The implementation of TESMC and TYCEMC at the International Academy Amman
An interview with Lois L. Warner Ph.D., Assistant Director for Curriculum
Do you find the Lexis Education programs to be cost effective?
As the director of PD at my school, I have been looking for this model (train-the-trainer) to fill as many of our needs as possible because I think it’s so effective.
The principals and I find this to be one of the most beneficial programs we have offered. Our accessibility to quality PD is limited, and we find keeping a tutor trainer on staff for both the Teaching ESL students in mainstream classrooms (TESMC) and the Teaching young children in English in multilingual contexts (TYCEMC) very cost effective.
We run two cohorts a year (on Saturday mornings). We have had between 10 and 12 participants for each cohort. All participants are volunteers; no one is required to attend. Word of mouth seems to be the biggest draw for participation although staff also find the credential beneficial.
Who participates in the courses?
We accept all teachers of students in grades 3-12, and we run the Early Years course for teachers of grades PreK-2. We accept Teaching Assistants into the course on a space available basis, and it is very popular with them. It is also very popular with teachers in languages other than English. Bilingual teachers share their experiences of learning English with the native speakers, and they say that the techniques they learn work equally well for teaching in all languages. Learning support teachers have also taken the course and find the techniques beneficial for their students.
The mixture of staff who take the course effectively creates an English in the Mainstream lab (teachers/TAs, different language backgrounds, different training and experience backgrounds); the teachers soon realize that they can comfortably join in without feeling embarrassed in front of their colleagues. In fact, during certain parts of the course, the bilingual teachers actually outshine the native English speakers because many of them know more about certain aspects of English grammar than the native speakers. The mixture of staff members also demonstrates to participants how effective the techniques are with heterogeneously grouped students.
Curriculum leaders and pedagogical coaches receive the names of participants so that they can follow through with the techniques in their work and also encourage others to learn from participants. We also encourage these leaders to take the course themselves.
What are some of the benefits of the courses?
I think the courses have helped staff members feel more empowered in the classroom. As the trainer, I discovered that more teachers than I realized shy away from co-operative learning because they fear losing control of the class and being unable to keep students on task. They soon realize how effective this pedagogy is for managing these issues because the student loses his/her incentive to misbehave or fail to try. At the same time, the activities provide leadership and extended learning opportunities for advanced students.
One of the big ‘off label’ benefits of this course is that teachers learn effective methods for cooperative learning activities that are both engaging and manageable for students at all levels, which cuts down on their classroom management issues considerably.