My First Taste of a Foreign Trainer
The day was December 12, 2015, at V.S Niketan College, Tinkune Kathmandu. I was very excited for this day since I was already informed about Thomas Jones through my teacher. When my teacher said that Thomas Jones is not exactly a native speaker of English (because he is from Wales), my desire to hear him and attend his training was aroused a lot. So, I was very curious about the training for it was my first attempt to attend educational training from a foreigner. I was expecting very fruitful ideas for my professional development. Accordingly, it became a wonderful moment for having Thomas Jones as a trainer.
I was impressed by his bio that he was a waiter, gardener, teacher, director, examine, center manager in summer schools, trainer and principal, respectively. He said, “Teaching is an easier job in comparison to building houses.” Because we do not need to do physical task all the time. Likewise, he asked us reasons for selecting teaching profession with some options and there was one that ‘we love children’. The expression that he used to explain this option ‘If you say it then definitely you will change your reason’. This expression still makes me laugh because that was the reality of teaching.
We began our session with the theme ‘Sooner Barbarity than Boredom’. I was quite surprised when he jumbled us from our comfortable places without forcing. I changed my place but some of my friends did not get what he meant to say so they did not shift their places. Then he shared some ideas for converting chaos into creativity. The way he delivered his ideas and the examples that he gave us were mindboggling. His words and expressions made us laugh. There are certain things, which were very influencing for me. Firstly, the reconstruction of poems and teaching phrasal verbs from poetry. The poem goes like;
He was my North, my
South, my east and west
My working week and my
Sunday rest, my noon
My midnight, my talk,
I thought that love would
Last forever, I was wrong.
From this poem, he made us use our own words in between to reconstruct the poem. My reconstructed poem was;
He was my game, my fun
My computer and Ipad
My message, my mails my notifications
I thought that love would
Last forever, but I was wrong.
Likewise, he made us translate this poem in our language and I loved the poem translated in Maithali, which sounded very funny to all.
All of sudden his phone rang and he said “oh!! What!! Noooo!” and went out of the class. I was curious about what might have happened to him. He returned to class and said that he has been offered a job in America. But his wife does not like America, so he asked for our advice. We were trying to convince him for obeying his wife, in contrast one participant suggested him for accepting the offer. We were busy with that stuff then he said it is the way of making students turn the page number for ‘Suggesting’. All of us laughed. The use of the telephone as context creation and to cope with difficulties in teaching really attracted me.
I loved his ideas of using music and phone in class. He played music in the beginning of a task and stopped it to indicate the time was over. It will help our students not to be bored and to concentrate on their tasks. In the same manner, he shared the idea that we can be perfect in one thing but not in every field. Likewise, our students may have expert quality in one aspect, so we can learn from our students. Hence, the teacher not only teaches to students but also learns from them.
The very convincing technique was that when we ask our students question, we should not stand in front of them since they will just concentrate and dialogue with us, so we should sit and keep distance and let them share their information in the group. If some students are hostile, we should use polite words for making them aware of their fault and if some students finished their work fast then we need to do activities that keep them busy like give them comic, give them a game to play. And then to make students feel free, teachers should be little far from students even we can go out of the classroom, but we keep on checking through the window. Likewise, we can use the phone inside the class to create a scene for teaching.
Mostly, the verbal boxing was fabulous activity in session. We, in a pair, were given two different topics, where we had to speak together and whoever stopped first would lose. That was very convincing for me to help my students to improve their speaking, and overcome their shyness. When Usha sister was speaking on ‘Paisa’ in Nepali in next hand one man was speaking in English that sounded too funny. Finally, I liked his saying that in advance level any idiot can teach because they had already learnt so many things but teaching beginners are like Ninja. And we completed it at 4 PM.
(*Sangita Sapkota is an M.Ed ELT student at KU, School of Education.)