And so the IATEFL conference proper is almost upon us! Today is the day of the Pre-Conference Events, and we at TDSIG are getting ready for our day at the University of Birmingham, The Teacher’s Voice.

Today is also the day for publishing the last blog post we have from our TDSIG Day speakers – this is a day during the conference itself with a number of talks and workshops that have been hand-selected and programmed by your TDSIG committee. We’re looking forward to welcoming you to attend these sessions, and hope you’ll also make it to our Open Forum at 5.20pm – we’ll be calling on members for inspiration as to what we can/could/should do as an IATEFL SIG and SIG committee. Come and have a say in our future!

First things first, however, and here is a blog from Emma Meade-Flynn. She’s delivering a talk tomorrow Wednesday 13 April – Tutor-trainee team-teaching: a hands-on tool for teacher training. Here is her intro!

Having spent most of my teaching and training life working for one centre or another in London, moving to Barcelona last year and going freelance brought with it a number of expected challenges but also many unexpected opportunities.

For me, the most exciting of these was the chance to be involved with a range of different centres, training programmes and awarding bodies; including training on initial and diploma level teacher qualifications for Trinity and Cambridge and designing and delivering a tailor-made blended teaching qualification for female university tutors in Riyadh, Saudi.

Ever since I delivered my first shaky TD session – on error correction if memory serves – I’ve been interested in engaging critically and reflectively with teacher development and more recently with the training qualifications I deliver. This led me to give a talk last year with a colleague on how CELTA courses could best prepare trainees for real-world teaching.

In the last year, my interests have been fed and fostered by the variety of training that I’ve been involved in. One of my key concerns is how we can make any training experience as developmental as possible for the participants involved. The tension between training and assessing on courses is a long established one and certainly one that I have felt on many occasions. I have a strong desire to reconcile the two roles in a way that maximises what course participants get out of their teaching qualifications.

In line with this desire for training experiences to enhance the participants teaching, not just help them “pass lessons”, I´m interested in how we can harness and exploit all resources available to us as trainers when designing and delivering our courses. In my talk last year this included ideas on using the learners to give feedback to trainees on their classes, integrating assignments and teaching practice and building reflection into the lesson plan document.

This year, I´ve started using a new resource, team-teaching. And it´s been love at first lesson. As with many ideas, it happened by accident and mostly from necessity… but more about that in the talk!

My definition of team-teaching is the process by which two teachers collaborate to plan and/or teach a lesson together, in this case a tutor and course participant(s) at certificate or diploma level. In the talk I will mostly deal with how this process can be used in both the so called “demo-lesson” and “unobserved-unassessed” slots that frequently occur in teaching practice schedules. The premise is that team-teaching enriches the participants’ training experience and brings with it a wealth of benefits including: more “comprehensible input” of teaching techniques, the opportunity for “training at the point of need” and overcoming a praxis gap that is so often present on high input training courses.

Just like teachers teaching a lesson alone, team-teaching involves the adoption of many different roles both inside and outside of the classroom. I’ll be exploring these roles in my talk and sharing my perspective on how they shift, transform and multiply in the team-teaching scenario.

Using the voices of the course participants, tutors who have tried it out and the learners in the team-taught classes, I’ll be sharing insights into the process, presenting ideas on how to make it happen and discussing considerations for best practice.

We look forward to seeing you today at our PCE and Tomorrow for SIG Day!