IATEFL – PERU INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE 2014
"The impact of Innovation: Changes and Challenges in ELT"
ü CARMEN CACEDA
The ELT Professional Learning Landscape: Challenges, Opportunities, Innovations, and Transformations
Changes (or hopefully transformations) are taking place as we speak, and some of these can be viewed as challenges or as opportunities and they require that we take action straightaway. In Peru, changes in the ELT methodology began to be more explicit in the early 1980s, and this was the result of changes taking place in English speaking countries.
First, for this session, I will briefly you take you down memory lane to re-cognize our methods roots, and then I will pinpoint the methods that have impacted the most in our practice. Second, I will make you aware how intertwined the what and the how were/are, but I will argue that we need to move to the why, especially if we want to innovate our teaching. That is, when we begin teaching English as a foreign/second language, we believe that we are well equipped with the theory and the knowledge of the language (i.e., the what). We then search for how sessions thinking that once we “own” the techniques, we will face fewer issues when teaching. However, few of us realize that is when we consider the what, the how and the why that our teaching can be enhanced. For example, as we put the strategies into practice, we realized that they sometimes do not work as they did in educating sessions. It is then that we begin to question the “validity” of the how and move on (or should move on) to reframe the what and think of the why. Critiquing the theory, our language knowledge, our practice, and the socio-cultural context should foster better professional trajectories since it is our job to build bridges considering the three big questions.
Finally, I will share with you some lessons (or gems) learned when crossing different borders (e.g., from teaching high school students to university ones, from teaching in the public sector to the private one, from preparing teachers in Peru to preparing them in U.S.)
1. Strive to improve the language on a daily basis to be more confident with it
2. Know the theory since it gives you the basis to understand a technique, but also critique it (i.e., do not only consume it)
3. Constantly challenge yourself to learn research the theory
4. Share what you have learned (i.e., at school level or in professional organizations)
5. When you attend a session: think of ONE strategy or theory that you can translate into your context.
6. Know your students’ context and infuse it in your classes, only then can it be called meaningful learning