Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



A process-oriented approach to training teachers in ELT teaching methods is nowadays commonplace. To operate such an approach, the teacher trainer needs to be able to handle the skills involved in, inter alia, introducing a teacher training session, conducting awareness-raising, providing input, setting up, monitoring and rounding off small-group activities, feeding back on participants’ ideas and concluding the session. In other words, just as the ELT teacher needs to master a repertoire of classroom skills for handling ELT activities, so the teacher trainer needs to acquire a knowledge of the training-room skills involved in such teacher training procedures Both classroom language teaching and training-room teacher training can be seen as consisting of parallel sets of facilitating skills, of course, and at this level of analysis there is thus an underlying potential for transfer from one to the other, a point which we will return to later. However, training room skills also differ significantly from classroom skills in terms of a) the subject-matter involved (i.e., language teaching vs. language itself) and b) the nature of the audience (i.e., teachers vs. learners). In our experience, thus, there is usually a need for trainers to be oriented to training room skills, just as teachers need to be introduced to classroom teaching skills. What are the skills in question, however, and how might trainers be helped to begin to acquire them? There is no shortage of guidance in the teacher training literature about how to put a process-oriented teacher training approach into practice, in the form of examples of activities and advice about procedures (see, e.g., Doff (1988), Ellis (1990), Wallace (1991), Woodward (1991, 1992), Parrott (1993), Tanner and Green (1998)). Nevertheless, there does not appear to be a readily-accessible taxonomy of the skills involved, of a kind that might guide the selection of content for this aspect of a trainer training programme. Likewise, in the trainer training literature, there do not appear to be any accounts of how to train teacher trainers in such skills. McGrath (1997) contains many important trainer training papers, but none directly concerned with this aspect. Malderez and Bodoczky (1999) also provides valuable guidance about trainer training, but its focus is mainly on the skills involved in school-based teaching practice observation and follow-up counselling, rather than training-room-based skills. This article therefore attempts to throw some light on how teacher trainers can be trained to handle the training-room skills aspect of putting a process-based approach to ELT methodology training into practice, by describing a course which was designed for this purpose, as part of an ELT development project. The training situation is first of all outlined, and then the nature of the content and training methods used in the trainer training course are presented.