AUA Language Center, Bangkok, Thailand

Guiding Principles







 


The following principles are evident in all aspects of the course: workshops, lesson planning, practice teaching, and written work.

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

The SIT TESOL Certificate is based on learning directly from experience. In experiential learning, learning is seen as a rich "process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience." (Kolb: 1974:38).

In this model, the role of the learners is central to making learning happen. The trainers' role is to structure activities to follow the cycle of experiential learning and to guide participants in optimizing their learning at each stage.

Concrete experiences
Development of action plans
 
Description
Interpretations and theories
  • Concrete experiences: The cycle begins with a concrete experience that all participants take part in together. For example, on the first day of the course the participants experience lessons in a foreign language.

  • Description: Participants are asked to look back at the language learning and describe what happened. They work towards an understanding of what helps and hinders language learning. Trainers guide participants in developing their skills at recalling key details.

  • Interpretations and theories: Next, participants are asked to use their descriptions to make generalizations about the teaching/learning process. Again, the trainers' role is to guide them in analyzing and synthesizing their experiences in order to develop progressively deeper understandings.

  • Development of action plans: Finally, participants are asked to look forward to future teaching situations. They are asked to generate ways that they can apply their experience and knowledge, and test their ideas in future actions.

    One simplification of this model is built around three questions.

    What?                             So What?                     Now What?

  • What is it that I am learning?

  • Why is this relevant to me? How does it relate to my previous experience?

  • Now that I have learned this, how can I apply it to my future experiences?
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REFLECTIVE TEACHING

Throughout the course participants are asked to inspect their own motivations, beliefs and assumptions, and how these inform the decisions they make when teaching. This prepares participants to pose and solve problems related to their teaching, empowering them to constantly improve upon and renew their practices.

  • Learner-centered Teaching
    The course shows participants how to base their teaching on learners' needs and motivations are well as on formalized curricula and materials.

  • Asking for and Responding to Feedback
    We believe that teaching follows learning. It follows that getting and responding to feedback from learners on a regular basis is essential to building a successful learning experience.

  • Inductive Learning
    This refers to interactions in which a participant "learns" by finding the information on his or her own and drawing his or her own conclusions.

  • Recycling of Information
    Participants need to meet the same concepts in different contexts and at distinct times in the course so they can internalize the principles and apply them to their own practice. This is achieved through writing, discussions, reading, and experiencing, for example.
    Participants will have the opportunity to work individually, in small groups and in the large group; with and without the teacher.

  • Working in Groups
    Participants are asked to work in groups to complete assignments, to plan lessons, to practice teach, to give feedback, etc. We consider group work and cooperative learning powerful tools which:

    • Enhance creative problem solving skills

    • Aid in the retention of information

    • Foster positive social skills (necessary for teaching)

    • Encourage learners to rely on their own skills and see others as valuable resources.

     


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