Teacher trainers’ challenges and issues

An #ELTchat summary

I’ve just found out that I’d been accepted to complete the Cambridge Tutor in Training this July. Needless to say it was good news. However, the happy event brought along mixed feelings I’ve yet to tame.

Eagerness – I’d been applying since 2013.

Panic – judging by the intensity of the CELTA, and then Delta, I think it safe to say that this is not going to be a walk in the park.

Apprehension – am I mentally prepared to go through a total deconstruction of my teacher/trainer self, again?!

Excitement – knowing that I’ll have achieved one of my professional goals if/when I pass the training process.

So in order to prepare myself for the intensive four-week challenge that lies ahead, I’m committing a few hours every week to research and standardisation practice.

Also, it’s always a good idea to touch base with my PLN through our weekly professionals’ #ELTchat on Twitter, and feed on what everyone has to say. So I proposed the topic ‘Teacher trainers’ challenges and issues’ hoping I’d be able to get a deeper insight into the difficulties faced by trainers . The vote took place, my topic won and here’s a summary of what was shared (on 24/02/16).



Tweeting that night…

17 ELT professionals  attended the discussion:

@Marisa_C – @Shaunwilden – @SueAnnan –  @Osamaelbeyaly – @DiLeed – @GemmaELT  – @Ashowski – @David__Boughton – @Sigardit –  @Languageeteach –  @ESOLLiz –  @bar_zie – @GlenysHanson  – @SmallwoodELT –  @MrsLindaPosp – @MConca16 – @HadaLitim



Advice before embarking on teacher trainer courses

  • Any teacher training  experience is of great value before you embark to work on a course like the CELTA or higher (higher even more so) (@Marisa_C)

Challenges, suggestions and comments


Suggestions / comments

Resistance to technology among teachers (@sigardit) ·         Work under their skin – a little bit each time – basically model use not teach it. I tried teaching it at first – but lots of resistance – now it’s much better and resisters few and far between  (@Marisa_C)

·         I try and work with what theyre familiar with first – or most comfortable with (@HadaLitim)

·         Introduce bit by bit. Slowly. Try to show them how #technology can be a solution to their #ELT problem (@Ashowski)

·         Once they see how easy technology can be, they pick it up.(@Osamaelbeyaly)

·         Intro to flipped learning, digital tools, Ts use one of the tools in a lesson (@languageteach)

·         I haven’t had any issues with technology when training ICT (@HadaLitim) and I find the resistance is more with them using outside of training NOT the training itself (@shaunwilden)

·         Follow up with them until they’re confident and use it routinely (HadaLitim) and try to use online groups and tasks (@shaunwilden)

·         Overconfidence and complacency – think they will sail through it  (@Marisa_C)

·         99.99% of Ts in #ELT are stubborn, of the highest caliber (@Ashowski) which makes giving feedback daunting (@ESOLLiz)

·         Experienced teachers don’t always come voluntarily to the sessions. Sometimes they’re pushed by their management. (@Osamaelbeyaly)


The question is whether their own methodologies in #ELT are effective or not. (@Ashowski)
·         It’s a challenge to standardise with colleagues so that input and feedback are consistent  (@Marisa_C) and  ensuring all trainers are consistent (@shaunwilden)

·         This is one of my biggest apprehensions – feedback and dealing with trainees’ emotions (@HadaLitim & @GemmaELT)

·         the process should be transparent and visible to all (@Marisa_C)

·         Spend time on team building activities at top of the course – a worhtwhile investment (@Marisa_C)

·         Work on group cohesion amongst trainees (@HadaLitim) and get your Classroom Dynamics and transform activities for trainees (@Marisa_C)

Some Ts refuse to accept that there may be a better way of doing things! Especially if set in their ways (@ESOLLiz) ·         Inability to accept and process feedback is common to experienced teachers (@Marisa_C)
Training on INSETs can also be challenging; it can be tough to deliver to your colleagues. (@HadaLitim) ·         I hate training on INSETs as Ts forced to attend and usually during half-term = bad atmosphere. Me = buffoon (@languageteach)

·         It’s true that there is a lot more resistance to internal CPD than sb from outside coming in – for this to work.  You need an inspired and inspiring school leader –  a species which is in severe dearth  (@Marisa_C)

Can portfolios  help? (@HadaLitim)


·         In my experience Ts don’t respond too well to portfolios – just more work for them (@Ashwoski)

·         I think portfolios instill the concept of professionalism and responsibility – once trainees understand this they have few issues (Marisa_C)

·         Some kind of record has to be kept, a way for the trainer to follow up (@Osamaelbeyaly)

·         For CPD inside an ELT school, no – not mandatory. In a TT course they probably should be. (@Ashowski)

·         My trainees upload their stuff to a wiki – I set it up at beginning for them, then they start using it to collaborate. Then make own pages and upload their lesson material. I start one for each course so trainees accept it as part of the course as they don’t know any different. (@SueAnnan).

·         I use this one: https://t.co/gxucI8B85i (@languageteach). We use pbworks and wikispaces – both great (@Marisa_C)

·         You need to show teachers examples how useful the Wiki is (@sigardit)

·         We use the same wiki for all with resources and pages related to their syllabus – but they don’t upload because of regulations (@Marisa_C)

·         I have a separate wiki for that (@SueAnnan)


My trainees often ask for lesson demonstration (@MConca16)


·         On our courses lesson demos are the norm and as an in-house trainer I had to do a lot of that, basically to overcome the resistance and to prove to them that it COULD be done in class  (@Marisa_C)

·         teachers at the minute and demos seem to be working better than input (@MConca16)

·         As long as you give them observation tasks and then discuss the underlying principles otherwise demos produce clone/template lessons  I find (@Marisa_C)

·         Peer observation can be very useful (@ESOLLiz)




…and these tweets:

  • It’s a challenge to design a whole course (@Marisa_C)
  • The first few minutes in any session are crucial (@Osamaelbeyaly)
  • I don’t believe delivering input is the biggest challenge; It’s giving feedback and supporting planning (ALP).  This is where you can see the effects of a very good trainer  (@Marisa_C)
  • when you’ve planned as best as you could/know how and one CP isn’t happy and creates a bad vibe (@HadaLitim)
  • Having very clearly defined criteria is vital I think (@ESOLLiz)


There are clearly numerous challenges trainers face and I wonder how much help and support is available to them. This is making me realise how fortunate and spoilt we are as teachers when it comes to finding help whether it be relating to our teaching practice, students, resources, jobs and pretty much everything else. Can trainers make the same claim?

My journey ahead will tell.DSCN1242



About Hada Litim

@HadaLitim EFL teaching | Teacher Training | CELTA Tutor | Affective language learning | Mentoring | Tefl Equity Advocate | European nomad in the Middle East | Gourmet
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3 Responses to Teacher trainers’ challenges and issues

  1. Pingback: Teacher trainers’ challenges and issues | So, You Think You Can Teach ESL?

  2. Patricia Dorsey says:

    I’ve been teaching for EF for now 5 summers and have had to re-certify myself with the TEFL online training program. That 80 hour program was tough enough for me! You’ll do fine. They wouldn’t have opened the door to their program if you couldn’t do it.


    • Hada Litim says:

      Hi Patricia
      Thanks for your comment. I’m not familiar with EF’s training programs. Do they have a special course for teacher trainers? What does it entail?


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