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Summer work

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Monday, 29 Aug 2016, 12:43

For the past couple of summers, I have been working at the University of Reading on courses for English for Academic Purposes lecturers from universities in China and I have taught one group of these teachers this year. 

However, there is a new course that is about to start its second week.  This is for teachers of other subjects at Chinese universities who are interested in teaching through English (English as a Medium of Instruction).  This is an interesting new angle on my work as the focus is on the methodology of teaching through language, which resonates with the ideas of writers like Halliday (2004[1980]).  So, there is a need to focus on meaning and intelligibility to an even greater extent than usual and there is perhaps less of a focus on accuracy,

Halliday, M.A.K. (2004 [1980]) ‘Three aspects of children’s language development: learning language, learning through language, learning about language’, in Halliday, M.A.K. (ed.) The Language of Early Childhood: Vol. 4 The Collected Works of M.A.K. Halliday, London, Continuum.

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Unqualified teachers in state schools

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There has been much discussion recently about the hiring of unqualified teachers in state schools eg http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/oct/20/nick-clegg-david-laws-free-schools  The discussion seemed to reach a new height of absurdity last night on Newsnight when Tristan Hunt seemed to say quite clearly that he disagreed with it and Jeremy Paxman kept saying he was unclear.

I would not be happy for my son to be taught by an unqualified teacher for the following reasons:

1 Teacher training courses seem to provide useful training for teachers - I know I was much more competent after doing a PGCE.  This does not mean that teachers are perfect at the end of it (they never are) but the fact of having done the course gives skills and experience that will enable them to develop further afterwards.

2 A teacher who is not motivated enough to do a teacher training course is not likely to be a particularly well motivated teacher in terms of thinking about pedagogy.


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