TRAINING, EDUCATION & DEVELOPMENT
TEACHER DEVELOPMENT - UNIT 1
Irujo (1993:22) lists six expressions current in the United States to refer to programmes available for ESOL teachers or teachers-to-be: professional development, professional growth, teacher preparation, teacher education, L2 teacher development and teacher training. We can view this list in different ways. Irujo herself sees it positively as a 'reflection of the great diversity of what we do', while Marggraf (1993) is quoted as using this list as evidence for her assertion that '"teacher training" is so unsure of itself that it doesn't even have a program rubric.'
As I have made a big issue of the fact that this is not a Teacher Training module, anyone involved obviously has a stake in being clear about how such terms are being used.
The second part of Unit 1, therefore, investigates three of these terms and explains how they are used here. The third part of the unit clarifies the requirements of the assignment. The fourth part of the unit offers some questions for you to consider. These are meant to act as a bridge between these pages and the introduction of the book, Cooperative Development, which makes up the major part of the materials of this module.
Training, education and development
From the range of terms listed by Irujo, we are going to concentrate on three central ones: training, education and development. As with most discussions of terminology in our field, it is important to keep the following ground rules in mind:
1. It is not the case that the world can be divided up into watertight categories, but it can sometimes be helpful to our thinking about the world to talk as if the categories that we impose on it are meaningful.
2. The categories relate to perceptions of experience, not to objectively quantifiable data. That is to say, in most circumstances, programmes for teachers will include elements of all these three categories: training, education and development, in a possibly unpredictable mixture. What is training for me might be educational for you and lead to development for both of us. So, we are not so much trying to put any given programme into a single box, we are rather trying to characterise different strands of intention and experience which are found in the work teachers do which is meant to make them better teachers.
3. While it is valid to get impatient with people who just want to go on about terminology (or jargon if you really don't like it), we should not underestimate the importance of the names we give to what we do. The names often conceal assumptions and attitudes which we are well advised to examine.
Training and education
First of all, when the terms training and education are directly juxtaposed, one potential distinction between them becomes immediately apparent from the everyday meaning of the words themselves. To train is to instil habits or skills, and the word collocates just as happily with dogs and seals as with teachers. To educate, on the other hand, is to guide towards moral and intellectual excellence.
We can find this distinction in Widdowson's (1983:16-20) arguments regarding TESP and language learning in general. Widdowson writes (ibid:19):
' … that the difference between training and education (at least as far as language teaching is concerned) is … that training seeks to impose a conformity to certain established patterns of knowledge and behaviour, usually in order to carry out a set of clearly defined tasks … Education, however, seeks to provide for creativity whereby what is learned is a set of schemata and procedures for adapting them to cope with problems which do not have a ready-made, formulaic solution.'
It is on the basis of this distinction that Widdowson (ibid:23-28) builds his
argument for the importance of what he calls communicative capacity (the creative
ability to exploit resources for meaning) as distinct from the essentially conformist
and codified communicative competence. We shall not pursue the obvious parallels
between teacher training/education and language learning/ teaching here (see
Widdowson 1984, 1990 for explicit views on teacher education), but the very
fact that Widdowson's thinking arises consistently out of an educational perspective
means that much of his writing on ESP and applied linguistics has at least an
oblique relevance to teacher training/education, even when these are not his
We can, of course, concentrate on the positive, and potentially complementary, aspects of both training and education. We might say that well-trained people should be in a position to carry out given procedures, and able to match procedures to situations. Well-educated people should know about a variety of available procedures and be in a position either to choose or adapt the most appropriate. Furthermore, on the basis of a clear understanding of why effective procedures are the way they are, they should be able to create new procedures in order to respond to a new situation.
There is also a sound historical basis for the distinction we have been looking at in the field of general teacher training/education. Britain's teacher training colleges grew out of earlier training schools at which the apprentice teacher was attached to a master teacher who handed on the highly formalised skills designed to foster 'the accumulation of information and the inculcation of habits' (Morrison & McIntyre 1973:60).
