), so to make your work easier, I have compiled this list of the highly effective DTD techniques. Go forth and destroy!
Hold it! Step away from the photocopier. Do you really need those extra materials for your next class? Are those handouts going to help your students learn or just clear a couple of inches of Brazilian rain forest? Before printing anything more, check your materials (or ‘mateRRRRials’) against the four ‘R’s (real life, relevance, reaction and recyclability) and make sure you and your students get the most out of them.
Can you remember some of the things you were “forced” to do when you were a child? Forced to wear a school uniform. Forced to go to the dentist. Forced to eat vegetables. Being forced to do things sucks. And yet every week we force teachers to attend training in the hope teachers can be forced to develop. They can't.
When you see a police car in the rear-view mirror, do you drive more cautiously? Do you work later when your boss is staying after hours? Researchers call this behavior “the Hawthorne Effect.” And, it affects your ESL classroom more than you think.