Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Teaching the Teachers

I'm currently enrolled in a month long course aimed at training instructors how to do their jobs more effectively. Today I taught an Arabic class while being observed by one of my colleagues from the course. The class I was teaching concentrated buying and selling cars in the Middle East. I had each student read one unique car-sales advertisement on their own, and then I asked them all to confer with each other to fill in a sheet that asked for particular details about each car. Then we talked about which car was the best, and which was the best bargain. All of this was done in Arabic. These students are only a few weeks into the course, so their ability is pretty impressive. Next, I observed my fellow trainee, who is a French teacher, while she was teaching her French class.

It was a fun exercise in trying to plan ahead and incorporate some of the methods that we've been learning in this instructor training course. It is interesting to be in a classroom where everybody knows the language but you. It gave me some real insight into what it would be like to come to the U.S. without knowing any English. I was able to pick up on quite a bit of the French anyway, and I was pleased with that.

This afternoon all of the teachers in this training course will meet to discuss how our lessons went, what went well and what didn't. We'll share our observations of the teachers we were assigned to observe, and we'll discuss possible solutions to problems or difficulties that we discovered. The training is worthwhile and useful. I only wish that I had been given the opportunity to take this training a couple of years ago.