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March 30, 2007

Workplace Issues- Attending Meetings

Hello Readers,

How do you feel about attending meetings and training sessions at your school? Do you wish you had more or fewer such opportunities to communicate with your coworkers? Do you get anything out of the meetings...

... or could you?

The first couple of years teaching ESL for me was a pretty solitary experience, even though I was working at Universities with plenty of other people. Unfortunately for me, I was left alone to do what I wanted without any kind of direction or feedback whatsoever. As a new teacher, I actually craved what they thought that I didn't need. Perhaps that is why when I became a manager, I was shocked when the teachers at my school didn't show up for training sessions.

The disappointing fact is that there are managers who schedule meetings simply for the sake of scheduling meetings and end up wasting everyone's time with babbling on about irrelevant issues. It is no wonder that attendees of such meetings hold negative views about meetings.

However, meetings can be both efficient and effective for everyone involved. For managers, it's a time to get feedback from teachers about issues (both good and bad) relating to materials, scheduling, facilities, students, holidays, etc. For teachers, it's a time to discuss different teaching methodologies with the other teachers and to receive some training on teaching tips and tricks. Some schools ask a different teacher to be responsible for providing a short training session on a topic each week. This can be an invaluable experience... who better to learn from than another teacher who is working in the same situation as you are with the same set of students?

So, if you're a manager- make sure that you are offering something useful to your teachers. If you're a teacher, make sure you actively participate in your meetings. If you don't currently have regular meetings or training sessions, why not think about organizing your own? If you're a private English language teacher, why not think about meeting up with other private EL teachers once a month in a coffee shop to talk shop?

Here's a short list of training topics:

1. error-correction techniques
2. phonetics
3. how to motivate students
4. presenting grammar
5. setting up a role play
6. warmers
7. specific problems that are common with your group of students
8. dictation techniques
9. what to do in a one-to-one class to keep it interesting
10. using authentic materials in the classroom

Each of the above topics could easily be broken down into more specific topics (eg. grammar- the difference between "will" and "going to").

For more information about effective meetings, go to: http://www.effectivemeetings.com/meetingbasics/6tips.asp

For more information about motivating staff, go to: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3495/is_8_47/ai_90536354

For more information about teacher training, go to: http://honolulu.hawaii.edu/intranet/committees/FacDevCom/guidebk/teachtip/teachtip.htm

What kind of training do you find useful? What can managers do to make meetings more relevant to you? How can managers motivate their staff to show up for meetings? Feel free to add your comments below.

Good luck!

Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
E-mail: crueckert@eslemployment.com
Blog: www.esl-lesson-plan.com

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand." - Chinese Proverb

*Looking for more articles that focus on workplace issues specific to ESL? Click HERE!

About the author of this entry:
Carol, a native English-speaker who hails from the small town of St. Joseph in Minnesota, USA, and lived and worked in China for more than 7 years. During that time, she worked with students that range in age from three to more than sixty years old. She worked in universities, private language schools, grade schools, international schools, as well as private tutoring. Besides teaching, she also worked as a head teacher, an education manager, and a material development manager. In addition to working on this newsletter, she currently writes a monthly column for Time Out Beijing. Carol is also currently working on her MA in TESOL at the Oxford Brookes University in England. Look for her posts on the ESL-Jobs-Forum discussion boards!

Posted by crueckert at March 30, 2007 04:04 AM

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