The Teacher Development Centre at the British Council (Singapore) runs a series of bite-sized public workshops every week throughout the year.
Themes for these 3-hour sessions range from language-focussed workshops such as Fun with Pronunciation to 21st century topics such as Encouraging Personal Response, Teaching Visually, and Developing Critical Thinking Skills.
The workshops have been receiving overwhelmingly positive responses, not just from school teachers and educators, but also from the general public, including parents of school-going children and professionals from diverse industry sectors. Such mixed audiences have elevated the quality of interaction and participation in the workshops, with much more varied viewpoints springing up during the sessions.
Several teachers who have participated in the workshops have provided us with fantastic testimonials of how these workshops have changed their perception on pedagogy, lesson planning, and classroom management.
Quotes from participants:
“I used to think that children’s literature is shallow, but now I realize that a lot can be discussed and learnt from the illustrations and the language of the book.”
- Participant of the Developing Critical Thinking Skills through Children’s Literature workshop
“I used to think that it is ‘risky’ to devote time to discussion because it is harder to track ‘outcomes’, but now I understand that it is essential for a student’s understanding and growth as a person in a world brimming with information, always in flux. I thoroughly enjoyed the ‘hands-on’ experience – very few teacher trainers could do this!”
- Participant of the Effective Questioning Techniques workshop
“I used to think that grammar was incredibly difficult and boring to teach, but now I realize that Grammar in FUN!”
- Participant of the Fun Activities for Teaching and Learning Grammar workshop
“I used to think that songs are just for entertainment only, but now I understand that they can be used productively in an academic lesson, making the lesson more engaging and interactive.”
- Participant of the Using songs in Primary ELT workshop
“I used to think that PSLE Continuous Writing focusses on narratives, but now I understand that different text types could be used.”
- Participant of the Continuous Writing and the new PSLE Challenge workshop
“I used to think that modelling is a good way of teaching structure, but now I realize that model answers have a limited lifespan for learners, as they need to go beyond these, and develop their own style.”
- Participant of the Exam Skills – Writing workshop
“I used to think that storytelling was just an option for keeping children engaged. Now I realize that the discipline of making narrations and demonstrations more visual is very important for learning and recall.”
- Participant of the Storytelling with Preschool children workshop
“I used to think that we read and understand things intuitively with minimal thinking, except when needing to use contextual clues to help. I now know the importance of modelling thinking aloud when going through a passage with my class.”- Participant of the Text Attack workshop
“I used to think that cloze passages were very difficult to teach. Now I understand that cloze can be taught effectively, given enough time. I would start with reading strategies first.”
- Participant of the Pedagogic Approach to Cloze Tests workshop