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Teflnet : TEFL Book Reviews : Teaching : Teacher Development Interactive

Teacher Development Interactive

Full title: Teacher Development Interactive: Fundamentals of English Language Teaching Components reviewed: Online course for teachers Publisher: Pearson Longman Summary: A good crash course in ESL theory and methodology for teachers new to the field of English language teaching. Review When I began teaching English as a foreign language in Korea, I found myself thrown […]
Reviewed for Teflnet by Lydia Schrandt

Full title: Teacher Development Interactive: Fundamentals of English Language Teaching
Components reviewed:
Online course for teachers
Publisher:
Pearson Longman
Summary:
A good crash course in ESL theory and methodology for teachers new to the field of English language teaching.

Review
When I began teaching English as a foreign language in Korea, I found myself thrown in front of a class on my first day on the job with very little training and no idea what to do. I had some good ideas for lessons, but I had no conception of what makes a good language teacher or a positive language-learning environment. I was unfamiliar with a majority of the terminology being thrown around on ELT websites, and I did not know why I should choose one type of lesson over another. Basically, I was clueless! It took me months of trial and error to gain some of the insights presented in the Fundamentals of English Language Teaching.

This video-based online teacher development program is best suited for new teachers who, ideally, have a class where they can apply and reflect on the concepts they’re learning, but who are unfamiliar with the theory and jargon of the ELT world. It could also help someone who is looking into language teaching but is unsure as to what aspect of the field they’d like to pursue. For example, the experience of a business English teacher will differ greatly from a teacher of young learners; but this course provides an overview of different types of ESL settings and explains briefly what to expect from each of them

The TDI training program not only familiarizes new teachers with the jargon of the field, but also objectively presents a wide range of teaching theories and methods, without endorsing any one in particular. Examples, benefits and drawbacks of each are presented, while the teacher is granted the freedom to select the appropriate method(s) for their situation.

The main focus of Fundamentals of English Language Teaching is on general theory and methodology, or why you should consider teaching in this or that manner. While this is critical knowledge for any successful language teacher, the course could certainly benefit from more specific examples of how to go about using task-based instruction, or the learner-centered approach. A few times throughout the course you will find video footage highlighting ideas from the lesson being put to use in a real classroom, but, unfortunately, these are few and far between.

The coursework is very easy to navigate and keeps track of exactly where you are in the lesson and your overall performance. The course is divided into five lessons, an orientation, and a module test at the end. Each lesson includes several shorter sessions covering subtopics of the lesson, with regular concept checks that provide the teacher with immediate feedback on how they are doing. The material is presented using a combination of videos, Power Point presentations, and reading passages. After the material has been covered, a writing assignment is given to allow teachers to reflect on their own classroom experience, design tasks based on the lesson material, or evaluate the effectiveness of the materials they use in class. Finally, each lesson culminates in a short quiz that checks for understanding of the concepts and ideas from the material.

In conclusion, the Fundamentals of English Language Teaching training module provides teachers new to the field a solid foundation of theory and methodology to support them in the classroom. If you are new to the field or simply considering teaching English as a career, consider enrolling in Teacher Development Interactive: Fundamentals of English Language Teaching to get you on your way!

Reviewed by Lydia Schrandt for Teflnet April 2009

One Comment

  • Mohamed says:

    This sounds really exciting. I can confirm that I had the same feeling when I was asked to give lectures for the first time. I am a teaching assistant and I will be doing my MA in TESOL & APPLIED LINGUISTICS but unfortunately this course requires experienced teachers with at least two years which I honestly don’t have. So, it will be a challenging experience for me.

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Teflnet : TEFL Book Reviews : Teaching : Teacher Development Interactive