IATEFL Hungary: Margit Szesztay on Teacher Development A-Z (opening Plenary)

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Event date: 
Friday, October 5, 2012 - 17:00
 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/archive/201210

This opening plenary from one of IATEFL Hungary’s ex-presidents aimed to get the conference goers into a reflective mood. To have us reflecting back to the beginnings of our teaching careers. To consider whether the stages in our careers matched hers. And the stages she described were:

  1. Your first experiences in the classroom, in at the deep end, where your principal concern is survival. And yet you benefit from enormous energy and excitement, your fresh eyes, and your age is likely to be fairly close to that of your students.
  2. The stage in which you get your two feet on the ground, and you can look beyond your own survival and focus instead on the effectiveness of what you’re doing and how well your students are learning. You begin to benefit from self-confidence and classroom routines.
  3. The stage at which you’re ready to tinker. You’re well enough established to want to explore and be more daring, trying new ideas. You benefit from open-mindedness and curiosity. You attend workshops, read methodology books and observe classes. You are keen to understand.
  4. And finally, the stage at which you start to branch out from normal classroom teaching. Maybe you go into teacher training, become an examiner, begin to consider the relationship of your work to the wider community. You benefit from learning new skills to add on to the teaching skills you’ve already developed.

In her concluding remarks, Margit summarized some of the qualities of a reflective practitioner. And it was interesting that most of these were qualities she had mentioned during the description of the four stages, so you could trace at which point a teacher might have acquired these qualities. They included being a good listener and observer, being able to see the big picture, self-awareness, open-mindedness, open to feedback, being willing to tinker, being self-critical and being able to relinquish control.

Margit’s slides can be found on the IATEFL Hungary website link http://egeronline.wordpress.com

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