Brett Healey is a Literacy Coach at Victoria Shanghai Academy, Hong Kong, and Tutor for the Teaching ESL Students in Mainstream Classrooms course. Here is what he has to say about delivering the Teacher Course to his colleagues.
Yes. The course balanced practical activities with theory. It was clear how all activities stemmed from Systemic Functional Linguistics as each activity progressed along the language register. This meant that the theoretical understanding developed along with the practical.
In what ways did it impact on your own teaching? Did it impact on your school?
I now look at each language situation through the linguistic lens of this course. When I work with a student, I notice language issues that I would once not. These noticings often are shared with the student’s teachers who support their students’ English progression.
When you ran the participant course, did you and the participants find it to be engaging?
Yes. Each of the modules generated conversations about issues relevant to our school regarding language. Teachers gained a new perspective of ESL teaching through regular discourse with TESMC vocabulary in each session and in the classroom. This was particularly valuable as I was able work with teachers, implementing each module’s ideas in the classroom.
Did teachers use their understandings from the course in their teaching?
Yes. Teachers created and shared activities rooted in the course’s linguistic thinking. Examples included oral language activities, deconstruction and joint-construction writing lessons, nominal group games, and assessments.
Would you recommend the tutor training and/or the participant course to other teachers?
I would recommend the tutor training course to anyone who is interested in starting school-wide conversations about ESL students and the challenges they face. I would recommend the teacher course to anyone who wants to engage in these conversations and see language from a perspective that is demonstrated to meet the language needs of these students. By participating in this course, teachers will equip themselves with the tools necessary for guiding their students towards English proficiency.
Any other comments?
At our school, the course was run over the entire year (a module every month or two). We used Google Classroom as a collaborative space to reflect on readings and share practical activities which helped us to evolve our thinking over the year. One of the things that made the course successful for us was the ongoing interactions we had in classrooms and while planning. This allowed us to build up a culture of linguistically minded teachers.
Follow Brett on Twitter.
- “TESMC has opened my eyes to the daily challenges faced by ESL students. It has taught me to be more considerate, see things from their perspective and how to effectively support them in their learning.”
- “It was an eye-opening course that made me think deeply about the ESL student experience and how best a teacher could meet their specific needs.”
- “The course was very helpful with highlighting the difficulties that ESL students have when learning English. It was full of practical advice and theory on supporting these students in class.”
- “The course content and required readings were helpful in providing a more comprehensive understanding of the challenges faced by ESL students and effective strategies to support them.”
- “I enjoyed the discussions that took place during this course. It allowed us to reflect upon our practices and how we can improve to better support our students with English as an additional language.”
Thank you, Brett, for sharing your experience and congratulations to the new cohort!