How to identify a quality English Course for Teachers
Choosing a quality English teacher training courses in England isn’t easy. Your experience should be rewarding, refreshing and leave you feeling excited to begin the new school year. Quality is a subjective and sometimes very personal thing. However, the following information might help you choose the right English Language School for you. Whether you want a Teacher Training course or an English language course for teachers, below are some suggestions of things to guide you.
- Is the school British Council Accredited? You can check if the school is listed at https://www.britishcouncil.org/education/accreditation/centres to find out. The British Council regularly inspect English language schools with a focus on quality of staff, qualifications and provision of Teacher Training and English courses. The British Council inspectors check that there is explicit language focus, even on teacher training courses. If you are looking for an English school to teach you how to teach, it’s important that you understand how well that school teaches its own students. You can read reviews and inspection reports on the British Council website.
- Your needs: Before you start Googling “English Course for Teachers”, reflect first on what it is you’d like to work on. What do you find the most challenging about teaching English? If you’ve had a formal observation or appraisal in your school, what did the observer tell you about your teaching approach and what would it be good to improve? (That might be different from what you enjoy learning about!). For example, do you need to refine your teaching techniques and looking at methodology (a Teacher Training Course), or would it be better to spend time on improving your own English level in a way which helps improve your teaching (an English Language Course for Teachers)?
- Your objectives: Once you’re clear on your own objectives and most important needs, check the course content carefully; is the course description really what you want to learn? It’s worth comparing courses and choosing which best matches your personal aims and expectations. Rather than just offering a generic course for teachers of English, the leading English language schools in the UK will focus on specific areas, so you spend your precious time really working on what matters to you. Courses can focus on teaching certain age groups, such as “English in the Primary Classroom”, embedding English culture into your classes, e.g. “Language, Methodology & Culture”. CLIL, content and language integrated learning is also a good focus if you are teaching other subjects (like maths, geography) via the English language. Teaching English using technology is also popular because it’s very new and exciting, for example, but it may not be what you need the most.
- School history: While many new providers can offer quality experiences, an institution with a longer history can be seen as a hallmark of quality. This is because if schools have been in existence for a long time, they will have experienced the whole evolution of English language teaching. So whilst England is frequently seen as being at the forefront of the most modern approaches to English language teaching, it is important that the school you choose has a genuine understanding of pedagogic approaches elsewhere in the world. A school with the experience of using these different approaches may have more empathy with teachers from around the world who are all using differing techniques. The main providers of Teacher Training courses in England, and the UK are usually proud of the length of time they have been in operation, so you can compare quickly by checking the “About” section of their website
- School organisation: Is the institution an educational trust, or a profit-making business? Schools which are run as not-for-profit organisations will exist to achieve higher objectives such as “improve the quality of teaching worldwide” or “develop language skills for international communication”. Also an educational trust will share an interest and a curiosity in how you teach, your local teaching context, your teaching constraints and opportunities. As a teacher, it is important to know that you’re going to be in a school which shares some of your educational and philosophical values. These factors may influence the quality and content of your programme and how you are treated as a client and a person by the school.
- Ask colleagues: Is the school or its staff known to your local professional network? Have any of the teacher trainers you’ll meet on your programme written publications or articles of interest to you? Does the institution or the staff have interests and passions that you share? You should be able to find out who the trainers will be on the programme, and you can perhaps Google their names to find out more about them.
ELC is an English language and teacher training centre based on the south coast of the UK with locations in Eastbourne and Brighton.