Since 2004, the British Council Ukraine has been organizing teacher training summer school in cooperation with IATEFL. The most recent one was held in July 2014, in the stunning location of Zakarpattya.
105 enthusiastic teachers from 19 regions of Ukraine (out of 24 regions) came together to develop their professional skills. They had an opportunity to share their experience and learn from each other, to raise awareness of new approaches, methods and techniques and to develop their teaching skills. 9 trainers facilitated, guided and managed the courses. One of the teachers stated in her feedback ‘The professional level of the trainers is very high. We always expect that from British trainers but now we have our own Ukrainian trainers who are as good as the British. Superb!’
Five areas were covered: trainer development; secondary English language teaching; primary English language teaching; first steps in teaching; and CPD indicators design. One of the course components was microteaching/microtraining, which was a totally new experience for the majority of the participants and they found it very effective.
At the beginning of the course, the majority of the participants had a number of worries and concerns: lack of confidence to teach effectively and deliver micro teaching/training; lack of methodological knowledge. They felt confused, worried and even shocked. However, during the course their feelings changed into being excited, inspired, enthusiastic, involved, motivated, relieved and happy. As one of the participants said, ‘…my fears and uncertainty have turned into strengths’ and this feeling was shared by others.
Here are a few teacher reflections on the Summer School:
‘Thanks to this school I improved my skills, shared my own thoughts with other teachers and learned some new things from them. Thank you for the chance to be a part of this school and the opportunity to move forward in English methodology. I hope this work will bring fruitful results in the future.’
‘This school helped me to be open to changes and to be ready to accept challenges. After this summer school, I feel inspired and want further development. It would be great to share all my new experiences with the teachers back in my native city.’
‘I’ve looked at the world from another perspective, changed some of my viewpoints, got a lot of interesting ideas and thoughts, become more confident. Now I’m sure I’ll be able to teach in a different way. I’ll be able to learn from my mistakes instead of criticising myself and I’ll be able to make myself and the world around me better.’
‘I feel we all have developed our trainer skills as well as our personalities.’
‘It is a great boost for the new school year. I bet that after I have finished this summer school, I will be a brand-new teacher, well-equipped with state-of-the-art methods and techniques that will definitely help me in my teaching.’
At the end of these six days, I can’t say I know everything about what and how to teach but I’m at the beginning of this long process to learn how to teach best.’
It is crucial for teachers to use their recently gained knowledge and to share it with colleagues. In order to achieve that, we have introduced a new practice and each teacher signed a contract in which they drew up a dissemination plan aimed at informing colleagues about the British Council Ukraine’s and IATEFL Ukraine’s activities and resources.
As agreed with teachers, they will develop and deliver at least five sessions (presentations/workshops/seminars) on selected topics using British Council resources and materials from the summer school. A report on the work done, alongside videos/photos/presentations/participants’ feedback will be sent to the British Council Ukraine and IATEFL Ukraine after each session.
But, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, right? So it wasn’t all work, we did play too! Everyone had a chance to go and visit some of Ukraine’s outstanding sights: Shepit waterfall, Sinevir Lake and Mukachevo castle. One of the extra-curriculum events was the Quest night, where our teachers did their best to find answers to questions about the British Council, its activities, resources and online courses, IATEFL Ukraine activities, English language issues and peculiarities of the local dialect.
The summer school was overall a big success, organization-wise and programme-wise.
What better way to wrap up a story than sharing another teacher quote with you:
‘I expected 150% but got 300%. I’m overwhelmed!’