10:00 am – 12:00 noon: Teaching Practice
The day begins with two hours of teaching practice with the classes specially provided for you during the course. In Bangkok, your learners are multilingual and come from a range of backgrounds. Some are Thais of varying age with the time for further study, some are Japanese expatriates, and some come to us through the UN refugee centre in Bangkok and have found their way to Thailand from many different countries. All tend to be highly motivated.
For teaching practice, you will be divided into two small groups of 4 – 6 teachers. Depending on the number of course participants, you are very unlikely to find yourself teaching your learners for more than two or three hours in any given week.
Only 4 of your lessons will be officially observed and assessed as part of the course assessment (the LSAs). The bulk of your teaching practice will not be observed by tutors but it will give you the chance to get to know your learners in detail, as you would with a regular class. The knowledge of the learners that you gain needs to be incorporated into the lesson plans you create for your assessed lessons, which need to reflect your awareness of their needs and interests.
On days when you are not teaching, you will be able to use these morning hours to work on background reading for LSA essays, for example, or lesson planning. However, you do need to put in at least 10 hours’ observation of each other as an official part of your coursework. You can take advantage of this for your development by designing observation tasks which focus your peers on aspects of your teaching that you are trying to work on. This is something most course participants find very useful for their development.
12:05 pm – 12:45 pm: Feedback
On days when you have not been observed by a tutor, you gather to give feedback to each other after the teaching has finished. Many course participants find these discussions a particularly helpful element of the course. On the days when you teach your LSAs, the tutor will be present during the feedback and while s/he will be principally interested in hearing what you yourselves have noticed, s/he may also guide the discussion in order to focus on specific points that have been missed.
12:45 pm – 2:00 pm: Lunch
2:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Input
In the afternoons, there are two input sessions of approximately 1 hour 20 minutes each with a 20 minute break between them. Input on the course plays several roles and at times has a relevance to all three modules. Much of it consists of expanding and deepening your knowledge of teaching methodology and of language systems, things that are relevant to both Module 1 and 2.
The sessions are largely based on learner-centred tasks and take an inductive approach. Most sessions will obviously include an element of review but you will inevitably find yourself encountering some ideas for the first time, for example, strategic approaches to the teaching of skills, alternative descriptions of grammar, the role of interlanguage or the minute phonetic details of connected speech. Module 1 will require you to demonstrate your knowledge of such things while Module 2 gives you the opportunity to discover how the application of such detailed knowledge to the planning and execution of a lesson combined with awareness of the learners can transform its effectiveness.
Some of the earlier input sessions will be specifically focused on the requirements of your LSAs: for example, what should be included in your lesson plans or how best to organize your background essays. In the last two or three weeks of the course, the emphasis will move to preparing you for the Module 1 exam and you will have practice with the different types of task you will need to complete in each of the two papers.
A certain amount of input time every week will also be given over to one-to-one consultation with your tutors on your LSAs, both your background essays and your lesson plans. You will have the chance to seek advice on the topic you are intending to focus on, on the background reading you could usefully do, the approach you intend to take in your lesson and so on.
Work Outside the Scheduled Hours
A typical day on the course will also include several hours of independent work, not just on mornings when you are not teaching but also every evening after input finishes. The extremely detailed knowledge of teaching methodology and language systems which you are expected to display in LSAs in order to meet course requirements cannot be acquired through input sessions and consultations alone. In fact, most of it will have to come through independent research and background reading and personal evaluation and reflection.