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4 The Teacher Trainer Vol 22 No 2


the ‘time on task’ which many teachers Author continues to teach M.A. courses at Oranim
think is the final one. It isn’t, of course: if and Haifa University.
the task is not a very learning-rich one, then Penny Ur was educated
at the universities of She is interested in all aspects of
time on task could result in very little
Oxford (MA), Cambridge language-teaching methodology, but in
learning. And then you get into discussing
(PGCE) and Reading particular issues of fluency and accuracy in
what ‘learning time’ really is.
(MATEFL). She language teaching, language-learning
TW: Thanks, Penny. I am really going to emigrated to Israel in activity design and the implications for
think about this! 1967, where she still teachers of the development of English as a
lingua franca.
References lives today. She is
married with four children and five She has published a number of articles, and
Ryle, G The Concept of Mind (1949) grandchildren. was for ten years the editor of the
London: Hutchinson Cambridge Handbooks for Language
Penny Ur has thirty years’ experience as an
English teacher in primary and secondary Teachers series. Her books include
schools in Israel. She has recently retired Discussions that Work (1981), Five Minute
from the headship of the M.Ed program in Activities (co-authored with Andrew Wright)
foreign-language teaching at Oranim (1992), A Course in Language Teaching
Academic College of Education, but (1996), and Grammar Practice Activities
(2nd Edition) (2009), all published by
Cambridge University Press.

A checklist for organising and running a

workshop for teachers
By the ‘January Trainers’!

• If you don’t have enough information on • Introduce guests or other lecturers that
INTRODUCTION the topic of the workshop, do some have been invited to help you and make
research by asking colleagues, finding sure participants can get to know at least a
Trainers will sometimes be asked by their
articles, books or searching for information little about each other in an interesting
institution to organise and run a
on the internet. way;
workshop for in-house, in-service
teachers. At other times you might feel • Find out what you can about the venue • Remember to establish a friendly, non-
the need yourself to offer a workshop to e.g. how much space you will have and threatening atmosphere so that attendees
pre-service trainees on an exam course. how many break out spaces for group will feel comfortable to ask and answer
We are also sometimes invited abroad to work questions and discuss issues;
give workshops to people we have never • Plan in participation by means of a variety • Remind attendees to fill in the feedback
met before. This kind of training is of interactive activities that will spark form and hand it in before they leave;
sometimes called Fly In Fly Out (FIFO). conversation and insights (role-plays, • Go through the workshop agenda with Ps
discussions, debates, case studies) and to briefly preview what will be covered and
through a variety of patterns of interaction to clarify any queries;
A workshop could be anything from a 45-
(group work, pair work, individually); These • Find out as much as possible about the Ps’
minute session for colleagues in a lunch
will ensure the workshop is practical and needs and expectations so that you can
break to a four-day event for people we
will involve the participants more deeply in make alterations in the agenda or adjust
have never met, held in a residential
what is going on. your plans if necessary as it is often the
centre. The participants might be a group
of colleagues who know each other well or • Prepare the materials, e.g. handouts, case that participants come who are not
a mix of teachers who come from different multimedia presentations etc. expected or that needs have changes since
backgrounds, have different levels of • Think about the feedback you will get from you were last in touch with participants ;
experience and who have never met before. the participants during and after the • Negotiate with Ps the ground rules; that is,
The topic might be set by the institution, a workshop. Prepare the aspects you would whether questions can be raised at any
syllabus or requested by the participants like to be evaluated beforehand so that time or at specifically assigned times, for
(Ps) themselves. you can distribute any forms in the example;
workshop. • Because you have planned lots of
Whatever the reason, topic or setting of the
• If you need other people to do certain interaction, also be prepared to deal with
workshop, we need to plan carefully and
things along with you, decide on who they unexpected issues that might crop up (See
keep lots of things in mind.
should be, what their role is going to be the Fridge System on page 6);
Below, we try to provide a checklist that and what they should do (e.g. technical • Refer back to the agenda at different
could help you before, during and after the support, help with registration) moments of the workshop to recap topics/
workshop. • Plan the time issues already covered;
• Keep track of your timing to avoid delays
Before the workshop
During the workshop (and using up Ps’ coffee breaks!) and to
• You might prepare a questionnaire or letter ensure all points will be dealt with;
for the participants and circulate it to find • Introduce yourself to the participants (Ps) • Change pace according to your Ps’
out what their needs and expectations are. with information about your workplace, reactions;
This might really help your preparation your background, expertise in the target
subject, etc; Vol 22 No 2 The Teacher Trainer 5

