Watch Mike Hogan and Chia Suan Chong’s webinar From theory to practice: activities for any classroom which took place on May 5th and find out what activities work well in a hybrid learning environment. Full of fresh ideas and resources that can be used across a variety of ages and levels, you’ll leave this session feeling inspired and enthused about the possibilities of hybrid learning.
Teacher trainers and authors Mike Hogan and Chia Suan Chong shared a long-held ambition: To create a training program for experienced teachers who want to reflect on their classroom practice and improve their skills and knowledge of pedagogy.
After many months of research, hard work and writing, they’ve created the Certificate for Practising Teachers course (CertPT), alongside Pearson. This new Level 6 qualification for English language teachers is accredited by Trinity College London.
Read on to learn more about Mike and Chia, how they came to develop the course, and what you can get out of it.
A background in ELT
Mike Hogan started out in English language teaching roughly 20 years ago, in Ireland. As his experience grew, he began managing teachers. He also got involved in professional development workshops and, after beginning to write his own materials and doing a Diploma in TESOL in 2008, he started working with publishers.
“I was doing more writing and more teacher development. This was alongside teaching because I felt it was always important to be active in the classroom, when you’re doing those things.”
Mike soon became involved in designing and developing a lot of teacher training courses and was a tutor on a Trinity certified business English teaching course. He later went on to author a number of levels of Pearson’s popular Business Partner coursebook series.
Chia’s story starts a little differently, “I did my degree in Singapore in communication studies where I majored in broadcast, and electronic media,” she says. “I then became a television actress and did a bit of theatre as well in Singapore. After that, I moved to Europe, to do a film for Hallmark productions.”
Chia soon went to live in London and got a position as a teacher to sustain herself between acting roles. After working at a chain school for a couple of years she decided she loved giving classes and it was something she wanted to pursue as a career.
“I took a CELTA at International House London and had some amazing tutors. I remember going in there feeling quite, you know, confident, thinking I know a lot about teaching, but my tutors just kind of really debunked a lot of things I knew about teaching – and I just admired them so much”.
They inspired her to further her skills in the education field. “The teacher trainers I had were an inspiration to me and one of the reasons I became a CELTA tutor and teacher trainer later in my career.”
Developing a certified course for experienced teachers
Mike and Chia identified that there was a gap in training and development opportunities for practising teachers with classroom experience, who did not want to go down the route of a Diploma or MA programme.
“When I was taking further teaching qualifications, the part that intrigued me most was understanding the principles of why we do certain things in a certain way in the classroom,” says Chia.
They were keen to develop something new, which would better address the needs of practicing teachers – and so they began investigating what was required.
“We wanted this to be grounded in theory, but also not to be too heavy for busy teachers,” says Mike. “The core mantra is that our CertPT course should be practical and immediately usable.”
Chia adds, “a good teacher is someone who you would stop in the middle of a lesson and ask why they did a particular thing – and they could explain it.”
The course was born out of Chia and Mike’s passion for teacher training.
“We both bring a lot of experience and perspective to the table. We both add to each other but also complement each other, in that sense. So we’ve been working very hard since last year.”
CertPT: A unique teacher training experience
The CertPT course from Pearson guides and accompanies the participant and includes lots of varied input, such as animated video, podcasts, slideshows, cartoons, whiteboard animations, as well different ways to interact and engage with the material.
The course is entirely digital and designed for teachers to do on their own, whether on laptop or mobile phone. It focuses on reflection, directly related to their own experience – participants, for example, consider the appropriateness of materials they are working with and their approaches in the classroom.
“The first module is about methodology,” says Chia. “The aim is to talk about theory and the reasons why we do certain things in the classroom. Once you understand the theory you can then apply it in a practical scenario.”
Mike adds that the course accommodates different teaching styles. “We wouldn’t want to say this is the only way to do it: it’s about sharing different approaches – and participants can take away ideas, adapt them and apply them to their own classes – and even come up with their own ideas.”
During the course, participants write an online journal which they use to reflect on their progress.
“At the end of the course, you write an assignment. It’s important to think about what you’re learning and show how you are adapting it to your own local teaching context,” says Mike.
Moreover, Mike explains that, in comparison to other professional development courses, it features more bitesize, practical lessons. “They are very short; 15-20 mins long and we don’t ask teachers to do lots in one go – no more than one a day, and three to four each week,” says Mike.
“This gives them time to reflect on learnings from each lesson,” Chia adds. “There’s no content overload: It’s designed for teachers to be able to access at intervals over a number of months.”
When it comes to technology, “the platform is easy and simple to use,” says Mike. “You get feedback on correct and incorrect answers, emulating a face-to-face teacher development workshop. It’s like having your own personal tutor.”
More about the course content
The CertPT course from Pearson is the first asynchronous and self-guided course available of this nature. It is designed for non-credentialed educators who have at least two years’ experience, or those with an initial teaching qualification and at least six months’ experience. If you’re keen to deepen your understanding of pedagogical theory, reflect on your current teaching practice, and enhance your practical teaching skills, it might just be the course for you.
The 100 hour qualification is spread over ten months. The 3 modules include a total of 120 short, dynamic lessons, full of engaging explainer videos, webinar tutorials and pre-recorded podcasts per module.
Participants are assessed through quizzes, self-reflections, knowledge check tests and four formal assignments.
The CertPT course features the following modules:
- ELT Methodology
- Teaching the FOUR Language Systems
- Teaching the FOUR Language Skills