Morrison & McIntyre (ibid) then summarise the change in perspective which they saw as having taken place at the time of writing:
'The view has ... increasingly been taken that intellectual competence, human understanding and desirable educational attitudes are more important attributes to be fostered by college education than is the mastery of any teaching skills. Jeffreys (1961) expresses a widely held view when he says that "we think it is more important, in training teachers, to produce well-educated people than to produce technically competent practitioners."'
Note, however, that while insisting on the overriding importance of education,
Jeffreys does not find it incongruous to place this insistence in the context
of teacher training. In other words, in British usage, teacher training has
been the generic term and any debate as to a distinction between, and the relative
importance of, the training and educational aspects of the work has taken place
under the general professional heading of teacher training.
Under this heading, however, the historical trend has certainly been towards the concept of education. Furthermore, the weight of the U.S. American preference for the generic term teacher education has led to a situation in which a majority of practitioners also in Britain have come to be more comfortable with this title for their activities. In what follows, I shall also use education as the generic term. We return to this topic, and to more recent changes in the philosophy of teacher education, in the final unit of the module.
Now, where shall we fit teacher development into this scheme of things? For the time being, my purpose is to separate out the term development from the other two. In order to do so, I want to follow one particular perspective, one which we might think of as the position of the IATEFL Teacher Development Special Interest Group (See if you can find TD SIG Newsletters in a local library or teachers' resource centre.)
This perspective is not couched in terms of training and education, competence and capacity. It suggests that we each have in us the potential to be the best teacher that we can be, but the best teacher that I can be is not to be measured against the best teacher that someone else can be, certainly not in terms of classroom method or methodological theory. What I need to develop is a sense of my strengths and weaknesses, a sense of my self as I work with other people. Through this growing self-awareness, I shall be better able to ask useful questions about learning which will lead me on to an increased awareness of how I can help other people to learn.
This perspective on teacher development also draws in other aspects of the life of the teacher. For example, teaching can be a highly stressful occupation (Barduhn 1989). Some of that stress is generated by my felt need to keep on the mask of expert in the field, expert in organisation, the person ahead of, and separate from the other people in the classroom (and perhaps in the staffroom). My security resides in these forms of expertise and separateness, but they are also the cause of my stress. The only way to escape this type of stress is through the development of a sense of inner security which allows for the development of secure personal relationships with colleagues and learners, and which also encourages non-threatening relationships among learners. With the stress and threat diminished, the learners are better able to apply themselves to learning, and I am better placed to facilitate that learning.
So, at the risk of being simplistic, if teacher training is about competence in the implementation of teaching techniques, and teacher education is about the capacity to choose among various techniques and improvise new ones, teacher development - according to the perspective I have outlined here - has two defining characteristics:
1. It concerns itself with the development of the socially aware individual as a whole-person-who-teaches, as opposed to the acquisition of professional competence and capacity by a teacher, separate from the rest of that person's life.
2. The emphasis here is on the personal motivation of the individual to take responsibility for his or her own self-development. Training and education are what other people can give me; development is what I do about myself.
The influence of such ideas as these has been seen in our teacher education
courses for some time, perhaps most clearly in what is often called a counselling
approach to observation and feedback (e.g. Stones 1984, Handal & Lauvas 1987).
What I want to do here, however, is to establish a distinctive meaning for the
term teacher development. There certainly are ways of helping other people be
in a position to work on their own development, but they are not the major concern
of this module. They are the major concern of the final unit of this module,
when we shall return to this discussion and look at another interpretation of
the training/education/development distinction.
Until then, you are being asked to accept the above definition of teacher development, as being concerned with your own self-motivated investigation of yourself-in-context.
Before we begin that process, however, let us spend a little time looking at the assignment which will provide the data for the assessment of the academic output of your experience during this module.
The assignment is best approached in the light of the objectives set out for the TD option in the Study Companion and the Preface. These are repeated here:
o Participants will come to control a set of interactive skills which will facilitate their ongoing individual development in cooperation with a colleague.
o Participants will gain insight into their own developmental processes and preferences and will thereby be able to evaluate the recommendations made in Cooperative Development and the outcomes achieved.
o Participants will be in a position to make informed decisions about the role of self-development opportunities in teacher training programmes.