• Have a number of tasks up your sleeve to sessions, and also gives you an idea of knowledge, environment and souls which
give to people who either finish activities whether the teachers are putting the will allow some learning to happen. For this
first or are latecomers; workshop ideas into practice or not; Try to interaction to take place, careful
• Summarize / recap the content covered at find out why they are putting some ideas preparation, execution and reflection to
the end of the session and invite attendees into practice or not. decide on further action are demanded. To
to make final comments; make your life simpler we have prepared
• Suggest / collect ideas for the next this checklist so that you can photocopy
workshop; The special case of the FIFO and use it next time you are preparing for a
• Provide everyone with a list of all Ps’ e- trainer
mails so that they can contact one another
and remember to keep a copy for yourself • Try to find out as much as possible about
• Collect the feedback forms or have a place the history ,geography, climate, clothing,
for them to be put in as people leave; language, politics and social context of Reading leads
the place you will be travelling to.
• Thank Ps and guests lecturers at the end of
the workshop; • Liaise with host. Double check all travel, designing.htm (case sensitive)
visa, accommodation, insurance,
• Remind Ps to get their certificates before
currency, expenses, float, meeting and
they leave.
contact arrangements.
• Arrange your fees and the time and guidelines.pdf (international federation of
After the workshop manner of payment. university women)
• Receive, if possible, some background
• Keep a journal or diary after each information about the participants, e.g.
workshop so that you will be able to their CV’s or a paragraph about their er10.pdf
record your feelings/perceptions, most recent training experience. excerpt from The Workshop Book: From
thoughts on your plans, alterations made • Check with local helpers and make sure Individual Creativity to Group Action.
either by yourself or at attendees` they see to everything you need for the
request; workshop (e.g. Handouts photocopied? For more information or to order please
• Analyse your own data after a while Technical support?). visit
aiming at self-development; • When travelling take all your workshop All sites accessed in January, 2008
• Think about how to organise the data notes, one presentable blouse/shirt and
gathered from the attendees` feedback; your target address in your hand luggage
• Analyse the data qualitatively (for in case your bag goes astray and you
instance: you can have an overall have to do the workshop without its
impression which will lead you to take contents!
further action) and/or quantitatively (for • After the workshop give the participants
example: you analyse the frequency of your email address and encourage them
their answers and find important patterns to get in touch with you should they
that may occur) according to your needs; have any queries related to the topic.
• Compare the results from both analyses • Remember to collect feedback sheets
and draw conclusions in order to improve before you leave. Take copies if necessary.
future sessions; • Having kept all receipts, claim your
• Remember to promote contact among expenses, fees, etc.
the participants via discussion forums, • Send a thank-you letter or e-mail to the
blogs, e-mails, and so on. host and school personnel who helped
• It might be a good idea to write an
article about your workshop sessions
you. Authors
• Write any reports required.
taking into account the wide range of Ana Beatriz Rocha dos Santos (Brazil)
• Summarise the content of the workshop
groups you have dealt with, their Ana Paula Tavares de Moraes Silva Cypriano
in a Power Point presentation file and
behaviour, needs, feedback and (Brazil)
send it to the participants and the host?
reactions. Subsequently, compare and Anette Heidler (Germany)
contrast all these data with your self- Celia Elisa de Magalhaes (Brazil)
Conclusion Cynthia Pamela Cohen (Argentina)
George de Azevedo Madeiro (Brazil)
The checklist we have provided here is a Maria Karaivanova (Bulgaria)
When running workshops for your own practical overview of how to organize Vera Lucia Pasa Puerari (Brazil)
trainees or for in-service teachers at workshops from both the content and
your own institution bear in mind that: logistics points of view. A very well Eight of us teacher trainers got together for
organized workshop is an effective tool for discussions on a course in January 2008 in
• All the steps above also apply to this
improving personal and professional Broadstairs, Kent, UK with Tessa
qualities of all those involved in it. Before Woodward.
The data collected can help you:
1. understand your trainees better and reading this article you might have thought
cater for their needs; that being a teacher trainer and conducting
a workshop would differ completely from
2. analyse the usefulness of the session
being a teacher and delivering lessons.
and plan follow ups;
However, as you can see, the essence of
Whenever you observe teachers after the trying to get a message across, no matter if
sessions, the whole process of observation in a language classroom nearby or in a
(pre-lesson discussion, lesson planning teacher-training room, maybe even abroad,
implementation, post-lesson discussion) will is the same. We are talking about the
also help you as feedback for your future necessary interaction among minds,