Pre-Course Tasks: Start with the basics
Some trainees may be somewhat nervous about coming on the course either because they have not been engaged in full-time study for a while or because they believe they have little or no experience in teaching. Other trainees might be worried about their limited knowledge of English grammar. Rest assured that if you are experiencing these feelings, you are not alone!
The staff at Via Lingua centres base their teaching approach on a number of clear principles:
- An appreciation of group dynamics
- An appreciation of pre-course experience
- Interactive learning
- Academic rigor
- Opportunities for practice
Trainers are aware of how groups work and the stages that they need to go through in order to work effectively. This is a very important factor in determining how successful individual trainees will eventually be on the course. Effective groups do not happen by chance; the style and process which are utilized by the trainer directly influences success.
Training sessions are managed in such a way that the trainee is required to take an active part in his / her own education. Sessions are characterised by a high percentage of interactive activities where trainees are required to consider situations / concepts / questions through performing a set of tasks. The cycle of “doing”, “reflecting”, “hypothesizing” and “testing” is employed in all aspects of the course. Throughout this process, trainees are encouraged to make reference to the pre-course experiences of themselves and others in the group.
The trainers recognise that the ideas and concepts which are explored with trainees should be firmly grounded in an awareness of established pedagogical research and practice. Reference will be made during the sessions and in recommended reading tasks to the theoretical base underpinning the content of input sessions.
Trainers are fully aware of the limitations of a short intensive course and are, therefore, conscious of the need to provide trainees with practical guidelines, tips, strategies, materials and models which they can utilize in the classroom.
Whenever practical, trainers model teaching approaches and activities which trainees will be able to replicate in the TEFL classroom. This may be in the form of instruction giving, the use of pairs and small groups, the management of feed-back sessions or strategies for introducing and exploring areas of grammar.
Many of the input sessions will provide trainees with the opportunity to test out new ideas and insights through peer teaching activities.
THE PRE-COURSE TASKS
In order to help you prepare for the course, you may wish to undertake one or more of the pre-course tasks. These tasks are not compulsory and do not count towards your final grade on the course. Your work is not collected in by the trainers.
However, the issues addressed in the tasks will form the basis of some of the early training sessions and, consequently, you may find it helpful to complete them.
The grammar task introduces some of the basic knowledge that we will be covering during the first four sessions where we study English grammar. Completing the task will provide you with a basic awareness of terminology which will be helpful when studying other aspects of English grammar. Don’t panic if you find it difficult! You will have plenty of time to deepen your knowledge during the course.