I recently took an E-learning course which at a point required me to research the state of pre-service and in service teacher training in East Africa. What struck me was the shortage of CPDs available to a large number of teachers in a particular East African country; now this might be a common problem in Africa especially in public schools. However, I dare say that the number of CPDs available for teachers in Nigeria especially in the private sector is on the increase. This little discovery made me a bit more thankful for the various opportunities I have had for in service trainings.
If you are like me however, the sound of one training or the other especially mid-week or at the end of a busy week day might not have evoked warm feelings in your heart. On the contrary, a sense of dread might have crept up on you at the thought of an extra 30mins or 1 hour. I mean our lives as early years teachers is as busy as it gets. Nevertheless, trainings should not evoke these feelings in us and even if they do we should be able to see them as avenues for us to learn something new and consolidate our knowledge in order to improve our practice.
Therefore, how do we make the best out of these learning opportunities?
Be proactive and take charge of your attitude because your attitude matters
Angela Waston in her book “Awakened” highlighted the importance of the mind and the attitude in determining our response in any situation and gave a 3 step guide to getting into the “zone” one of which is:
- Talk to yourself:
“I did not plan for this, but I will get the best out of it”
Truth is, whether we are aware of it or not, we are constantly talking to ourselves and more often than not, there is a negative script running that can affect our attitude hence our responses. Therefore, why not take charge of that script and speak this phrase over and over again.
Prepare and plan
Now you may not have the luxury of time to prepare especially if it is a “surprise” training. However, taking out as little as five minutes to prepare can go a long way in how much we gain from the training. I have found that trainings that were really productive for me as teacher and in other areas of my life where those I prepared for. Therefore, doing the following simple steps might help:
- Take out your journal alongside your pen/pencil
- If you can go a step further go online and read up on the topic; a quick skim to give you an idea
- Mentally prepare yourself to learn (insert receive)
Avoid the negative crowd
Yep, you heard me. This is because what we hear has the ability to affect our moods, attitude and therefore how much we learn from the training. We have all come across people (teachers) that try hard to bring out the negative in every situation. Do yourself a favour, AVOID THEM!
And if it so happens that you are guilty of such then… kindly keep quiet and don’t spread the negativity (Smiles) for the sake of others
Actively Engage with the training
To actively engage with a training you need to do the following:
- Be present: this is not the time to plan out your evening meal or your outfit for the next. Neither is it the time to rehash the events of the day.
- Remove distractions in the form of your phones, I mean make the 30mins or so count
- Sit in front: as teachers we are well aware of how easy it is for our children to get distracted once they sit far from us
Most importantly, think
“how can I apply this to my classroom?”
Sometimes we do not find trainings useful or find it hard to apply what we have learnt from various trainings because we do not engage with them. therefore, ask yourself questions like “where does this fit into my class”? “how can I adapt it to suit my pupils”?
In conclusion, I think it is important we give constructive feedback on the trainings we receive and also communicate our areas of needs. This could help planning of further trainings.
Until next time, keep up the good work!
I would love to hear from you, what other step have you taken before or during a training to get the best out of it?