Stepping Stones’ First Teacher Training Workshop!

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The role of teachers in a student’s development is undeniable: every teacher, in words of Anupama Sharma (Stepping Stone’s Training Manager) is like a firework, which can ignite, inspire and truly change lives.

Stepping Stones delivered its first ever English Teacher Training Workshop from 1st – 3rd July 2015. Forty-one English teachers from two schools for migrants in Shanghai took part in the workshop, with the goal of learning how to improve their lesson content and make English lessons more fun and engaging for their students.

The nature of the workshop required the participants to step out of their comfort zone and communicate solely in English. As expected, many participants were shy and reluctant to participate at first. This, of course, did not put off our volunteers and only made them even more determined to develop the participant’s potential. Along with an introduction to basics of teaching, the first day included some confidence and trust-building activities. This was positively received, and drove home the message that making mistakes and learning from others can strengthen one’s professional performance.

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Participants performing a trust-building activity: blindfolded, they let their partner guide them out of the classroom on the street

The participants also learnt aspects of English language which they haven’t experienced before. In one activity, they reenacted the lines of famous English movies, which enhanced their understanding of the importance of intonation and context in a dialogue.

There were opportunities to explore different games and activities to enrich lesson content. Participants observed a model class and tried out different activities themselves, introducing new vocabulary using visual aids and consolidating vocabulary through games. Each activity was followed by a thorough reflective discussion, where the teachers could share their thoughts about how it could be useful for their students.

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By the end of the third day, the transformation in many teachers was striking! When the teachers created their own lesson plans, it was evident that many were more willing to speak up, listen to others and present their ideas. They were also more willing to include games in the lesson plans. This is what one of the volunteers shared with us:

‘Prior to our workshop, many teachers only used lesson plans in the teacher’s books, without putting too much thought into it. However, on the final day I got to observe how many readily included a much more diverse range of activities and materials in their lesson’.

Later testimonials revealed that the workshop left the participants with many valuable lessons.

‘I learned that making mistakes is okay. I don’t feel shy in speaking English anymore. I will be freer’

‘Thank you very much! We have really gained a lot from the last three days of training and learned a lot of new things. We hope to have more such opportunities in the future and believe that your volunteers will help us improve our English. Thank you!’

We are proud to say that the workshop was a great success and exceeded everyone’s expectations. Stepping Stones would like to thank all participants for attending and hopes that there will be more training workshops in the future.

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