“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Confucius.
I thoroughly enjoyed the educational technology course I conducted at British Side English Language School, which lasted almost two months. Although I was very busy with work, MA assignments, and presentations (I gave 6 “different” presentations at various ELT conferences during the same time period), I never saw the course as a burden. On the contrary, I felt energetic and joyful on the days I was teaching.
I conducted the course in a room with 12 computers, but there were 14 people willing to work with laptops. The participants came from different backgrounds and teaching levels (from pre-school to university), and they were all lovely, brilliant females (yes, we had a female-dominated course). All of the participants were based in different parts of Istanbul, and most of them lived very far from the venue, but one lady came to the course from an entirely different city: Keşan, which is 228 kilometers (142 miles) from Istanbul (which was totally unbelievable). Before she took the course, she didn’t have a job. However, soon after she started, she found a great job, and she said the fact that she was taking this course had helped her to get the job she found.
Since I began conducting ICT workshops at my institution, and more recently the educational technology courses, I’ve learned to handle many different problems that arise in the classroom. For example, when I was trying to use a web tool at home, it seemed fairly easy. But I soon learned: you never know what kind of problems you may encounter while you are actually teaching others how to use it. I assigned some tasks during my course to encourage participants to try the tools with their students, and I am fully aware that teachers work hard and may not have time to explore all of the tools at home (or to use them in the classroom). So with this in mind, I created a wiki page, and we collected all the course materials in our course wiki so that they could get help whenever they needed it. We all know training teachers in the use of technology is nothing like a fairy tale; in fact, it’s more like a high-tech fable, and giving clear instructions while guiding participants is a must. So I introduced my students to a variety of tools with differing applications, and since technology is not limited to tool introductions, I also gave them some practical criteria (along with some theories and principles) to help them choose the right tools for their students.
On the very first day, I asked them to write what they hoped to achieve by the end of the course, and we put their responses in QR codes; I then uploaded all of the QR codes in our course wiki. On the last day, we briefly discussed whether or not their objectives had been met. Thankfully, the result was highly satisfactory.
As for the training courses, I believe what’s most important is the attitude of the person conducting the courses. No one would feel sympathy for a tutor who considers himself the best, as if the participants don’t have the skills to be as highly trained as the tutor. Honestly, I wouldn’t. Instead, I always try to be helpful and patient, and since I love what I’m doing, I reckon my students start to feel the same way.
The participants have already asked about the second level of the educational technology course, and I hope I will conduct the second level at the same company, and maybe at other companies in Istanbul (I also have some other plans).
I would like to extend my special thanks to İsmet Karakuş, the director at British Side English Language School, for offering me this great opportunity. And of course, many thanks to the lovely participants who made the course a truly profound and enriching experience; no doubt we will all be in touch in the coming months and years.
Parenthetically, I will be working this summer as a teacher trainer at Pilgrims in Canterbury, England, where I will be conducting ICT courses. Huge thanks to Kristina Smith, an amazing trainer, for her continuous support! Hope to see some of you there.
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