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English Teachers as Change Agents programme

Синельникова В. В., ХГ «Маріїнська гімназія», м. Харків

“English Teachers as Change Agents” project first was developed within the National campaign “Ukraina Speaking” by the British Council and GoGlobal to celebrate 2016 as a Year of English. Teachers from eightoblasts of Ukraine participated.

Based on the successful impact of these teachers as change agents, this programme is being expanded to support the “New Ukrainian School” reform. The Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine jointly with the British Council Ukraine have taken a decision to continue the project “English Teachers as Change Agents” for the following regions: Chernihiv, Donetsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Khmelnytsk, Kirovograd, Kyiv, Luhansk, Mykolayiv, Odesa, Poltava, Rivne, Sumy, Ternopil, Zakarpattia, Zaporizhzhia, Zhytomyr.
The main goal of this project is to improve the quality of teaching English in Ukraine and to train a cohort of English teacher trainers, who will cascade knowledge and skills among teachers of English in their regions. The training took place on 15–21 December 2017 in Kyiv and intended to enable English teachers to improve their teaching skills and develop their training skills. Requirements for applicants were the following — at least 5 years of teaching at secondary school, proof of professional development in the last 2 years (participation in conferences, round tables, online courses, winter schools, creative workshops, webinars, etc.), ability to reflect on their professional development (achievements / success, challenges and how they are dealt with, professional development plan)and willingness and commitment to conduct seminars, observe lessons with the purpose of providing methodological support for teachers of English in the applicant’s region. More than 500 teachers took part in the application selection and only 75 of them were approved.
The programme was really impressive. We discussed teaching for success, understanding learning and teaching, understanding 21 century skills, understanding and engaging with lesson planning, understanding thinking skills, understanding training and trainer’s roles, understanding course participants and making training effective, creative feedback on the training (SKIT), understanding professional development, did action planning and discussed everything during the round-up.
For me the period from 15th to 21st December, 2017 was full of impressions, building up new relationships and soaking up a huge amount of content. As an English learner, I was supposed to be able to read, understand and translate a text. As a teacher some thirty years later, I’m responsible for “developing my learners” awareness of and a proficiency in the 21st century skills’, including digital literacy, citizenship, critical thinking etc. How to promote them? It’s definitely area for development.
What were really great discoveries for me? I’d initially want to write about the difference between the objectives and outcomes. But I’m more concerned about the “input” and “output” of the lesson which often turn up to be rather different. How can I bridge the gap between them?
No doubt it’s necessary to mention HOTS, LOTS and Bloom’s Taxonomy. Are you interested in the ways how to upgrade LOTS? The course gave us a splendid opportunity to become the path breakers and to find the answers in hot discussions in pairs, groups. Were there any other discoveries? Sure, a lot of them.
“Change Agents-2” was really highly organized and structured. A variety  of new ways of warmers and ice-breakers will help me to motivate and encourage my students. Understanding the importance of clear and well — prepared lesson planning, using HOT’s and LOT’s — all these factors are very important because teacher’s mission on the lesson is to observe and facilitate.
One more thing is reflection in and on action and what is “Sandwich praised technique” while giving a feedback.
Let me thank the entire team of the British Council and especially our trainers for the amazing work done by them, for meeting our learning needs, making this course bright and giving so much area for development. Their diligence, self-motivation as well as dedication have been a source of inspiration for us.
Now I have a strong belief that our system of education has to be really changed. We should promote such changes and act as a new generation of teachers. I am happy to be the part of this great educational project. Being  a trainee I managed to clarify some things  I was aware of, to look at some familiar things from a different side and some things turned to be quite new for me. First of all, I appreciated the idea that teaching is universal but learning is personal. It helped me feel myself more confident as to what and how I am teaching. Secondly, I realized the importance of feedback, especially constructive one concerning different aspects of teaching, training and observing. And having some experience of conducting workshops for adults I found several useful tips of how to conduct a successful training.
Actually it was one of the discoveries to realize and experience firsthand what a pleasure it is not to be imposed by facts or knowledge, but to be given chance to face the challenge, think deeply, analyze, collaborate with likeminded people and come up with the solutions. One more important discovery for me was Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle, which is a useful tool to reflect on my teaching and learning. The atmosphere was so creative that I managed to express my feelings in the rhymes.
At first I felt like Robinson
Who was on the unknown land
Then Kate and Lena
Came to help
Support and understand.
We were in ocean
Full of new and interesting adventures.
We didn’t know anything
About our venture.
Then step by step
We overcame
The Gibb’s Reflective Cycle
Defeated Maslow’s Pyramid
And knew all learning styles.
With help of learning techniques
And our thinking skills
We reached the learning outcomes
Broke down all thrills.
But Bloom’s Taxonomy for us
Was like an iceberg full of danger.
We storm the hill.
It wasn’t hard
because of motivation.
Our motto now is
Creativity and imagination
Collaboration and communication
Because we are the new generation teachers.

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