The assignment is most likely to relate to the above objectives in one of two
general ways. This is the first:
1. An evaluation of the extent to which the first and second objectives have been achieved. This will be based on participants' own detailed notes of their experiences and reactions, along with other contextual data, and on their reading in the area.
In order to discover whether or not the objectives have been met in your own case, you will need both to document your experiences of the Cooperative Development programme, and to evaluate the programme itself. This may well involve answering such questions as:
o Did I learn this set of interactive skills?
o Did I learn anything else from the process?
o What was the experience like, intellectually, emotionally, socially?
o Are these skills of any use? Some more than others?
o Is the whole CD framework convincing? Is it usable? Can it be improved?
o How do the ideas here relate to the literature?
o What have I learned about myself and/or my teaching?
o Can I see this leading anywhere?
o So what?
Please note that the above questions are given only as examples and they are
not meant to be exhaustive or necessary. As far as evaluation is concerned,
see Lansley (1994) for an altogether negative response to Cooperative Development.
In order to work effectively in this area, you will need to keep up some kind of a log, diary, or other record of your experiences as they are going on (See FND Unit 1 and the accompanying taped interview, also Burke 1995:32). This will provide an invaluable source of data. Easily accessible readings about the keeping and interpretation of EFL teachers' logs and diaries are not difficult to find these days.
See, for example, Bailey (1990), Brock et al (1992), Jarvis (1992), Richards (1992), McDonough (1994) and Numrich (1996). A fuller treatment of the potential depths of organised journalling is Progoff (1975).
Please do not understand that you are required to give a blow-by-blow account of the CD activities which you carried out. The selection of the best focus for your assignment lies in your hands. For example, it may turn out for some people that it is the experience of keeping a log itself which provides the focus of their assignment. In fact, such a piece of work would also have the potential to make a very welcome contribution to the literature, in which the majority of reports come from teacher educators writing about the logs of their course participants. Others may find that the interim teaching outcomes of their developmental process and the new questions which they have come to formulate demand to be the focus of their assignment.
An alternative approach to the assignment might address the third objective above. This would involve:
2. The planning of a programme of facilitated self-development, or the integration of elements of self-development into a larger scheme of teacher training. This would either be implemented and evaluated, or procedures for implementationa and criteria for future evaluation would be made clear.
In other words, you may wish to invest your experiential insights into self-development in your work as a teacher educator. If you do choose to do this, you may either treat your own development and the facilitation of development for others sequentially, or you may begin with your teacher education concerns and draw on the data of your own experience where and when it is of particular relevance.
We shall return to the issue of facilitating development for other people in the last unit of this module. In the meantime, remember that your assignment must also deal with your own personal/professional development as a teacher educator, or as a teacher, but certainly as an ELT professional involved in the type of self-development activity in which you wish to involve other people.
Remember, too, that what you are being asked to produce is an assignment towards the award of a higher academic degree and that it will be assessed according to the general criteria with which you have been issued. I stress these facts because the format of this module is deliberately different from other Aston MSc components. There is a great emphasis in the materials on your own experiential learning. This must not be misunderstood as downgrading the importance of proper reference to the literature in the production of your assignment. One more comment may be appropriate in terms of discourse formality. The addressees of the text Cooperative Development are not necessarily teachers involved in formal programmes of education. Its style is not that of academic discourse and should not be thought of as an appropriate model for the assignment.
None of this means that your assignment needs to be overly-formal, either! The plain truth is that, the more leeway we allow ourselves to investigate areas outside the academic mainstream, the more careful we have to be that no one can accuse us of simply not being serious.
In the context of the general criteria established for the asessment of assignments, an outstanding TD assignment will:
1 operate in a context of authentic TESOL purposes;
2 record and evaluate the writer's experience and outcomes in personal and professional development towards those purposes and in the formulation of new purposes;
3 relate to the literature of personal and professional development so that experience and literature illuminate each other.
