Here at Bridge Mills Galway Language Centre we offer a selection of Teacher Development and Teacher Refresher courses including: CLIL, 21st Century Skills, and Advanced Methodology programmes. Our senior teaching team take charge of these areas to ensure a dynamic, productive, and experienced-led pathway for all learners. We find that the pre-planning of such courses in terms of staffing, timetabling, and materials design are key facets to ensure quality delivery. Coupled with this is the need to be flexible to the needs of the learners, often Erasmus funded, who often request a mix of all the aforementioned specialisations with some Irish culture added in for good measure.
The fact that we have run such courses over a prolonged period means that we can adapt easily to learner needs. Our preferred method of delivery is principled eclecticism. The modern trainer should use a variety of methodologies and approaches, choosing techniques from each method that they consider effective and apply them according to the learning context and objectives. They prepare their lessons to facilitate the understanding of the concepts being taught and do not rely on one specific ‘best method’. Examples of this include: the trainer proposing a variety of exercises to achieve the set ILOs or ensuring the trainer (and related academic staff) are committed to developing a wide range of resources in order to give relevant, stimulating, and productive lessons.
The overall aim of this method is to promote learner autonomy and stress the importance of self-motivation. Inclusion of all participants and breaking down social barriers are key supports to all programmes. Through guided discovery, participants should not expect the trainer to deliver everything to them neatly packaged, wielding some new magic teaching method, but should take charge of their own learning and jump in. Participants often bring information on their own motivations and interests to the classroom which could for example on Information Technology, information on climate change, information on participation in democratic life, or other area. Digital supports for learners are also part of all the programmes we run. The trainer as a facilitator to new pathways is a neat way of surmising same. On such high-level Erasmus programmes everyone is equal and should contribute towards the success of the course of study undertaken.