Darren wrote:

Searching the Cambridge CELTA syllabus for `culture’, I discover the following.

Unit 1 ELearners and teachers and the teaching and learning context

1.1 Cultural, linguistic and educational backgrounds
Demonstrate an understanding of the range of backgrounds and experiences that adult learners bring to their classes

A quick scoot around the Trinity CertTESOL site yields similar results

Learning objectives
Successful trainees will be able to demonstrate the following on completion of the course:
b. awareness of the learning needs of individuals or groups of learners, and of the motivation of learners in a variety of cultures and environments

These two organisations are the prominent international providers of entry level TEFL qualifications, and many of the trainees on these courses will go on to their first teaching jobs after receiving their certificates. A fairly large number, I would predict, would be NEST’s , and a lot of them would be going on to their first extended forays into foreign cultures.

I am at the preliminary stages of work on a paper at the moment, and I wonder if I could draw on the expertise of teacher trainers and trainees out there. Some questions, to help me get a feel for the topic.

If you train NESTs on either the Cambridge or Trinity certificate, how do you interpret the excerpts reproduced above? What kind of input sessions do you give on `culture’, and how do you assess whether trainees have gained cultural understanding?
It would appear, from the syllabi, that cross-cultural training focuses on what happens in the classroom. How well are trainees prepared for life / work abroad? (Or is that beyond the remit of a four-week course)?
If you are a NEST who has taken an initial training course before travelling to a teaching job abroad, did you feel sufficiently well prepared?
These questions are very broad but any feedback is welcome. I have posted this request at http://www.livesofteachers.com/2011/02/04/intercultural-training-for-pre-service-teachers-a-favour/ , where you may also respond. If you would like to answer but would rather not respond in a public forum, please feel free to contact me directly at darrenrelliott@…
Any response will be confidential and identities will be protected. If you want to forward this to colleagues who are not active online, please do so.

Thanks in advance and your help is much appreciated!

Darren Elliott

Please comment here, head over to the discussion list, or contact Darren directly if you have any thoughts on this matter.