While I have done my best to make clear what is required of you, it is always possible that there may be problems of communication, despite my best efforts and your careful reading and discussion. It is also the case that the requirements of this module, as well as being demanding, are meant to be spacious enough to encourage individual interpretation inside their constraints. If anything remains unclear, or if you want to negotiate the terms of your own assignment in advance, please do get in touch.
Some questions for reflection
And after you have reflected on them, please share your reflections with a colleague, preferably the one with whom you intend to cooperate throughout this module.
1. What other definitions or uses of the terms, training, education and development are you familiar with? In what contexts?
2. To what extent do you find it valid to draw parallels between what Widdowson says about training and education in terms of TESP and the use of the terms in connection with courses for teachers?
3. Particularly in the business world, there is a preference for the term English language training and English language trainers, as opposed to teaching and teachers. Do you have any explanation for this? How does it tie in with the argument regarding training and education presented here?
4. Another way of characterising a difference between training and education is to say that the skills connected with competence can be directly taught, while the awareness connected with capacity cannot. Would you go along with that distinction? How does it fit in with what has been said in the unit so far?
5. In terms of the distinctions offered here between training and education, how would you describe the elements of teachers' courses which you have either attended or run?
6. In terms of the characterisation of development given here, what steps would you say that you have taken towards your own self-development as a teacher?
7. How do you feel about these attempts to define and categorise according to a certain use of terminology? Would you agree that, even if the process can be confusing and frustrating, it is worth making the effort to be clear about exactly what we each individually mean by the words, even if we don't agree? Or is this really just shooting the breeze?
Bailey, K. 1990. The use of diary studies in teacher education programmes. In Richards, J. and Nunan, E. (Eds.) 1990 Second Language Teacher Education, Cambridge: C.U.P. Pp. 215-226.
Barduhn, S. 1989. Review of Maslach, C. 1982 Burnout - The Cost of Caring, London: Prentice-Hall, in Teacher Development (IATEFL SIG Newsletter) 11: 2-3.
Brock, M.. Yu, B. and Wong, M. 1992. "Journalling" together: Collaborative diary-keeping and teacher development. In Flowerdew, J., Brock, M. and Hsia, S. (Eds.) 1992. Perspectives on Second Language Teacher Education. Hong Kong: City Polytechnic. Pp. 295-307.
Burke, H. 1995. Discovering and taking action on the 'adult/child persona' conflict within low-level students. In Edge, J. (Ed.) Teacher Development in Action. Aston University: LSU. Pp. 20-36.
Handal, G. & P. Lauvas 1987. Promoting Reflective Teaching: Supervision in Action. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. Irujo, S. 1993. Letter to the Editor, TESOL Matters 3/4: 22.
Jarvis, J. 1992. Using diaries for teacher reflection on in-service courses. ELT Journal 46/2: 133-143.
Jeffreys, M. 1961. Revolution in Teacher Training, London: Pitman.
Lansley, C. 1994. Collaborative development: an alternative to phatic discourse and the art of cooperative development. ELT Journal 48/1: 50-56.
Marggraf, M. 1993. RSA - USA? It's here! TESOL Matters 3/2, referred to in Irujo 1993.
Morrison, A. and McIntyre, D. 1973. Teachers & Teaching, Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Numrich, C. 1996. On becoming a language teacher: Insights from diary studies. TESOL Quarterly 30/1: 131-151.
Progoff, I. 1975 At a Journal Workshop, N. York: Dialogue House.
Richards, K. 1992 Pepys into a TEFL course. ELT Journal 46/2: 144-152.
Stones, E. 1984 Supervision in Teacher Education. London: Methuen.
Widdowson, H. 1983 Learning Purpose and Language Use. Oxford: O.U.P.
Widdowson, H. 1984 The incentive value of theory in teacher education. ELT Journal 38/2: 86-90.
Widdowson, H. 1990. Pedagogic research and teacher education. In Aspects of Language Teaching, Oxford: O.U.P. Pp. 55-70.
This unit now continues in the form of the book, Cooperative Development.
Long before you have finished your work with Cooperative Development, you should have received the print file which contains the Aston materials with which you can complete the TD module as a whole.
If this is not the case, contact either firstname.lastname@example.org or your Course Tutor.